Disco Sticks

Portable LED Tubes

Back in 2018 I had a desire for addressable LED tubes that could be fully wireless, and didn’t cost $1,000 each. So I embarked on making my own 8’ long disco sticks!


The results were bigger, more detailed, more portable, and cheaper LED sticks I could happily lend to events, walk through damp fields with, and let people play with.

Check out more of my art, or ask me something. I'd love to hear from you!

Disco Sticks in action

The Build

Tech Stuff

4x sound reactive 8’ LED tubes, each with 130 addressable RGB LEDs.

All sticks can be synchronised via Wi-Fi using WLED effects without any additional hardware, or sACN/ArtNet DMX data (requires a dedicated WiFi router and something to run sequences from).

Power: They can be powered either via an internal USB power bank for up to 6 hours, or USB power adapter for unlimited runtime.

Version 1 

Main controller: Raspberry Pi running LedFX, which sends sACN data to each stick, via a Wi-Fi router.

Stick Controllers: ESP8266

Stick Firmware: WLED

Version 2

The sACN data would often stutter during playback, so I swapped the single-core ESP8266 controllers in each stick to the dual-core ESP32s. I also swapped out the control infrastructure so the full RGB data for each pixel no longer needed to be streamed across the network, only minimal pattern change data using WLED's own effects library.

Main controller: Swapped to ESP32 Audio Dev board that takes DJ mixer output and acts as central WiFi router, making the whole setup much cheaper and more compact.

Stick Controllers: Upgraded to ESP32s for more processing power in each stick.

Stick Microphones: PDM digital mics added in the top of each stick to allow for individual sound-reactive effects

Stick Firmware: WLED swapped to Moon Modules for more advanced sound-reative effects