DIY Wirelessly Controlled Lights


Today we have a cool project coming from SparkFun customer Robert Diamond. Robert saw a problem (it gets dark at night) and found a solution (lights!). But rather than just stop there, Robert wanted to bring his home light system into the 21st century, using LEDs, Arduino, and the XBee communication protocol to create a unique web-connected DIY lighting system. Check it out:

I know the video doesn't seem to show much at first glance, but what you see there is Robert wirelessly controlling the lights in his hallway. Each light has a power supply, XBee, Arduino, XBee Shield, some MOSFETs, the light strip itself, and a handful of other parts. Robert used a ConnectPort to interface his entire system to the web, giving him easy control over which lights go on when.

This is a great project that explores the power of XBee and wireless communication, and is a perfect example of solving a common problem in a useful, clever way. Check out Robert's Instructable, which includes all the code, parts list, and instructions on how to build you own system. Great work, Robert!


Comments 14 comments

  • Ummm … can haz Friday new product post … please?

  • cool. I worked on something like this a while ago. I use it daily :)

    http://code.google.com/p/open-zb-home/

    The code design isn’t the greatest since I slap in features as I need them. Would like to learn MVC and re-apply some day.

    I basically implemented a gateway in python which receives commands over ajax/websockets and dispatches them accordingly. a little API to match.

    I can control DIOs, sampling, or send commands to uart with either addressing or broadast. the video is outdated though. I have panels which I can add and all values are stored in cookies.

    I’d like to clean it up sometime, but my little 3m.o man is more interesting :D Will be glad to help anyone get this going if they’d like. A few ppl around the world have adapted it to different things. Someone in brazil is even using it to control his HAM system with motor control and all :)

  • This is my approach with RFM12B transceivers and a chipKIT Max32 connected to LAN via Ethernet: Home Energy Gateway

  • Should be able to do this without an Arduino, there is really no need for a microcontroller to switch on the lights, the XBee is more than capable. Would cut a big chunk off the cost.

    • Agreed. This is the same criticism offered in this HaD post:

      http://hackaday.com/2010/12/14/garage-monitor-has-an-extra-arduino/

      This is a great project, Robert, but you can remove the Arduino from the equation, and repurpose it for another project by just programming the Xbee.

      • Yeah, for just turning lights on and off the dio’s on the xbee should work fine. I used the pwm capabilities of the 328 for driving the led strings. The board I designed costs a bit less than an Arduino. I think I will add a few SSR ports though :-)

  • It’s been a long time since I’ve tinkered with XBees, so I may be a little hazy on this. I seem to remember the XBee having a rudimentary DIO ability using the more in-depth communication method (not transparent UART mode). I’m surprised noone has tried to do things like switching without using Arduino as an intermediate step. It would save the $5 per switch.

    Before a life caught up with me, I had grand plans to do this for an automation scheme. I’m not criticizing… I’m just jealous. Bravo.

  • Yeah, the connectport is a high upfront cost, but lets me control all the xbees with a python script. The reduced energy consumption will pay for it in about a year.

    Also, don’t get the cheaper rgb strips from dealextreme, the light level is greatly reduced.

    Thanks for the mention!

  • Very cool!

    Have just launched a kickstarter for motion reactive lighting Luminance. Not doing the xbee up front but that is coming. Would be awesome to have the entire house respond to my movement or be sound responsive. The Luminance system will easily be able to split the sensing and control. Sense my motion and control the whole house! Sweet!

  • I work on IR controlled lights - using one of switches different modes on remote TV/AV1/AV2/DTV - little less expensive then XBee while utilizing current remote on couch.

  • I am also working on a very similar project using Arduino and Xbee, but my project is designed around being able to install everything behind an existing light switch (using a Pro Mini). Also, I’m using SSR’s so existing lights don’t have to be changed, and so it’s not limited to lighting. I’m also designing a shield for controlling 120/240V devices that incorporates a PCB power supply to run the Arduino and everything connected to it (ex. Xbee shield) from the 120/240 supply. Great project Robert!

  • Expensive approach but I like :)

  • I’m working on a similar project using Pygmy Nebulas.


This Week

This Month

Heartbleed

Happy Arduino Day!

SXSW Create 2014