Remote control for 12vdc fan and light.

Hello everyone!

This is probably one of the more mundane projects that pops up every now and then, but I would like to set up a remote control for a friend's vehicle. He has a fan and a light which he would like to control remotely.

My immediate thoughts are to install an Arduino nano in between the power supply and the fan/light. I would hook up the 12v power through transistors.

The part I really need help with is deciding whether to use IR, RF, or even ultrasound. I do have a collection of old IR remotes from TVs, DVD players etc. so that might be a good thing to try.

What would you suggest?

TIA

IR, RF, ultrasound all have their strengths and limitations. What are your constraints? what are your needs?

IR is line of sight, RF is not. IR is simple and cheap, RF a little less so. Ultrasound and IR reflect from objects and pass through different objects in different ways, RF mostly sees everything as transparent except for metals. Etc. etc. etc.

-- The Gadget Shield: accelerometer, RGB LED, IR transmit/receive, speaker, microphone, light sensor, potentiometer, pushbuttons

What are your constraints? what are your needs?

No constraints really (other than space). And my needs are simple. The situation is line-of-sight—distance being about 4-6 feet.

IR is simple and cheap

That's what I like to hear! :) Is there a way to detect and use codes from an existing remote?

Thanks Rugged.

I would recommend RF using parts like this http://www.robotshop.com/433mhz-high-sensitivity-transmitter-receiver-pair-rxa30.html and VirtualWire http://www.open.com.au/mikem/arduino/VirtualWire.pdf Send a message that is not likely to be turned on by accident. Could also add a temperature sensor & have it turn on the fan by iteself.

Have arduino control NPN transister to control ground connection of the devices.

Is there a way to detect and use codes from an existing remote?

Sure, we have a demo of how to do that as part of our Gadget Shield...the demo code is here (Universal Remote demo). The demo works for any IR/receiver, not just the one on the Gadget Shield.

There's also an IR library for Arduino that does things in a slightly different way (trying to identify the actual protocol in use):

http://www.arcfn.com/2009/08/multi-protocol-infrared-remote-library.html

-- The Rugged Circuits Yellowjacket: 802.11 WiFi module with ATmega328P microcontroller, only 1.6" x 1.2", bootloader

Could also add a temperature sensor & have it turn on the fan by iteself

I personally would love that but the intended user doesn't like his machines doing there own thing! XD

Thank you both for the links, I will do some research and get back with more questions.