There have never been more ways to light up your home. Low power LED strips and lamps are not only cheap, but can be controlled in a variety of amazing ways that will make you feel like a real starship captain, mad scientist or evil villain — depending on your priorities in life.

Most LED strips come with an infrared remote control. This is useful for obvious reasons, but using an Arduino instead can add functionality. (If you’re just getting started with Arduino, check out our beginner’s guide first.)

How about controlling your lights with your voice? But what about the lights that turn on automatically when you come home at night? Is the lighting mood controlled by someone else’s mood? How slowly does the day come with artificial dawn?

In this article, we will cover all of them and a few more. Here you can build almost every project with simple components and basic coding skills and even combine them together.

lend a hand

Let’s start with an old favorite — mallets. Instructables user MertArduino has created a toggle switch that connects to any lamp using a relay module along with a sound sensor module, all powered by an Arduino Uno.

You can use almost any Arduino-compatible board for this project, which will further reduce the size. If you choose to build this, I would perhaps suggest making the case a bit more secure than the one in cardboard!

Perfect to look when you walk into the room, and not so good if you’re likely to get applause.

catch a wave

Science fiction is full of interesting things that happen when a hero snaps his finger. Whether it be futuristic screens with manual control from Minority Report or the ability to shoot media from handheld devices to large screens in The expansion gestures seem to speak louder than words.

Francisco Castro made a stylish lamp out of simple materials — the lampshade itself has a beautiful simple paper design. You can check out the tutorial for this project on the Make website here.

User admarschoonen from Instructables developed this design, creating an updated version of Francisco’s lamp. He included a capacitive touch panel on each corner to change the color of the lamp. This time, the chain is inside an old IKEA glass lamp. You can find a detailed description of this project here.

Control Your Lights Like A Geek With These Arduino Admarschoonen Gesture Lamp 670 Projects
Image credit: admarschoonen via Instructables

Give him some color

As mentioned in the introduction to this article, many LED strips come with a cheap remote control for color and brightness control, but they rely on line-of-sight to work. A much more convenient way to control LED strips is via Wi-Fi. This of course means that your LED controller will also need to communicate over Wi-Fi. While there are shields for Arduino boards, why not buy something cheap, Arduino compatible, with Wi-Fi capabilities already built in? We reviewed NodeMCU (ESP8266) before and it is a favorite of many of our projects.

Ruy Santos created a mood lamp that can be controlled by any browser connected to his home Wi-Fi for less than $10. Check out the tutorial for using the Random Nerd tutorial.

Taking the idea of ​​lighting lighting one step further, User Instructables, fjordcarver has created a «Chameleon Lamp» that changes color based on what he sees on the surface below. The assembly uses a photosensitive resistor as well as red, blue, and green LEDs for color detection and reproduction. See the full briefing — with drawn diagrams no less — for project details.

Control Your Lights Like A Geek With These Arduino Projects 670 Chameleon Lamps
Image Credit: fjordcarver via Instructables

Give it some rhythm

Another alternative to improve lighting is to make it responsive to what you’re listening to. As nostalgic as the LED light on my kid’s stereo sounds, going from yellow to red can do a lot better.

The above video belongs to Miske Karvonen and you can see how he designed this reactive LED lighting to work with just about any audio system on the Instructables page about the project. It uses individually addressable Neopixels strips (also known as WS2812B).

Control it from your phone

Smartphones have become ubiquitous, so using an old-school phone is considered a rarity. Controlling technology from your phone is one of the most common home automation projects. this can be quite a challenge for anyone not familiar with the web.

Luckily, there are companies that provide a cloud service that gets around this problem. I recently made an introductory article » about Blynk — a service designed to facilitate connection to Internet devices from anywhere in the world. They have improved the service since this article was written, and for a simple setup of a cloud automation service, this is a great starting point.

Give me a time and a place

Sometimes you just want the light to turn on at a specific time. In a previous article, James talked about how to create a sunrise and nightlight alarm powered by a nightlight night light. which takes you slowly into the daytime thanks to lights that fade out gradually, and turns on the light when it detects movement at night. It also makes for lighting up a great dog photo.

Control Your Light Like A Geek With These Arduino Projects

It’s worth noting that if you’re going to build this project, you should be using logic level MOSFETS (like IRL540N or something similar) so you don’t run into the same problems as him!

To push the idea of ​​temporary lights even further, we can use IFTTT (If This Then That). IFTTT lets you automate technology which will allow you to connect almost everything, from smart home and security systems, to social networks and smartphones. You will find thousands of «recipes» already for automation solutions, with many smart home products supported.

The IFTTT Maker channel also allows you to start your own DIY projects. By sending a web request to a cloud service like Blynk and (or your own web server if you have one), you can initiate changes to your home system in a variety of ways.

For example, changing this tutorial Alvaro Luis Bustamante about using IFTTT with, you can add location-based lighting control. Instead of Twitter being action If use the Android channel to detect when your phone connects to your home Wi-Fi network.

Control your light like a geek with these ifttt android 670 Arduino projects

In the comments to the same tutorial, Alvaro explains how to modify the web request to instruct your NodeMCU to fulfill your bets.

Control your light like a geek with these Arduino nodeMCU ifttt 670 projects
Image Credit: alvarolb via

Talk to him!

The pinnacle of geeky control methods is voice control. While there are more sophisticated methods (brain control, anyone?), dealing with hardware is the backbone of science fiction and the best way to channel your inner image of Jean-Luc Picard.

In a previous article we’ve shown you how to use Siri with your Raspberry Pi and NodeMCU board to fully control your lights with your voice.

Starting with this tutorial, the Amazon Echo has been released, pushing voice commands into a much more accessible and powerful control method. In an article on, Carlos Martin created an Alexa controlled RGB LED voice setting for his kitchen.

This setup is quite elegant as it uses a cheap infrared controlled LED strip and uses a Particle Photon board to generate IR codes to change the brightness and tint of the lighting so you can still use the original remote and get around the need for any hardware hack. You can do the same with NodeMCU which will be even cheaper.

Let the Light speak to you

So far, we’ve looked at ways you can control your lights directly, but how about giving that control to someone else. Sounds crazy, right? You can have images of your lights flickering at any time of the day or night, in some kind of haunted scenario, reminiscent of the scene in » Mr Robot. Mr. Robot»

No, what I’m suggesting is a little more controlled. Kaustubh Agarwal Company has developed a simple color changing lamp whose color is determined by a Twitter tag search in IFTTT. The color changes depending on the general mood of Twitter users.

Control Your Light Like A Geek With The Arduino Projects 670 Mood Lamp
Image Credit: Kaustubh Agarwal via Arduino Create

The exact same setting can be used for something even more specific: You can make changes to your light when you are mentioned by name, or you are liked or retweeted.

Make your dimmer smart

So far, most of them have focused on LED lighting, but you can also use an Arduino to control AC dimmer lamps. User Instructables Jestin_Cubetech created a project using Arduino and Raspberry Pi to control the brightness of a lamp using pulse width modulation (PWM).

You can find the complete design here, although as one comment mentions it would be worth attaching a heatsink to the MOSFET in the circuit to prevent overheating.

So here it is, go ahead and control your lights like the captain of your own spaceship! This article barely covers the many ways to personalize your rig, and I’m looking forward to seeing what unique things the community comes up with to control their lights in even more sophisticated ways. Go ahead and be creative!

Have you made a weird and wonderful home setup for your lighting? Are you planning a project and want to know where to start? Let us know in the comments below!

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