Considerations for a DIY yard light

Recently my front yard light blew over in a wind storm. The post appears to have rotted at ground level over the years. I’ve been looking for replacement ideas and got to thinking about adding this problem to my current Arduino project.

I have a Raspberry Pi setup with a WiFi AP and MQTT. I just received it and got it all setup. I intend on using this as the hub of a home control system to control indoor/outdoor lighting, lawn sprinklers, and some security capabilities.

The yard light that blew over was 120VAC with a conventional switch inside the home. I think the switch and 120VAC can remain, but I would like to create the light itself. I want to have full control of this yard light, RGB LED programming, colors, and brightness.

I don’t have any problem putting together 3 RGB LEDs and changing their colors or turning them on and off, but I know I will need a different rated LED. I am hoping someone can point me to some components that would be needed for this yard light. Here are some details:

The old light had 3 -25 watt bulbs that burnt out often. The unit was hooked up with a photoelectric sensor that didn’t work the greatest. Sometimes the yard light would stay on longer than desired in the morning, come on too early at night, or turn on when the clouds got dark in a storm.

I would like the new light to have the same brightness as the previous unit, but I would also like being able to turn it up brighter. So, maybe the equivalence of 3 - 40 (or 60) watt bulbs. I will keep them set at a lower brightness during normal use.

Most likely I will dedicate an Arduino Uno for this yard light and use the PWM pins. The yard light will use WiFi to connect to the main home control hub allowing me to configure it via touch screen, PC, mobile phone, etc.

The new light will also allow me to independently program each led. I may want to reduce the brightness of the LED that most faces my home. Or decrease/increase the brightness of all LEDs. I should also be able to control the color of each LED so that we can set the light to be more white or more yellow or even set an ambient color for the front yard depending on holidays, etc. I also want control to be able to animate the LEDs to give a rotating/spinning effect.

Thing is, I have been trying to research which RGB LED to order so I can get started and I’m not understanding which RGB LED would be a good fit.

I’ve seen that Sparkfun has an LED module called the PicoBuck which might help me, though I am not keen on electrical ratings and how to choose components. I understand that I’m needing ‘high output’ LEDs and those have an aluminum base because they get hotter.

Has anyone seen a DIY project that would help me understand which parts I might need? What kinds of things should I consider? Any part numbers, links, how tos, etc?

Thank you!!

Well, you said WiFi - that suggests an ESP8266 instead of an Arduino.

So you get a couple of RGB floodlights like this:

and use the IR library to emulate the remote controls to IR LEDs attached to each.