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Main Room (G1) Lighting Refit

The Dali lighting ballasts in G1 are starting to give up on us. This page is a place to ponder and over-engineer a replacement. This page is Allie designing a replacement that no-one asked for.

Ambient/Task lighting

There are 18 DALI downlights in G1 right now, irregularly spread. It would require 21 to fully cover the area of ceiling currently covered by the DALIs, skipping every other tile.

* 30-channel 1440W LED controller - 30 channels of LED control at 2A/channel, 9V-24V input voltage. Designed for driving 10 LED strips but equally could drive 30 individual LEDs. About £25 per unit - we'd probably only need one unit for the white lights.

* 15W 24V LED Downlight - About £7/unit. LED “natural white” (about 4000K) downlights. Relatively inoffensive soft, white ambient lighting.

* Adjustable 24V LED Downlight Spot - for illuminating the kitchen / other fixed workspaces whilst ambient/soft light can be dimmed further.

Eye candy


There are lots of weird cheap DMX lighting fixtures available from ebay/aliexpress. They're nowhere near suitable for any kind of “real” lighting, but for making the lab pretty/impressive they're worth a punt.

  • £40 moving head beam thingy No gobos, no focus, no zoom, doesn't do colour mixing (each colour channel's beam comes out of the fixture differently aligned, probably due to separate colour chips) but it's fourty quid!


We're hackers, we've made pretty lights before, we can make pretty lights again!



DMX is the standard lighting control protocol. Art-net and sACN are two protocols for pushing DMX over a network. Allie has some designs for cheap sACN to DMX nodes based around the ESP8266, which have proven to be pretty reliable so far.

Software (sACN Router/Proxy/Mapper/whatever)

The core of the new lighting will be a control engine (probably in python) which is responsible for the following:

  • Generating control data based on cues (presets/scenes) fired over MQTT (“office mode”) or by other automations (time-of-day control, perhaps? need to figure out boundary of what this software should be responsible for)
  • Receiving sACN raw control (“party mode”) data
  • Intelligently(-ish) mixing/fading between office mode data and party mode data, either based on MQTT commands or priority/precedence rules.
  • Mapping the input channel space to the output channel space (channel 73-82 of control universe 3 might map to channels 1-10 of output universe 1 of unicast sACN device, for instance)
  • Sending sACN to the lab's lighting fixtures
  • Exposing some form of interface/configuration language to configure the above

This is not an insignificant amount of complexity - I would assume it would end up including some sort of DSL for creating complex architectural lighting cues, as well as maybe some form of web interface/etc.

For the sake of simplicity, I think that cues fired from the sACN Relay Engine Controller Thing directly should mostly be intensity only, or intensity+basic colour effects (to replicate the existing control we have over the G1 LED strip).

g1_lighting.txt · Last modified: 2020-02-13 22:51 by alfie

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