Orb1: Another Orb light

While the first Orb does a decent enough job, there were two irksome issues with the lamp that were driving me mad.

  1. The single pixel LED doesn't generate a lot of light, and I wouldn't mind being able to use the device for reading at night.
  2. The light can't be turned off without using two computers: an MQTT broker running Node Red Dashboard, and a device (usually my phone) with a browser to display the dashboard.

Woooweee, I'm not making those mistakes again. :)

In order to solve these two problems, I first needed to make a new lamp that would have greater illumination as well as a physical switch.

Time to get crackin!

The Frame

Up at The ReStore, this outdoor light spoke to me. It whispered ever so slightly "take me apart". Who am I to deny such a request?

Trace round things

The hella stylish base for the new lamp will be wonderfully hand-crafted from a board of pine.

Sadly, it was my hands that did the crafting. :)

Butcher the pine

OK, my fine circular wood cutting skills might not be that great.... for now. These pieces are going to get stacked and glued together.


The dull gray underside of the lamp's "shades" was made a bit more reflective.

Apply glue

The frame and the base were glued with Weldbond; dries clear, non-toxic, and no fumes.

The whole thing was braced with tape.


A chain of 3 ws2801 Pixel LEDs adds quite a bit more light.

Testing the circuit

Leads were soldered to the LED chain and then the leads were connected to a Black-Swift SBC running [OpenWRT]( To the right of the SBC is the sweet switch for this project.

Put it all together

The computer and cabling were fastened in place with some hot glue.

At this point, I would like to thank electrical tape for protecting my solder points from shorting as well as from being seen by others. Cheers buddy!

The final test

Will this be bright enough to allow me to read?

time will tell


The Orb code required a few new settings, some functions for setting a GPIO pin to accept input from the switch, and a thread to then poll the state of the switch.

When the switch is pressed, and the Orb is off, the LEDs will be set to the on_color defined in the file. If the Orb device is in any state other than "off", the LEDs will be set to #000000.

Now I need to find another SBC that has decent SPI support so that my remaining ws2801 LEDs can be Orbed. Yea, 'orbed' is a verb now.