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Incandescent lamp brightness control - dimmer

For a proof-of-concept project, I need to simulate daylight for day and year cycles. For this purpose, incandescent lamps are OK. Specifically, ten 40W bulbs (~3.5 amps total). They will be off during 'night' and full brightness at 'noon on June 21' and somwhere in between during other 'daylight' hours. So what I think I need is a PC controlled dimmer and a program with two loops one for the day and one for the year.

 

I searched and found DMX-512 controlled dimmers used to control stage lighting made by Leviton and others. Seems like it would work. Also found some info about rs-232 to DMX-512 conversion and found some manufactured converters but they are pricey.

 

I have a Compact Fieldpoint system.

 

Any suggestions of a better way to make a software controlled dimmer? Or if not any guidance regarding the approach outlined above?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Kevin

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Cross post, see discussion here:

 

http://forums.ni.com/ni/board/message?board.id=170&thread.id=391996

 

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