Instructables
Picture of Computerized Christmas Light Display
This instructable is a guide to creating a basic Christmas lighting display that is synchronized to Christmas Music. There are many videos on the internet of this popular form of expression with regards to the Christmas season. This instructable will show the basic equipment needed and the process of building a computerized lighting display for Christmas.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Purchase the equipment.

Picture of Purchase the equipment.
There are many different lighting controllers that can be used. For this example, I am using Light-O-Rama controllers.
The package I purchased was the Light-O-Rama 16 Channel starter package, which includes:
LOR1602W - 16 Channel 30 Amp Controller
Light-O-Rama Software - Extended Edition
USB485B - USB to RJ45 Powered connector
50ft Cat 5e Network Cable

Total cost of $437.95

If you're savvy with electronics, you can purchase DIY kits for significantly cheaper.

Other equipment includes:

Computer to run the software
Christmas lights of your choice
Lots of extension cords
Some method of delivering sound to listeners
Time to design and program

A quick word on sound:

There are two ways I can think of to deliver the sound; using speakers, or an fm transmitter so people can listen in their cars. I will be using speakers for this demonstration. Also keep in mind that with fm transmission, there may be regulations on that in your area; and with speakers, respect your neighbors and keep the volume loud enough for bystanders to hear, but not so loud that you are disturbing neighbors.
JLeith1 year ago
Hello Captainharlo,

I like your display sequence using the Light-O-Rama 16 channel. I have a ground display characters that use the incandescent lights and the window covering and perimeter lights are LED’s. From you info the Light-O-Rama won’t work on the dimming but have you used the Light-O-Rama on LED lights ?

John
Dec 20th and Pre 109.JPG
Hey.... Si from New Zealand here... I'm really looking forward to seeing how you get on with the 64 channel setup ... I'm looking at setting up my 13 meter Christmas tree on a similar system but the main restriction I have here is accessing the best lights for the job... do you hae any recommendations?
calebgrant2 years ago
hey actualy you can do this alot cheaper for mabey 100 dollar's if you have the light's already just get that software lightjam's either buy it or get the trial like i did and then get an adapter to hook up the light's to your computerbut lightjam's is for club use but im still able to use it for christmas sry for my spelling
What type of adapter would you use? I want to try using it for my christmas lights and don't want to pay a fortune. I would really like to use those less expensive rgb led lights. Suggestions?
led2354 years ago
 SERIOUS QUESTION:
DOES THIS WORK WITH MAC OS X LEOPARD?
THANKS
rmuller3 led2353 years ago
it works as far as i know cause i run it on a mac
octavian2344 years ago

This is really cool! To bad i don't have $400 just laying around. :(

dodo915 years ago
this is awesome! to bad i ... 1. dont know much about this stuff 2. missed this before christmas.
mikeyharm6 years ago
Outstanding! Happy holidays to all with too much time on their hands. Want less time on your hands? Have a baby.
lol!! That is so true!
This is only a 16 channel display. The more elaborate displays have from 64 to 128+ channels. Next year I plan to get some of the DIY kits and expand drastically. Look forward to a more elaborate instructable next year.

How are you going on this years display and Instructable?
captainharlow (author)  thermoelectric5 years ago
It's progressing well. I'm going to update the istructable with this year's info. I have 64 chanels this year. Unfortunately, the weather is making it quite dificult to get all the lights set up.
Ooh, I can't wait to see the results with 64 channels, Are the controllers homemade? Aah, That's sad, C'mon weather clear up for captainharlow!
noahh6 years ago
You could use this for controlling complex halloween displays, right?
captainharlow (author)  noahh5 years ago
Sure. Any lighting display that uses standard plugs. That's actually a really cool idea. Have some scary music and strobe lights controlled...
thisisaric6 years ago
Nice job, although this is more so an instructable on how to use a Light-O-Rama kit. Anyone looking for a DIY to build a light controller from scratch (and save a little money) check out http://computerchristmas.com/ for schematics and http://www.vixenlights.com/ for software.
hepchick206 years ago
Fantastic job!
Wow.. you have made your yard look amazing.. very nice job.
captainharlow (author)  GorillazMiko6 years ago
Thanks!