What hardware do i need for this setup?

Hi Arduino Community.

This is my first post in this forum, as you can guess, i'm pretty new to the whole arduino thing. with this post i want to introduce myself, but i have a question as well ;)

I did a lot of stuff with Processing, but only software, my experience with sensors and external devices is a little rusty, since my only experience was some years ago with Max/msp and a midi-controller with some sensors.

I now want to realize a project with Processing and arduino, and need some guidance what hardware i need for it.

Basicaly, i want to have 3 buttons which controll 4 spotlights. each button should control one light, if all 3 are pressed, the 4th light should trigger. i already have the code for it in processing. its a simple simulation only, where i have a interface with 4 buttons and the visual part, which changes as the buttons are pushed and held, and changes back if released.

i have a Arduino Diecimila, but thats all i have. now, before i buy hardware i dont need, and figure it out when its too late, i hoped that you could give me some advice, since i have no experience with that kind of hardware.

what do i need to control the spotlights? these are theater spotlights which are just plugged in to light up.

i appreciate your help, and hope that it is not too keen to ask so many questions for a noob like me, and also that my english was understandable ^^; excuse any mistakes! and ask if something is not clear.

Thanks,

Troop

I assume the lights are theatrical spotlights - ~700 watts? use large relays (10A should handle 1200W) to switch the spotlights, and check how much current at what voltages the relays need to switch. If it is more than 5v or more power than the Arduino can drive, you will need to connect another switching device to the Arduino and have that switch a higher-power supply for the relays. Since they are large lights which draw a lot of power, it would be a good idea to put the relays in an electrical box. If they are far apart, you can just cut apart some extension cords and connect those to the lights, or if they are close together you can cut the ends off of the lights' cords. If the lights already have some sort of controller (dmx dimmers? analog voltage dimmers?) you could just interface that. If it's DMX - read the tutorials on the wiki. For the arduino connections, you can use some male headers and solder on wire, get male pin connectors, or if you're lazy you can push solid wire into the holes (not as good of an idea- secure it well!!). For buttons, any small button should do. Hope this helps!

Apalrd

Hi apalrd,

thank you! this helps a lot. Until now, i dont have any controlling devices besides the arduino, but there is a small possibility of getting a DMX...but since its not 100% i prefer to build my own. so i will get the large relays.

i have a idea of how to build it now, so thanks a lot, and wish me luck that i secure everything good enough to not get toasted ^^ (i know it has nothing to do with luck...)

thanks again. ill report back on how it is progressing!