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Thread: Controlling Window Candles in a Show

  1. #1
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    Default Controlling Window Candles in a Show

    Looking for some guidance here.

    I have read recently about a device that can be added to appliances for controlling through home automation. I have seen a few posts here about it; Sonoff.

    Here is a link on Amazon for those that don't know what I am talking about as well as a Youtube video.

    https://www.amazon.com/Sonoff-Electr...eywords=sonoff

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRCH67wfwNE

    There are serveral people that have mentioned they would like to control the power to various parts of the lighting show (if not everything). I do see the value of that.

    BUT what if you wanted to control an element/prop within a specific show?

    Here is what I have done so far. I have researched and tested some simple Arduino and solid-state relays and they work great. So I know that a single relay can control my element.

    My element is a window candle. It is a 110v powered lamp. I have have one in each of my eleven windows on the front side of my house.

    I don't want to buy eleven Arduinos or Raspberry Pi to do this. So I looked at the ESP8266 for providing that connectivity but the additional electronics started to push the costs beyond tolerable; relays, buck-converter, etc. The cost for one was over $15.

    So I was actually thinking about the OneStick but the problem still came to cost and the fact that two power sources would probably be involved for each candle.

    Then I read about the Sonoff.

    This solves several problems such as cost, and control of the actual candle.

    The only problem that I see at this point is how to activate/deactivate from within a Show.

    I read that RDM could be used but I wanted to make sure that my idea was doable. Next what would be the next step to accomplish this idea.

    I use Vixen but if xLights is better for this then I can switch.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Controlling Window Candles in a Show

    There are a couple of different implementations of the X.10 home automation protocol. This along with some scripts can be used to turn home automation devices on/off but the timing is not reliable. If you just want them on before the show, off during the show, on after the show then a simple script will work. If they are to be part of the show, then you might want to look into using the wireless SSR from digwdf. It is an ESP+Renard+SSR in one package. Apply WiFi and power and away you go.


    2018 - Moving and going to visit my Daughter in New Zealand. Most likely I will be dark or nearly dark, Some static stuff that is simple to put up.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Controlling Window Candles in a Show

    I used Sonoffs reflashed with ESPEasy to control my sound and Tune To sign last season from Vixen. I had some problems with them outdoors when temps dropped but otherwise they did OK.

    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Controlling Window Candles in a Show

    Thanks fpr the comments.

    I should not have an issue with the temperature as these will be inside the house.

    As Martin mentioned, timing will have to be good. As far as the wireless SSR, I did look at thise but I did not get a warm and fuzzy feeling. It still looked like I would need two power sources for each candle. One for the SSR and one for the candle.

    Does ESPEasy bring anything to table in terms of better and more reliable control?

    Thanks

    Buddy

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Controlling Window Candles in a Show

    Nothing special comes to mind with ESPEasy as far as reliability. I used it because it is a handy little package that covers the basics without the need to invest much time in coding. Configuration is thru a web page and commands are sent thru html so it was easy to open a browser and send a quick command if a Sonoff missed a command from Vixen.

    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Controlling Window Candles in a Show

    So Vixen can talk to ESPEasy. That is good to hear. How difficult is it to configure it?

    Thanks Dave

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Controlling Window Candles in a Show

    In the ESPEasy configuration pages you assign an IP address then have to create a simple script for the Sonoff to turn on / off when you send a conmand.

    In Vixen you then add each Sonoff as a controller, select the RDM tool from the bottom of the effects list and fill in the blanks. (Extremely easy).

    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk

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  9. #8
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    Default Re: Controlling Window Candles in a Show

    Hey Dave,

    I watched a flashing video and the configuration does look pretty easy.

    I believe I will order a couple of these.

    Buddy

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