Although the Smart Poi is based on ESP-01 for size reasons, I find it easier to use the excellent D1 mini for testing. Here is the basic setup:
Notice that the D1 mini is powered from a battery source (4 x NiMH AA in series). This is not entirely necessary, you could get away with plugging in the D1 mini via USB, and connecting the APA102 strip to the 5v pin. The problem comes in when the LED strip starts drawing too much power, you will have dropouts in Wifi connectivity, or wdt resets and won’t know if it’s the code or just power.
Use the offline code from my Github repo to get started:
This code works fine on other Arduinos as well as ESP8266 chips. Just change the pins.