Over the years I've had requests for lighting controllers that would allow us to remotely control our different wavelength lights, as well as cycle through the lighting automatically, turning them on/off at a programmed rate/sequence. I've toyed around with writing custom software on an Arduino or Raspberry Pi to accomplish this cost efficiently. But each time I end up shelving the idea due to the amount of work required and the demand for the product. The latest request launched me into another round of research - but this time I got lucky and came across a line of products I had not thought of before - traffic light controllers!
Cheap, lots of options, and easily adapted to our purposes - there are several suppliers with a wide range of products. The simplest can be found via a quick search on Ebay, ranging from $15 to $50 and up. Some are very programmable, others offer timing controlled by a simple potentiometer. Below I list some that I think could easily and economically adapted for our applications. The last option I found is a web controlled (smart phone or laptop) power switch which will offer the ultimate in configurability.
Until now, the only product I'm aware of that has been offered to our hobby with these capabilities is a very expensive timer/controller offered by UV Systems (last I heard it was over $1,000.00!). With a little work, creative thinking I bet all of the products below would offer a solution to sequencing out lights, for pennies on the dollar.
4 CIRCUIT TRAFFIC LIGHT CONTROLLER & SEQUENCER SL-3011 120V - $40 on Ebay. There are many different ones offered on Ebay - one is highlighted here:
This one comes with 36 installed sequences to choose from, 23 three relay programs plus 13 four relay programs. Ranging from the standard US Green, Yellow and Red to random flashing, and racing stage sequences. All sequences and wiring diagrams are included in our easy to follow illustrated instruction sheets shipped with each unit. Do not be afraid to play with the sequence switches, try them all and see the patterns displayed by the on board LED indicator lights.
T5 - 5 light controller (https://www.trafficlights.com/controllers/t5-5-light-controller/). $40 to $60 - The T5 is a 5 Traffic Light Controller Sequencer. Green, Yellow, Red with either 1 or 2 turn arrows. Adjustable cycle timing, 120VAC/150 W Max Lamp, Incandescent & LED. Timing is adjustable up to 90 seconds. Other models available for 3 lights with an Android/IoS app for remote control via bluetooth (https://www.trafficlights.com/controllers/slss-bluetooth-controller/). A very simple three light controller (https://www.trafficlights.com/controllers/n3-ryg-light-controller/) - make sure you pick the one that has equal time for all three lights. LOts of great options with these controllers.
Web Power Switch Pro Model - $169.00 - (https://dlidirect.com/products/new-pro-switch) Rugged, reliable power control over the web. Industrial quality, 15A. Secure web server with SSL, SSH, HTTPS, SNMP, REST API. Amazon Echo/Alexis compatible. Simple web UI, or write your own script or program. Use the simple, clean web interface right out of the box ...or customize it using the built-in scripting language. The Pro is completely stand-alone. No cloud service or subscription needed. This unit seems to offer the ultimate in flexibility but will also be the most complex to set up (simple programming skills will allow you to take full advantage).