Arduino Microcontroller to control light bulbs

Hey guys, I was wondering if anyone could point out what's the needed parts/equipment for me to work with light bulbs with Arduino Microcontroller. I want to be able to work with at least 6 light bulbs and get them connected to arduino. Maybe something like this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atEUzmbcjT0) But I'm not sure what are the parts I need to start other than the obvious - light bulbs, microcontroller

Thank you.

You’re talking like regular 120VAC light bulbs then?

For AC on-off control you can use a relay (or solid stage relay). AC Dimming is more complicated. A relay isolates the AC from your low-voltage Arduino (for safety!) and allows a small voltage & current to control a larger voltage & current.

The relay coil (input-Arduino side) needs to be rated at 5V and less than 40mA. This is the power required to activate the relay. The relay contacts (AC output side) need to be rated for the AC voltage & current or higher. These are the maximum amount of power the relay can switch.

5V relays with AC power contacts are not that common, but if you search for “Arduino Relay Board” you can find boards with multiple Arduino-compatible relays.

Most solid state relays work fine with the 5V control voltage from an Arduino. (The output-side ratings are a bit more critical, and you can’t use an AC solid state relay with a DC load circuit.) Solid state relays can switch faster than mechanical relays, and they don’t make a “click” sound when they switch on & off. But they tend to be more expensive.

It looks from the video that hey are 120/230V lamps (depending where in world you live) This would take a number of triacs with the appropriate rating

And in addition:

  • Good knowledge of power electronics
  • Good knowledge of safety standards regarding electrical installation
  • Good coding skills in order to be able to write an 8 channel phase angle controller

On the other hand, if you decide to go for 24V bulbs you will need 8 MOSFETS of appropriate rating, and a power supply. The control is then done by PWM, much easier..

The safe option would be to use low voltage bulbs, for example these are often used for garden lighting. How you drive them and control them via the Arduino would depend on the current and voltage that needs to be controlled.

If you like to control AC 120/230V lamps, then this circuit using the glued LED/LDR combination to control the Triac, PWM the LED to control the brightness, the speed, and the variation for the overall system. But this is nosy circuit have a lot of EMI.