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Author Topic: Controlling cheap stroboscopic lights with arduino  (Read 614 times)
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Hi, im new with arduino, and elecronics, i just bought a cheap stroboscopic light (it doesnt have signal input), and i need to control the frequency of the flashing with a computer using arduino.
Where can i find information about how to conect and control the stroboscopic light with arduino?
Do anybody have tried something like this and can point me out how to do this?


this is my stroboscope light.

http://www.isomo.org/estrob/estram_1.jpg

thanks


O.
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I don't think you connected the grounds, Dave.
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I'm sure I don't have to tell you, but just in case - BE VERY CAREFUL!
That's mains coming in, and that is probably the lowest voltage in that box.

Are you just trying to turn it on and off, or drive the strobing directly?

Here's a useful resource.

http://donklipstein.com/samflash.html

I'll say it again - be careful - that cap can hold a nasty jolt for a very long time.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 05:31:15 am by AWOL » Logged

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hi, the stroboscope  light has a potentiometer that controls the frequency of the flashing, what i need to do is that instead of controlling the frequency with a potentiometer i need to control the frequency with the computer, thats why i need to conect and arduino to the stroboscope light.
The problem is that im dont know nothing about electronics, Is it easy to do what i need ? how can i conect my strobe light with my arduino ?

thanks


O.





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I don't think you connected the grounds, Dave.
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The problem is that im dont know nothing about electronics, Is it easy to do what i need ? how can i conect my strobe light with my arduino ?
Strobes are not a good place to learn - too much opportunity for nasty surprises.

I'd suggest coupling a servo to the control knob, and use the Arduino to control that.
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A typical strobe is a completely analog device.  A high voltage (usually 2x mains, in the US) is allowed to build up, and when it gets high enough, the strobe flashes.

It is difficult to convert this to digital control.  And rather dangerous, as other have pointed out.   The easiest solution might be to replace the pot with a light dependent resistor, and have an LED controlled by the arduino shine on it so that it can vary the resistance and modify the frequency (that won't get you exact control over the timing without a lot of calibration, but it nicely isolates the arduino (with all it's bare metal contacts) from the high-voltage sections.

Note that a strobe light typically remains dangerous (or at least potentially painful) for some time after being un-plugged.  The capacitor that stores the high voltage usually has nothing that discharges it other than the strobe tube, and it will happily hold a voltage too low to fire the tube (but high enough to bite) for a long time.
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Don't take risks with these high DC voltages if you are not experienced, they can stop your heart beating permanently.

The strobe circuit is not designed to be remotely controlled, it appears to run directly off the mains so all voltages in it are lethal - the only safe way to control it is with a servo that turns the knob mechanically.
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a servo that turns the knob
That's ... not such a bad idea!
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You could probably have the arduino sense the flashes, and automatically adjust the servo to get pretty close to a desired numeric frequency, even...
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