Hello all! Please could I get your advice on this ... ?
I would like to control ten anglepoise lamps that I've acquired with my Arduino - specifically, to turn them all on and off independantly, according to a sequence I want to write in my Arduino code. I'm not turning them on and off very fast (perhaps the smallest time period being 1 second?) and all the lamps have energy-saving lightbulbs in, so I'm gussing this amount of switching won't kill the bulbs as much as if they were filament bulbs. Now I think about it, I'd have to warm the bulbs up first, to get them to max brightness! But anyway...
Ideally, I'd like to have my circuit element sitting in between the mains plug and the lamp itself,. So I need to control 240V AC with the arduino's 5V digital output. I've tried to research relays, opto-isolators, SCRs and triacs, but am getting v.confused with all the options out there.
The world of relays seem v.confusing, and I'm not sure the transistor-based output of opto-couplers would work with an alternating voltage (i.e. when the voltage swings negative, won't the transistor block the current?)
What would be the best device to use, then?