First project - Shed Lights

Hi all,

I am wondering if arduino could power my idea. I have no hw or code yet. I don't truly know where to start, just looking at feasibility and if I can be pointed in general areas.

What I want to build:

I want my shed's outdoor lights to be on at night in a dimmed manner, with a "dusk till dawn" sensor. The lights would be LED, not incandescent.

I want to add in a motion sensor, where the lights would change to full brightness if motion is detected, and then after x time of no further motion, go back to the dimmed setting.

I want to have a manual override, where the lights just stay on at full brightness, but it would be great if this wasn't solely a hard switch, so I could use an app to switch from full on, full off, or "dusk to dawn/motion".

I feel like a momentary low voltage switch could be used to trigger the same code an app could trigger, for my on/off. Something like first press on, second press dusk to dawn, third press off. I don't mind if I have to cycle through manually. I want the option to flip out my phone and choose one of the 3 settings as well.

I've seen motion and dusk to dawn sensors which could likely trigger the code as well. So what I'm unsure of, is how to make my led's dimmable with arduino, as I doubt any of the hardware store stuff will be usable in this automation setup.

Thanks in advance,
Roby!

After looking, probably something like this, and I'd have to use those more expensive conventionally dimmable LED bulbs?

No, that's not the easiest way to go.
Use any Arduino, a logic level MOSFET N-channel transistor for the dimming using PWM from the controller.
Sencing movement, no problem.
Receiving overriding commands f ex via Wifi, no problem.

@Railroader:

They are referring to AC line powered Led "Light Bulbs" so your Mosfet idea won't work. I'm thinking They are on the right track in reply #1.

@robybrisson:

Your plan is a good one and yes momentary buttons are often used in that manner.
For your app I would suggest looking into the Blynk platform as the easiest solution to start with.

Thank you for your reply guys! Time to order some parts :smiley: I'll check out Blynk!

Be aware many of the mains dimmable LED lights require a specific dimmer.
So any old off the helf dimmer will, more than likely, not work the way you think it will.
Mostly the problem is introduced flicker which will drive you nuts.

I would just have multiple circuits.
One for a few low wattage lights.
A second for the bright lights

We're going to find out! Found an arduino-based wifi-enabled "mega" board, PIR sensor, photoresistor and AC line dimmer on the way. The bulbs I found on Amazon say they are dimmable, and while I understand that there are different ways to dim LED's... the amazon bulbs aren't very specific. So we will see... I can always return them and run some incandescent bulbs... it won't kill me, it will just annoy me to know that I'm burning more electricity than I should need to :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks again for the help on this first project. We'll see how she goes!

dave-in-nj:
I would just have multiple circuits.
One for a few low wattage lights.
A second for the bright lights

Aesthetically, I don't really want 2 sets of lights on the outside of my shed.

robybrisson:
We're going to find out! I can always return them and run some incandescent bulbs... it won't kill me, it will just annoy me to know that I'm burning more electricity than I should need to :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks again for the help on this first project. We'll see how she goes!

Good luck with returning opened LED light fittings.
As far as burning electricity, have you actually worked out the amount of saving on cost of running a 10w LED versus say a 40w fluro..??
I doubt it.

bluejets:
Good luck with returning opened LED light fittings.
As far as burning electricity, have you actually worked out the amount of saving on cost of running a 10w LED versus say a 40w fluro..??
I doubt it.

I absolutely have not looked at fluorescent. They are finicky as hell in Canadian winters. Had some before led became mainstream. Very annoying when you just want to see what you're doing but the bulb is taking 10 mins to warm up and get light. Worse as I recall, if the bulb is "upside down", which is the design of the lights I'm going with on the shed.