Instructables
Picture of Light Party Box
This is my submission for the Nostalgia Electronics Party Contest. I like playing with lights, lots of lights, so that's where I got my idea for this Instructable. What is a party without lighting? In this Instructable I will be making a party lighting control box capable of controlling as many lights as you can fit on your ceiling (I don't recommend trying that).
The one I will be making will control three colored incandescent pond lights, two black lights, two blue CFL bulbs, and two strobe lights. Also along the way, I will explain different options that you can use for your own custom box, as well as ideas I couldn't fit in!
Let's get started!

WARNING: THIS INSTRUCTABLE DEALS WITH THE USE OF MAINS CURRENT. ONLY COMPLETE THIS INSTRUCTABLE WITH PROPER KNOWLEDGE OF MAINS CURRENT AND SAFETY. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU GET HURT. Be safe and have fun!

**STROBE LIGHTS CAN BE KNOWN TO CAUSE SEIZURES IF YOU HAVE UNDERLYING PROBLEMS. EVEN IF YOU DON'T, NEVER EXPOSE YOURSELF TO FLASHING LIGHTS WITHOUT SOMEONE ELSE PRESENT.  

NOW LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!!!
 
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Step 1: What You Will Need

Picture of What You Will Need
The parts for my box may be different than yours, but a few essential parts and tools are needed:

Parts:
1. Various Switches - I will be using rocker and slide switches to select different lighting options.
2. Relays - Solid State or Electromechanical relays may be used, it doesn't really matter as long as they can handle the power drawn by the various lights.
3. A Box or Panel - You can use plastic, metal, wood, or whatever you have lying around. This is what your switches will be mounted on.
4. Wire - You will need 12, 14, or 16 gauge wire (depending on your power requirements) to power the lights, as well as a thinner gauge wire (such as 22 gauge like I will be using) for the relays and switches.
5. Extension Cord – optional to 12, 14, or 16 gauge wire.
6. Lights - Strobe lights, black lights, colored lights, LED lights, Neon Lights, etc. This is where the party happens!
7. Mounting - You will also need something to mount the lights on. I happened to have a light rail from the remodeling of our house. Anything works that can hold the weight.

Optional:
1. Audio Devices - Headphone jacks, microphone jacks, mixing boards, etc.
2. Potentiometers - If you want to dim the lights, or adjust volume, you need these.
3. Back lit Switches or Indicator Lights - If you need a different way to see if things are working. I will be using a few LED’s.
4. Labels - To tell which switch does what.

Tools:
1. Soldering Iron
2. Solder
3. Wire Strippers
4. Electrical Meter
5. Drill - to drill the holes for switches and other parts on the outside of the box as well as mounting the transformers and some other components.
6. Jigsaw - If you want circular holes, you will need circular switches, otherwise you need to cut the holes into squares. Your panel may also need to be cut out of wood like mine.
7. Writing/ Marking tool
8. Glue (Hot Glue, Gorilla Glue, Wood Glue, Etc.)
9. Sandpaper  
mhartnett2 years ago
would a variable resistor work instead of a capacitor to vary the speed of the strobe?
tinstructable (author)  mhartnett2 years ago
Nope. The capacitor stores enough energy to trigger the contactor, so the larger the capacitor, the longer it takes, and smaller the less time it takes. A resistor wouldn't do anything.
thanks for clearing that up i might still give it a try!
King Crab3 years ago
The video is private.
tinstructable (author)  King Crab3 years ago
Sorry about that, it's open now.