BRAND SPANKIN NEW to Arduino...and a deadline!

I have been tasked with a problem and in all of my searching on the web it looks like Arduino is the perfect solution. The problem is that I am on a week and a half deadline so I am asking if there would be anyone who would give me a HUGE favor by helping me walk through Arduino. Here is my project.

It is for a theatrical production where the set designer just sprung on me that the cubes on stage that light up are not fixed but movable. I have four cubes that have acrylic front panels. Each cube contains four battery powered lights (different colors) that can be controlled from the light booth.

Here is what I am imagining, please, someone tell me if I am aiming sort of close to the right answer.

Each cube will have a battery (probably a 12v dewalt tool battery) and four different colored lights (white, red, amber, blue). I envision an arduino with a wireless module in each with the light board cues (dimming, etc) written into the run code of the arduino. A fifth arduino/wireless module would be connected to a laptop in the booth. Since the color and dimming are written into the code all I will need the laptop do is cue each cube onstage to go to the next line of code which would have what color and dimming built into it. All four cubes do the same thing all the time. I would, however, like to be able to talk to each cube separately so that if a cube missed a cue I could go back and sinc them again.

Does any of this make sense? What would I need to do this? how difficult is it? How complicated is it?

I have NO Arduino experience, limited electronic experience but I am hella good a figuring out how to do stuff.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.


I meant to say that they NEED to be controlled from the light booth. There in lies the rub, they need to be portable (ie not hard wired) and controllable.

Since you are under such a rush, it might be easier to just get some remote control parts (like used by RC cars etc) an just hook up lights instead of servos or motors.

That is what I was thinking of doing when I discovered Arduino I was thinking of an RC device having servos that throw mechanical switches but then the issue comes down to controlling during the show. They need to be controlled by on person who is also controlling the light board and possibly sound cues. I thought that the room for error there was huge. I am not throwing any ideas out, however. I thank you for your suggestion. I am going to keep looking into RC as well.

This is not a difficult project. BUT with a short deadline, no Arduino experience and limited electrical experience there will be a lot of details you need to discover in a short amount time.

I agree with the other suggestion of purchasing some radio controlled lights.

You don't mention how much power the LEDs require. For a display I would imagine you need some higher power lights which would require an LED driver. You will need software to dim the LEDs. And you need wireless communications software. I would use an XBee for that. Those are very easy to use. You also need the PC on the software side and an XBee.

None of these is terribly difficult but there are a lot of details. I would buy the RC lights and look at developing your own control for the next project.

I make a board that integrates an Arduino compatible design with a wireless radio. There are some software examples on the site you may be able to adapt. See I would still suggest the RC lights.

(* jcl *)

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