need chrismas light circuit

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by txfirefighter4721, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. txfirefighter4721

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 30, 2009
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    Im gonna go all out this Christmas for our lights. What I want to do is make different sets of lights such as the porch one set, the bushes another etc. 6 sets in all. I want those sets to dance with Christmas music. Give the neighbor kids a good show. I have no idea even where to start.:confused: Prolly 6 relays to a strip but what should I use to control the relays. Also I have no experience in micro controllers. Please keep it simple. Thanks in advance guys.
     
  2. jj_alukkas

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    751
    5
    Are you interested to dance the lights with music without relays or microcontrollers?? Try this. If you need something specific, give power supply details and load to drive details.
     
  3. txfirefighter4721

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    13
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    Sorry if I was unclear. I do want to use relays. Something very simple.
     
  4. jj_alukkas

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    751
    5
    Do you simply want to switch the 6 relays on and off one after the other in a running manner? How much are you into electronics, so that we could specify one according to your experience.
     
  5. txfirefighter4721

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    13
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    I have a basic understanding of electronics. I recently built a circuit controlling DC motors with a pwm and h bridge with yalls help. I want the lights to dance with the music. I would rather it be random than inline. Every cycle different. Does that make sense?
     
  6. jj_alukkas

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    751
    5
    Dancing 6 relays will be noisy like a typewriter at full speed. Its not efficient. And to dance 1 or 2 relays is simple, but to do that with 6 relays would need complex circuits like the one I posted above. What device would you expect to control 6 relays other than 1 IC or 6 transistors with resistors?

    Dancing to music requires another IC or I/O transfomer..

    If you need, you can replace all the triacs in the above ckt with relays and make a typewriter. There is no way other than to do this without atleast 2 discrete components.

    In electronics, the more devices you need to control individually, the more complex it gets. You can't help it. Either you need to modify your needs or go on as is.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2009
  7. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    A basic start is something called SSR (solid state relays). These electronic devices are exactly like relays, but they can use a watch cell to trigger them. They can be expensive, but I've bought them used for as little as $5. New they run between $10-20.

    Depending on how you want to control them, think something like a color organ or computer control. Google color organ for ideas on that subject, or stick around and work out details a bit at a time here (or both).

    My suggestion is to build an AC controller box that is sealed, with AC power in, and recepticles out, with the SSRs mounted inside and a set of DC contacts for the SSR inputs. You can build up from there, but AC is dangerous, and you will have to get this out of the way. My thought is to keep the AC away from everything else.

    Your name implies it, are you in Texas by chance? I know some decent local retailers.
     
  8. txfirefighter4721

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    13
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    Thanks guys. I think ill do both. Yes I am in tx. Palestine. Any good dealers would be great. As for the relays. I think the music will dampen out the noise of them. This will be an outdoors project. I wish I could do everything in AC. I understand it more. Go figure. Anyways. What kind of ic's where you suggesting? Maybe an ic running 6 transisters which then run the relays? Do one of you have a circuit in mind? When I mentioned microcontroller I was referring to the programmable kind.
     
  9. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Last edited: Aug 12, 2009
  10. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    Since it sounds like you have some experience with FETs, you could just rectify the AC with a full wave bridge and control the current with some FETs...
     
  11. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    SSR's are solid state, no moving parts. Basically they are optical triacs driven by low power LEDs packaged in a brick of epoxy with 4 leads, so they have excellent isolation. I wouldn't want to put it to the test, but they should be good against lightning strikes.

    I'm figuring you are wanting to use off the shelf lights, which is why I assume AC controls. Never thought of using FETs that way, sound's like it would work, the end result would be similar, except for the potential of ground loop issues.

    One of the things I like about SSR's is the ability to drive them straight from the parallel port on a computer. Most modern computers don't have them anymore, but still, it is a thought.

    I just looked up where Palestine is, about as far as Waco is from Dallas. I suspect your best bet is mail order. Somewhere like Jameco, BG Micro, All Electronics, or any number of online vendors would have them. If you ever find yourself in the Dallas area my favorite stores is in Carrolton, Tanner's Electronics. They do absolutely no mail order business though. If you have any questions feel free to ask.
     
  12. jj_alukkas

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    751
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    If you like, i have another suggestion to dance 6 relays. The CD4060B IC. It has the capability to blink 6 LED's in a random pattern and at different flash rates. You can use that to drive 6 transistors and then 6 relays(SSR's or mechanical) . However if you need to dance them with music, you will need to tap into the IC's oscillator section between pins 9, 10 and 11 and add an I/O transformer from an old radio. This is the simplest and cheapest idea I can think of.
     
  13. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Another cheaper option, vs. computer controlled, for 6 channels of musically controlled lighting would be a pair of 3 channel "Light Organs". One string for bass, one for midrange, one for highs, and a set like that for L and R channels.

    The difficulty would be converting the DC "3 channel Spectrum display" into AC dimmers for standard strings.
     
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