Majunsha went to Oslo of Norway, which was the first city to install citywide automatic street lights. She was surrounded by family and friends to discuss not just her travel experiences but also to know more about smart street lights, Light sensors, LDRs, and IoT.
Automatic street light introduction
What is a smart street light? Little Cherry asked Manjusha.
When we are adding the word smart to anything, at least we have some sense of automation, computers and technology in general.
Same is the case with automatic street lights. An automatic street light is the one which adapts to the surroundings be it environment or vehicle movement. According to the surroundings it may turn on, go off, dim down or brighten up.
Take for example a street light that turns on by itself at night or a street light that dims down when there are no people or vehicles on the street. These are automatic or smart street lights.
Which sensor is used in smart street light?
Multiple sensors can be used to make a smart street light project. Let’s know about a few.
IR Sensor: Infrared Sensor, which helps detect an object. Read How IR sensor works to know more.
Ultrasonic sensors: These sensors too, can be used to detect an object.
Motion sensor: To detect the movement.
In this blog, we are going to make an automatic street light using LDR (The light element)
Automatic street light circuit
Components required to make an automatic street light
Power bank with USB cable
LED cables – 4
Double sided tape
Construction or craft papers
You can use any of the following kits to make automatic street light project.
1) Havi Elements – DIY Smart Lighting Kit. You will not have to create your own craft. You will get craft ready in the box. Assemble the papers and create your streetlight scene. And then make elements circuits. Suitable for beginners.
Once we have all of these, we can start making the circuit first.
Step-1 Make following circuit
Follow the steps provided in the images here and in the video at last to make the setup of your smart street light project.
Adjust the potentiometer of the light element in the middle so that the LDR can detect the adequate light.
Turn the surrounding lights on and off to check your circuit. LEDs should glow up in the dark and will go off in the presence of light.
So you have successfully made the electronics and sensor part of your automatic street light project.
The model of automatic street light
As we are done with the circuit, let’s make a beautiful street view to use our smart lights.
Use your creativity along with craft material, team up with family or friends if required and make a street setup that you like. Can make roads, houses, trees and greens.
We have used the street view templates provided in the havi’s DIY Smart Lighting Kit. You can make your own if using DIY Robotics Starter Kit.
How does an automatic street light work?
See, we have LDR in the light element. That detects the presence of light. In the presence of light, it will pass an appropriate signal to the next element which is flip. Now Flip has a characteristic as you know that it flips the input provided by the sensor.
So the Light element has said YES, Flip will convert that to NO and will pass to the LED element. The LED element will understand that I am not supposed to work.
When there is darkness, the Light element will say NO to flip, which the flip will pass to the LED element after converting to YES. So the LED element will believe that I should work and will lighten the LEDs!
And we have lights, the smart street lights!
Advantages of automatic street light (And disadvantages as well)
Following are the key advantages of using smart street light.
Most important would be the savings of energy. The automatic street light can turn on and off and can go dim by itself. That saves energy. Hence environment and money.
Administration doesn’t set up street lights at not-so-busy roads sometimes to save the cost. Installing automatic street light reduces the running costs which motivates to setup street lights on these roads. That improves public safety and convenience.
Lower risk of overheating of the bulbs, LEDs and circuits as they get breaks. This increases the lifetime of the street light.
Not too much human intervention is required to operate the street lights.
Since the lights would be controlled by the sensors, people will get the street light earlier and for more hours during the winter and later and for less hours during summer. Saves cost of consumption and improves public convenience.
While there are several benefits of smart street light there are few disadvantages as well. Let’s look at those
Cost of such sensor based street lights would be higher.
High cost of the units increases the chances of theft and fraud.
Sensors are required to be protected from dust and other environmental conditions in order to work properly. It may need frequent cleaning too.
What is the future scope of automatic street lights?
As far as our project is concerned, we can Add one IR element and one LED element to the circuit and make it dependent on the vehicle movement. Lights to turn on or brightup while there are people, vehicles and other objects on the road.
At the automatic street light side, further improvements will happen to reduce the cost of production of these kinds of lights. Once done, this can be implemented at scale and can save further costs.
Further on with implementation of IoT (Internet of Things) the street lights can be “connected street lights” and will start serving more facilities to the citizens.
Hope everything is clear. But now, this blog is not just to be read. Make your own automatic street light, at home with family and friends and at school as well.
Do share your smart street light photo and video with us.
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