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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2012
As an electronics hobbyist, I am planning to design my own Christmas light show this year and dreaded the idea of having to build boards with relays on them that could be controlled by my Arduino. This board has all the features I could possibly want, and it's designed better than what I would have done at a fraction of what it would have cost me to do.

NOTE: This uses a triac; so it's not going to work for switching on direct current loads. I verified that with a quick test. It works great for AC loads, but is not designed for DC loads. If you need to control DC loads, then you'll want to purchase the mechanical relay board also made by Sainsmart.

A schematic of how each relay is wired is given at the Sainsmart website. Based on that and some measurements I've made, here are some features that aren't obvious from the description.

1. Each relay is protected by a fuse. Granted, the fuse is hard-soldered to the board; so if you blow the fuse, you'll have to de-solder and re-solder a new fuse in place, but that's not a huge problem. Protects each circuit from drawing more than the 2 amps that the relay is rated for.

2. The signal from the Arduino doesn't cut on the relay directly. Instead, the signal from the Arduino turns on a transistor, which closes a circuit that turns on the relay. The relay itself is optocoupled; so there is plenty of electrical isolation between the Arduino board and the relay. No worries at all on my part about frying my Arduino board.

3. Each relay draws about 10 milliamps from the Arduino when switched on. If you're only turning on a few relays at the time, that is not a problem for the Arduino to handle. If you want to turn on LOTS of relays at the same time, the transistor design mentioned above allows you to provide an EXTERNAL dc voltage to turn on the relays and then the Arduino can be used to just switch on the transistors. It's a very elegant design that is ideal.

4. Each relay has an LED wired to the circuit so that when the LED lights up when the relay is switched on. This takes the guesswork out of wiring issues and wondering if you hooked things up properly.

I plan to eventually use 6 or more of these relay boards to be controlled by an Arduino Mega. Each relay will be used to provide power to an electrical outlet into which I can plug the Christmas lights. The time that I would have spent having to design a relay board just got eliminated so that I can spend more time on my light show design.

Overall, this is an excellent design. If I run into any problems, I'll post again, but it looks like it's going to do everything I could possibly want.

UPDATE: This board is fantastic! I've been using my Arduino to control AC loads with it. Works like a champ. Excellent buy for the money, since many board on the internet with this capability cost much more. If you want a solid, well built board that works, then this is the one for you.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2012
I overloaded the circuit and blew one of the fuses. This is not the fault of the board, it is my fault. Anyway the fuses were a little harder to find than just going to Radio Shack and picking one up. I found them over at Mouser. Here is the part number for anyone looking for more fuses.

Mfg. Littelfuse
Part # 0251002.MXL

[...]
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2013
The relay interfaced nicely with the raspberry pi and seems to work great. Being solid state there's no audible "click" when you trigger the relay which is nice. LED indicators let you know if a particular relay is active or not. I have another SainSmart 5V 2-channel relay (not solid state -[...] and the problem I had with it was that it was ACTIVE LOW (no a defect, but by design). So, whenever my raspberry pi rebooted and the signal on that GPIO pin dropped to LOW, the relay triggered (which is not what I wanted).

But, with this Solid State version, it is ACTIVE HIGH, so a reboot or power outage of the Pi does NOT trigger the relay (which is what I want). This is a great relay and I highly recommend it if the specs fit your needs.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2013
Simple and straight forward. I use this connected to a Raspberry Pi, with an external 5v adapter, and 120V AC sockets attached to each relay. No transistors necessary, connected GPIO pins from the Pi to the numbered terminals on this board, 5v power to the 5v terminal, and ground to both GND terminals. To wire AC current on the switched side you can connect either the AC/mains common OR the hot, I prefer to go with the common. When GPIOs are switched to high, the relay turns on, and an LED on the board turns on for each relay.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2012
After contacting sainsmart they provided me with a schematic. Ask for joanna and she will be happy to help you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2012
Works awesome, just remember that you can only run AC through these SSRs. Otherwise its a nice product for the price.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2013
This is well made.

The design includes not only fuses but the slots in the PCB to separate the low and high voltage sides of the circuitry, this is a safety implementation that most home-brewed solutions would omit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2013
I was trying to make a circuit like this myself. The cost of fewer than 8 relays alone were over $30 (mouser.com). This was a great value and works well. The LEDs that illuminate to indicate active channels are helpful in testing.

I didn't realize at first that with solid-state relays, you cannot test their state (open/closed circuit) by checking continuity. I was doing this and thought all the channels were non-functional. After I connected an actual load though, they worked beautifully. I can ever get them to switch as fast as 200ms!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2012
Alright, I ordered this with some skepticism because the boards commonly recommended by Christmas sequencers out there (like Vixen freeware) are all quite expensive and do-it-yourself intense. When I saw this board for the price, I ordered one to test out with my Arduino Mega board and it took all of 10 minutes to get it hooked up and working like a champ.

I have not put it into use with 110VAC yet. (J Fuller, I would LOVE to see how you wired this up)

From the LED status it's working PERFECTLY with an Arduino board and Vixen. It took 5V and a ground (provided by the Arduino in the "POWER" section on the Mega 2560 board), and I have no ground in the "GND" connection on the main 9-pin screw-down connector.

In short - this board, combined with Arduino and Vixen greatly simplifies these "amazing displays" that you see all over YouTube.

-S
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2012
I had previously purchased a SainSmart 4-Channel 5V Relay Module for Arduino DSP AVR PIC ARM from here on Amazon. It was great, however I was looking to eliminate the loud noise that the relay was making. This Relay will work just as well for AC loads as long as you don't have an output load in excess of 2A. For most standard lightbulbs, this is perfect. I'm currently using this relay to control a stoplight using the open-source beagle bone project called "Gridlock" and it is working perfectly without the noise the I was bothered by from the other relay.
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