Lighting project

Hi, first post here.

I'm thinking of using an Arduino processor to control my kitchen-diner lights. I'm going to have an array of LED ceiling lights. I'd like to use an Arduino to deal with turning the lights on to suit whatever is going on in the room. I guess setting up the relays is pretty straightforward but I'm not sure about the user interface: It needs to be a wall panel of some sort; I'm not looking for a wireless control. I'm thinking a particular finger touch would turn on a few lights, another touch would activate more etc, until every light would be on. Would there be some kind of sexy flush, (maybe touch) control for the processor, or should I be thinking of a rotary indexed control? Any suggestions or links to similar projects? Many thanks Neil Ives

You can get a [u]Touchscreen[/u] for the Arduino, but I've never used it and I don't know anything about it. Turning on & off a relay isn't much more difficult than turning on & off an LED, so once you get the touchscreen figured-out it should be easy.

You do have to be aware of how your lights are powered and if you want dimming (not possible with relays) you need to make sure the lights are dimmable. Most LED "light bulbs" run off 120VAC, 240VAC, or 12VAC and have a built-in power supply, and sometimes that power supply "fights" dimming or just goes erratic when dimmed.

But before you start, look into existing [u]home automation systems[/u]. If you still want to build something, I recommend you just build the controller and make it compatible with one of the existing home automation standards. The pre-made switches & dimmers solve several engineering & construction "challenges". And if you stick with one of the standard protocols, upgrading & expanding is a lot easier.

I didn't build any of this myself, but I've got an [u]X-10[/u] based system with about 10 controlled lights & outlets. I have a programmable master timer-controller, two wired remote controllers, a wireless controller, plus a motion sensor.