Rental-Friendly Automatic Closet Lights

When you rent a house, your options for renovation are limited. Sure, you could install a new night fixture, or even knock out a wall, but…

Jeremy S. Cook
2 years ago

When you rent a house, your options for renovation are limited. Sure, you could install a new night fixture, or even knock out a wall, but your landlord (and deposit) likely won’t be too happy about it. So if you have a closet without a light source, what are you to do?

To solve this problem, electrical engineer Dillon Nichols turned to a set of wireless puck lights that you might see at your local big box store. He didn’t stop there, however, and used an Arduino Leonardo clone to automate the switching process, and added a wall power supply so he wouldn’t have to change batteries.

In order to control two lights at the same time, he decoded the IR signal using the Arduino record.ino sketch found here. From there, he was able to reverse engineer the protocol, and set his Arduino board up with an IR emitter to control the lights. When the door is open, detected using an automotive-style pin switch, the lights turn on, and fade out nicely when the door is closed — though given its in-closet location, this effect will largely go unnoticed. Additionally, if the door stays open for 10 minutes, the lights are also shut off, keeping from wasting power unnecessarily.

Be sure to check out Nichols’ very detailed write-up on the project here, and his code on GitHub.

Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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