the sorcery of copper

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The spark strober (or strobe controller) switches mains electricity using a remote control. This allows to pulse a flood light or stroboscope for a short time to create a light strobe.



  • blue pill, based on a STM32F103C8T6: development board to control everything
  • HLK-PM01 power module: 100-240V AC to 5V DC power supply to power the board and other peripherals (protected with a 0.25A glass fuse)
  • VS1838b: infrared demodulator to receive the codes from remote controls operating at 38 kHz (connected using a 3.5 mm TRS jack)
  • G3MB-202P: compact 240V AC 2A solid state relay to switch mains electricity (protected with a 2A fuse)

the detailed wiring it available here.

IR remote control

I started with using a infrared remote control from an RGB LED strip controller. This remote uses the NEC protocol. It was good enough for the prototype, but the signal was too weak for the attraction the spark strober was designed for. The small LED and CR2025 battery limit the infrared output power.

I later found an iDual remote laying around. This uses 3xAAA batteries, providing a lot of power. There is a switch on the side to choose between has high power, narrow angle LED for increased range (the one in the center); or wide angle LEDs for broader aiming (the two on the side). This was ideal for the attraction and worked well. This remote also used the NEC protocol. It's a quite good remote, but by far too expensive for what it is and the website is horrible (luckily they where already there).


the firmware is available here.

the infrared-red NEC codes for both remotes are in application.c ir_action.

the following light animations have been implemented:

  • on, off, toggle
  • 1, 2, 3, 5, or 10 strobes
  • flickering

several buttons are used to trigger the same animations for easier handling.

spark_strober.txt · Last modified: 2024/01/07 17:49 by