Light Controller

By Peter LamPeter Lam, on 02 Mar 2013 03:46

The Light Controller board, developed by Bigfoot Studios, is used for turning lights off and on with the ability to control the brightness from the board itself. Thus far three separate projects have been or are being developed using it: 1.) A lighted staircase that flashes depending on which step an individual is on, 2.) An outdoor pathway that will display a light pattern when the motion detectors sense movement, 3.) And a large ceiling light with animation capabilities.

Light Controller Board v1.4


Qty Description
1 Light Controller PCB v1.4
1 Arduino Nano v3.0
1 TIP31C NPN Transistor



Board Attributes

The Light Controller v1.4 consists of 5 main parts, each providing its own function.

  1. Emitter: Pins D7, D8, D10, D11, D12 provide current to the Emtr ends of IR photo emitters. IR photo emitters require sufficient current and voltage to work at the rated condition. Resistor R8 is for protection.
  2. Receiver: Pin +5v is connected to the Recvr ends via resistor R1, which will be the IR photo transistor. The IR photo transistor is like a NPN transistor without a base end. Instead it detects an IR signal. When there is specified IR signal received, current will be allowed to pass through the photo transistor. Pin A4 senses voltage change caused whenever current passes through the circuit due to motion detection.
  3. Lighting control: The brightness of the LED is apportioned via the TIP31C through pins D3, D5, D6, D9. The various resistors will allow different values of current into the base of the TIP31C, maximizing LED output control.
  4. Communication pins: The Light Controller v1.4 uses pin RX0 and pin TX1 to communicate with other light controllers. TX1, for transmitting, goes to the comm port of MOLEX connector on the left of the board. RX0, for receiving, goes to the comm port of MOLEX connector on the right of the board. The communication within light controllers is one way only, from right to left. D4 and D2 serve as the backup of TX0 and RX0 respectively. A shunt connector can join TX0 and D4, and another shunt can join RX0 and D2.
  5. Optional parts: Data, Err, OK, and Motion LEDs can be added as well as a Test button.


Lab Staircase

The staircase in the Arduino Lab has been equipped with motion detectors that begin a light animation on the steps themselves when the corresponding motion sensor is triggered. Each step has it's own set of IR sensors and a Light Controller board capable of serial communicating with the other boards on each step.

Lab Staircase. The IR sensors are hidden behind the darkened glass in the wall.
When tripped, the sensors will case the stairs to light up.

Components (per device)

Qty Description
1 Light Controller PCB v1.4
1 Arduino Nano v3.0
4 IR Emitter (5mm Package)
1 IR Receiver (5mm Package)
1 TIP31C NPN Transistor
1 1-Way 4-Pin Male Pin Header
1 1-Way 3-Pin Male Pin Header
1 1-Way 2-Pin Male Pin Header
2 2-Way Shunt
3 2-Block Screw Terminal
3 200R Resistor
1 2.7k Resistor
1 4.7k Resistor
1 6.8k Resistor
1 11k Resistor
1 10K Resistor
2 LEDs (5mm)
1 10K Potentiometer
x xxx

Project Status



Each device is connected to one another through a molex connector.

Source Code

Name Modified Author
Lab Staircase v1.0-RC 5/17/13 Kendro

BFC 28/F Ceiling Lights (Hong Kong)

1st set of diffuser installed on ceiling lights.

Project Status

  • Waiting for final fabric installation; 4/29/13
  • Waiting for other suggestion in animation routine; 4/29/13
  • Installed with 35 diffused lights; 4/29/13

Specific Components

Qty Description
5 Bigfoot Light Controller "Q" Version
1 12V 29A Power Supply
35 12V Light Strips
35 Arduino Nano v3.0
1 USB Tiny Programmer
35 TIP31C NPN Transistor
35 2.7k Resistor
35 4.7k Resistor
35 6.8k Resistor
35 8.2k Resistor
35 10k Resistor
35 100R Resistor
x xxx



Demo Video for Device Box and Running Light ; 4/22/13

Fade and Speed Test ; 4/22/13
Testing for dimmest and brightest level for LED strips as well as Toggle speed (with and without delay).

Initial Animation with Diffuser Installed; 4/29/13
Demonstration of simple animation routine coded for turning the device on and off.


Bigfoot Studios in Cebu - pathway behind main building leading from SS2 to Tiki Bar.

Casa 2 Stairway

Casa 2 Stairway (which one is still to be determined)

Change History

Date Description
4/29/13 Ceiling Lights v1.0-stable: Simple animation, slow random led strips turning off. Intended to perform animation in a way that the room and table are still evenly lit.

Source Code

Name Modified Author
Ceiling Lights v1.0-stable 4/29/13 Kendro

(name files with proper versioning and note stable/unstable release)
File nameFile typeSize
CeilingLights_01.0-stable.zipZip archive data107.74 kBInfo
ceiling-lights.pngPNG image data21.5 kBInfo
Circuit_diagram_V1.4.jpgJPEG image data152.12 kBInfo
Circuit_diagram_V1.4.schdata15.6 kBInfo
IMG_3866.JPGJPEG image data1.57 MBInfo
LabStaircase_01.0-RC.zipZip archive data2.63 kBInfo
LCBoard_In_Housing_2.JPGJPEG image data247.9 kBInfo
LCPackage.JPGJPEG image data157.23 kBInfo
Light Board.JPGJPEG image data81.46 kBInfo
Light Controller v1.4.bmpPC bitmap866.31 kBInfo
Light_Controller V1.4.pcbdata16.55 kBInfo
light_slave.inoASCII C program text15.4 kBInfo
mk120 light barrier.jpgJPEG image data70.18 kBInfo
PIR_parthway.inoASCII English text3.38 kBInfo
StairCase.JPGJPEG image data290.37 kBInfo
Staircase_Schematic.pngPNG image data16.48 kBInfo