Introduction: Make Your Own Ambient Lighting With the Raspberry Pi Zero

Picture of Make Your Own Ambient Lighting With the Raspberry Pi Zero

In this project I will show you how to combine a Raspberry Pi Zero with a couple of complementary parts in order to add an ambient lighting effect to your TV which enhances the viewing experience. Let's get started!

Step 1: Watch the Video!

The video gives you all information you need to build your own ambient lighting. The next steps will contain additional information to make the project even easier to recreate.

Step 2: Order the Components!

Picture of Order the Components!

Here you can find a parts list with the most important components that you will need.

APA102 LED Strip:

1x HDMI Splitter:

1x HDMI 2 AV Converter:

1x Raspberry Pi Zero:

1x 5V 8A Power Supply:

1x USB Video Grabber:

1x USB Hub:

1x WiFi Dongle:

Wago Terminal:

Velcro Tape:


APA102 LED Strip:

1x HDMI Splitter:

1x HDMI 2 AV Converter:

1x Raspberry Pi Zero:

1x 5V 8A Power Supply:

1x USB Video Grabber:

1x USB Hub:

1x WiFi Dongle:

Wago Terminal:

Velcro Tape:

APA102 LED Strip:

1x HDMI Splitter:

1x HDMI 2 AV Converter:

1x Raspberry Pi Zero:

1x 5V 8A Power Supply:

1x USB Video Grabber:

1x USB Hub:

1x WiFi Dongle:

Wago Terminal:

Velcro Tape:

Step 3: Download / Install the Software

Here you can find the links to the OS for the Raspberry Pi, as well as the HyperCon tool and the Win32DiskImager software.

Raspberry Pi OS (Raspbian):



You can follow the guidelines I mentioned in the video but you can also follow the installation guidelines of the Hyperion website:

Step 4: Finish the Wiring!

Picture of Finish the Wiring!

Here you can find the wiring diagram as well as pictures from my completed wiring. Feel free to use them as a reference.

Step 5: Success!

Picture of Success!

You did it! You just added ambient lighting to your TV!

Feel free to check out my YouTube channel for more awesome projects:

You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for news about upcoming projects and behind the scenes information:


RuchitD1 (author)2017-11-16

Hey why does the software say just Rpi 1 for ws2812b strips?? will it not work with pi3??

sdimitri31 made it! (author)2017-10-15

I finally made it, thanks for your help @BonfireCZ, I don't know what was the problem, I re-done all the soldering and use a different raspberry and everything is fine.

The result is really awesome on a 4k 55" tv ^^

MayurF (author)2017-10-03

Hey GS. Great tutorial. I used a combination of your tutorial and a non-soldering version I found on hyperion-project forum. Would you mind taking a look at my forum post asking for help. I am not sure if I did something wrong or not and I am a newbie when it comes to wiring. Thanks in advance.

RobocrafterSimon (author)2017-09-28

hey GS! :)

I got a question about the LED strip. That's the only one I could use? Because in the configurator there are different LED strip types. The APA102 cost a bit too much for me, sadly my budget is not so big as I want it to be. I even found a different way to use it with my TV because it uses RCA connectors for my settop box :D Thanks for the answer, the chanel is awesome!

sdimitri31 (author)2017-03-21

Thanks for this tutorial.

I made it but I have a problem with the baudrate.

I did it on a 55" tv, I have a total of 224 LED on it, but sometimes the strips are flickering. When I change the baudrate it's better but I don't know how to get the good value. Do you know the way to calculate the good baudrate ?


sdimitri31 (author)sdimitri312017-03-21

Maybe it's not the baudrate in fact.

When I set the LED full white it's flickering a lot and it I measure the voltage at the end of the strip I get about 2.5V. I reduce the luminence gain to 0,5 but it doesn't change the problem.

Any idea ?

dilyusha (author)sdimitri312017-09-27

does the power has sufficient current?

BonfireCZ (author)sdimitri312017-04-04

Hi, I've just connected all things and tested my LED strip, and noticed also that at the end of the strip (mine 30pcs/m APA102, 55'' TV, 120LEDs total) there was a color shift (less blue) and little flickering.

Reducing the luminance to 50% solved this problem, so I've tried to connect 5V supply also from the end of the strip, so now the colors were good and no flickering to ~80% brightness (full white).

