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56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great product - here are some missing (measured) specifications
I have had a hard time getting accurate (correct) specifications from SainSmart, so I wired it up and took measurements.

So here are some specifications that we can all use:

Overview:
1. The 12VDC input requires > 500mA.
2. The drive to each control input pin must "sink" 3mA when low (low = relay ON).

By the way, this is a great...
Published 23 months ago by Darrell F. Thayer

versus
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice design, but no documentation
Just received the SainSmart 16-Channel 12V Relay Module for Arduino and am surprised there was no pin-out or schematic included in the shipment, not even a link I can download it from. Disappointing because now I am waiting for an email response from SainSmart (just sent 30 minutes ago) hoping they supply me with documentation. Every developer device I have ever purchased...
Published on January 5, 2012 by L. Sowder


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56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great product - here are some missing (measured) specifications, January 24, 2013
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SainSmart 16-Channel Relay Module (Electronics)
I have had a hard time getting accurate (correct) specifications from SainSmart, so I wired it up and took measurements.

So here are some specifications that we can all use:

Overview:
1. The 12VDC input requires > 500mA.
2. The drive to each control input pin must "sink" 3mA when low (low = relay ON).

By the way, this is a great product - awesome bang for the buck!
Note the price has gone up (was $23.69) ... less "awesome" but still "Good" bang for the buck.

***** Input Power (12 VDC input)*****
- About 8 mA is required with all relays off.
- Each relay requires about 30 mA when on.
- So max supply current is 8 mA + (16 x 30 mA) = 488 mA (actual measured was 500 mA)
- Because one may use the board's +5 VDC output (2 pins) to power an Arduino/PIC circuit, use a 12V power supply that can provide MORE than 500mA (depending on your circuit's requirements).
- Note that the switching regulator on the Relay Board should somewhat efficiently (say 70%?) convert the board's 5V power usage to 12 V power input requirements. For example: 200mA at +5VDC (1 Watt) does NOT mean the +12V supply needs to supply an additional 200 mA also. This is because 1 W of power from the +12V supply only requires about 83 mA ( 12 V x 83 mA = 1 W ); however at say 70% efficiency of the 5 V regulator, this goes up to about 120 mA (83 mA / 0.7) but NOT the full 200 mA.

NOTE: The best way to discover what 12 V supply is needed (its max current rating) is to ACTUALLY MEASURE the 12 V input current while using a "test supply" that can more than handle worst case (with all relays ON) then buy the supply that meets your needs. Always use a modern "switching" supply (wall wart) because they are smaller, way more efficient, generate little heat, and normally use much less "vampire power".

- The baord's LM2576 (+5V) voltage regulator is rated at 3 Amps; however, one should not push it this hard. The circuits powered by the 5 V supply on the Relay Board appear to only be the LED side of the opto-isolators. Driving an input control line low turns on an opto-isolator LED ... turning on its relay. Each opto-isolator LED seems to require about 3 mA (for a total of 3 mA x 16 = 48 mA). This should leave you with at least many hundreds of mA available to power your circuits off of the relay board's 5V output pins (two of them on the connector).

***** Input control pins *****
- Grounding an input control pin (logic low) turns on the associated relay.
- The circuit driving the input control pin must be able to "sink" (drive logic low) about 3 mA of current (easy for most PIC/Arduino output pins).
*** CAUTION *** When a pin is NOT driven low, it "floats" to nearly the +5 V that drives the opto-isolators. This means that the driving circuit (Arduino/PIC) must either be also powered by +5V, or if powered by the now common 3.3V (or less!), its output pins must be "5 Volt Tolerant" (see your micro-controller pin specs). Another option is use of a "5V tolerant serial port expander" chip like an MCP23018 (I2C interface) or MCP23S18 (SPI interface) ... where just a few micro-controller pins give you 16 I/O pins. These can be powered by 3.3 V or 5 V. They are a bit complex, but a simple "software bit banged" I2C or SPI interface can be used to control them. Finally, one could use little signal transistors (2N3904) for this isolation from the 5 V (MCU pin -to- a say 2.7K resistor -to- transistor base, emitter to ground, collector to relay board input control pin).

Darrell Thayer
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High quality. Wish it came with ANY documentation, November 9, 2012
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: SainSmart 16-Channel Relay Module (Electronics)
Ok, I admit it, it took me way too long to figure out how to hook this thing up. In case anyone else is looking at this and wondering how it works, here's how it gets hooked up:
1) The header pins on the bottom of the main picture get wired directly to the Arduino board. Connect one of the 5v pins to a 5v header on your Arduino and connect one of the Gnd pins to a ground header on the Arduino. Each one of the relays has a corrosponding header down there, too, which get connected to a digital output on your Arduino. You can run each wire individually or run over a ribbon cable to a project board and break it out from there. Either way, getting the header pins hooked up allows the logic to fire, and makes the lights work so you can at least diagnose/debug your program.

2) Next, the relay board needs a 12v dc input wired up to the blue terminals on the bottom. These are wired to the relays, which make the relays actually fire. The voltage magnetically pulls a piece of metal away from one pole to the other. This action makes a noticeable clicking noise, which is a little annoying, but also lets you know it's working.

3) Each relay has 3 terminals located along the sides. One side is normally opened, the other is normally closed. Use this to either make or break the circuit that you have wired up for your lights, motors, or whatever else is involved in your project that draws more than 5v or needs to be kept isolated from the Arduino board.

