- What should be the design of the stairs
- TOP standard lighting solutions
- What light sources to use
- Automatic control unit
- Wiring and electrical connection
Sometimes the stairs are not safe. Especially in the dark, when the steep steps just strive to slip out from under your feet. The effort put into setting up an automatic lighting system is definitely worth it. This not only guarantees your safety, the backlight will become an original touch in almost any interior..
What should be the design of the stairs
Installation of the backlight involves the creation of a rather cumbersome communications network, at least a couple of wires are needed to power each step. In view of this, it is strongly recommended to abandon the wiring in cable channels, it is better to make through holes and bring the ends to the wrong side. For some types of stairs, this can be difficult, especially for structures with gaps and concrete steps..
Sometimes the presence of side walls and stringers helps out, they help hide unnecessary wires from the eyes. It is advisable to lay the wiring simultaneously with the construction of the flight of stairs, otherwise you will certainly face the difficulty of securing the wires and masking them.
If you intend to use spotlights, the shape of the steps can be any. But keep in mind that the point light can only be installed if there are risers, and behind them there must be a cavity for installing a base of 40-60 mm.
It makes sense to use linear light sources (fluorescent lamps, LED strip) if the steps have an extension of about 20-30 mm. It is also possible to install a point light on one of the adjacent walls, in this case, the wiring for the staircase lighting must be embedded along with the main power grid.
TOP standard lighting solutions
For most standard designs, it makes no difference which light sources are used. As a rule, ready-made kits represent a unit with a control controller and two motion sensors, which are installed under the guise of ordinary sockets.
The algorithm of work is of decisive importance. It is far from always necessary to illuminate the entire staircase, sometimes it is enough to mark the first few winders in the dark, or every second or third, if that is enough. The number of connected light sources directly affects both the cost of the control unit and the overall project budget.
Simply and without any frills, such a system can be built on a conventional infrared presence sensor, which is used to automate street lighting. No additional automation is required, the sensor is quite capable of switching currents up to 2-3 A, however, the photocell works only in a 220 V network. Therefore, either use lamps with an appropriate operating voltage, or add intermediate relays to the circuit.
Most typical controllers are assembled on Arduino platforms and their counterparts. Motion detectors, amplifier stages and power supplies are all standard accessories. Typical blocks, depending on the microcontroller used, have 12, 24 or 36 channels for separate switching of the backlight of each stage.
Why is this needed? Control on AVR microcontrollers allows you to implement such interesting things as smooth switching on and fading, ignition of steps along the path of a person and other animated effects. It’s nice that Arduino, as a platform, is quite accessible for ordinary users to master, which means that it will be possible to seriously save on self-assembly of the automation unit: about 3,000 versus 7,000-10,000 rubles.
What light sources to use
The lower the power consumption, the cheaper switching devices can be used. In the case of contact devices, this is almost irrelevant, but most projects are still implemented on semiconductor technology..
The first thing that comes to mind is LED strips. They are really economical and, in fact, created for just such a purpose. Many are stopped by the considerable price of such lighting equipment. Some people don’t see a way to secure them properly: even if the steps have a ledge, simply gluing tape under it is not a good idea. LEDs heat up during operation to 40–45 ° and the glue simply ceases to hold.
Of the options for LED spot lighting, the technique also seems to be the most promising. However, the diodes are very bright and directing them to your face means being tortured every time you pass by, especially when you are asleep. The problem can be partly solved by sticking light filters, but then what is the use of expensive bright lamps?
Halogen lamps are also quite applicable if they are designed for an operating voltage of 12 V. In complex networks, it is unprofitable to use amplifiers for high voltage, therefore all 220 V light sources are best used only when switching with relay-type devices.
Automatic control unit
Whether you are going to make a control unit or purchase a ready-made one, it will not hurt you to analyze typical circuits. At least you’ll know where to start.
The heart of the block is a debug board with a microcontroller, usually from the AtMega or ATtinny series. Basically, you get 20-40 electrical contacts that you can control as you like..
There is no need to etch the printed circuit boards. The field-effect transistors used (IRLB8721PBF are ideal even for halogen lamps) have a fourth contact pad for landing on the chassis, the role of which is played by a piece of aluminum cornice or other profile. In the same way, the heat dissipated by the elements is removed..
It is quite possible to solder by weight to such components: the gate leg is connected to the controlled output of the debug board, the drain and source are connected to the source and consumer according to polarity. Exposed live parts can be reliably insulated with a thin heat shrink tubing.
It is better to use ultrasonic sensors for such purposes, from the standard Arduino kit. With a range of 3–4 meters, they provide quite sensitive detection. To determine the direction of movement, the sensors are installed in pairs at a distance of 35-40 cm.
The more expensive infrared sensors have an analog type of output signal, so the automation can be configured to ignore pets. The same can be achieved by placing the ultrasonic detectors a little higher..
Wiring and electrical connection
Despite the low operating currents, it is recommended to connect each step individually, this will save the rest of the sensitive components in the event of a breakdown. A suitable place for placing the control unit is in the cavity of one of the central steps under the inspection door. All wires to the unit can be pulled along the shortest route.
If you will use a single wire (PV-1, PV-3), it is allowed to connect the lamps individually only with positive control contacts, and connect the negative ones to each other and “spread” onto a thick main wire.
Please note that there is no need to purchase dozens of expensive connectors to connect most LED strips. If you cut off a thin layer of silicone and clean the tracks, it will be quite easy to solder to them, and by crimping the junction with two heat shrink tubes, you are guaranteed to avoid breaks.