Lighting up the Lamps

A project log for Making Work-From-Home Lighting Work-For-Me

A modular system to dynamically monitor and replicate outdoor lighting color temperature indoors while maintaining a stable light level.

JonJon 07/12/2021 at 19:460 Comments

I've obtained some commodity LED light sources to use with a couple of lamps for the project. One of the design goals for this project is to create something that could disappear into the room, rather than the science fair aesthetic of my prior project. Although the picture below shows the lamps separated relatively far apart on top of a dresser, that is primarily to demonstrate the color temperature differences between the warm (2700K) and cool (6500K) sources. In operation, I'd want these two sources right next to each other. For the purposes of this project I expect to reconfigure these lamps as floor lamps standing next to each other.

I'd seen some desk lamp configurations, not unlike what you'd on the desk between a two-bed hotel space, which could have allowed for separately controlled sources. I'll likely investigate this later after I've proven out the solution with the relatively inexpensive lamps you see featured here. Overall I'll keep the control and lighting solutions separated. Part of the reason I want to separate the lamp outputs and controller system is that I can imagine a number of light source implementations, including floor and desk lamps, a troffer light with cool and warm sources for office spaces with suspended ceilings, or even indirect light sources like a tunable crown molding light source.

Overall, my goal will be to approach something like the solutions available from certain manufacturers, which bring the sources as close together as within a single lamp bulb. At the same time, a key goal for my project is to create a solution that could be scaled for a wider range of color temperatures and lighting levels where the costs are isolated to a simple control system rather than multiple smart lamps (which themselves often still demand a controller for full functionality).

In the meantime, I would want to highlight the significant color differences visible from the two sources I've positioned below. I'll go into more detail on future project logs, as I specifically plan to investigate some of my choices as they relate to target lighting levels vs. color temperature of the source. In the meantime, you can get some of the basics on color temperature from a log post (and the linked sources) I wrote during my last adventure into controlling the color temperature output of commodity lamps.

Note the differences between the sources and the nearby green wall and white ceiling with the two distinct lighting color temperatures.