Think the moral of this story is start with a directly connected to the strip pi zero w and forget the Arduino
I'm sorry but I disagree here, that is if I understand it all correct.
I didn't want a hardware grabber and I would like to connect wireless from the pi. Could have been another ESP8266 device but I didn't know at the time I bought the arduino. And with the arduino USB connected I knew the leds were working, so it had it's purpose also investigating what went wrong.
Thanks for the reply though