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.
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.
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.
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
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.