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.

11 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
  2. Danny Graham

    Hello Andrew!
    I haven’t been on you projects site in quite a while. The last I heard, you were going to make a few modifications and add other features to your stair lighting project and then possibly produce the end project commercially.
    Did that ever happen?
    If so, what kind of pricing do you have on a plug and play modular board ? The lights, wire enclosure and other hardware I can gather locally if I don’t already have it in my extensive “PROJECT” stockpile of junk.

    Thnx, Danny

    Reply
  3. Andrew Post author

    Hello Danny. I never commercialized the stairs lights board. I assumed that a price of $400 that I was going to charge for an all-inclusive kit was too high and that the instructions were too complicated and labor-intensive. e.g. “Step 10: solder 12 pairs of wires to LEDs, Step 11, label each individual wire with a number” I did not know how to find customers either. I said that I would redesign the lights to be a lot simpler and cheaper, but I haven’t done it yet.

    If you want, I can send you the PCB in the picture along with the schematic for $99.(No case or other hardware included)

    Reply
  4. Daniel Graham

    Will the PCB be “Plug and Play” with the additional hardware I provide, i.e.: micro controller already programmed, etc, etc? Also, could I pick your brain over time to make adjustments to the code to tailor the application to the # of steps, delay timing, and any other variables that may present in a final installment and application?(NOTE: I took a job with the railroad that had me on the road 26 days a month and that resulted in an abrupt halt to any progression of my endeavor to self educate in the arena of coding and programming.) I have just gotten to a point that I can start blowing the dust off of my stockpile of parts and unfinished projects/experiments.
    Thnx, Danny

    Reply
    1. Andrew Post author

      The microcontroller on this board is already programmed and can be adjusted using knobs as you can see in the video above. Editing source code is not necessary

      Reply
      1. Danny Graham

        Awesome!
        I will be getting back to you on the PCB later on after I get the other hardware installed on the stairs. Do you have a recommendation on the dimensions of an enclosure?
        Thnx, D

Leave a Reply to Petr Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s