This has been driving me insane for some time now. I can't seem to figure out why my LEDs have issues with communication. They have plenty of power supplied. I broke down my entire circuit to the most basic elements:
- 12 V, 30 A PSU
- ESP32 with WLED
- WS2811 LED strings (100 pixels each)
Everything is powered by the one 12 V PSU, the lights are powered separately (not from the microcontroller), I have a step down converter from 12 V to 5 V for the ESP32, everything is soldered/securely connected, I have used both a logic level shifter and signal booster and I have the same issue, no change. The LEDs are connected by ~35 foot long wire, 18AWG.
The LEDs flicker and do not display the right colors or simply don't turn on when connected. Sometimes if I hold the bare wire for the data, the LEDs begin to work pretty much fine, I wouldn't complain if they worked that way. I changed out nearly all components in the circuit including some wires and the microcontroller, and I get the same result. If I resolder the data connection, I get a different result each time. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. If it's working and I add another LED string to a new pin on the microcontroller, it pretty much all goes to crap again and I end up unsoldering things randomly to get it to work again. Here's a little schematic of the most basic circuit I tried.
I feel like this should really not be as difficult as it is. I implemented a similar project with 5 V lights that were not programmable - I used a single 5 V power source and controlled the lights via a relay instead, and it works just fine. The only thing I haven't been able to try is using a different step-down converter for the ESP32. This is the one I'm currently using.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.