Now when running on 100% brightness there is color shift only in the middle of strip, so after mounting to TV I will apply 5V voltage to all corners of TV, just for sure.

Hope this will help you

sdimitri31 (author)BonfireCZ2017-04-05

Hi, thanks for the answer.

I connected the supply to the middle of the strip but it didn't change, I will connect it to every corners when I have time to work on it :)

I will post a message when it's done.

BonfireCZ (author)sdimitri312017-04-05

Hi, that's strange... are you sure your 5V source can handle this big current? (I've tested mine with lab power supply). If you have 60LED/m the current draw will be bigger than on my strip and connecting the source to the middle may not be enough. Try to connect it to the end of strip.

sdimitri31 (author)BonfireCZ2017-04-17

After connecting to each corner of the strip, it didn't change anything.

As you said, the power supply is not strong enough for this current.

How can I know how much power do I need ?

BonfireCZ (author)sdimitri312017-04-17

My stripe is 116pcs long, and I'm using Mean Well APV-35-5, which can deliver 5-6A, and I've set luminance gain to 0,92, tested with white color and clamp current meter measuring 5,5A. I have two power connections (from both sides of stripe), and I'm going to solder third power connection, to the opposite corner (middle of the strip), because that corner is little flickering and is little more red than the other LEDs when tested on white screen. Here is detail of my corner where is beginning and end of the strip :)

sdimitri31 made it! (author)BonfireCZ2017-04-17

About 6A to power 116pcs, I have 224 so I need about 12A to power them.

I have a 10A power supply, and I had to set the luminence to 0,50 and the saturation gain to 0,8, in order to make it works without flickering. But the effect is not really cool with this settings.

I'm thinking to buy a much better power supply like a 20A to be sure it will be strong enough. Any advice on witch one to choose ?

I did it like that for each corner :

BonfireCZ (author)sdimitri312017-04-18

Hmm, interesting, because GreatScott is good with 8A power source, 10A should be enough for you... I advice you to borrow some lab power source and test it first, then get some good power source, for example MeanWell are good (LPV 100-5 can supply 12A+). Also check your wires if they are thick enough for that power.

sdimitri31 (author)BonfireCZ2017-04-18

When I saw this tutorial, I thought it would be enough with a 10A.

Unfortunately, I don't know anyone who have a lab power source ...

About the wires, I'm using cables like those for powering PC, so it should be good I guess.

NilsK1 (author)2017-08-17

Hey, can I use the Raspberry Pi Zero W. It has built in Wlan. Or is there even a better Raspberry?

NicolasT53 made it! (author)2017-02-23

The photos don't do justice to the result :) You can catch a glimpse of the RP3 on the bottom left of the second photo. Everything stocked there with adesive velcro. A few changes from the tutorial:

- I only use the power brick for the leds, the rest of the devices (splitter, converter and soon HDMI selector) is powered by a multi-charger I had laying around. This may change in the future as the power supply should be stable enough to power everything, but it was simply easier that way.

- All strips are in series

- RP3 instead of 0 so no need for wifi dongle. The CPU occupation is under 10% (at the worst case) while running hyperion in composite aquisition mode.

Good luck everyone !

i have WS2801 leds do you think that will work insted of APA102. they are basicly the same leds or am i wrong?

main question will it work?

It will work. Hyperion uses the FastLed library ( that list WS2801 as compatible leds. Also, Hypercon (the configuration tool) has an option for this led type.

Good luck !

thank you :) i have connected everything up now but when i tupe sudo lsusb

i only get Bus 001 Device 005: ID 1b71:3002 not /dev/video0 and yes my grabber is utv007 chipset

any solutions?

Hi, try to install newer Raspbian with new kernel

I'm not a Linux expert and the hardware management is worst :/ What distribution are you using on the Pi ? I installed the standard Raspbian, then Hyperion using Hypercon remote install feature from my desktop.

alexander.r.bakke made it! (author)2017-03-20

I made it on my 110" projector screen and it looks awesome thanks for the tutorial

NicolasT53 (author)2017-02-22

Hello, I had to connect the Pi ground to my 10A power supply ground for the signal to be correctly passed to the leds. I hope it helps (a bit late I assume)

aared (author)2017-01-04

I haven't used a Pi before so I don't know how the compatibility between the models works. Would I be able to do this project with a newer model like the 3 so I can have wireless capabilities built into it, with the video input still working with HyperCon? My idea is to run other stuff at the same time from the same Pi board, like Alexa, which I'm guessing I would need a higher end board for than the Zero.

