Wirelessly turn on/off multiple lights

Hi Guys,
I am looking at individually controlling 64 lights wirelessly. The lights will be battery powered leds placed in random spots and just need to be either on or off, no pwm. I am looking to see if this can be done with some off the shelf parts.

Has anyone used these or know if it'd be possible to use multiple remotes in the same location to make up the 64 channels?

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/2-12CH-Multi-Channel-Wireless-Remote-System-KIT-for-Lights-Garage-etc-2-Types/122760624822

Being the cheap unbranded items that they are, it's hard to find any reviews or in depth info on them.

This might be the datasheet on what they are using.

I'm open to any ideas on how to approach this. It's not a serious high/budget thing, just looking for what will work, nothing too elegant.

Cheers

There are probably a lot of ways to do it, but I would build one "master node" and then a bunch of "slave nodes".

There are lots of Rx/Tx technologies, but I like HC-12 serial transceivers. There is no limit on how many you have in one area, as long as only one is talking at a time.

Master node: Arduino Uno or Nano or other microcontroller either bluetooth connected to your phone or to a keypad or some way of telling the arduino which light to turn on/off. The arduino connected to a HC-12 transceiver for talking to the slave nodes. Your master node would send a value of 1-64 to turn on lights 1-64 and would send a value of 65-128 to turn off lights 1-64. Super simple master node that uses literally minimum only two components (Arduino and HC-12)

Slave node(s): HC-12 connected to Attiny85 microcontroller (cheap and simple to use. Basically a mini arduino that can run on 1.8-5v) connected to LED. The slave node would listen for it's number to be called (ie. 1(on) or 65(off)) and then change the LED state accordingly. I am not sure what the power consumption of the HC-12 and Attiny85 would be, but I am sure it could be optimized. Also, the cost of a node excluding the battery or power source would be less than $5 I am sure.

Hope this helps! Taylor

nRF24 2.4Gz radio modules can be gotten in separate, low cost transmit and receive boards, you'd need 1 TX and 64 RX and 65 MCU's.

nRF24 is being superceded but they work and are likely discounted to clear stock space.

Thanks guys. So the hc-12 supersedes the nRF24? I was hoping this project might be achievable without building something using arduinos as the cost and time is allot more significant otherwise. You can get remotes that can control upto 16 individual relay boards. I'm just not sure if 4 remotes can work at the same time without interfering with each other.

Hi,
What do you mean by "at the sametime"?

How quickly do you want to get all 64 LEDs to respond?
This will be a big consideration when it comes to the type of comms system you want.

Thanks.. Tom... :slight_smile:

jeffez:
Thanks guys. So the hc-12 supersedes the nRF24? I was hoping this project might be achievable without building something using arduinos as the cost and time is allot more significant otherwise. You can get remotes that can control upto 16 individual relay boards. I'm just not sure if 4 remotes can work at the same time without interfering with each other.

AliExpress has sold 168P Nanos for less than $3 ea. IIRC there's an ATmega88 version for less, you're down to 512 byte RAM by then.

ESC8266 wifi modules can be programmed to use the 8 IO pins, no need for a separate slower controller.

nRF24 is a Nordic product, I didn't chase down the new and improved version but saw reference to an nRF8000.

Remotes interfering? The nRF modules use packets and resend if not received. 8266 probably does that as does Bluetooth.

What you do is have one transmit and the rest receive at least to turn leds on and off. If you send binary, 64 leds ON/OFF can be represented as the bits of 8 bytes. If all the receivers pick up the same 8 bytes and each one knows which bit of that to match, your "max framerate" is baudrate / 80. With 115200 baud you could stream 1440 sets of 8 bytes per second so it's fair to say that soft-PWM is possible.

If you go with nRF24 modules, they only allow for 6 connected devices so if you want more, you are going to have to do some fancy code to change that... Attiny85's are under $1 each when you buy them from Digikey and don't require any external components other than power. The HC-12's I get are about $2.90 on Aliexpress and I've never had a dead one. I am pretty sure the remote relay units you linked to would work for up to 12 channels but multiple of the complete sets of receivers in proximity of each other would probably let all the 1's be enabled when only one of the controllers was turning on a 1...

And like GoForSmoke mentioned, an esp8266 module like the NodeMCU or similar would be an awesome master node instead of the Uno. It would allow internet connectivity which could be really useful.

amarotica:
If you go with nRF24 modules, they only allow for 6 connected devices so if you want more, you are going to have to do some fancy code to change that...

