This is my first post here and I'm looking for some input whether my idea is possible, or a good or bad one, with Arduino. I haven't done much research yet, but I'd like to hear some comments from experienced guys. My project is this:
I bought four 3500 lumen high frequency full spectrum fluorescent tubes to fight the dark winters here up north in Helsinki. My plan is to build an "artificial sun" from them - that's 14000 lumen total
I also bought control gear (ballasts) to drive them. The controller supports analog 1-10 V control voltage to dim the lights, plus there's a switch input to completely shut the lights off. I'm planning on installing a regular 1-10V dimmer first, but it crossed my mind that I might be able to add some nice control logic there to turn on the light slowly in the morning - to simulate sunrise at 6-7 a.m. perhaps. Plus, I might be able to control it wirelessly. Dim it down in the evening, turn it off for the night and have it light up again in the morning automatically.
This is what the controller wiring diagram looks like, i've got two pieces of that number two in the image:
So, I think I need to drive two relays to isolate the mains current for driving the switch controls, to shut the individual ballasts on and off. I also need a 1-10 V DC control voltage for the dimming function for both of them - thats "<1mA" according to the doc.
Do you think it would make sense to do this with Arduino? Is there a DAC on any of the boards? Or can somebody recommend something suitable for the control voltage?
I'm thinking of putting both the ballasts in one box which is separate from the lamp itself, because the sales guy said the ballasts last longer if they are not exposed to the 60-70 degrees centigrade the tubes produce. I could probably mount the Arduino board in the same box.
What about the power feed to the Arduino board? Is there a recommended transformer from 230 V AC that could be mounted in the same chassis perhaps?
I could also add the Ethernet shield/WiFi shield to get network connectivity for controlling it from my computer. I'd also need a separate remote control (bluetooth, perhaps?) and a "manual override" switch plus potentiometer or something like that in case I can't use my computer or the remote control.
Any tips, ideas and links would be very much appreciated!
P.s. If you are interested:
- The tubes are 54 W T5 Viva-Lites with G5 socket : http://www.viva-lite.us/full-spectrum-daylight-tubes-t5.html
- The ballasts are Helvar EL2x54sc dimmable: http://www.helvar.com/sites/default/files/product_datasheets/EL-sc_T5_datasheet_EN.pdf
This is what the Helvar documentation says about the switch:
• Automatic return type. Mains rated (Mains is still present at the ballast
terminals if the lamps are switched off from Switch-Control).
• The switch should withstand a short circuit current of:
- 0.2 mA per ballast"
So mains rated relay should do the job, don't you think?