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Thread: DIY remote controlled LED fixture

  1. #9
    Never Knows Best gill_za's Avatar
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    Looking forward to the third post, as I am toying with the idea of building this or something similar!
    I am very curious what Magic you are using to adjust/dim the output of the LPC-60 driver considering the specsheet says it is not supposed to be dimmable through external 0-10V DC voltage or PWM signal . Admittedly, I am not an electrical engineer and my experience/knowledge is limited.

    P.S. Why oh why did I see this thread today... Now i'm itching to build this and learn more about Mysensors project.
    Last edited by gill_za; 05-11-2016 at 11:44 AM.

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    I was not aware that it was possible to dim constant-current drivers either. As far as I'm aware, reducing the input power too low will cause the driver to cease functioning rather than reducing the output power.

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    Everything is explained in "Harry Potter and the Secrets of Arduino PWM".

    The driver by itself do not include the dimming function, but you can still add it yourself easily. You can also use a driver compatible with PWM, in this case you may be able to plug it directly to the arduino without mosfet but it may be messy as I use a 3.3V logic arduino for the radio. It's also cheaper to do it yourself and in my case easier to wire.

    Both LED and Fan outputs are controlled by a mosfet linked to a PWM pin of the arduino (pin 5-6). Mosfets (power transistors) behave like a switch: when the arduino send some current to the gate, the switch is closed -> light on.
    Dimming effect is performed by "switching on and off" the light faster than your eye can see it, resulting in a dim light level depending on the time ratio ON:OFF. Input power is always either 34V/1750mA or 0V/0mA but if you are using a multimeter you will detect a lower voltage. An oscilloscope will show you a square wave 0V/34V.

    This on/off cycle is why in many LEDs, when dimmed to a low level, you may see a flicker in the light. Frequency is low enough for you to "see" the on/off cycle.

    Doing that with an incandescent light, or CFL, would damage it in no time, but LEDs are perfect for this. That's what is used in any LED dimming appliance, bulb or other, I did not invent anything at all. No magic or anything fancy, totally safe and won't damage the LED or the driver.

  4. #12
    Never Knows Best gill_za's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emc2 View Post
    Everything is explained in "Harry Potter and the Secrets of Arduino PWM".

    The driver by itself do not include the dimming function, but you can still add it yourself easily. You can also use a driver compatible with PWM, in this case you may be able to plug it directly to the arduino without mosfet but it may be messy as I use a 3.3V logic arduino for the radio. It's also cheaper to do it yourself and in my case easier to wire.

    Both LED and Fan outputs are controlled by a mosfet linked to a PWM pin of the arduino (pin 5-6). Mosfets (power transistors) behave like a switch: when the arduino send some current to the gate, the switch is closed -> light on.
    Dimming effect is performed by "switching on and off" the light faster than your eye can see it, resulting in a dim light level depending on the time ratio ON:OFF. Input power is always either 34V/1750mA or 0V/0mA but if you are using a multimeter you will detect a lower voltage. An oscilloscope will show you a square wave 0V/34V.

    This on/off cycle is why in many LEDs, when dimmed to a low level, you may see a flicker in the light. Frequency is low enough for you to "see" the on/off cycle.

    Doing that with an incandescent light, or CFL, would damage it in no time, but LEDs are perfect for this. That's what is used in any LED dimming appliance, bulb or other, I did not invent anything at all. No magic or anything fancy, totally safe and won't damage the LED or the driver.
    Since this will happen anyway I shall be the first to request it: We need a detailed step by step with a lot of pictures and Explain_Like_im_five elements tutorial here!!!
    Don't get me wrong, I will traverse internet to explain anything that I don't understand or know, but this stuff I feel is way beyond my meager EE background and there is too much opportunity for mess-ups

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    Not sure of what to detail, I was afraid to be quite picture heavy already

    Maybe a mosfet video and an adafruit tutorial?
    Last edited by emc2; 05-11-2016 at 03:12 PM.

  6. #14
    Never Knows Best gill_za's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emc2 View Post
    You can also use a driver compatible with PWM, in this case you may be able to plug it directly to the arduino without mosfet but it may be messy as I use a 3.3V logic arduino for the radio. It's also cheaper to do it yourself and in my case easier to wire.

