2 TC420s, Arduino Mega, or rPi - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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I’m trying to decide how to start controlling some modified RGBW leds. I’ve controlled some using a cheap led controller but it is very limited on schedule abilities. I’m trying to decide on what my best route is going to be.

So as a baseline of requirements:
-I need 7-8 individual channels
-I plan to use PWM outputs to control MOSFETs so I have the appropriate amperage to the LEDs
-need the LEDs to gradually fade over an extended period of time instead of jumping from 1 value to another at preset times (my current setup)

The issue I’m having is how to control this efficiently/cost effectively. I have an Arduino UNO to experiment with but I’m starting from scratch with learning how to program it. Writing code is new to me, so reviewing someone else’s to see how it applies to me or how to change it for my purpose is above my skill level, though I can definitely learn. I have found this that seems like it would work but I need to look into a few things on it.

https://github.com/benjaf/LightController

I’ve done a lot of research into the TC420 and feel pretty confident I can use 2 along with some NPN MOSFETs to control the lights and I like the graphical interface you get with PLed.

RPi is a complete unknown but I have been reading the RPiAqua thread to try to understand how it works.

Now from everyone here’s experience, does it seem like multiple TC420s will suit my needs best, or should I be looking into one of the other 2 options? Thanks for any help
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 06:15 PM
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first .. what's wrong w/ the "native" NPN's in the TC?
Each is rated 4A..
IF you need more the "5V "hack" off the internal gate of the MOSFETS can fire these:
https://www.amazon.com/NOYITO-Transi...34532719&psc=1

THAT is "the simplest" way to program constant voltage strip lights..goofy Chinese software and all..

There are 2 approaches to the other part.
1) Run away
2) run farther..

but in all seriousness..
RPiAqua is a great attempt and has some functionality that none have and would probably take a few months of "learing" to emulate yourself.
They have my ultimate respect for their attempt but it still sits at like $100 parts and you need to "DOS" program it..if you get my drift.


Next is the ReefPi project ..
https://reef-pi.github.io/



Really??? .. GRANTED that is more than just lighting..

As to Aduino.. plenty of already assembled code of it.. inc. Typhon and HurricaneX though you would need to match "parts" i.e clocks ect
People constantly try to re-invent the wheel ..unfortunately few succeed far enough to be a complete project.
Take this from me.. the "master" of incomplete projects...or how the ReefPi continues to evolve...

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
first .. what's wrong w/ the "native" NPN's in the TC?
Each is rated 4A..
IF you need more the "5V "hack" off the internal gate of the MOSFETS can fire these:
https://www.amazon.com/NOYITO-Transi...34532719&psc=1

THAT is "the simplest" way to program constant voltage strip lights..

There are 2 approaches to the other part.
1) Run away
2) run farther..

but in all seriousness..
RPiAqua is a great attempt and has some functionality that none have and would probably take a few months of "learing" to emulate yourself.
They have my ulimate respect for their attempt but it still sits at like $100 parts and you need to "DOS" program it..if you get my drift.


Next is the ReefPi project ..
https://reef-pi.github.io/



Really??? <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_wink.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Wink" >:-)</a>.. GRANTED that is more than just lighting..

As to Aduino.. plenty of already assembled code of it.. inc. Typhon and HurricaneX though you would need to match "parts" i.e clocks ect
People constantly try to re-invent the wheel ..unfortunately few succeed far enough to be a complete project.
Take this from me.. the "master" of incomplete projects...or how the ReefPi continues to evolve...
That’s about what I was gathering from reading all the threads I have. Maybe a case of reinventing the wheel.

As far as needing over 4amps per channel, I plan to run 2-3 60w RGB spot lights in parallel, so I’m anticipating needing higher output than the 4amb but I won’t know until I can dissect the spotlight and measure the power input into LED. I’m hoping I can remove the factory ir controller and tap straight into the MOSFETs that I anticipate are onboard
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 06:42 PM
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Yea.. not sure there are any inside.. fun stuff:
https://hackaday.com/2013/06/28/dimm...ps/#more-99379
http://rotormind.com/blog/2013/Dimmi...th-an-Arduino/


https://www.sparkfun.com/news/1821

Maybe some high power fast transistors.. kind of the same..

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."

Last edited by jeffkrol; 11-23-2018 at 06:52 PM. Reason: edit
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aberry08 View Post
I have found this that seems like it would work but I need to look into a few things on it.

https://github.com/benjaf/LightController
Forget it, arduino uno has too little PWM outputs, and has only cca 250 steps. You need some sort of arduino and PCA9685.
I have built this https://www.ultimatereef.net/threads...roller.784531/
It is real simple and cheap. It is my first succes with arduino (no knowledge about programing, bad eyes, very little soldering experience, and I am 60), and it works flawless for 7 months. Manual settings are pain in ass, but if connected with cable it is easy.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-26-2018, 04:53 PM
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Hey! I built up one of those controllers from ultimate reef, and love it. I run several tanks off of it, and used cat6 cable to transfer the signal to the other side of the room, with headhone plugs/jacks for interconnections of lights. It's a lovely way to go, but a bit twiddly to set up. I find graphing out your light schedule on a sheet of paper and then setting the values works great. Other than that minor nitpick it's a fantastic choice if you need a lot of channels and good flexibility.

Affordable and versatile for sure, Highly recommended.


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