Network (cabled) RGBW controller


(hazymat) #1

Hi all

Recently I bought a “Magic Home” or some similar brand RGBWC controller (RGB + warm white + cool white) for a few pounds on Aliexpress. It’s a very common model on ebay, says it accepts 9-24V (I gave it 12) and looks similar to this:

rgbw

(Except mine was the RGBWC version with 6 output pins)

Anyway it worked for a while (actually only connected to a very short RGBW strip), then I may have shorted out something and then whenever I connected the green, all the other colours went dull and it behaved erratically. I opened it up and considered replacing the tiny little mosfets on the output stage, then changed my mind.

I bought this for testing, as I’m building a new home. I really like this because it was small and cheap, and could potentially be put into a standard wall back box.

But I would really prefer something that accepts a wired connection, and is also similarly cheap (although obviously won’t be so tiny). I prefer wired for permanent installations, and as I’m fitting out the home, and may end up actually relying on the light these strips give, it makes sense).

QUESTION 1
I know, the saying goes “pay peanuts, get monkeys”. But can anyone recommend a slightly more robust RGBW controller (don’t need warm and cool white) that works over wifi, even if it’s not quite so cheap? I want to get about 20 for the home, so they can’t be ridiculously expensive, ideally under £15 each. But slightly higher quality?

QUESTION 2
What about wired versions? Anyone tested ones that can be controlled over a wired network (either CAT6, DMX, or anything else that will interface with relative ease to openHAB)?


(Vincent Regaud) #2

Hello,
I thought so, this is the @hazymat of the very very nice home automation controller…
Thanks for your inspirational videos, and some of your code that I ruthlessly copied.
I have had a quick look, as I am sure you also have and everything is dear, very dear for ethernet RBGW controllers

There is this from a previous thread

But if you need 20, with your skills, I am sure it would be cheaper to design a PCB get 20 of them and you’re up and running. I’ll do the soldering if you let me in some boards!!


(hazymat) #3

Hi @vzorglub, thanks for the kind comments, I’m glad someone is ruthlessly copying something I’ve done, hopefully you’ve improved upon the code as it’s a sledgehammer to crack a nut in places!

Also thanks for confirming that, as always, it’s far cheaper / better / more sustainable to “do it yourself”.

As a side note, I’m driven to build my automation controller into a single board, or maybe 2 boards stacked. This is mainly because I really want networking and Mega2560 on the same board, without some additional stuff I don’t need that takes up space in the wall box. This means I’m going to have to get over my fear of soldering QFPs, and also designing a board that will accommodate the w5100 chip.

SO - this means I might try something similar for the RGBW controller. I could build a board from scratch using the ATmega328 as this probably has enough memory for the job, along with the W5100. It just needs to respond to MQTT, and mix colours, do basic dimming, etc. I don’t have any requirement for clever flashing or sequences. Just on / off / dim / colour range.

The whole package would be much smaller than the automation controller, although I’d like to use overpowered mosfets and have good heat dissipation etc.

But the whole lot could be controlled by openHAB over MQTT.


(Jan N. Klug) #4

If you are designing a new one, have a look at the ESP8266 based solutions, especially the ESP12-F. They are cheap, small, have build in WiFi and can be programmed with the Arduino IDE. Not wired, though.


(Consolacion) #5

Jan, as far as I know, the one he has, that was shown in the picture IS already based on an ESP82266


(Vincent Regaud) #6

I found this…

The diagram is very simple and it should be eady to add PoE and some Mosfets


(hazymat) #7

Just looked through that. Going well off-topic here but let’s go with it!

Some thoughts:

  • I’d really like to go smaller, using the 328 QFP package instead of DIP
  • It uses the ENC28J60. The writer (who didn’t write the code) mentions that Arduino library is restricted because you have to set IP address manually - this isn’t true for the Arduino Ethernet library, but the ENC28J60 doesn’t support many TCP/IP functions such as DHCP so they have to be written in the software. It needs its own library, which I don’t think supports DHCP, maybe that’s what he means. I would definitely want to do this with the W5100 chip, although it may be a bit harder it means you get full TCP/IP functions
  • One of the commenters mentioned wanting to “go the whole hog” and do this with a Silvertel AG8012s POE module. This is a person after my own heart!

Time to put together a component list I think!