Control automotive relays with touchscreen

Hi everyone, newbie here, I've compared a lot of the options out there and I've decided to go the arduino route. It seems like there is a lot of great hardware options and great support on these forums. I have a desire to learn not just the arduino modules but the components as well, please recommend any good books or resources if ya'll know of any.

Down to the project at hand, I'm looking to build a project that I can use to control automotive relays. I found this PDF on here: http://www.arduino.cc/playground/uploads/Learning/relays.pdf. Its great, but I'd like to take a step further and be able to control relays with a touchscreen, and perhaps even go a little further than just a on/off relay and have a dimming capability (for dimming 12v lights or LEDs).

A little help on what components to buy would be appreciated, so I can get most of what I need starting out, even if I'm not advanced enough to actually use it all right away. Thanks!

You could try something like this:

http://www.makershed.com/2_8_TFT_Touch_Shield_For_Arduino_p/mkad36.htm

If you get the programming right, you can add a couple of graphical sliders controlled by the touchscreen that control the relays..

Let me know if you need any help/info

Cheers! Mr_E

Wow that looks like a awesome out of the box option. As far as dimming capabilities, if the current required was more than a typical transistor could handle, what would I need for that? I'm thinking specifically of 12v incandescent lights.

You should skip the relay and jump straight to a mosfet.

http://bildr.org/2012/03/rfp30n06le-arduino/

Chagrin: You should skip the relay and jump straight to a mosfet.

http://bildr.org/2012/03/rfp30n06le-arduino/

thanks for that link, i could definitely use it, since i was trying to obtain something like that with transistors, but this seems a lot more simple :o

@OP: i'm making a complete GUI for touch screens using an arduino as control, and one of the widgets is a switch. i'm currently adding some more things to the lib, but if you want i can send it to you so you can use it for you touch screen. it'll make it extremely easy to switch your relays/mosfets :) it looks like this: and

Yeah, MOSFETs will work fine for dimming the 12V lights

Cheers! Mr_E

Chagrin: You should skip the relay and jump straight to a mosfet.

http://bildr.org/2012/03/rfp30n06le-arduino/

Brilliant! Thanks for the link.

@Steen, any help I can get would be much appreciated, I'm ordering the parts tonight and will get started soon hopefully.