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Author Topic: Internet Controlled Christmas Lights  (Read 2009 times)
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Tacoma, WA
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What I've done is to take a Nanode, which is similar to the Arduino ethernet, but a bit older, and a Teensy++ (needed more IO, more ram and flash doesn't hurt either), and 10 solid state relays, and I've got an Arduino controlling 10 strings of Christmas lights (standard plug in to the wall LED Christmas lights from the hardware store). I've programmed up a few patterns, (including a 10 bit binary counter, for the geekiest among us) and I've got a webcam pointing at the whole thing. So I setup a web page that you can go to, fire up the webcam feed, and then select modes and speeds from a form below the video feed.
The control page is here
This page shows some of the details behind the build, including the full sketch

The webcam can only see the lights after dark, which is about 4:30pm to about 7:30am Pacific Time, which is -8 GMT

The webpage is NOT hosted on the Arduino, it's on my server (which is just an ARM based SheevaPlug), the server receives the commands through a CGI script, which relays the commands over my LAN to the Arduino.
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Brian from Tacoma, WA
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Nice one smiley
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Nice! By the way if you look close you can see them in the daylight... I see you guys are enjoying the same rain we are... The good news is it will stop around July smiley
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Really depends on the type of daylight. When the sun is setting, and it's a clear sky, the sun streams right into that poor camera. Even in person, it's hard to see the lights in the daytime. I think you were able to see them that day because, as you noticed, it was absoluting pouring down rain, so we had a big thick dark raincloud parked over the house making it quite dark out. smiley I'm pretty happy with how reliable everything has turned out to be, the computer in the fish tank survived one heck of an epic rain storm, quite a bit of wind too. I started that thing streaming video 3 weeks ago and haven't touched it since.
Someone managed to "hack my lights" one night, and turn them off.. That was not so humorous when I found it, but after thinking about it, it was kind of funny. I simply forgot to check what mode was requested, and he'd sent a direct request for mode 0 or 9 which don't exist.. I added some provisions to my sketch to check for that and don't have that problem anymore. smiley
I also figured out how to make the video auto-play, so as soon as the page is pulled up, it starts streaming, which is nice. smiley
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Brian from Tacoma, WA
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It really is a cool setup, I'm curious if your neighbors are wondering why your lights are randomly changing speed and pattern?
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Tacoma, WA
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Nah, my neighbors know all about it. Their comment was "The webcam really doesn't do it justice". I also posted a link to it on my small town's Facebook fan page, and invited them to come play with it in real time with their smart phones.. smiley That was very well received. I also have a QR code printed out huge on an 8x11 sheet of paper stuck up on a stick by the road. Anyone driving by with a phone that can scan that thing will immediately be led to the webpage to control the lights. smiley
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Brian from Tacoma, WA
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After almost a month of nonstop broadcasting from the little computer in the yard with the webcam, it finally seemed to run out of ram or something. The video feed was chunkin out at like 1 frame per second, so I rebooted the computer. Seems to be as good as new now. Should last through Christmas no problem at this rate. Enjoy guys. Spread the link! smiley
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Brian from Tacoma, WA
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I made a Christmas ornament this weekend, figured I'd just post the link to it here in this thread, rather than starting a whole new thread for it. smiley
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Brian from Tacoma, WA
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Very neat.
Is this outdoors? If so it has to be able to withstand lots of rain in Washington smiley-wink
You are about 100 miles east of me.
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Avoid throwing electronics out as you or someone else might need them for parts or use.
Solid state rectifiers are the only REAL rectifiers.
Resistors for LEDS!

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Yeah, last year we had a ton of rain in December, and I used normal Christmas light strings. I was up there at least 3 times replacing shorted out/corroded bulbs. The LED's are supposed to be indoor/outdoor, but so were the incandescents last year. In the end, it hasn't really mattered, we got 6" of rain in about 3 days, about a week after I put them up in November, but so far this December, I've registered .1" on the rain gauge for the whole month. They're definitely not going to short out anytime soon. smiley-wink
Too bad you're that far east, I'd invite you to the Tacoma Robotics Society meets we have once a month. smiley
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Brian from Tacoma, WA
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Yeah, last year we had a ton of rain in December, and I used normal Christmas light strings. I was up there at least 3 times replacing shorted out/corroded bulbs. The LED's are supposed to be indoor/outdoor, but so were the incandescents last year. In the end, it hasn't really mattered, we got 6" of rain in about 3 days, about a week after I put them up in November, but so far this December, I've registered .1" on the rain gauge for the whole month. They're definitely not going to short out anytime soon. smiley-wink
Too bad you're that far east, I'd invite you to the Tacoma Robotics Society meets we have once a month. smiley
We are having less rain then normal here as well.
Actually I am west of you (on the coast) and so you are east of me smiley-wink
---edit---
Quote
I made a Christmas ornament this weekend, figured I'd just post the link to it here in this thread, rather than starting a whole new thread for it.
Also cool. I giggled at the part about wiring the chips backwards. I have certainly done stuff like this myself.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2011, 08:07:33 pm by smeezekitty » Logged

Avoid throwing electronics out as you or someone else might need them for parts or use.
Solid state rectifiers are the only REAL rectifiers.
Resistors for LEDS!

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