Arduino controlled lights – The Box

The aim was to start with 10 outlets and build out from there.

To make things easier I decided to make a box with room for 10 standard 240V wall powerpoints.

Each powerpoint is 117x70mm so allowing for two columns of five points (with space between each to allow for plugpacks)I ended up with a base of 250x460mm.  I ended up making the box 220mm deep so that it wouldn’t fall over (the exact dimension was mostly determined by the size of the piece of wood I had)

In the end I needed the following cuts:

  • 2 * 250×460 for front/back
  • 2 * 220×460 for sides
  • 2 * 250×210 for top/bottom

I cut the sides out of a sheet of melamine MDF and assembled by connecting with small right-angle brackets.  I then finished it up by applying some melamine lining to the exposed wood for aestetics.  The back panel was attached by a large hinge and a small handle was added.

Here is the final result:

Arduino controlled lights

Last Christmas was my first Christmas in my very own house (was renting before) and so I was able to put up more lights than before.  In the process of setting up the lights I thought about making them computer controlled (so as to sync to music etc)

I had some X10 appliance modules which did the job for turning them on/off at the right times of day, but there was so much lag that I couldn’t use it for anything fancy.  As such I started looking around for how to do this properly.  Most of the stuff I found was only available in the US and/or was very expensive so I figured I’d just do it myself 🙂

To that end for Christmas my wife bought me an Arduino and various little bits.  I then spent a while learning how to program it.  Then after a bit more time I began work on an arduino controlled power box.  At long last I have finished it (hardware-wise – better software is still to come)

So that others may get some benefit from my testing I figured I’d blog how I made it. I’ll split the build up into a few posts for easier digestion – The box, the hardware and finally the software.

Here goes nothing.