Timed LED Aquarium Lighting Project

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by luxsphinx, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. luxsphinx

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 10, 2010
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    0
    Hello all,

    I'm new to this forum and have been tinkering with electronics for a couple months now. Prior to that I was only making simple circuits of LEDs with resistors and switches to brighten up the interiors of my car. I'm moving up to more complicated projects now and was hoping for some help. I am going to attempt to explain a thoroughly as possible.

    The project is simple enough I suppose, but given the limited experience that I have, it is a challenge to me. The plan that I have so far is to use a piece of plexi-glass that is cut to fit inside the existing incandescent light hood of the aquarium (10 gallon). I will then drill holes in this for the LEDS and the wiring will all be safely contained in the hood. That is the easy part. The hard part is the timing and multiple colors. I want the warm white LEDs to be on during the day (say 12 hours from 8AM to 8PM) and then have blue LED moonlighting turn on during the rest of the time (from 8PM to 8AM). In the future I would possibly fade between them, but that is definitely not in the scope of this project now. For effect, green LEDs will also be present, however I plan to control these with an manual switch that turns off which ever (white or blue) lights are on at the time. All of this would be powered off of a wall-wart of the needed values (15V?).

    The white LEDs require from 3.0-3.4V while the blue & green require 2.8-3.5V. I was thinking of using four of each color but could adjust accordingly.

    As I was trying to figure this out, my original idea was to use 555 timers, but realized that 12 hours was simply far to long of an interval for a 555. That is when I learned of the CD4060 and feel that it is the answer. Then I found a place that is going to making a kit for something similar to what I would need. It can be seen here: http://www.edutek.ltd.uk/Circuit_Pages/24hrTimer.html .

    I figure I could try to duplicate that timer circuit to serve as the base and then modify it from there to add in the other two colors of lights. Since that circuit would only turn the white LEDs on an then off instead of switching to the blue, would using a SPDT relay solve this? Where would be the best place place the switch of the green LEDs? Is there a simpler/cheaper/better way of accomplishing my goal than this route?

    Oh, and I have considered using a micro controller, but have no idea about how to program them nor where to start in addition to not having a programmer board. That being the case, I don't think it is viable for me - unless I build a cheap uJDM programmer and use a 16LF84 or something.

    Thank you for any help or guidance that you can offer.
     
  2. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    969
    If you want to go the microprocessor route look into the Arduino.. I had no experience with any micro either and picked one up..did some of the tutorials and now I have code for a fully functional reef tank controller. Complete with lighting cycles and dimming/pump control/ level monitoring/alarms. With the Arduino you simply buy the main board (like 30 bucks) and plug it into your computer with a USB cable and download the program to write code.. No need for a special programmer,etc... The language is pretty darn easy too.

    Oh yeah..Im using a DS1307 real time clock to provide the timing/clock functions added to the arduino
     
  3. luxsphinx

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 10, 2010
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    0
    So if I chose Arduino, I would need to buy another board for each future project? Sorry, I'm not very knowledgeable about Arduinos. I just always figured that they were expensive and complicated and so I stayed away. What language(s) does it use [BASIC, Python, C, etc.] or does it have its own?
     
  4. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    4,769
    969
    http://www.arduino.cc/ take a look and read a little.
    Yes you buy 1 main board for a project, plus I would buy the protoshield to add any other components you need like the RTC/battery/crystal,etc...
    You can check out/buy the boards,etc.. here http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/categories.php?c=103

    coding is in wiring--similar to C I guess.. Pretty easy and tons of examples on the Arduino site.

    It's just a suggestion... but I found it really easy to get started with this micro..
     
  5. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,535
    The 4060 is really good with long term timers. It is an RC oscillator with a long chain of counter circuits.

    Microcontrollers such as arduino or pics are simpler when finished, but there is a learning curve associated with programming them.

    It really depends how deep into the hobby you want to get.
     
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