DIY Ambilight

Another project that I wanted to do like forever was an ambilight for my TV. I found great tutorials, the two that helped most (even though their Hyperion installation and configuration is outdated) are and
A great (and recent) video tutorial is

The parts

Looking at all the parts that I needed and the price tag I decided to wait a bit more and ordered all the parts (minus the pi zero) from aliexpress.

The rest like USB power adaptor, Raspberry Pi Zero W, SD card and all the necessary cables I conveniently had lying around.

First overview

Soldering the Pi Zero

The LED strip came with two connectors: 1 with red and white cables for the power supply, and one with red, white and green cable.
From the connector with the 3 cables I soldered the green one to pin #12 (GPIO18) and the white one to pin #6 (GND). The red one I cut off so it could not come in the way.
I also soldered a 120 ohm resistor in between the green cable and pin #12. In some tutorials I read that they used a 100 ohm resistor, but I just had 82 ohm and 120 ohm resistors around so I went for the 120 ohm.

Some other tutorials also mention a level shifter, as the raspi works with 3.3V but the LED strip with 5V . Even others use an arduino for that purpose. For me the setup pictured below worked just with the resistor.

Pi Zero wiring
Dry run

Hardware installation

Bending the LED strip

At first, I thought I cut the LED strip and then solder the corners back together. But I saw many builds on the internet where they just bent the strip. This obviously saves lots of work.

Pi Zero Software

Installation of Hyperion on a Raspberry Pi is easiest if you just download the HyperBian image. It is a ready to use image for your Raspberry Pi. I added the ssh configuration plus the wifi setup so once I put the sd card into the zero and booted it up, I could access the Hyperion web interface on port 8090 of zero’s IP address.

I played around in the configuration, for example I set the RGB byte order to GRB and set the LED number in the LED layout section.

Under “Capturing Hardware” I checked the “Enable USB capture” check box. Apart from that I can’t really remember changing anything from the default setup. Pretty straightforward!

Pretty happy with the outcome!

Magic Mirror

Wanted to have a family info board in the kitchen for a long time. But then these mirrors caught my eye and I instantly loved it. And when the MagicMirror project was featured Project #1 in MagPi I ran out of excuses not to make one.
Installation/setup is amazingly easy and well made! Need to invest time now to learn more about github and node.js to make the most of it!

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Got the two way mirror from Plexihof (Lucerne, Switzerland)

Problems faced
Had an old Raspi 2 laying around that was not really reliable and cost me lots of headaches (ie. dropped wifi connection)
So I swapped it for a new Raspi 3. Used a brand new installation of Raspbian Jessie (2017-03-02)

Installation was a breeze. Followed this tutorial.

Problem I could fix

Problems I could not fix

  • MagicMirror does not autostart after reboot. Haven’t really invested time yet as this does not bother me too much
  • Mouse pointer still on screen visible after MagicMirror starts. Also not bothering me too much.


  • Two way mirror: 50 CHF (+20 CHF shipping)
  • Raspberry Pi 3: 50 CHF
  • Wood, screws, tools, cables, paint: ca 30 CHF
  • Screen: Used an old, unused one