Zigbee LED Strip Dimmer (IKEA Trådfri Hack)

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About: IT-professional by day, DIY hobbyist (among other things) on my free time. I always have one or more projects going on. Usually something to do with home improvement or a tech project or a combination of the...

IKEA have successfully introduced their line of Trådfri smart lighting all over the world. One thing I am missing from their lineup is a simple LED strip dimmer. Why not strip the brains from a light and make one? LED dimmers are all about PWM (Pulse Width Modulation). The width of the pulse determines the brightness of the light. The trick to re-purposing a dimmer would be to extract the chip and find the PWM pin.

How hard could it be? Not very as it turns out! Read on to find out more.

Step 1: Bill of Material

For this project you need the following (not everything is in the picture):

  • IKEA Trådfri GU10 Smart bulb. Any other trådfri bulb should due just fine but the GU10 is cheapest.
  • Single color LED strip. The GU10 only has one color.
  • LED Amp. These devices are intended to drive longer strips than can be supported one controller. It takes the input from one side, adds drive current and outputs power for LED strips with the same PWM pattern as the input.
  • LD117 3.3v voltage regulator
  • 100uF capacitor
  • 10uF capacitor
  • 470 ohm resistor
  • 10 Kohm resistor
  • BC547 transistor (or equivalent NPN)
  • Prototype board or bread board
  • Header pins
  • Wires
  • Power connector of choice for 12v power supply

Step 2: Disassemble the Light

The light is really simple to disassemble

  1. Using a thin flat head screwdriver, pry the clear plastic top off
  2. Pry the aluminum cover open
  3. Pull the light out
  4. De-solder the LED from the board and take the LED and aluminum cover off
  5. Under the cover sits a circuit board at a 90 degree angle with a copper strip soldered to it. This is the processor and wireless circuitry that we need for the project. The copper is the antenna.

Step 3: The IKEA Zigbee Circuit

We now have the brains of the smart light. Others have done deeper analysis and determined that under the steel case there is a general purpose 32bit processor which could be used much in the same was as Arduinos and ESP8266 units. However, for the purpse of this project we are only interested in three pins. Plus, GND and PWM output. See the drawing for the pinout. The circuit runs on 3.3v. The pin PB13 is PWM out.

To make it breadboard friendly, I suggest soldering a 3-pin header onto the board. Bend the pins a bit to compensate for lower lead spacing of the circuit board.

There is more info here: https://github.com/basilfx/TRADFRI-Hacking

Step 4: The LED Amplifier

This step is not entirely necessary. However, I suggest cutting the plastic off the LED amp circuit to allow for direct solder access.

Solder wires as in picture.

Step 5: Circuit Drawing

The circuit (from left to right):

  1. 12v power
  2. 12v to 3.3v circuit using the LD117 regulator
  3. IKEA Zigbee circuit
  4. Level adjust transistor (BC547) circuit for PWM out. It converts the 3.3v output to 12v for compatibility with the LED amp.
  5. In addition, the transistor circuit inverts the signal. The LED amp and most LED strips light up when input is 0v. This is called common anode. The IKEA circuit is the opposite. +3.3v is on.
  6. The LED amp is the last part of the circuit. The three inputs are shorted since we want the same signal for all three outputs.

The pins on the LED amp are labeled BRG but in this case it is all white.

Step 6: Wire It

Follow the circuit drawing. You may want to start by wiring everything up on a breadboard and when you have that working, move it over to a prototype board. The latter requires basic soldering skills.

Step 7: (optional) Add a Case

Put the project in a case. If you have a 3D-printer (and organized your components as I did) you can download the STL files here and print the case seen in the pictures.

Step 8: Done!

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    10 Discussions

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    uwezi

    5 weeks ago

    Thanks for the work - I just dissasembled my owm bulb...

    However, one small correction: "The copper is the antenna." - no it's not. The antenna is on the circuit board under the white paint, just outside the metal can. The copper strip provides a grounding between the can and the case of the bulb.

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    NilsK1

    Question 8 months ago

    Would it be possible to use an RGB Ikea Bulb und an RGB LED Strip?

    2 more answers
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    ehsmaesNilsK1

    Answer 8 months ago

    It's funny that you ask. I just purchased a RGB bulb and I will be taking it apart. Yes, this concept should work just as well for RGB. In fact, what I would like to try is to try to pull the firmware from a RGB bulb and flash it to the cheap GU10. If that works we could control RGB strips with the low priced GU10 chip instead of the pricey RGB.

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    Patrick W.vehsmaes

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Any update on flashing/using it for a rgb version?

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    MiguelC58

    3 months ago

    Great Project! But now that Ikea has launched new TRÅDFRI products there is another option.

    https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/103561...

    If you're using a 24V Led strip, this PSU can be used directly, but If you're using a 12V Led strip it can also be used as the controller module can be removed, and connected directly to a 12V PSU. I'm preparing an instructable with this. :-)

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    KlausM21

    Question 4 months ago on Step 4

    Hi! Great project. May i ask for some details regarding the LED amp? Look tiny and cool. Where did you get it? Name? Not been able to find anything similar. Thanks.

    1 more answer
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    nwolf1

    Question 7 months ago

    Hi, Very nice project and started to make it for myself.

    And yes it worked, but when I started pairing the remote the IKEA chip started to crackle and smoking.
    Do you have a idea? Because it worked correct until pairing.

    0
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    RasmusM13

    Question 8 months ago

    Hi, it's brilliant. What change should I make to use a 24vdc driver?

    0
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    domoticaspain

    Question 9 months ago on Step 1

    Do you think it'd be possible to buy a color strip and a color bulb to be also able to control de color?