OK, I’m a little excited…

One aspect of the layout that I have been working on is lighting and with the help of an article on MRH by Geoff Bunza, I have finally put the last piece of that puzzle together. I have been planning to use LED strip lighting for the layout. I’d like to be able to control this lighting in some manor, though I have not been able to figure out exactly how best to do it. I’ve been experimenting with DMX512 stage lighting components for a while with some success.

I purchased a DMX shield for an Arduino UNO microprocessor and a DMX receiver to control the LED strips. The receiver has 4 channels and I use 3 for an RGB LED strip to individually control the red, green, and blue colors. The fourth channel is used for a bright white 4000K strip. This is fairly easily programmed with an Arduino sketch to do various colors and fades. I thought about using some sort of switch to change modes, but that seemed clunky to me.

This article brought to light a method for communicating from JMRI to the Arduino. Tonight, I was able to get set up tonight to control the LEDs using a turnout command in JMRI. I was then able to control the lights with my Digitrax walk-around remote. I should also be able to control the lights using the fast clock in JMRI. I can also control structure lighting based on the fast clock.

As a bonus, I found a DMX512 controller which is compatible with my overhead LED lighting (which is also 4000K color), so I should be in full control of all the room lighting.

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