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Topic: Help with hardware requirements (Read 260 times) previous topic - next topic


Hello all,

I am just starting my first project. I want to have an LED strip and a lamp on my nightstand controlled with capacitive metal plates.

I got the idea from here: http://www.tinkeringtechie.com/projects/woodworking/touch-sensitive-nightstand

My question is in regards to what is required to control them. I'm pretty overwhelmed searching the internet on what boards do what. ~$25 (arduino fio) to control an on/off for two different light sources seems pretty steep, and I've found other boards for much cheaper(here). Does the cheaper version have the same capabilities for my needs? Is it cheaper to use a relay to power the lamp rather than that power tail in the first link?

Apologies if these questions are dumb, I am just starting out on this and I don't know enough to find answers. Thank you.


Jan 13, 2018, 07:42 pm Last Edit: Jan 13, 2018, 07:43 pm by groundFungus
How will the controller be powered?  If all that you want to do is read 2 cap sensors, control an (unspecified)  LED strip and a (mains powered?) lamp, a Nano (or Uno) would work.  How to control the strip and lamp depend on the specific strip and lamp.


The controller is usually powered from 5v/2a wall adaptor right? I was planning on getting a generic one, but maybe I'm wrong?

LED will be your standard tape light. Lamp will also likely be a generic lamp.

In that first project I linked, he has a power supply that is hooked up to the Arduino fio to power the lamp. Is that necessary? Or can you use a relay to go from a power strip > to the relay > to the lamp?

There's a nano for $22 on this site, and then there's this nano for $3. Is the$3 one useable for my project? Do I need a bread board with it?



It looks like you will need a 12V 2A (at least) power supply for the LED strip.  That supply can also power the Nano.  I would use a logic level MOSFET to control the LED strip and a relay module* to turn the lamp on and off.  Or Power Tail Switch if you are not comfortable messing with mains power to connect to a relay module.  People on the forum often use the clone Nanos ($3.00) with success.  You will need some way to make the connections.  A breadboard is not really suitable for the current levels (or especially mains voltage and current) that you will be working with in the final cut.  A breadboard could be useful while developing your sketch.  Use single LEDs  to stand in for the LED strip and lamp, and once everything works the way you want, solder to perf board.

* relay module comes with the required transistor driver and flyback diode.  And some with optical isolation as well.  If you buy just a relay the you will have to supply the transistor, its auxiliary components and the flyback diode.  Those are not optional.

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