Man, I need to learn how to do this, this would be super awesome to have. All my LEDs are on constant current drivers but this would be sweet to implement.
So I read that first link, would you just hook up the drivers to the arduino board, load up some code and you're good to go?
Me thinks that is correct. I'm not 100% sure on it yet. I find everybody is mentioning they are using the arduino boards but nobody is really saying how to do it. Hopefully this thread can blow it wide open.
The confusing part is that you can pretty much do whatever you want with the board. My understanding is that it pretty much allows you to create a custom PLC. Give it real world input, covert that signal to 0-5v and it can use that info to put out another 0-5v signal to do whatever you want. I think.
We don't need to do much so you can have it turn lights on/off a certain times, fade in/out, control fans to control the heat on you fixture, etc. Programming random storms should be relatively simple if you know how to code, but things like cloud cover would require individually controlled LEDs unless you want to simply dim one driver or a few drivers at a time. It would be more challenging to have a could 'float' over the tank a few LEDs at a time.
I am not completely sure, but the limits of the arduino seem to be our imaginations, and $$$ of course.
I'm thinking that soon someone is going to figure out how to get the arduino ready so they can make a bunch up and sell them like people are selling regulator setups. It seems a board, the necessary resistors, transistors, clock, etc. for a dimmable sunrise/sunset fixture would run about $50 plus a hobby box if you want it nice and neat. Add in $30 bucks labour and you have a quick and dirty controller someone could sell in the SNS. If you are making a few at a time it should be easy to throw together.
The fixture itself isn't the difficult part to figure out. Choosing LEDs can be tough, but once decided, throw them on a heat sink wired in series and wire your driver... good to go. Of course you can get into parallel runs and all that, but I'm not read up on how that works. Apparently you can somehow control each LED on it's own. I can't figure how that is done unless they are using a channel for every LED.
The really hard part is figuring out the part list and schematic for the controller itself. My first link at the top seems to have that covered. Those who know how to code can write up programs and give (or sell) the code to us who have no clue like anything else. Want moon cycles? Program for that. Thunder showers? Program for that.
It would seem most of use are using dimmable drivers with manual control because the reefkeeper and ALC is a touch too expensive. But if we already have the drivers running our LED strings, you can upgrade whenever you have an extra $100. As new upgrades become understood and commonplace you can upgrade without needing a new fixture.
Sunrise/sunset isn't needed by all, but if it's cheap and easy, who wouldn't want