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Thread: DIY remote controlled LED fixture

  1. #25
    Never Knows Best gill_za's Avatar
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    @emc2,

    Curios to see how plants are doing under yous lights are they getting nice coloration?

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    @gill_za as far I can tell they do. I will try to take a few pictures of what I have, maybe by this week end.

    I don't really have plants that should be dark red (until the cephalotus produce a new mature pitcher to compare with existing ones), but my H. minor x heterodoxa seems to grow nicely and I think that's my most light hungry plant.

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    Pretty cool project, emc2! I'm still an Arduino beginner, so I don't completely understand the purpose of the custom PCB. Is it mainly controlling the DC side of the LED driver? What is the advantage of your custom PCB over using a 120VAC relay directly controlled by Arduino? For the monitoring, you can just directly connect DHT22 etc to the Arduino, right?

    I'd like to learn more about micro controller because I want to eventually make CO2 injection controller. So far, I've tried ESP8266 with DHT22 as the remote node, and OpenHAB on RaspberyPi as the logger. But I'm having a reliability issue with ESP8266, and I became busy with other things.

    MySensors webpage is not easy to understand. Is it an Arduino library, which you can use to program Arduino?
    Last edited by naoki; 06-15-2016 at 12:32 AM.

  4. #28

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    Thanks.

    Yes the main purpose is controlling the DC side of the LEDs, a DC 12V to control a fan, and host a few sensors or at least convenient spots to wire them.

    Advantage of DC control vs AC:
    - I can power everything from the DC line, no need to add an independent AC/DC converter.
    - safer to do DIY on low voltage (especially when humidity / water is involved around)
    - Ability to use the arduino to dim the LEDs using PWM pins. You can either have an expensive (and bulky) LED driver, or DIY using a cheaper one (but still a very good quality dimmer)

    You can connect a DHT22 to an arduino, correct. I prefer alternative I2C sensors as all the logic is 3.3V and some DHT22 are unstable at this voltage, they usually prefer 5V. But technically you can yes. CO2 detectors exists in I2C so you can definitively monitor your CO2 levels with the arduino too: Air Quality Sensor | MySensors Forum

    I had an ESP8266 gateway, but it was not reliable either. Since then I switched by adding directly my wireless gateway to the Pi GPIO using GitHub - emc2cube/MySRaspiGW: MySensors Raspberry Pi GPIO SMD gateway with DomoticZ as the controller. So far so good.

    Yes, MySensors is a bundle of libraries to create a mesh network of arduino devices (sensors, actuators) that you can control with various softwares such as OpenHab or Domoticz, ideally running on a Raspberry Pi. The community in the forums is really nice, don't be shy to ask questions there, they are very knowledgable.

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    Thanks for the additional info, emc2! So it is connected downstream (DC side) of CC driver (LPC-60), and this DC is getting used for driving fan (and other things). Am I correct? If so, is there any efficiency penalty?

    When I was adding a thermal protection (thermal switch attached to the heatsink), I heard that the cut-off switch should be at the AC side of the CC driver instead of DC side. When you cut off the DC side, the CC driver try to increase the voltage to get the current, then over-voltage protection circuit (of decent drivers) kicks in and shut it down. Some people said that this is not so nice for the driver. I'm not sure if I should believe it or not, but the person seemed to know. When you are turning off, you are basically cutting off the DC side, right? Do you happen to know if this is bogus or not?

    Here is an example: Message #14 of this thread.

    Thank you for the other info, I need to learn about MySensors!
    Last edited by naoki; 06-15-2016 at 12:44 AM.

  6. #30
    pmatil's Avatar
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    I think you definitely should cut off the AC side. But of course if the AC side is high voltage (like 110 or 220 V) it's much more difficult to make safe connections. I myself have made the controllers from scratch so my thermal cutoff switches cut off the DC coming in to the controller from a separate power supply. I also have made a separate safety circuit which have to be reset by hand if it trips.
    Looking for N. Campanulata hybrids. Also would like to grow some nepenthes from seed. Growlist/pic thread: http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...-Pete-s-plants

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    @naoki yes my setup is connected on the DC side.
    A small switching regulator do a 34V to 12V conversion and that this 12V that is used to control CPU fans. It's also used by the linear reg to supply 3.3V to the arduino, radio and sensors.

    From what I read it is totally fine to play on the DC side of recent CC drivers. These are technically voltage and current limited, so they won't try to supply infinite voltage (LPC-60 is limited to 34V, which is what I want to get 60W). Old analog CC should not be used.
    You also need good MOSFETs to be sure to have a clean regulation.
    Then, it may be true that the driver don't like it I don't have enough background in electronics to be sure. Only thing I can tell you is that other people did it before me (sadly I did not invent anything) and it's been running for about 6 months (4 months on breadboard before getting to the custom PCB point) without any trouble, no overheating of the driver or anything. Also these LEDs driver are only $14 so even if they die in 5 years it would not be a big problem.

    As @pmatil say, it may be cleaner to cut AC but I don't think you could dim the light this way (~500ms for current rise of the driver) but if you just want to turn something on/off it would be easier, and you can directly use a commercial solution. If you want to do it yourself with arduino, I would recommend you to look for a good SSR (solid state relay), plenty of options on the mysensors forum too for that!

  8. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by gill_za View Post
    @emc2,

    Curios to see how plants are doing under yous lights are they getting nice coloration?
    I took a few pictures this week end to get some coloration ideas. I bet you can have better coloration with more / better quality lights but for the overall price plants seems healthy and nicely tanned.

    All pictures available on Imgur and just a few below for illustration purpose:

    D. 'Albino' having its nice pinkish coloration


    Young adult H. heterodoxa x minor pitcher


    Plain old vft


    New acquisition still aclimating, P. 'Titan', growing under the LEDs for the last 2 weeks. New leafs are gently turning pink.
    Last edited by emc2; 06-19-2016 at 04:58 PM.

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