    Both LED and Fan outputs are controlled by a mosfet linked to a PWM pin of the arduino (pin 5-6). Mosfets (power transistors) behave like a switch: when the arduino send some current to the gate, the switch is closed -> light on.
    Dimming effect is performed by "switching on and off" the light faster than your eye can see it, resulting in a dim light level depending on the time ratio ON:OFF. Input power is always either 34V/1750mA or 0V/0mA but if you are using a multimeter you will detect a lower voltage. An oscilloscope will show you a square wave 0V/34V.
    All this and the more pictures the better. This is a very visually oriented community we have here. As my manager keeps telling me "write up the experiment so that an idiot could repeat it"

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    Part 3 - Software overview

    Time for the final step, how to control and use this system.

    To have everything working you will need a working MySensors installation. For that you will need:
    - A gateway, such as a serial gateway. This is a simple arduino + radio module plugged to a USB port of the controller that will send and receive the radio signal.
    - A controller. This is a small software, running on a computer, that will allow you to talk to your devices. Many are available, using Vera (IoT hardware), PC/MAC/Linux. I personally use Domoticz running on a Raspberry Pi (an old version B).

    I will not detail how to setup Domoticz or MySensors, everything is extremely detailed on the respective websites and should not give you any problems. I will only give you a basic overview of what you can do with it.

    Lights control
    As I told you on the hardware part, you can dim the light. This is controlled on the software by sliding the switch left or right. You can also click on the bulb icon to switch on/off.


    You can also setup timers based on fixed time, intervals or even better based on your local sunrise and sunset to create a seasonal light cycle. You can also choose at which level you want your lights (ON at 85% brightness with sunrise, OFF with sunset in this screenshot)


    Temperature - Humidity - Other sensors
    By adding the optional temperature sensor on the board you can follow the temperature at the light level. During normal operation at 100% heatsink temperature is stable at 40C (~100F). The board being a few cm away temperature measured is around 32-34C. Plant area is usually ~3C higher than the room temperature, rising to 26-27C at the end of the day when the sun is actually shining through my windows.


    You can also add other sensors, like this one measuring light levels into my seedling farm (purple lights again so lux are irrelevant, this is only for comparison)


    Graphs
    The nice thing is to be able to follow these metrics over time. By default everything is logged and graphed.
    Here is the inside of my germination chamber (plastic box with some led strips). Heating is mostly provided by the LED strip. A fan allow to regulate humidity (and temperature in extreme cases). More in the rules later.


    A mobile (battery operated) temp-hum sensor resting on the plant shelfs allow me to monitor temperature and humidity at the plant level. If for some reasons temperature is too high, it will switch the leds off to cool down everything, before switching them on again. Or it can start a fan, humidifier, watering system, closing your blinds or send you a notification on your phone. Many options in domoticz.


    Rules and automation
    By merging data from sensors and ability to control devices you have precise control of your growing conditions.
    You can program in lua, or for a easy programing you have a "blocky" editor included. By dragging logic elements you create your own program. Here is an exemple of the humidity control inside my germination chamber. You could translate the following sentence "During the day turn the fan on at full speed if humidity is over 98% and switch it off when it reach 80% or less" to this blocky rule


    You can see on the first graph when the fan is turning on, humidity will quickly go down (temperature barely moves) and when fan turns off it will go up again. At night nothing happens, letting the humidity go back to 100%.

    Depending on the sensors and devices you control possibilities are endless:
    - Humidity drops? Turn on mister.
    - Low water level in the tray? Turn on pump to fill them.
    - Full sun on your plants? Turn off additional lights or start water circulation pump to cool down your darlingtonia roots.
    - Dynamic sun simulator? Gradually increase you light levels from 0 to 100% up to mid day, and then gently back to 0% until sunset.
    - Motion detected on your patio? Blast loud sound to scare the squirrel away.
    - ...

    Summary
    I hope this example may give you some ideas on how to automate your grow area. I will try to answer your questions, but keep in mind that I did that as a hobby. I don't have any background in EE, just used google, so it may not be the best way to do things but it works. If you see anything that could be improved let me know, or even feel free to do any changes yourself to improve this or adapt it to your personal need. Everything is open source and available on github!
    Last edited by emc2; 05-16-2016 at 12:00 PM.

  8. #16
    Never Knows Best gill_za's Avatar
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    Thank you for the write up. This is pretty intense!

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