First of all, I'm almost completely an electronics n00b. My knowledge goes as far as connecting an LED or small DC motor to a battery :-)
I'm very interested in buying either a basic stamp or arduino. Apparently the arduino is better (and cheaper :D) so I think I will go with that, but I am unsure if it can do what I want it to!
I'd like to create an automatic changeover switch for my house & generator.
I would get a regular changeover switch installed, and somehow mount a solenoid onto it. That way, I'm not dealing with mains power directly.
I understand that I would need a relay connected to the arduino in order to control a solenoid. I would run the arduino off a 12v battery, constantly hooked up to a charger, so that gives me the power for the arduino, and 12v for things (like relays & solenoids) for when the power is off.
I dont know how much power a solenoid draws, but would a 5v solid state relay connected to an Output, and the ground on the arduino be able to turn a solenoid on and off using things like digitalWrite(pin, 1)?
Or would I need a 5v solid state relay to turn on another (solid state, or mechanical) relay to control the solenoid?
(Reason for this method is because I am not comfortable with making my own relays that have protection etc).
Also, I would need a fairly decent relay to start the generator... Hmm actually I could rip apart the key wiring and just use that. So would I need just two 5v solid state relays, or something else, is the question. :P
That is one side of it, the other is: How should I check that there power - on the mains and on the generator.
I suppose I will need a power point on the other side of the changeover switch which is stepped down to 5v to plug into the arduino, so that it can tell when the power is back on.
And also one on the generator to tell that it is started and producing electricity.
How would this connect to the arduino though? Where would the + and - of the 5v go on the arduino? I cant connect them both to input pins. But I dont want and power to go into the arduino that might hurt it!
So, anyone up for helping a complete n00b out? :D
I also have another project I want to try, but I'll leave that to another thread :D