First foray into wireless control

Hi everyone,

Just getting started with Arduino. Finished one project before, simple induction heater with timer/relay control and whatnot. Went to a friend's house for 4th of July and was suitably impressed with his fireworks display, except it went late because he had so many to set off (about $600USD worth....good times). We got to talking about Arduino and came to the idea of a wirelessly controlled display. A quick google search shows that there are many many other people that have done this, but most of the work centers around mechanical design and whatnot. I'm looking for specific help on the Arduino front.

My plan is to have a Mega with 48 pushbuttons transmitting out to 4 slave units, each one driving a dozen leads. I only need one-way communication, just the "fire" command going out. Each slave station will have continuity checks, safeties, etc.

Basically, what it needs to do is this:

  1. base station button 1 pressed
  2. base station transmits to slave 1 "fire lead one"
  3. slave 1 fires lead 1
  4. base station button 46 pressed
  5. base station transmits to slave 4 "fire lead 10"
  6. slave 4 fires lead 10

I've seen all sorts of different protocols available...Zigbee, Wifi, various others. All I really need this thing to do is flip a digital output at a distance. And then do it 47 more times, sending commands to 4 different slaves.

Thoughts? Bit of a newbie here, trying to use this a project to learn more.

Thanks in advance everyone!

Dustin
Wisconsin USA

My experience is with the cheap and very effective nRF24L01+ transceivers. They can easily be configured for a master to send commands to different slaves. If you just want one-way communication the first example in this Simple nRF24L01+ Tutorial should be suitable.

...R

Just read through that, looks like it'll be massively useful, thanks for sharing!!

Dustin

If you arrange your 48 buttons in a 7x7 matrix, you only need 14 pins to read all of them. This means that you can use an Uno instead of a Mega, which is cheaper. (Use pins 2-9 and A0-A5 for the buttons and 10-13 for the nRF.)
If you want to be able to press multiple buttons at once, you'll need a diode for each switch.

On the slave side, you could use serial-in/parallel-out shift registers if you need more output pins to fire the leads.

The nRF24L01+ is a good choice, they're cheap, have a great range, and are easy to use, especially using Robin2's tutorial.

Pieter