Home automatization: Wireless LED dimming


I have just started an ambitious home automatization project and I would certainly appreciate the advice of the experts . So far I have relatively clear what I want to do, but I am not expert in LED systems.
My first step in this project is to control the light; I want as efficient as possible illuminating my home, without wasting energy.

I want to place an Arduino near the wall light switch. When the Arduino is activated, it will detect the amount of light in the room – via a photoresistor- and if the light is not enough, it will switch on the light. This looks easy, but I will introduce a level of complexity right now.

Facts are, that in many cases, if you turn on the lights “100%” you will have more light than needed, so I want to control that via Arduino. This can be done; since you can tune (dim) the amount of light of a LED; generally via PWM. As a matter of fact there are already a lot of “packs” of LED lights that can be controlled via a remote control/smartphone app ….

So, where is the issue? That I am not completely sure how LED systems works and how to choose a system that I can communicate with. Instead of using the remote/smartphone app, I want to control it via Arduino (or via raspberry pi). And despite using lot of time I couldn´t figure out how to do it.

So please correct me:

  • I have asummed that DC led is better than AC light.
  • I know that I will need to install a transformer to go from AC to DC.
  • I know that I need to install a led controller (DC).
  • I know that I will need install the LED lights in the led controller.
  • The LED controller has to be “wireless” and has to have an “open communication” system (such as zigbee, right?

I am right? Any suggestion? Somebody knows the right LED system for my application?

Thank you very much!

There are lots of "smart bulbs" that can directly plug into the US standard A19 bulbs with E26 socket. These will do all the dimming internally. Some require a hub, others are BLE or WiFi. Philips has a published API so there are lots of apps and projects using it. If you've having trouble figuring out how to approach this, it might help to look at an example using a specific vendor like Philips. i.e. google "Philips Hue control from raspberry pi"

Alternatively, you can get "smart dimmer switches" and get regular dimmable bulbs of many varieties. Depending on the bulb count, this could be the cheaper way to go.

I've personally used a LIFX color WiFi bulb with their LAN protocol and found it pretty easy, though I've heard many complaints from others about delays. I also have 4 Lutron Caseta dimmers controlling 13 light fixtures which talk to IFTTT through the Lutron hub. I didnt choose Lutron for any specific reason, though. My electrician recommended them during my home remodel, then I added the hub for smart phone access and it just degraded into tinkering from there.

I'd be interested to hear experiences about other vendors, too.