The Art Controller is a multitalented, stand-alone relay module with microcontroller based timing and logic. Easier to adjust and more versatile than most other low-cost time-delay relay modules, the Art Controller can switch AC or DC loads and is reprogrammable to handle the most specialized applications.
The Art Controller gets its name from its inspiration. It was originally suggested by San Francisco Bay Area kinetic artists Christopher T. Palmer and Nemo Gould as a stand-alone device for triggering activating electronic art pieces that need to run for a little while after a button is pressed or a coin is inserted into a slot. And while it can do that (very well), it can be used in countless other jobs where you need to switch on (or off) an electronic load with a relay and timer.
Standard timing features:
Versatile operating modes:
And, that's just with the standard firmware. You can customize every bit of the Art Controller's behavior to your heart's content by reprogramming the microcontroller.
The relay timing of the Art Controller is performed by the internal clock of the on-board microcontroller, and the delay time is configured with the DIP switches. Using the DIP switches, it is possible to select delay periods ranging from 1 second to 31 hours.
The DIP switches have five numeric values (1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 seconds), and three multipliers (×6, ×10, and ×60). The numeric part can be adjusted to add up to any value between 1 s and 31 s, and the multipliers allow these values to be scaled up into the following ranges of nominal delay times:
Please note that all delay times are approximate. While delay times specified with the DIP switches are typically quite accurate near room temperature, the exact period does depend on operating temperature and can vary by as much as ±10%, towards the edges of the operating temperature range, -40°C to 85°C.
Unless configured otherwise, the behavior of the Art Controller is such that the relay coil energizes as soon as a trigger is received. It stays energized for one delay period (the length of time set by the DIP switches) and then turns off the coil until the next trigger is received.
The Art Controller can have its cycle triggered by an external button or switch, or by an external input signal.
To use an external button or switch: Connect the two pins of the Art Controller's trigger input to a normally open ("NO") button switch. When the button is pressed or the switch is thrown, it connects the two pins of the trigger input together, triggering the Art Controller.
Instead of hooking up a button, you can hook up any external logic-level signal to the trigger input, for example from a light sensor or motion sensor. The Art Controller will perceive a low-going signal the same as it would a button press.
Configuration options and auxiliary inputs:
Besides the trigger input and the timing DIP switches, there are four additional I/O pins that can be used as auxiliary I/O pins or as configuration jumpers:
Mechanical relays and configuration:
The relay on the Art Controller is an electromechanical type: A mechanical switch that is flipped by an electromagnet when energized.
The relay is an "SPDT" type, meaning that it can be used either as a normally-open or normally-closed relay. When idle, the "Common" terminal of the output terminal block is connected to the "NC" terminal, and when the coil is energized, the "Common" terminal is instead connected to the "NO" terminal. When power is removed from the coil (or from the Art Controller as a whole), the relay reverts to its idle state.
Thus, depending how you hook it up, it can be used to either turn on or turn off an external load when the coil is energized.
The Art Controller requires DC power to operate the microcontroller and relay. It features an on-board linear voltage regulator and accepts input power in the range of 7-15 V DC. (A 9 V or 12 V DC power supply will work nicely.) Your power supply should have the capacity to supply up to 125 mA.
If you prefer, it is also possible to instead configure the Art Controller to operate directly from a regulated 5 V DC power supply by omitting the regulator during assembly. (See documentation for additional details.)
The Art Controller has an on-board two-pin screw-terminal block for connecting to power. You can also add an optional barrel jack (sold separately) for connecting to a plug-in power supply.
Typical power consumption is approximately 95 mA when the coil is energized and 13 mA when idle.