Hackers love a challenge. So when [Patrick's] father-in-law asked him to look into a daylight simulation system for his bird breeding cages, [Patrick] quickly discovered the ridiculous prices for commercial systems… so he convinced his father-in-law to let him design and build one instead.
Like any project, [Patrick] quickly listed the requirements of the system before starting anything.
- It must brighten gradually in the morning
- Stay constant throughout the day
- Dim in the evening to a very low intensity
In addition to this, the lighting transition should be smooth, and the lights cannot flicker, as this can be stressful for the birds — oh, and it needs to be reliable.
To build the system, [Patrick] has chosen an Arduino Duemillenova, an RTC, a small LCD screen, some cheap LEDs from eBay and a handful of N-channel NPN transistors to provide the PWM for the LEDs. The entire system cost less than $100 — a much cheaper alternative to commercial systems.
We think the system looks great, but as a big fan of the Hack a Day community, [Patrick] would love to hear your feedback!