Guidance, 3 wireless light signs

Hi there!

Trying to workout what would I need to put something like this together. We have a big studio with 3 main areas. We would like some ON AIR type signs around.

To avoid having to add a lot of cable around the office we would like them to be wireless. The signs should be independent (one might be on, the others off, etc.) and controllable through some kind of internal web-based interface.

Questions, questions, questions:

1) can we power the signs with batteries only? would make them a lot more portable, but i guess it depends on how powerful the lights inside the signs are.

2) i'm assuming the board can take the on/off commands from the outside via the wireless module, right?

3) what board do I need? i'm inclined to go for the simplest, but don't want to fall short of features.

4) i'm assuming of course that we would need to build the signs ourselves using some kind of hard base to which we attach the arduino board and wireless, bulb, etc. anyone see big problem with this?

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Even if for the time being we only build a sign per area, it would be nice keeping extensibility in mind. I'm assuming that we could give some kind of ID to each sign and then group them together. IE: turn sign A and B on/off at the same time, but this should be the domain of the external web-based controller app, i guess.

Any advice on how you would approach such a project more than welcome!

Thanks,

Juan

This might be of some inspiration to you: http://blog.makezine.com/2011/03/04/networked-on-air-light-for-streaming-broadcasters/

Wow, that's a fairly good start, thanks for sharing!

A few things that I guess we would like to implement differently, though. I wouldn't want to put much logic within the signs themselves. More like having a server-client setup to control them all. I've read here that Arduino boards can read sockets? If so then we simply need to send instructions (on/off) over the network. That part sounds straight forward.

The bit I'm not sure about is how go from the board to actually turning the light on and off. Is this what you use the relay circuit board for? "Used to close the AC circuit using the digital pin of the Arduino".

Would look like this, then:

server sends instruction (on/off) using sockets > arduino reads it over wireless, turns pin on/off > relay connected to the board closes/opens the AC circuit that effectively turns the sign on / off

Makes sense to me, but I might be missing something!

In terms of power consumption, assuming the wireless would be connected 24/7 and that the sign might be turned on for hours at a time, shall we go for AC power instead of batteries?

Thanks again : )

server sends instruction (on/off) using sockets > arduino reads it over wireless, turns pin on/off > relay connected to the board closes/opens the AC circuit that effectively turns the sign on / off

That'll do it. Stick with A/C power though, batteries would be a pain - folks would never know if the sign was deliberately off, or out of power.

That'll do it. Stick with A/C power though, batteries would be a pain - folks would never know if the sign was deliberately off, or out of power.

Well, the batteries can be used as backup power :) They better be rechargeable then. A mechanism to report back the power outage (and backup battery taking over) would be needed as well.

Very nice, thanks guys, this is shaping really well.

The only doubt I have is where to get the relays. I'm going to get both boards and wireless from the official shop, but unsure about the relays. Are they usually available on hardware stores? What voltage?

Thanks everyone for the help so far!

Juan