Hi! New Arduino user here. Just ordered a kit that I hope to receive in a week or two.
I’m no electronics expert, though I have some experience with soldering and general tinkering, and can figure out most things by reading and following tutorials. I do, however, have some questions I’m hoping the real experts here can help me out with.
My project, which is entirely aesthetic, involves a series of light bulbs that will animate in different patterns. The bulbs will be wired in 5 “channels,” with a certain number of bulbs in each channel, allowing me to make them chase, flash in sequence, etc.
The controls for the project will be as follows:
- A momentary button that, when pressed, will sequence through a number of animated patterns.
- A pot that will control the speed of the animation.
- A pot that will control the brightness of the bulbs.
I understand that I’ll need to use triacs to switch the bulbs, with opto-isolators to protect the circuit board. I also understand that brightness can be controlled through something called pulse-width modulation (PWM), though I don’t totally comprehend it yet.
I’m confident that I can program the animated patterns, but how I’ll integrate the dimming just yet, I’m not sure.
Now, I’m not asking for all this to be explained right now, or for anyone to design the circuit for me. I’ll work things out as I go and ask questions when I get stuck. However, keeping all of the above in mind, I need someone to help me make sure I purchase the proper components before I start trying to put them together.
To begin, I’m not sure what specs to look at when selecting triacs. As there will be upwards of 100 watts per channel at 120v (about .8A), with one triac for each channel, what triac should I be looking to purchase? Please keep in mind that I’ll want to control the brightness with some degree of reliability, and I’m sure one or more of the specs will affect that.
Also, what opto-isolator would be appropriate for said triac, and what kind of pots would be appropriate for 2 and 3 above?
If there’s anything else you think I should keep in mind, please let me know.
Thanks for the help!