Christmas Light Controller via Ethernet

Hi all,

I am brand new to the forms and I'm also new to the wonderful world of Arduino. I am eager to start building my first project, but I need some guidance on what exactly I need in order to accomplish and start!

So here's what I want to do... I want to have a christmas light controller that can control 8 outlets via a web browser and PHP. I've seen it done before, so I know it's possible! My thoughts are that I need a Arduino ethernet shield, Arduino uno board, bread board (with connectors), solid state relays, speaker of some sort (not sure yet), outlets to control.

So that's what I'm thinking I need. I have watched many YouTube videos, and once I discovered all it was a PHP web server, I got happy because I already know PHP and I won't have to learn a new language!

Thanks! I look forward hearing back from everyone :)

Hey there!
Arduino beginner as well. I recommend using Telnet with an ethernet shield. Telnet would probably be easier than using PHP (If you do not know, Telnet basically lets you connect to an IP address and send it commands, like a remote serial monitor). Something to consider for switching the outlet would be a Powerswitch tail (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10747), which is basically a relay sandwiched between a wall plug and adapter—you probably know that all you need is a simple digitalWrite command to control a relay. Then I would recommend attaching a power strip to the Powerswitch Tail. You should look into the ChatServer (http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/ChatServer) example from the Ethernet library.

I hope that I have been helpful. I am a beginner also, so I would recommend checking my ideas with someone else as well.

I have watched many YouTube videos, and once I discovered all it was a PHP web server, I got happy because I already know PHP and I won’t have to learn a new language!

Might need to re-think that. Look at the php.net site. Look for the download for the Arduino. Let us know when you find it.

If you get an ethernet shield, get one with the wiznet W5100 chip. Makes web contol programs fairly simple.

Thanks for everyone's replies!

andrewf: Hey there! Arduino beginner as well. I recommend using Telnet with an ethernet shield. Telnet would probably be easier than using PHP (If you do not know, Telnet basically lets you connect to an IP address and send it commands, like a remote serial monitor). Something to consider for switching the outlet would be a Powerswitch tail (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10747), which is basically a relay sandwiched between a wall plug and adapter—you probably know that all you need is a simple digitalWrite command to control a relay. Then I would recommend attaching a power strip to the Powerswitch Tail. You should look into the ChatServer (http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/ChatServer) example from the Ethernet library.

I actually thought about using one of those, but they are a little expensive :( And I hoped that I could just work with a power strip with relays... And thanks for the ChatServer, I will definatly look into that!

PaulS:

I have watched many YouTube videos, and once I discovered all it was a PHP web server, I got happy because I already know PHP and I won't have to learn a new language!

Might need to re-think that. Look at the php.net site. Look for the download for the Arduino. Let us know when you find it.

Oh well, but the ethernet shield still uses php, right?

zoomkat: If you get an ethernet shield, get one with the wiznet W5100 chip. Makes web contol programs fairly simple.

Thanks for the advice :) I'll take a look at it...

This might be a nube question, but how would I go about playing the music from the board? I've seen solutions such as this one: http://www.adafruit.com/products/94. But I don't want to have to use the SD card to store the music, I want to load it from the internet or maybe I can send it to the SD card via the internet connection?

Help!

Oh well, but the ethernet shield still uses php, right?

No.

Today I just got my starter kit, and I'm already loving it! Today I just purchased a Arduino Wave Shield for my Arduino Uno. So basically eventually I am going to need to control it with a ethernet (or wifi) shield. Can I use both of those shields?

Thanks, Coulton

Essentially, from the sound of it, you want to do an 8-socket version of this project. Not too hard, especially since the guy on that link also provided some sample code to tweak to your project (or provide something which you can base your own code off of), except you're trying to do it with wifi. I'm in the process of doing that very project right now, except I'm going about controlling the relay in a different manner (where he uses a Darlington transistor to ensure proper switching and power regulation, I'm basically going on a similar premise, except I have a MOSFET on the negative leg of the power source that's actually switching the power on and off, and an LM317 on the positive leg that's regulating the voltage down to around 4v for the relay). I could very easily see this kind of project being upped to however many outlets are necessary - just up the number of relays, and assign them control pins and adjust the code accordingly.

I think the only real downside to just going with Mr. Bouck's project above is that the box is fugly and requires some creative camouflaging to keep it out of sight.

Another question... Is it possible to control a arduino via a remote web server? I want to turn on/off leds (relays later) of these christmas lights. I have some experience with making web servers, but all the router/port configuring was A PAIN! I do have a dedicated server with a static IP, if that will help. But that's basically where I am stuck now.

Please help!

Is it possible to control a arduino via a remote web server?

Generally speaking, no. Normal servers act upon request from clients, they do not act as clients and send control request to other servers. The server could actuate a client application, but this requires both a server and client to accomplish.

Okay, I’ll have to work around it. I’m getting really impatient on my parts to get here, so I’m doing TONS of research on everything. I’m getting antsy to start :slight_smile:

Just curious… I’m planning on using the ethernet shield with the wave shield. I know it’s possible (see links below) to use them. However, I cannot preload my SD card with the songs. There are quite a few that I want loaded from a web server. Is there anyway to do a GET request from a external web server to save the files to the SD card on the wave shield (or on the ethernet shield and have them transfered over), then play through the wave shield? Then delete the file when it’s done playing…

http://www.adafruit.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=31&p=117853
http://forums.adafruit.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=23492

Thanks for all the help!
Coulton