The Original Console Room Vacuum Forming the Roundels Moving House The Rebuild


Lighting behind the panels

Lighting behind the panels

I built separate frames for the panels so that they would be removable (to change bulbs!). Some are pegged in place from the side; others are hinged with piano hinges.

The frames have a cross-section that looks like this from the top:


Lighting panel cross-section


View down the frame ends
The 2x4 up the sides are for strengthening the frame and can be placed outside the panels to reduce depth, giving a minimum depth of about 6”. If the plywood sides are screwed to the wall the strengthening is not needed. I used panels at a 45-degree angle in the room corners, and built shelves behind them to store stuff. The corner panels are hinged; the others are pegged. 


Fluorescent tubes

I used pairs of 48” (four foot) shop lights in the recesses to light the roundels. Having a white reflector or white walls behind the roundels helps improve the appearance a lot, and I have plans to put “inner doors” behind the corner doors to make the lighting more even. The strip lights riun down the sides of every roundel panel and down between the columns of roundels - they're not lit directly from behind, but mostly by reflection from the back surface.  This takes up only 6", so I didn't lose as much room size. My original design with lighting directly behind the roundels made the walls 12" deep.

There are about fifty 40W strip lights in the console room - about 2KW, so they're actually split between two electrical circuits (we only have 15A x 110V per circuit in the US). I've arranged for the lights to be on computer control so they're only on when I'm actually in the TARDIS, because the TARDIS gets rather warm. They switch off a few minutes after I leave.


Corner frame
Initially I used X10 home automation products to control the lighting: X10 is a mains wiring signaling system which adds signals at the AC 0-volt crossing. Unfortunately at 60Hz, this means you only get about 60bit per second data transfer, which is very very slow. X10 sends a couple of bytes worth of data with each command, so commands take a large fraction of a second, which is quite noticeable. There's also no error correction, so with noise on the mains about every tenth command doesn't get through. As you add more devices this problem gets worse, as they compete for bandwidth with no TCPIP protocol to manage things. The result: if you add more than half a dozen sensors to the system nothing works. You also have to be prepared for lights and devices going on and off at random times occasionally. The advantage of X10 is that it's fairly available, at least in the US, and requires no additional wiring. There's also a very straightforward computer interface available, which plugs into the mains at one end and into a computer serial port at the other end.


Opening cupboards
More recently I've been switching over to using a digital I/O board and parallel ports with hardwired motion sensors (from Radio Shack). For control I've been using a cascade of relays, one going from TTL to 12V and the other from 12V to 110V.