LED strip integrated in Domotica system

Now that the new floor is nearly finished, i can start working on some Home Automation related subjects again; the first was using LED strips in the kitchen.

LED strips

LED strips

In total 4 segments of LED strip are used; 2 near the floor at the plinths of the lower kitchen cabinets, 1 at the counter top and 1 on top of the upper kitchen cabinets.

Today i finished controlling all these LED strips individually.

I don’t have Ethernet in the kitchen, so i used the ZigBee approach (again :-)). I mounted a XBee on a Sparkfun XBee RS232 board and connected it to the Chromoflex RS232 RX input:

XBee and Chromoflex in a box

XBee and Chromoflex in a box

The XBee RS232 board is powered by the adapter that also powers the Chromoflex, so all i needed was a wall outlet for the Chromoflex adapter and the Chromoflex was “connected”.

Now it was time to add control functions to my Touchscreen application, running on my Asus TOP in the livingroom. I added a “LED” button on the floorplan, in the middle of the kitchen:

LED button on the floorplan

LED button on the floorplan

And i found a very cool Trackbar Control and created a new pop-up form with it, that appears when you push the “LED” button:

LED Trackbar

LED Trackbar

With this form i can control each LED segment individually. To minimize traffic, i used the same approach as i did earlier with controlling my thermostat; a timer event fires when the Trackbar value hasn’t changed for 1.5 seconds and sends the new value to my Domotica System by XMLRPC:

VB.Net code

That’s all there is to it. My Domotica system takes care of the rest e.g. building the Chromoflex packet based on the USP3 protocol, wrapping it in a XBee Transmit Request packet and sending it to the ZigBee coordinator. Home Automation is sooo cool 🙂

Wireless LED strip control

Well, this post could just as well be called Wireless Chromoflex controller, or Zigbee LED Strip controller, or … 🙂

What i’m actually trying to accomplish is placing 14 meters of LED strip, split into 5 separately controllable parts in my house, without the need of additional wiring (i hate that!).  Just plug it into the mains and start using it… that’s the goal.

Yesterday the last goods i was waiting for arrived, so tonight it was time to make some sort of ‘proof of concept’; would i be able to control a Chromoflex by using Zigbee as transport medium instead of wires? Of course! Why wouldn’t it? But it’s always nice to actually see it working with your own eyes; and tonight i did.

Wireless Chromoflex

Wireless Chromoflex

In terms of programming, enabling my Home Automation system to be able to control an interface like the Chromoflex by using Zigbee, needed some additional coding. Normally an interface is addressed directly over TCP/IP or RS232, but this time i could not transmit the Chromoflex packet directly; it had to be encapsulated in a Zigbee Transmit Request frame. A feature that will be very useful in the future i guess.

To be continued…