Web interface for a wireless LED controller network
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OttoLight Diagram.png




OttoLight is a framework for networked communication between a web service and master controller to any number of nearby client controllers. It is currently designed for use with WS2812/WS2811 LED strips, although the clients can preform any remote task.


This system is built to run on the Texas Instrument [MSP430] (http://www.ti.com/ww/en/launchpad/launchpads-msp430.html#tabs) series(Launchpad) microcontrollers with Anaren [AIR BoosterPack] (https://www.anaren.com/air/air-boosterpack).

The one master controller communicates with a PC host over USB serial, where is receives commands to relay to the clients. The clients in turn receive and parse messages from the master and act accordingly.

Each client is connected to an LED strip(equivalent to Adafruit's Neopixel and listens for commands during the delay between output frames. Because RF communication and pushing a new frame are each 100% blocking tasks, it is possible for the client to miss a message while processing LED information. Therefore, the master controller repeats its transmission until an echo is received from the client.


I wrote this system at Hack_UTD, The University of Texas at Dallas's first major student hackathon. I worked on a team by myself with occasional hardware help from the present TI engineers who graciously provided most of the hardware. Because I only had twenty-four hours to get a functional prototype, the code may seem a bit rough. I'm planning on cleaning it up and documenting the codebase.

Installation and Usage

This program has two main requirements, and a few other small dependencies.

After installing those dependencies, download or clone this repository and keep following the below instructions.


Open ./Master/Master.ino in Energia and make sure that you have all of the dependencies and the code compiles. Select the correct board and serial COM port, then burn the program. Open the serial monitor and reset the board to confirm that serial communication(9600 baud) works.


Open ./Client/Client.ino in Energia and modify the leading lines to match your board and number of LEDs. You should assign each device a unique ID starting at one(zero is reserved for the master) so that they don't crosstalk and interfere. Burn the script and by default, it should load a fast white chaser.

Keep in mind that the LED Driver library takes 3 bytes of RAM per LED in order to function. If you use more than the board has available, it will silently fail after running out. In my experience, the MSP430G2 can't run many more than 30 LED's and the MSP430F5529 can run at least 150.


In a command prompt, navigate to ./webserver and execute auto.js, followed by the name of the COM port of the master controller.

node auto.js COM6

In your web browser, navigate to http://localhost/ and you should see a simple web interface. As you select options and click Send, traffic should be logged in the Node.js terminal and the client LED's should follow.

The web interface is currently configured only three client devices, but it can easily be expanded.

Default web interface


Currently, there are two communication formats: one for the master to send to clients, and one for the clients to use while echoing back. The content of the first byte(DESTINATION_ID) determines which message type is being used. The master has a device ID of 0, while the clients increment from 1 to 255.

Master to Client


This six-byte format is used only when the destination device ID is nonzero.

  • The ID of the device receiving the message
  • MODE
  • The ID of the animation to use. 0 is off, 1 is a color sweep, 2 is a chase, etc.
  • The number of milliseconds to delay in between frames. If a value lower than 15ms is received, it is rounded up to 15.
  • RED
  • The RGB value in red to display.
  • The RGB value in green to display.
  • BLUE
  • The RGB value in blue to display.

Client to Master


This four-byte format is used for clients communicating back to the master. In this case, the destination device ID is always 0.

  • The ID of the device receiving the message (zero)
  • MODE
  • The purpose of the message. 0 is used to confirm a successful transmission
  • The device ID of the transmitting device
  • The type of device sending the message. Is intended for more general messaging, but is currently just 1 for LED strips.