after playing around a bit with my Arduino, I finally found something with building with it. In my new flat, I'd like to create a nice little background lighting for the combined home cinema screen/DVD storage area..
What I've got here are LED strips I bought with an order in Hong Kong which were pretty cheap, but they can be split every few LEDs and all the parts run on a 12V power supply.
Now I've got two questions which might have been answered a couple of times, but I wasn't able to find any relevant threads:
How would I go about switching those stripes on and off? As far as I read, a relay or optocoupler could do the trick, but I'm not sure about the specs needed for that. What would I have to look for to be able to trigger it from the Arduino and have it switch on a 12V circuit? Same goes for the optocoupler which might last longer(no moving parts) and maybe it's also quieter..
Is it possible to dim the LED stripes or do they have to be specially designed for that? I could think of some nice effects if it were possible to slowly fade the lights on and off. But that would rule out the relay, wouldn't it? Because it would only switch the 12V supply on and off.