Browsing the archives for the Automation category.

Wireless AC Dimmer

Automation, Lights, Projects

My past few weeks have been consumed with designing and building a wireless AC dimmer that functions with my wireless Zigbee automation protocol. It has all power circuitry onboard so everything is self-contained in a little AC dongle. It also contains circuitry for wireless bootloading of code onto to the micro-controller, and circuitry for a local dimming slider/knob to plug into it directly.

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Finished Prototype

Apartment, Automation, Lights, Projects

I finished my prototype lighting controller a week or so ago. It is capable of wirelessly controlling 5-channels of LED lights using an automation protocol I’m writing, all encapsulated by the Zigbee wireless protocol. The prototype boxes are in nifty little cases that I cut apart with my fun new Dremel. Stay posted for coming updates.

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We Have Wireless

Apartment, Automation, Lights

Prototype LED Board
After going dark for a while, I finally have some work to show. As you may know, the end result of this all is to have LED lighting units on my furniture that are all wirelessly controlled over the ZigBee wireless protocol. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I have a custom LED control circuit using an Atmega168 micro-controller, a TI LED controler, and an XBee ZigBee radio, and an application that can control it.

Here’s a rough video of the result. Basically, I use my application to discover the lighting control over Zigbee wireless. I can then select the node, the lighting channel on the node, and the color to set the lights too. This is very rough prototype just to see the idea in action.
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New Shipment of LEDs

Arduino, Lights

Today a 5 meter reel of LEDs arrived. Here are the results.

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Light Geekery

Arduino, Automation, Lights

After building my sketchy micro-controller based AC light dimmer, I noticed that while fading though the dimming levels, it wasn’t a linear response. There was a noticeable “stall” in the fading around the mid-range of values. So to fix this, and waste a perfectly good Thursday night, I had the micro-controller watch the response of the light with a photo-resister and see what the problem was.


Keeping and eye on the light

The resulting response was nowhere near even. So I plotted the values and its derivative.


So to adjust the problem, I altered the distribution of the fade values. By decreasing the density of points around the “delay”, which was around 9000 on a scale of 0 to 16000, I was able to smooth out the fade.


Resulting distribution

The result is a seemingly linear light fade-in and fade-out.

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Upgraded Remote


The light setup is now working with the new Nordic RF radio and keyfob. Now it’s just a matter of finding interesting things to do with 5 buttons…

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New Remote


Started playing with a new keyfob remote based on a Nordic nRF24L01+ RF radio.  Trying to rewrite software libraries to control it.


Also added connectors to my LED controller board.


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Remote Lighting

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Furniture Lighting with LEDS


One problem with using LEDs to light my furniture is that it might give my apartment a “fishtank lighting” appearance. It may be possible to tweak the RGB balance to give it a warmer look.


Current Lighting


LED Lighting


Big Difference

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Arduino Controlling LEDs


Hooked the Arduino up to an LED controller board utilizing TLC5940 LED driver chips.  The Arduino now has control of all three RGB channels.

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