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How to get started: wi-fi-accessible micro-controlled lights
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How to get started: wi-fi-accessible micro-controlled lights

by Trillion on Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:26 pm

Two goals:

1 - Ability to turn on and off A/C lights (and other devices) using a micro-controller with Wi-Fi. What are the essential parts. Basically how to remotely turn on / off items that are plugged into standard A/C outlets.

2 - Ability to dim LED lights remotely using wi-fi enabled controllers, in this case overhead lights that are typically controlled with wall switches.

How to get started / what are the key components?

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Re: How to get started: wi-fi-accessible micro-controlled li

by franklin97355 on Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:01 pm

Do a Google search for DIY home automation for starters.

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Re: How to get started: wi-fi-accessible micro-controlled li

by Trillion on Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:54 am

franklin97355 wrote:Do a Google search for DIY home automation for starters.


It was the less-than-intriguing pre-prefab products that turned up in the Google searches that led me to write the question here. Adafruit's approach seems more compelling.
But in retrospect I should have framed the first question better: I've got an motor controller handling a DC solenoid. If I wanted the equivalent, a wifi-enabled micro controller handling AC current, is the the equivalent to a motor controller?

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Re: How to get started: wi-fi-accessible micro-controlled li

by franklin97355 on Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:56 am

You could use a relay or an SSR (solid state relay) to control AC from a microcontroller

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Re: How to get started: wi-fi-accessible micro-controlled li

by Trillion on Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:02 pm

franklin97355 wrote:You could use a relay or an SSR (solid state relay) to control AC from a microcontroller


Yes, great. Thanks.

What about dimming, specifically when it comes to LED lights on a AC/110-120V? (There are flickering issues there if it's not done correctly)

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Re: How to get started: wi-fi-accessible micro-controlled li

by franklin97355 on Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:33 pm

You would not be using our LEDs on 110AC and if you have something that does you would have to work with that company to figure out the dimming.

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Re: How to get started: wi-fi-accessible micro-controlled li

by Trillion on Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:16 pm

franklin97355 wrote:You would not be using our LEDs on 110AC and if you have something that does you would have to work with that company to figure out the dimming.


So if you're considering an LED in a 110-120VDC setting, sure the LED itself is behind a AC to DC transformer, but the dimmer is on the AC side of the circuit -- at the wall switch, for example. What you're controlling on a wall dimmer not the DC directly but the AC.

But -- not all AC dimmers are the same.
The oldest ones -- back in the days of incandescent lighting -- dimmed in a manner that didn't even use less electricity. They just diverted it, so that a dimmed incandescent 60W bulb didn't actually saved on electricity.

Later incandescent dimmers effectively strobed the current at high speeds as a means to dim the bulbs, which actually did save electricity. The 'strobing' was obscured by the fact that heated filaments glow through.

But those dimmers don't play well with dimmable LEDs. Unfortunately, that's pretty much where my already minimal understanding ends. I'm not sure exactly what the logic of the latest LED dimmers is, but they've apparently been engineered to play nice with circuitry that allows a "dimmable LED" to be plugged into an AC system.

And I was curious learn a bit more about that and see if there was a way to replicate it in a way that can integrate micro-controllers.

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Re: How to get started: wi-fi-accessible micro-controlled li

by franklin97355 on Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:24 pm

I'm sure there is but I'm not aware of any. We'll have to see what others think.

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Re: How to get started: wi-fi-accessible micro-controlled li

by Trillion on Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:29 pm

franklin97355 wrote:I'm sure there is but I'm not aware of any. We'll have to see what others think.

Got it. Looking into AC relays, offhand they seem a more straightforward concept than H-Bridge / motor controllers?

Is a motor controller exactly that -- a solid state DC relay? Or is there a reason you go with motor controllers for DC and relays for AC?

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