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LED Sectional Project

This project uses an ESP8266-compatible controller to download METARs for a set of airports and assign a color to a LED representing each airport so that they can be put into an aviation sectional map.

LED Sectional Kits

On the /r/flying subreddit there was a great deal of interest in a simple kit for the electronic components that could be used to create a LED Sectional. Because of that, I’ve created a simple kit to help kickstart the process.


There are three different ordering links depending on how you’d like your kit configured.

  1. Buyer programs
    • The kit will arrived programmed with a LED test program so you can ensure the strand is working properly. You’ll need to program it for your map using the instructions located here. You will need a high-quality Micro USB cable in order to program the board.
  2. Buyer programs, with an included ambient light sensor
    • This includes an added ambient light sensor so the map can be programmed to automatically turn off when the ambient lights are off. I would recommend ONLY adding the light sensor if you plan to put the map in a room where the light will be disruptive at night as this will not significantly impact power usage.

An important note: These kits are provided without support. If there are any hardware problems with the kit you receive please reach out and I’ll be happy to help, but you should only buy it if you’re comfortable with the instructions and troubleshooting on your own. I’m not trying to make a profit on these so I am selling these very close to cost. As you can imagine, there’s a fair bit of effort involved in putting them together. If you like your kit once you receive it, I would appreciate it if you considered giving a tax deductible donation to the Upwind Foundation. We’re having a bit of a contest to see who can raise the most, so please do mention my name (Kyle Harmon) if you donate.

About the Kit

The kit includes the following:

Here’s are some pictures of what you get: Kit board Kit covered

For the electronics, you’ll need to purchase the following items as well:

You’ll also need to purchase sectionals, backing, glue, etc. to create and mount the map itself. The details about how I did that are documented here.

Using the Kit

Details on how to upload firmware and use the kit can be found here.


There are a couple of limitations to note:

Open Source

Everything about the kit is open source. The code lives here. If you’d like to make your own PCB, the Eagle files are here, and if you have a 3D Printer the STL files for the enclosure are here.