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Help making remote control LED lights

Jonathon

Feb 25, 2016
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Hi All

First off, sorry if this post is encroaching in the incorrect area.

Now to business - at my work I perform around 250+ interviews each year in 5 different rooms around the building. This is all well and good if everything goes to plan however if the interviews start going behind we have no way of knowing until we've had a look, which can take a while since the rooms are scattered around.

I'm asking if it would be possible to make a control box with 5 LED lights on them - each one controlled by a seperate remote located in each meeting room (5 rooms in total) which interviewers could use to indicate that they are ready for the next person?

Thank you.
 

cjdelphi

Oct 26, 2011
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Yes, fair amount of work involved as you'd need a remote/reciever circuit in every room, all of them need to talk to the main box with the 5 LEDs in, if you can get them to manually push something instead of a remote that's a lot of time saving.. communications could be done over 400mhz or use wifi/esp8266 , it's time consuming
 

Jonathon

Feb 25, 2016
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Yes, fair amount of work involved as you'd need a remote/reciever circuit in every room, all of them need to talk to the main box with the 5 LEDs in, if you can get them to manually push something instead of a remote that's a lot of time saving.. communications could be done over 400mhz or use wifi/esp8266 , it's time consuming

Thanks cjdelphi, the information on mhz is valuable.

The problem is that the interviewers only leave the rooms every hour and interview 5 people during said hour meaning that they don't have time to leave the room and press anything. I considered that this as it would be a much easier idea but I'd need a long wire going throughout the entire building which wouldn't look very classy and would need to be removed after the three day interview period.

A quick question to help me research into remotes/receivers: I'll be using 5 seperate remotes to correspond to each LED, so how would I ensure that each transmitter didn't light up every LED? I have a small degree of electronics experience but I've never played with radio frequencies before.

Once again thanks for your help.

*edit - crap punctuation.
 
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Alec_t

Jul 7, 2015
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What is the maximum distance from a meeting room to the monitoring point?
 

KJ6EAD

Aug 13, 2011
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Just as an example, you can buy a 9-channel (dry contacts) receiver with a long range antenna for $110. Remotes are around $20 each. Getting each remote to only actuate 1 unique channel on the receiver may be the hard part.

http://www.gamainc.com/remote-controls/
 

Jonathon

Feb 25, 2016
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What is the maximum distance from a meeting room to the monitoring point?

Sorry - Quite an important detail I missed! I'd say a 35m radius from the control box would be adequate, but there's a few walls (of course) in the way.
 

hevans1944

Hop - AC8NS
Jun 21, 2012
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You appear to need multiple transmitters networked to a single receiver, each transmitter being uniquely identified by the receiver. An Arduino and an XBee module, six of them, will suffice for all of these requirements. The remotes each contain an Arduino and an XBee "shield" powered from four or five AA re-chargeable NiMH cells. Or you can use four disposable AA cells. Pressing a button on the remote sends a coded message to the central receiver, also consisting of an Arduino and Xbee shield, which then lights the appropriate LED. Since the central receiver is on all the time it should be powered from a 5 V "wall wart" power supply. It is not necessary that the central receiver send messages to the remotes, but this may be a desirable feature. For example, pressing a button on a remote could temporarily light an LED on the remote. The central receiver receives the message from the remote and then transmits an acknowledgment message to the remote, which upon receiving the message extinguishes the LED.

Everything should be housed in plastic boxes to maximize the range. At least one pair (central station and one remote) should be assembled and tested for range limitations before building the remaining four remotes.

There may be simpler or less expensive options, such as commercial garage door openers with coded transmitters. However, I have not seen any that allow for separate decoding of multiple transmitters (remotes). You would need a receiver with decoder for each remote transmitter, each transmitter having a different pre-set code so it is paired with only one receiver. However, this path does offer the possibility of an "off the shelf" solution albeit perhaps at a higher cost.
 
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Alec_t

Jul 7, 2015
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Conventional wireless doorbells might suffice. They usually have a selection of channels and tunes/tones. The sounders could be replaced by LEDs.
 

hevans1944

Hop - AC8NS
Jun 21, 2012
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Conventional wireless doorbells might suffice. They usually have a selection of channels and tunes/tones. The sounders could be replaced by LEDs.
Yeah, I have one of these I installed years ago instead of wiring up the defunct door-bell/chimes circuit that failed thirty-something years ago. Small battery in the push-button switch has lasted for years. The plug-into-the-wall outlet receiver is located in the kitchen about thirty feet (ten meters or so) away. Works fine except it is triggered on by the Vitamix if that is plugged into the same convenience outlet. So the OP could just go to a home improvement store and purchase five of these and be done if the range is sufficient. As you mentioned, @Alec_t, the OP might need to hack the receiver to get rid of the annoying chime and replace same with an LED.

I like my Arduino + XBee approach because it would be a lot of fun to develop, but it's hard to justify for a rig that's only used for a few days once a year...:(
 

Jonathon

Feb 25, 2016
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Thanks for your input - I also love the idea of a tiny Arduino army but I've come to the same conclusion as you.

Alec-t, I think I'll investigate into your idea for now.

Thanks everybody for your input. This is clearly a very helpful community!
 
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