Stairs Lights Kit is ready to be commercialized!

20180617_220246

My stairs lights PCB is ready to be commercialized! Hooray, a product!

If over 100 people order, I could offer the PCB by itself for $100. Otherwise the price will increase. I can also offer full kits with everything (motion detectors, LEDs, case, wires) included for $300. Leave a comment if you are interested.

Story

I have a few posts on this blog and the “stairs lights” post is by far the most popular. Because of this, I completely remade the PCB from scratch using parts from Digi-Key and replaced all the through-hole parts with surface-mount parts. I kept the Arduino bootloader, but no longer require the user to program the PCB. Adjusting settings is as simple as turning some knobs.

The product is still in validation stage and I welcome feedback. For example, is it tolerable to run 16 pairs of wires down the stairs? Are the settings I chose to adjust actually useful? Would this board be useful somewhere else besides stairs? What kind of case would you like? Is installation still too hard?

Demo

  • Intended for use with 12V LEDs (board can support 24V upon request)
  • Features on-board test LEDs to validate settings before running wires
  • No programming required
  • Push-down wire terminals eliminate need to solder terminators each step’s wires
  • Adjust fade speed, max brightness and propagate speed with knobs
  • Adjust number of steps with knob
  • Optional mode to keep top and bottom steps dimly lit all the time
  • Attach two optional switches to keep lights on indefinitely
  • Attach an optional photoresistor to disable the lights in daytime

Assembly

This assembly was done with my mini stairs.

Technical specifications

  • Supports 1-16 steps
  • Stays on for 20s
  • Input voltage: 5-16V (can go up to 28V but it’s more expensive and I don’t think anyone wants this)
  • Animation can be triggered every 25-200 seconds
  • Microcontroller: ATMega32u4
  • 8-bit, 75Hz PWM
  • Power usage of the PCB by itself with 12V supply: 0.8W
  • Works with 12V active-low pulldown motion detectors
  • Max current per step: 2A
  • Max total current through VDD and GND terminals: 4A (assuming using two conductors for VDD and two for GND)
  • Wire terminals accept 20-26 AWG (0.2-0.5mm^2)

FAQ

Can I just use one LED strip and two motion detectors?

Yes, but a regular LED strip will light up all at once. You could use an addressable strip, but that would require you to connect a microcontroller and write code.

Can I adjust how long the lights stay on before turning off?

No. I kept this at a fixed 20s. If enough people ask for it, I can replace the “propagate speed” knob to adjust “on time” instead.

Do I still need to solder?

Yes, but only LED-to-wire. Requiring soldering eliminates the need for solderless connectors in the circuit. This improves the appearance of the final installation. The PCB itself comes fully soldered.

Is it made in the US?

The current plan is to make it in the US.

Is it open source?

Not yet.

Is it Arduino compatible?

Yes. All boards are flashed with the Arduino Micro bootloader on an ATmega32u4.

Can two boards be cascaded for double the lights?

By soldering the right wires between two boards, two control boards can support this mode. I did not write the firmware to support this mode because no one has asked for it yet.

Can it be used outdoors?

The controller board must be housed properly in a weatherproof casing and the LEDs must be swapped out for waterproof LEDs. These are not included in the kit.
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2 thoughts on “Stairs Lights Kit is ready to be commercialized!

  1. Danny Graham

    Cool!
    Did you ever get the code updated?
    At one point I thought you had told me you were in process of doing so.
    Thnx, Danny

    Reply

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