Smart lighting technology allows lights to respond to environmental conditions such as darkness or room occupancy. This is often employed to minimize energy usage but is also great for aesthetic effects, such as dimming lights or controlling their color or intensity. One of the most popular features is the ability to control lights remotely from a smartphone or web application.

Most complete home automation systems include smart lighting features, but you can also get your hands on this technology other ways, including building a system yourself.

Do-it-Yourself Smart Lighting with Arduino

Arduino is a nifty open-source system based on a microcontroller that you can program to follow your every whim

If you haven’t heard of the Arduino yet, you will soon. Arduino is a nifty open-source system based on a microcontroller that you can program to follow your every whim. In a nutshell, it uses sensors (inputs) to gather data, runs that data through algorithms you define, and uses actuators to produce resulting actions. For example, a microphone (sensor) picks up your voice, the algorithm determines you want the lights turned on, and the actuator sends the signal that turns on the lights.

Besides running your home with the power of your voice, you can use an Arduino to power all kinds of smart lighting in your home. If you want a light to turn on or off depending on exterior light levels, you can accomplish that with an Arduino board and an inexpensive photocell sensor. Getting even fancier, you can build an Arduino project that enables you to switch lights on and off remotely via an internet connection.

To make a project like this, you will need to use a relay. That’s because the Arduino puts out a safe five volts, not enough to power a light. So instead the Arduino is connected to the relay, which has the ability to safely switch higher voltage, say 110 volts, on and off. You’ll program the Arduino to respond to a sensor (perhaps a signal from your smartphone), determine what action you want (using the algorithm you create), and execute the desired result (by triggering an actuator).

Arduino Smart Lighting Projects

Building an Arduino smart lighting project typically includes a collection of parts that you must assemble in a particular configuration. Common project parts include:

  • Arduino board (the heart of the system)
  • A shield, or add-on board that enables internet and wi-fi connectivity or a Bluetooth module
  • Relay
  • Photocell receptor (if environmental light level is a factor)

This YouTube video demonstrates how to control a lightbulb using Arduino.

Arduino projects like these are fun to build. They don’t give you all of the features of a full-fledged smart home system, but it’s cool to build the system yourself, and you can fine-tune it to fit your personal preferences. You can even control the color and intensity of the light that’s put out.


Complete Home Automation Systems

If you’re interested in home automation but don’t want to get your hands dirty with connecting relays and Bluetooth modules, Protect America’s home automation system can help. It includes built-in Amazon Echo Dot integration and works with the Protect America App, no programming required. It goes way beyond controlling lights and connects seamlessly with the Protect America’s affordable home security system, using the security system as the gateway to home automation. Check out our security system plans to see what’s included. Or get a free quote, right now. Protect America specializes in complete, budget-friendly 24/7 home protection and home automation.