Introduction

Building your own custom voice-activated LED light strip using an Arduino is a fun electronics project that will teach you a lot about working with microcontrollers. With just a few common components, you can create a smart LED strip that turns on, changes color, dims, and more with simple voice commands.

In this comprehensive, step-by-step guide, I'll walk you through the entire process of building a voice-controlled LED strip from start to finish using an Arduino Nano. You'll learn how to:

Even if you're new to Arduino, electronics, or coding, you'll be able to follow along with this project with just a little bit of guidance. So let's get started building our own intelligent, voice-activated LED strip!

Components Needed

To build a voice-controlled LED strip, you'll need the following parts:

Arduino Nano

The Arduino Nano is a small, breadboard-friendly microcontroller board that will serve as the brain of our LED strip. It will receive voice commands and control the LEDs accordingly.

How to Build a Voice-Activated LED Light Strip From Scratch With an Arduino

Addressable RGB LED Strip

Addressable RGB LED strips contain smart LEDs that can be controlled individually to display any color. We'll connect this to the Arduino to display colors based on voice commands. Get a strip at least 1 meter long.

Addressable RGB LED Strip

Microphone Module

A simple electret microphone module will pick up audio from voice commands and connect to the Arduino.

Microphone module

Breadboard

A solderless breadboard provides an easy way to prototype circuits and connect components without soldering.

Breadboard

Jumper Wires

Jumper wires make connections between components on the breadboard. Get both male-to-male and male-to-female.

Jumper wires

5V Power Supply

An external 5V power supply will power the LED strip and Arduino. A 2-4A supply should be sufficient.

5V power supply

Resistors

Resistors help regulate current flow. We'll need a 220 ohm resistor for the LED strip data line.

Resistors

Wire

22-24 AWG hookup wire makes connections between breadboard and components. Get a variety of colors.

Wire

Perfboard (Optional)

A perfboard provides a way to neatly organize the circuit before installing in an enclosure.

Perfboard

Enclosure (Optional)

An electronics enclosure houses the circuit safely. Look for one sized to fit the perfboard or breadboard.

Project enclosure

Software Needed

We'll also need to install the following software:

Circuit Design

Here is an overview of how we'll connect all of the components together:

Circuit design diagram

The microphone module will detect speech input and send it to the speech recognition app. The app will process the commands and send them to the Arduino via USB. The Arduino will then activate the connected LED strip.

We'll go over the step-by-step connections later when we build the circuit on the breadboard.

Building the Circuit

Now let's start putting our voice-controlled LED strip circuit together! We'll build the circuit in stages on a solderless breadboard.

1. Set up the Arduino Nano

First, insert the Arduino Nano into the breadboard. Place it across the center ditch horizontally. Make sure the USB port aligns on the right side.

The Arduino requires power from the 5V pin and ground from any GND pin. So connect 5V from the power supply to the 5V pin, and the power supply ground to Arduino GND.

Arduino Nano breadboard connections

Plug the Arduino into your computer using a USB cable. The green ON LED should light up, indicating it's powered.

2. Connect the microphone module

Next, we'll hook up the electret microphone module. This has 4 pins:

Place the module near the Arduino and make the following connections:

Microphone module connections

3. Add the LED strip

Now for the fun part - hooking up the addressable RGB LED strip! These strips have 3 main connections:

Make the following connections from the strip to the Arduino:

The resistor protects the data line from too much current.

LED strip Arduino connections

If your LED strip has an additional "Dout" connector, leave this unconnected. We won't daisy chain multiple strips.

At this point, plug in the 5V power supply. The strip should illuminate! We'll program it soon.

4. Finish the connections

Almost there! We just need to connect the:

Use more jumper wires to make the ground connections:

Full Arduino breadboard circuit

For now, the circuit is complete! Let's move on to programming the voice recognition and LED animations.

Installing the Arduino Libraries

Before coding, we need to install the required Arduino libraries to control the addressable LEDs and voice recognition module.

Adafruit NeoPixel Library

The Adafruit NeoPixel Library allows control of the WS2812B addressable LEDs.

To install:

  1. Open the Arduino IDE
  2. Go to Sketch > Include Library > Manage Libraries
  3. Search for "Adafruit NeoPixel"
  4. Install the latest version

Voice Recognition Library

For voice control, we'll use Push To Talk installed on an Android device.

Download the Push To Talk Arduino library files. Unzip and place the folder into your Arduino libraries folder.

Now we're ready to code!

Arduino Sketch to Control NeoPixels

In the Arduino IDE, open a new sketch and save it as "VoiceLEDStrip".

We need to include dependencies and initialize constants:

```cpp

include

include

define LED_PIN 6

define LED_COUNT 60

```

In setup(), initialize the LED strip:

```cpp
void setup() {

Serial.begin(9600);

// NeoPixel strip
strip.begin();
strip.show(); // Initialize all pixels to 'off'
}
```

In loop(), listen for new serial commands and set LED colors:

```cpp
void loop() {

// If data received
if (Serial.available() > 0) {

int command = Serial.read();

// White
if (command == 'W') {
  setAll(strip.Color(255, 255, 255)); 
}

// Red
if (command == 'R') {
  setAll(strip.Color(255, 0, 0));
}

// Green 
if (command == 'G') {
  setAll(strip.Color(0, 255, 0)); 
}

// Blue
if (command == 'B') {
  setAll(strip.Color(0, 0, 255));
}

}

}
```

See the full code here on GitHub.

Upload this sketch to your Arduino Nano. Now it will control the LED strip based on serial commands!

Connecting Speech Recognition Software

To add voice control, we need to connect the microphone to speech recognition software on a smartphone or tablet.

First, install Push To Talk on your Android device. Open the app and connect to the Arduino via USB.

Go to the app "Command Settings" and configure commands like:

Now when you speak those command words into your phone's mic, the corresponding letters will be sent to the Arduino serially, changing the LED strip color!

Taking It Further

You now have a fully functional voice-controlled LED strip built with Arduino! Here are some ideas for ways to extend this project:

The possibilities are endless when you build your own Arduino voice assistant. Have fun experimenting and enhancing your new smart LED system!