Pages: [1]   Go Down
Author Topic: Christmas lights  (Read 1077 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Offline Offline
Newbie
*
Karma: 0
Posts: 4
View Profile
 Bigger Bigger  Smaller Smaller  Reset Reset

Is it possible to control individual conventional Christmas lights(not the LED, but the bulbs) with an Arduino Uno board?
Logged

Colorado
Offline Offline
Edison Member
*
Karma: 47
Posts: 1562
Reviving dead brain cells with Arduinos.
View Profile
 Bigger Bigger  Smaller Smaller  Reset Reset

This topic comes up many many times.  The short answer is yes ... but you need to do your homework.  They are powered from AC and depending on what you want to do, you'll likely need a relay switch to turn them on and off.
Logged

Offline Offline
Newbie
*
Karma: 0
Posts: 4
View Profile
 Bigger Bigger  Smaller Smaller  Reset Reset

All I want to do is make them blink and maybe fade, so is there anything that I would need?
Logged

Colorado
Offline Offline
Edison Member
*
Karma: 47
Posts: 1562
Reviving dead brain cells with Arduinos.
View Profile
 Bigger Bigger  Smaller Smaller  Reset Reset

Yes, starting with what kind of lights specifically are they.  Are they string lights, or individual?  Are they connected to AC, or is there a power adapter in the line?  Without more information there's not a whole lot anyone can tell you here.  Fading AC is hard to do, let me just start with that.  Turning on and off is easy, a relay can accomplish that.
Logged

Offline Offline
Newbie
*
Karma: 0
Posts: 4
View Profile
 Bigger Bigger  Smaller Smaller  Reset Reset

They are individual( I took the bulbs off of string lights; don't know if it makes a difference) and I was wanting to power them directly from the Arduino, so I am not using an adapter or AC power.    Would it be any simpler to go and buy a string of LED Christmas lights and cut them up to use the LED's individually?
Logged

Offline Offline
Edison Member
*
Karma: 36
Posts: 1341
View Profile
 Bigger Bigger  Smaller Smaller  Reset Reset

smiley-sad  You know...   It's getting a little late for Christmas 2012 unless you know exactly what to do, and you either have the parts already or you know what to buy/order. 

I've been working on a non-christmas lighting effect for more than a month and it probably won't be done by Christmas.   It involved quite a bit of soldering & assembly.  That's mostly done, but there is at least one remaining hardware bug (I just ordered some more parts), and the programming is only done to the point to where I can test the hardware.  The "real programming" is going to take a several evenings & weekends.
Logged

Offline Offline
Newbie
*
Karma: 0
Posts: 4
View Profile
 Bigger Bigger  Smaller Smaller  Reset Reset

Well it isn't for Christmas necessarily, but I was just going to use Christmas lights.  and as for programming, all I want to do is make them blink and fade, which they have saved in "examples" in the Arduino software, so that would only take a few minutes.  This is a very small project for school.
Logged

Offline Offline
Edison Member
*
Karma: 36
Posts: 1341
View Profile
 Bigger Bigger  Smaller Smaller  Reset Reset

Quote
They are individual( I took the bulbs off of string lights; don't know if it makes a difference)
A "normal" string of christmas lights is wired either in series or parallel, so all of the lights in the string have to be switched on/off (or dimmed) together.   The "old" 7 watt bulbs were wired in parallel, so the internal blinking mechanism could blink the lights individually.   But, they have to be rewired if you want use something else (such as the Arduino) to control them individually.   The newer miniature (non-LED) light strings are wired in series.   There is one "master" blinking bulb, and it blinks the whole string together.

Quote
.. and I was wanting to power them directly from the Arduino, so I am not using an adapter or AC power.
Each Arduino output can drive one regular LED, or a tiny 5V incandescant bulb if it's less than 40mA (less than 0.2 Watts @ 5V).  If you want any more "power", you'll need additional circuitry.

Quote
Would it be any simpler to go and buy a string of LED Christmas lights and cut them up to use the LED's individually?
I assume the LED lights contain "regular" LEDs that run from about 2-3V @ 20mA. In that case, each Arduino could light one LED Christmas lamp, and you'd just need a current-limiting resistor like any normal LED.  But, you'd probably have to do some testing to confirm that because I don't know and different strings could be designed differently.
Logged

Offline Offline
Edison Member
*
Karma: 36
Posts: 1341
View Profile
 Bigger Bigger  Smaller Smaller  Reset Reset

Quote
and as for programming, all I want to do is make them blink and fade, which they have saved in "examples" in the Arduino software, so that would only take a few minutes.
Just be aware that PWM fading only works on LEDs (or other DC lighting).   AC light dimming requires a different method and synchronization with the 50/60Hz AC line frequency.
Logged

Pages: [1]   Go Up
Jump to: