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Arduino controlled 32 channel mains light dimmer

Controlling mains light with microcontroller is fairly easy. A simple mechanical relay can do the job. For more advanced approach, there can be Solid State Relays (SSR) used. But what about controlling 32-lamps. Jaanus decided to build programmable 32-channel light dimmer that could be controlled from computer. He used Arduino which controls an array of solid state arrays to switch lights. SSR’s already have zero crossing detectors and optical isolation. So they are safe to be controlled directly with microcontrollers. Light dimmer accepts simple commands from USB virtual serial port, where each channel can be turned on or off. So it can be programmed to do some fancy patterns or simply can be integrated in home automation. Project details are available on GitHub. Continue reading

Wake up with sun anywhere you are

Direct sunlight is perfect for waking up in the morning. But it happens that there is no sun or simply your bedroom is in western side of the house. Then there is the only way – start cheating with sun simulator. It is based on ATTiny13 microcontroller which takes care of dimming the 150W halogen lamp. Alarm clock can be set to reach its maximum intensity from 2 minutes up to 8 hours. Microcontroller takes alarm signals from regular digital radio alarm clock so no need to do additional time tracking. I agree it looks a bit dangerous to have halogen lamp near pillow, but it is worth to risk for a bit of sun. Continue reading

Dimlet – The Smart Light Dimming Device

In present days, many households have been equipped with dimmers, which are devices that used to vary the brightness of a light. By simply decreasing or increasing the RMS voltage, it’s possible to vary the intensity of the light output. Although variable-voltage devices are used for various purposes, the term “dimmer” is normally mean for those intended to control lightning. Usually, dimmers range in size from small units (light switch used for domestic lightning) to high power units (large theatre or architectural lightning installations). Most of the small domestic dimmers are generally directly controlled by a digital control system. Our today’s project, Dimlet is a good example. The Dimlet is a smart light dimming circuit, as it used the TRIACs to control the dimming of lightning. The software on the microcontroller plays an important role. It has the commands containing a light ID and an intensity are received through the UART. Each time, when the AC voltage goes to zero, the light items are sorted by intensity. Hence, all those lights that don’t have an intensity of 100% are turned… Continue reading