Lighting Control

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by labhelp, May 29, 2012.

  1. labhelp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 28, 2010
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    I am planning on making a simple LED light display for the 4th of July. I have a 12 Vdc signal available and I want to be able to flash the lights on and off in different patterns. I am not looking to spend much money so what would be the best cheap option for pattern control?
     
  2. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    Are you planning manual switching, or does this need to operate automatically?
     
  3. labhelp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 28, 2010
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    I am looking for something that I can set for all of the lights to be on at once or I can choose for one light to be on for maybe 1 second then the next light and so on.
     
  4. labhelp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 28, 2010
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    I'm looking into using a 555 timer does this sound like a viable option?
     
  5. Wendy

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    Mar 24, 2008
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  6. labhelp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 28, 2010
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    Thank you for the link, that really helps me out. I was thinking of using an LED string like rope lights for example. But, I'm thinking this may cause higher currents than what the 555 can handle. Maybe I should just stick to single LEDs.
     
  7. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    Whenever you exceed what your circuit can handle, 200mA max for the 555 I think, just think MOSFET. This special transistor can switch a high current (eg. a whole bunch of LEDs) with just a voltage applied to its "gate" pin. They're very easy to use once you've climbed the small learning curve. Once you've learned how to use them, you have a very versatile tool in your box.
     
  8. labhelp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 28, 2010
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    Is there an easier way of completing this?
     
  9. Wendy

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    It is fairly easy to boost a 555 output, using several methods. Show me what you are after and I can show you how to use 100 times the number of LEDs.

    BTW, that is chapter 10 in my article.
     
  10. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    You still haven't told us what "this" really is. You need to define the patterns, activities you want to show, and how many of what types of LEDs you want to use. Size, brightness, colors, available power supplies. Waterproof? Maybe you'd prefer to buy off-the-shelf LED controllers?

    I suggest starting with your "dream" vision of what you'd like. Just assume you can do anything, and describe what you want with as much detail as you can. If something about making your vision reality is too difficult, folks here will let you know and suggest clever alternatives.

    Read Bill's chapters, these will give you some ideas about what's possible and what's easy for a DIY project.
     
  11. labhelp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 28, 2010
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    Sorry about the specifications. I have a 12V dc supply that I am going to use to drive 3-6 LED strips that I have yet to find. I want the option for all of them to be on at once, which is easy, and the option to just simply start with one LED strip on then the next LED strip and so on until it reaches the 6th. After a little more research I am thinking that I can use multiple 555 timers to create different pwm like signals to drive transistors that allow current flow through each LED strip.
     
  12. labhelp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 28, 2010
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    After looking at Bill's chapter 10, that looks to be the method I am looking to implement.
     
  13. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    Sounds like you're on the right track.

    You might want to look at the 4017 counter IC (probably in Bill's chapter) to accomplish the advancing from one strip to the next. Each clock pulse from a 555 will sequentially turn on a different output pin, up to ten. You set the 4017 to reset on the number of strings you have, so you can use any number of strings and the process starts over and repeats indefinitely.

    You'll just route the output control signals to the MOSFETs controlling each strip.
     
  14. labhelp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 28, 2010
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    Wow, thanks for the tip! I was thinking that I was going to have to use multiple clocksignals and play with the frequency and duty cycle to do the switching. The 4017 counter will save me from going through all of that trouble.
     
  15. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Hope it helps, if you run into problems there are a lot of people here willing to help you.

    Part of the fun for me is solving problems. There is real satisfaction making something new, even with prior art.
     
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