For Christmas this year, I wanted to make a really cool project but didn't quite know what to make. As I was getting the Christmas lights out to decorate, there was an old busted Christmas light timer. I took it apart and looked around at the low-voltage circuit. Before this I had never experimented with AC circuits. I decided instead of hacking the timer to just make a whole new circuit, thus starting the AC electronics hobbyist side of me. And here it is, the 3 channel arduino powered Christmas light controller!
CAUTION!! If you decide to build this project you must be CAREFUL! This project is built with AC voltage which CAN BE DEADLY! If you have never worked with AC before, please get supervision from someone that has. Instructables and/or myself are NOT responsible for any injuries caused by the misuse of this project.
If you need any help or perhaps a more detailed description of the schematic, leave a comment.
Step 1: Tools, Materials and Skills
For this project you will need the following tools, materials and skills:
Soldering iron- you can get one of these for cheap at radioshack or online
Solder- can also be bought at radioshack
Wire cutters and wire strippers- radioshack has them
Something to mark with- I used a sharpie
3, 5 volt relays- I bought mine at radioshack but they can also be bought for cheap online
3, 1N914 diodes
3, NPN transistors- I used 2n3904 but 2n2222 will also work.
Solid and Stranded core Wire- radioshack
Perforated board A.K.A. proto-board- radioshack
male and female header pins- online
Arduino microcontroller- I used an UNO but older versions will also work. You can buy them online and at some radioshacks
Electrical Cord- radioshack or home-improvement store
Electrical outlets- home improvement store or radioshack
For this project you will have to know how to do the following:
Work with AC volatge
Have basic knowledge of electronic circuits
how to program and arduino