In search of help with a project

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by RyanRoga, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. RyanRoga

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 13, 2013
    3
    0
    The goal is to create glowing bulbs on sticks, literally 1000 of them, and plant them into the ground to light a path. I was thinking bright LED lights inside ping pong balls with holes drilled in them. I can get 1000 premade LED lights ordered from china for $250 cdn. I plan on taking them apart and using these components to build my idea.


    Problem 1: Duration
    I need these lights to light this pathway for no less than 3 nights. These lights if left on last about 30h, losing brightness after about 15. The battery is not built for extended use like I'm planning. So I need to have a way to switch them off automatically during the day.

    My first thought was to simply have a light sensor switch the LED on when the sun went down. This may be enough to make it work. I'm wondering if someone could sketch me a basic diagram of how to sire that.

    Then I started getting fancy and here's where I need the most input... Getting fancy and way over my head, I thought about using RF to switch the lights on and off. I wanted to know how this is done (again, schematic would be useful). I might want a base station where I could switch either with just light sensing, or possibly something fancy like motion, sound, and/or light.
     
  2. Falcon69

    New Member

    Nov 11, 2013
    19
    1
    Why not house the battery system inside your sticks. Like use some round hollow curtain rods or something for the sticks. Theres schematics out there for switch set-ups using transistors or something that switches the transistors on/off based on how much light there is. I remember seeing some of those when searching google for another project I was doing.

    A 'AA' battery will fit inside a current rod pretty easy. You can stack them and should make the lights last as long as you want.
     
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  3. RyanRoga

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 13, 2013
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    There are 2 reasons we'd like to go with wire for the stem of the "plant".

    1) It's relatively cheap
    2) It's malleable and can be bent into funky designs/shapes.

    However, the head can certainly be longer, like it was part of the bulb of the plant (the part that glows). Meaning the top portion after the glowing ping pong ball head can be AA battery width and a few inches long. That could certainly work.


    The issue I foresee with using just light sensing for switching is that these units will be clustered together. I don't want one unit shining light, then the others turning off because they sense light. Or even turning itself off. That's where RF came in. Basically a base station that broadcasts to turn on when the sun has gone down. I think the RF switching will be necessary... Where do I begin?
     
  4. Falcon69

    New Member

    Nov 11, 2013
    19
    1
    why not get one of those plug thingies that turn your outdoor lights on and off? They plug into the wall, then you plug your stuff into that.
     
  5. RyanRoga

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 13, 2013
    3
    0
    There will be no outlets where I am going. Everything will have to be battery powered.

    The idea is to arrive, unpack, take each module and switch it on, then stab it into the ground. Repeat 1000 times. We don't really want a string of lights or something ordinary looking, we want something plant looking. It's a bit of an art project. =P
     
  6. sirch2

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2013
    1,008
    351
    How about using infra-red to turn them on/off? Put infrared photo diodes on the sticks just below the ping pong ball and then you could walk around and point a IR transmitter at them to turn them on/off.

    You will still need some circuitry to detect the modulated IR and toggle the light but I think this would be cheaper than RF
     
  7. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    1,425
    363
    Another way to switch the lights remotely would be to use a toggle circuit connected to a magnetic reed switch. You could turn them on or off with a wave of a nearby magnet. A small neodymium inside a glove or on the end of a wand would make the process entertaining.
     
  8. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    4,769
    969
    Whats wrong with solar powered driveway lights? I've seen them for under $2 (USD) each..
    The turn on automatically when the sun goes down and last a few hours and then recharge again the next day with the solar panel on them..
     
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