Learnings from building a wifi bookcase

I recently embarked on a project to take the standard Ikea bookcase we have in the flat and prepare it better for the nights drawing in as we approach winter. I had previously purchased an LED strip from eBay for my first room in London, as much of a broom cupboard as that was. You can buy the LED strips reasonably cheaply and so I thought I would add downlights on each shelf, which I hoped would help add warmth to the lighting on dark winter nights.

The LED strips allow you to cut them every few LEDs but the problem is you then need a way to reconnect them to wire or however you want to light them up. Each of these connectors can be over £1 each which in a project like this adds up a lot. It seemed to me that it would actually be cheaper to buy a soldering iron and solder all the lights and wires together. I think it turned out cheaper as I only had to get the LED strips, wire and the soldering kit.


I hadn't soldered since uni and so my first few solders were very poor. To start with I tried to do it without purchasing the crocodile clips and magnifier which amazon had initially suggested would be a good idea.

Having the clips made the soldering much easier.

One of the tips I wanted to leave in this post either for myself in the future or anyone else who is looking to do a similar project is how to strip the wires. I was using he clippers that came with the soldering kit and I kept accidentally just cutting the end of the wire off rather than actually managing to strip the end of it. What I found towards the end was that by starting by pinche end with the clippers, the same as I did originally, but then bending the wire around this pince, followed by twisting the end of the cable led to much better results than trying to scrape the end off with the clippers.

A couple of other lessons learned from the project include not using your girlfriend's hair dry on heat shrink, that can lead to trouble!

The LED strips that I got came with a smart home wifi adapter, which is great when it works. For a start any time the power to the unit goes off, I have to use the app to reconnect them to the wifi, and sometimes they just disconnect of their own accord. 

Gladfully the design I have allows me to slot a new adapter in when I get annoyed enough at the cheap wifi adapters.



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