So yeah, keep in mind that you'll need a 12v power source to actually make the relays fire. All in all, it's a very well put together board, and would make a great control hub for something like say... a model train set or robot.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Relay Controller, January 7, 2012
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: SainSmart 16-Channel Relay Module (Electronics)
Received this relay controller a few days ago and it is absolutely amazing. The controller requires 12V of power and I used an older wall wart from a dysfunctional wireless router. It did take me a while to figure out how to get everything properly wired but after a little tinkering.

A little help for anyone else that purchases this relay controller:

1. It needs 16 digital pins to independently control all the 16 relays. The Arduino Uno has roughly 10 usable pins so an Arduino Uno is not ideal if you want to control all the pins independently. An Arduino mega would be the ideal choice for getting everything running perfectly.

2. The female header on the controller has two ground pins and two 5V pins. Once the relay controller is connected to a 12V power source the controller will provide 5V of power on both of those 2 5V pins. Which means you wont need another external power source for the Arduino. One thing to note is that if you connect the USB cable after the relay is giving the Arduino 5V of power the USB will not connect. Disconnect the relay 5V pin from the 5V pin on the Arduino then connect it back to USB to solve the issue.

3. The relays are loud. If you're going to use this to control something that will regularly turned on or off you'll probably want to put it into some type of enclosure to keep it quiet.

Overall this is a great product, I recommend it to anyone looking to control some Christmas lights or setting up a home automation system.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice design, but no documentation, January 5, 2012
By 
= Durability:2.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SainSmart 16-Channel Relay Module (Electronics)
Just received the SainSmart 16-Channel 12V Relay Module for Arduino and am surprised there was no pin-out or schematic included in the shipment, not even a link I can download it from. Disappointing because now I am waiting for an email response from SainSmart (just sent 30 minutes ago) hoping they supply me with documentation. Every developer device I have ever purchased comes with a Pin-out and a schematic, why would they not include this?? I have tinkered with it a little and found you have to supply +12VDC to the right pin on the blue terminal (labeled 12V) and the negative of that same 12VDC supply to the left pin (labeled GND). This energizes the LM2576 voltage regulator and associated circuitry and energizes the 5V and GND pins on the 20 pin header (potential across GND and 5V pins will give you 5VDC). If I connect a wire from the GND on the 20 pin header to any pin 1-16, it energizes the associated relay. EXAMPLE: connect GND of 20 pin header to pin 1 will energize relay K1. What is a little unclear is why the board supplies 5VDC. I was under the impression the relay is looking for 5VDC and that would come from one of the Arduino Uno outputs? Will update when I find out more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very happy, great quality and price, February 6, 2014
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This review is from: SainSmart 16-Channel Relay Module (Electronics)
This is a quality board, very well made. I am controlling it with an Arduino, making a programmable power strip.

One problem that I had was caused because I used a bad power supply, which provided just enough power to light some of the LEDs and toggle a couple of the relays. The supply was rated for 12V 2A, but after a lot of frustration I tested it and found it was bad, outputting barely over 200mA. A different power supply solved the problem, and now all the relays toggle perfectly!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome, July 15, 2013
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This review is from: SainSmart 16-Channel Relay Module (Electronics)
this thing is awesome. when you connect it to a arduino, you can control all sorts of stuff. Not AC motors though. don't do that. the relays are rated at 10A and if you use a 10A motor, your going to blow the relay up due to the spike. get a motor starter, or another bigger relay.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great relay module for house automation project, April 11, 2013
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This review is from: SainSmart 16-Channel Relay Module (Electronics)
does exactly what it says. LEDs are a nice touch as well. i use this in my use to control lights from my phone. hooked up to a raspberry pi
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product, December 18, 2012
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This review is from: SainSmart 16-Channel Relay Module (Electronics)
Wow this is just a great product. I considered creating my own relay board and just could not do it for this price. It is well constructed, has great isolation between my precious Arduino board and the 110v AC it is driving. I love that it also steps down a 12v power supply to 5V so I can power it and my Arduino from one power source. I am using this to control my Christmas lights and whilst not solid state (thus no allowing PWM dimming) it was cheap and does all that I require. I have also ordered the 5V 4 SSR board for my indoor lights so I can dim and twinkle them :-)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inexpensive, but did not feel cheap. I misread ..., December 6, 2014
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This review is from: SainSmart 16-Channel Relay Module (Electronics)
Inexpensive, but did not feel cheap. I misread the wiring diagram on them at first, but that was my fault for not really understanding the relay diagram. The pin in the middle toggles from one side to the other based on power. If the relay is energized it will connect the circuit opposite what it on the board. Once I cured my ignorance on this topic through the magic of the internet, this board did everything I needed and worked perfectly. I was able to drive it with a Raspberry Pi using two ULN2003 chips and a 12VDC power supply (to power the relay controller) with a 5VDC regulator to feed voltage for the individual relays from the ICs to the relay controller. Everything is labeled clearly, but the header pins on the board are pins, not sockets, so keep that in mind when deciding how you're going to hook it up. There are plenty of options here on Amazon which work perfectly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Solid product. Nicely done. Would buy again!, July 4, 2014
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This review is from: SainSmart 16-Channel Relay Module (Electronics)
Very nicely done. Solid. Worth every penny. Running a multi-valve turtle aquarium setup on it. Works great!
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SainSmart 16-Channel Relay Module
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