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Multi-Function Remote-Controlled Lamp Dimmer

You probably think that a dimmer is a dimmer is a dimmer, right? This little beauty will definitely change your mind!

By Mauro Grassi

Main Features

• Five Modes of Operation:
   (1) Dimmer with Time Out
   (2) ON/OFF control only
   (3) Sleep Mode – dims gradually to off over the timeout period
   (4) Flash mode – functions as a strobe light
   (5) Security mode – turns a light on and off randomly to simulate occupancy
• Use almost any RC5 remote controller– it learns the remote control codes
• Low standby power consumption (1.1W)
• Nine preset brightness levels with fine control in between
• Controls lamps up to 500W (eg, halogen spotlights)
• ON/OFF control for non-dimmable compact fluorescents
• Multi-Addressable: control up to nine dimmers independently
• Time Out Period: from 1 minute to 7 days (can be disabled)
• Save and restore your favourite brightness level and mode
• Remembers the last brightness level & mode if turned off using a series switch
• Customisable Triac triggering for finer control (advanced)
• Customisable dimming speed (advanced)

This remote controlled dimmer will work with incandescent and dimmable CFL (compact fluorescent) lights, as well as some 12V halogen lights. It can provide mood and home-theatre lighting or operate in SLEEP mode (eg, in an infant’s room) to very gradually fade a lamp.

This dimmer also has intelligence – it can automatically turn off the light after a timeout period ranging from one minute to almost a week, ensuring the light is not left on if you forget to switch it off. It can also be used to control non-dimmable CFLs. In this mode, we simply turn the CFL ON and OFF (note: it may not be suitable with some non-dimmable CFLs which tend to flicker in the "OFF" state).

Want to individually dim more than one table lamp in a room? No problem. You could have up to nine of these dimmers in a room independently controllable with the same remote. In addition, you can also control two or more dimmers simultaneously!

You can use almost any RC5 remote control, because the light dimmer can be programmed to learn the command codes. Pretty neat, eh? You use the number keys to dim to a preset level or the VOL UP and VOL DOWN keys to dim up or down in fine increments. Button "0" dims down to off, while "9" dims up to fully on.

In addition, we have attempted to provide just about every possible remote control feature in this design. It is quite a simple circuit but the microcontroller’s program provides all these features.

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