Everything is better if you add LEDs to it. Cars with LED lights look fancier, desktop computers run faster, keyboards type better with RGB LEDs type at twice the speed! Zemismart found a way to make your bedroom walls – look better with Zemismart LED panel feature lights! My best mate said that I can’t be a respected YouTuber (I guess that will be my job title from now on) without one of these panels on the wall in my videos. There is one problem though, I don’t have a wall behind me.
Making things shine with Zemismart LED panels
Jokes aside, Zemismart was nice to me and send me these to check it out. It has RGB LEDs and frankly speaking I can’t say no to shiny stuff. I got the 9-panel kit which retails for $163.49 which I thought it was expensive at first. I mean how expensive a couple of LEDs can be wrapped by a plastic enclosure covered with diffusing acrylic glass can be? The acrylic panel would cost me about $10 alone per panel, so these are not very expensive, but the cost adds up quickly.
Inside the box, I found the panels, power supply, bunch of connectors and 2 ways to drive the Zemismart LED panels. I’m not sure why these boards are not merged into one.
- Bluetooth controller + app
- IR remote controller + mic input
Zemismart LED panels can be connected from each side as long as you observe the connectors which indicate the direction of the signal. The more panels you have, the nicer shapes you can create. The LED panels act as a strand, so you can take advantage of that. Remember the order panels are connected, create forks (panels can split the signal into 2 directions) to show parallel animations. Plan ahead before you stick the panels to the wall.
You can buy individual panels increasing the collection without dropping the lump sum of money at Zemismart at once.
The weak points
The light coming out from Zemismart LED panels is dim in the daylight. You will have to wait till evening to enjoy the light show. My panels come with a design, so at least there is that. The Bluetooth app is barebones, but something tells me it will be very easy to hack and the cables are probably too short.
I’m not sure why, but the box indicates Alexa controls. There is no skill that would do this and the light can’t be connected by Bluetooth. Let’s just assume that the “smart” in this panel is the ability to react to music.
The awesome points
OK, this is not an intended purpose of the Zemismart LED panels but I placed it on my desk for testing purposes, connected the microphone-equipped controller and asked Alexa to play some tunes. Three things happened:
- Zemismart LED panels light up when I was speaking
- Zemismart LED panels light up when Alexa was replying
- Zemismart LED panels started to light up to the music
That instantly made me want to have a new desk with integrated panels like this. It’s absolutely adorable to see the surface light up to the rhythm of your favourite tunes and right now I’m considering rebuilding my desk just for that. I will probably match the design or the pattern itself and use the Zemismart LED panels on the adjoined wall.
The light coming out from Zemismart LED panels is well diffused. At night it creates funky visualisations, pulsing effects or random patterns. By far my favourite mode is the one that responds to the sound. The effects match the beat, change colour and intensity and are an absolute marvel to stare at. The remote is very basic, giving you the control over the sound profile, chroma settings and random animation effects.
If you pick the Bluetooth dongle, the app will let pick and save favourites from over 100 animations, control the colour, brightness and pulse speed. It’s a shame the Zemismart LED panels can’t be controlled by Alexa or Google Assistant.
Something tells me that my next task is to hack it with ESP and add a parallel WiFi enabled smart controller. The app exposes the LED type used, providing me with the colour order (RGB) and LED type (SM16703) and I can guess the protocol used to communicate with the panels based on the connector markings (SPI).
The price may scare you off at first, I considered making my own panels at first, but after checking the acrylic prices I figured it would be cheaper to buy extra panels instead. I’m completely obsessed with my new desk idea, but I will have to wait for the lockdown to end first! Zemismart LED panels are cool but if you want to make it awesome, you will need to tinker a little. I’m surprised there is no Zigbee/Tuya controller I could use with it. Let me know what do you think in this Reddit thread.