Arduino and Stage Lighting

Hey everyone - I've recently bought the "Make: Electronics" book and I've ordered an Arduino to start playing around with interfacing physical electronics / computers.

One of my, and at the moment my primary, goal is to use it to help me control stage lighting. I have a couple of designs for holding lights (designed myself and hopefully just using basic halogen lighting to keep the price low / D.I.Y. quotient high) but I'm curious if a laptop and arduino would be a good way of 'controlling' the lighting? I do video projection work where I trigger whats projected using MIDI so I'd love to set up something similiar with the lighting (certain keys trigger certain 'patterns').

Is the arduino the right way to go about this?

(Anyway, hope this is clear enough and in the right forum! thanks!)

edit: i would also say that the ultimate ULTIMATE goal would be to build a controller that doesn't rely on the laptop so that i can use it for other purposes / and when using the laptop process midi input to trigger lighting output. im probably going to rig up the drums with sensors so it'd be great if they could trigger lighting as well, etc...

Simple answer is.....YES.

Answer to the problem is not as simple.... ::)

It is possible but it will take some looking at what you want to control, Will it just be on/off or do you want varying light levels, how do you want to control the lights(switches, potentiometers, sound/vibration triggers, etc.). And it can be designed to run without the computer. :D


Thanks photo - I'm sure the idea and design will develop as I learn I just wanted to make sure that the Arduino was a good path to be going down for this goal! I'll be back in some time once I've learned (hopefully much!) more to start work on this project.

You should look into what other people have done with Arduino and DMX.

I am in the process of designing a midi light driver with LCD readout on it. The arduino will actually plug right into headers that stick out of the PCB. A friend of mine is working on the programming for it. Here is a schematic for what we have so far. I will have a PCB layout for it once it has been tested and is for sure working. It can drive relays or LEDs or what ever else you want to control by midi. Right now it will control 40 leds/relays, but it is expandable to 128.