Thanks for this tutorial by the way, it was the inspiration I needed to take a stab at these electronics boards!

NicolasT53 (author)aared2017-02-22

Hello, I just did it with the Pi3, no major issue to report (colors are a bit too "intense" sometimes, but that's just a grabber/color setup) and for sure I use the integrated wifi a lot with the hyperion remote. I'm planning to add a remote controlled HDMI switch to, well..., switch from my various inputs :D

As a general rule: whatever a Pi 0 can do, a Pi 2 or 3 will be able to do it, but faster. The system images to run are different but that's about it.

ThorstenW3 (author)2017-01-30

Hi Great Scott. Awesome tutorial. I got the LEDs in today and I've been playing with it for a while now. I saw that other tutorials for APA102 use a voltage shifter for the data and clock, but you're not using one. I have 5V (10A) set up alright, as well as hyperion working, but it seems like the signals are not going through properly... Ideas?

GreatScottLab (author)ThorstenW32017-01-31

Did you checked whether there is a signal output?

i-blaze (author)2017-01-16

Hey guys i wanting to make this for my PC dual monitor setup.

just wanted to know that do i need exactly this same components sine it will be connected to my PC not TV?

sacortesh (author)2017-01-02

Hi! Great vids! I have a few questions. In your previous build you connected directly from the end of each strip to the next one including the 5v and GND, Why do you do it differently this time?... Also, besides the PI and the Strip what other component needs an special dedicated source of power?... Sorry for the other stupid question but I do not know how these wago connectors work, my logic says it is for sharing the inputs/outputs (power or ground) but I am not that great at electronics so i have to ask, if so can i put one after the other (in case i cant get the 5slot connectors you use)?

kalleKolinen88 (author)sacortesh2017-01-02

I'm not greatscott, but I think why he separated all +5V and GND per strip is to maximize the voltage each led gets, of course at this length, the voltage drop wouldnt be drastic anyway if he connected all in series, could be other reasons aswell why he did that. Also you can connect share source from one wago to other, if you dont have enough space, I had to do this once at one project from cheap employer, who only had 2 and 3 terminal wagos. It's not pretty, but works.

Nesva (author)2017-01-02

Is it possible to make without using any entertainment system? So directly from TV?

AndrewH395 (author)2016-12-30

Hmm.. I was going to try and find a splitter for DisplayPort (I wantt ttis for a gaming setup), but then I realized I could make my computer miror connections to HDMI anyways. Isn't PC Nice.

AndrewH395 (author)AndrewH3952016-12-30

Also, if I had to use a splitter I'd fear some input delay; not sure how much if any though.

avicenzi (author)2016-12-30

How about the delay from video and light? This ain't gonna be real time since there's a converter from digital to analog and the RPi also needs to process the input data to show the correct image colors.

DanielB695 (author)2016-12-21

Can you skip the hdmi to av, and the videograbber if you use a PI2 or a PI3?

JohannesH4 (author)DanielB6952016-12-29

To my knowledge the pi does not have a HDMI input, just output. I think you have to use a grabber. There's HDMI grabbers but you need to check they are compatible with the pi, but if it is you can at least skip the hdmi-av conversion

adamespi (author)2016-12-24

Can you tell me what Wago terminal sizes and amount you need.

turbiny (author)2016-12-18

Anyway to use the hdmi outpout from the tv and

GreatScottLab (author)turbiny2016-12-20

HDMI output?

turbiny (author)GreatScottLab2016-12-20

It was late at night and just now i was thinking what have i asked:(
I want a way to scan thecorners on thetv regardless where the signal is coming from.
I have android tv i use youtube/kodi how can i make this happen?

JorgeR51 (author)2016-12-20

Do you know any way to adapt this project to a dual monitor setup?

Slot1Gamer (author)2016-12-18

looks good :) Have you considered using some LED strip diffuses, to even out the hot spots?

GreatScottLab (author)Slot1Gamer2016-12-20

Not yet. I like the way it looks right now.

_JoH_ (author)2016-12-19

Thank you Jeremy for making me purchase stuff with every video you make!

About This Instructable




Bio: Awesome Electronics Tutorials, Projects and How To´s
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