Thee NRF24L01 can only listen to six different channels, not devices, that's a big difference.
In a broadcast scenario as it is here, there is no limit in the number of listening clients.

TomGeorge:
Hi,
What do you mean by "at the sametime"?

How quickly do you want to get all 64 LEDs to respond?
This will be a big consideration when it comes to the type of comms system you want.

Thanks.. Tom... :slight_smile:

Simply the ability to use multiple of these cheap ebay multi channel remotes that i linked in the same place at the same time. Response time isn't critical at all. Even if it takes seconds for a light to change after the message is sent. Even if the button has to be pressed again. It's for a low budget arts project someone is doing and the guy even said it doesn't have to be perfect.

GoForSmoke:
AliExpress has sold 168P Nanos for less than $3 ea. IIRC there's an ATmega88 version for less, you're down to 512 byte RAM by then.

ESC8266 wifi modules can be programmed to use the 8 IO pins, no need for a separate slower controller.

nRF24 is a Nordic product, I didn't chase down the new and improved version but saw reference to an nRF8000.

Remotes interfering? The nRF modules use packets and resend if not received. 8266 probably does that as does Bluetooth.

What you do is have one transmit and the rest receive at least to turn leds on and off. If you send binary, 64 leds ON/OFF can be represented as the bits of 8 bytes. If all the receivers pick up the same 8 bytes and each one knows which bit of that to match, your "max framerate" is baudrate / 80. With 115200 baud you could stream 1440 sets of 8 bytes per second so it's fair to say that soft-PWM is possible.

Time is also a factor. As much as i would rather do this properly the project requirements as mentioned in my previous post aren't that demanding as far as ability and reliability is concerned and its budget reflects that. I see this as a prototype/proof of concept at this stage. I may get to do it again in future with more resources in which case i was thinking of using an esp32 which has inbuilt bluetooth and whip up an app using something like mit app inventor to have all the buttons. Thanks for the info.

amarotica:
I am pretty sure the remote relay units you linked to would work for up to 12 channels but multiple of the complete sets of receivers in proximity of each other would probably let all the 1's be enabled when only one of the controllers was turning on a 1...

I would love to know for sure but i can't go and buy them only to find out they aren't suitable. I think the datasheet i linked is what they are using but i am only going off a few ebay listings mentioning the remote uses a 2294.

The highest i could find is a 16 channel which would mean i would only need 4 remotes.

Hi,
What is the project application?
What do the 64 lights do, strobe or turn ON/OFF in sequence, make patterns?

How far apart are they and how will you power them?

Thanks.. Tom... :slight_smile:

TomGeorge:
Hi,
What is the project application?
What do the 64 lights do, strobe or turn ON/OFF in sequence, make patterns?

How far apart are they and how will you power them?

Thanks.. Tom... :slight_smile:

The application is a bit artsy and is someone elses vision to so bear with me. 8 carry-able wooden structures will have 8 store bought led rope lights on them which will be powered off the AA battery packs they come with.

I'd estimate everything will be within a relatively close say upto 20 meter square distance. They just need to be ON/OFF so a simple relay/switch to cut/connect power to each light will do.

In the past this person has just turned lights ON/OFF physically at each led rope but due to scale this is no longer (or probably never was) practical and now wants to do it remotely.

This is to run in shade or dark, right?

You could use IR Remote for the wireless, widecast that from IR leds that no one sees.

And you have 8 ropes to be OFF/ON, to change the ropes would take 1 byte data.

A 9600 baud serial stream could change all 8 960 times a second -- call that how fine you could time the lights with low speed serial, fast enough to make human eyes see brightness levels.

Or have a set of patterns stored and serial write 1 byte every set time interval. There's lots of room in flash for const data.

IMO most fun would be generating each pattern in response to sensor inputs, perhaps sound levels.

GoForSmoke:
This is to run in shade or dark, right?

You could use IR Remote for the wireless, widecast that from IR leds that no one sees.

And you have 8 ropes to be OFF/ON, to change the ropes would take 1 byte data.

A 9600 baud serial stream could change all 8 960 times a second -- call that how fine you could time the lights with low speed serial, fast enough to make human eyes see brightness levels.

Or have a set of patterns stored and serial write 1 byte every set time interval. There's lots of room in flash for const data.

IMO most fun would be generating each pattern in response to sensor inputs, perhaps sound levels.

I had thought about IR but i'm not sure if line of site is always guaranteed as the object with the led ropes could get moved about and rotated allot.