Control multiple light bulbs

Hi,

I’m working on a project where I’m building a vintage Love Tester. It’s a type of penny arcade where the lights flash up and down and stopping on a level resembling your “sex appeal”. See attached photo for reference.

I’m wondering how to connect each light bulb (small E16 6V, not LED) to a connection on the Arduino to control the on and off of each bulb. I need to control 8-10 light bulbs. but they don’t have to be turned on at the same time if that takes too much strain on the Arduinos power supply.

Do I need to get some sort of shield to handle the amount outputs? Any help is greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Jonas

I'm wondering how to connect each light bulb (small E16 6V, not LED) to a connection on the Arduino to control the on and off of each bulb.

You are not going to. Those bulbs draw far too much current for the Arduino to be expected to supply.

You COULD use a transistor to control the flow of current from an other power source to the bulb(s). The Arduino is perfectly capable of turning a transistor on or off.

If the bulbs are 6V DC you can control them with logic level MOSFETS. In order to specify a MOSFET, you need to know the current requirement for each bulb and to specify a power supply you need to know the total current for the number of bulbs that can be on at once. 10 would be easy to do with an Uno. Dozens with an Uno and external hardware. You will, certainly, need an external 6V power supply as the Arduino runs on 5V and cannot supply near the current for those bulbs. Power the Uno from USB or something like a 5V phone charger.

small E16 6V

You forgot an important piece of information. "E16" is the physical size of the bulb, and the type of socket it requires. "6V" is the voltage it needs. But what is the power (Watts)?

If you know the power, you can work out the current that the bulbs will require. For example, if they are 1.5W, then the current will be 1.5/6 = 0.25 Amps. However, when the bulbs switch on, there will be a much, much higher current for a short time as the bulb reaches full brightness.

Here is an example logic level MOSFET bulb driver. As mentioned in previous post you will need to know or estimate the bulb inrush current to be able to choose a proper MOSFET.

Edit: the below for DC bulbs only. AC bulbs use a relay.

Do I need to get some sort of shield to handle the amount outputs?

Yes. The Arduino outputs are low power "signals" and about the only thing they can directly-power is a regular little LED.

Here is a [u]MOSFET driver circuit[/u]. (You can leave-out the diode since you have a non-inductive load.)

The original machine would have used relays. Relays also require a driver (when used with the Arduino) but you can get a [u]relay board[/u] with built-in drivers and multiple relays. (That's probably the "easiest" solution.)

I'm pretty sure the original machine would have used regular 120V (or 240V) light bulbs.

but they don't have to be turned on at the same time if that takes too much strain on the Arduinos power supply.

You'll have to provide the power supply so it depends on what power supply you get.

The voltage from a power supply is (approximately) constant, but the current depends on the load. The current rating for a power supply is the maximum "allowed". So for example, it's OK to get a 10 Amp power supply if you are only using 1 Amp. If nothing is connected no current flows. The more light bulbs you turn-on the more current flows. (And Paul showed you how to calculate current if you know the voltage & wattage.)

Get 2 relay cards, 8 relays each.

craler:
I'm wondering how to connect each light bulb (small E16 6V, not LED)

So - why?

groundFungus:
Edit: the below for DC bulbs only. AC bulbs use a relay.

DC bulbs? AC bulbs? I think we are talking about filament bulbs with tungsten filaments, such bulbs don't care if they are fed from AC or DC.

I should have said bulbs powered by DC or bulbs powered by AC.