Instructables
Make music controlled Christmas lights for very cheap. This uses very basic parts. This idea was not originated by me. It is a derivative of Rybitski's design located herehere.


 
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Step 1: Parts List

Picture of Parts List
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-Old Speakers
-Solid State Relay (buy at DigiKey.com)buy at DigiKey.com)
-Excess power cord taken from some old device.
-Outlet adapter
-Soldering Iron and equipment
-Christmas Lights

Step 2: Speaker Setup

Picture of Speaker Setup
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Take apart the main speaker (the one that has the power going to it). You will see that the amplifier has two wires going to it. It should also have labeled which one is positive and which one is negative (image 1). Using the soldering iron, melt the solder that connects these two wires so that you can disconnect them from the amplifier (image 2).

Step 3: Connecting the speaker to the SSR

Picture of Connecting the speaker to the SSR
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Now you'll need to connect the SSR (Solid State Relay) to the speaker. Solder the two wires that we removed from the amplifier to the two left hand leads (with the words on the SSR facing up) on the SSR. Make sure the positive wire is connected to the lead furthest left.

Step 4: Attach the power cord

Picture of Attach the power cord
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Take the excess cord that you have take from some old electronic device and cut the cord so that the two (or three if it's ground) wires are displayed. Cut a hole in the back of the speaker casing so that you can insert this cord into the hole (refer to above video for visual). Bypassing any grounding wire, solder either of the two wires directly to the third lead from the left on the SSR.

Step 5: Adding outlet adapter

Picture of Adding outlet adapter
Cut two notches in the top of the speaker casing so that you can fit the outlet adapter into it (refer to the above video for visual). Solder the remaining wire (excluding the grounding wire) from the power cord to one prong of the adapter. Solder the other prong of the adapter to the last lead of the SSR.
badtzmarulol11 months ago
Will this schematic work?
With this Relay?
http://www.amazon.com/25A-DC-AC-Solid-State-Relay/dp/B005KPGPU4/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
lights.jpg
My lights just stay on steadily, any help?
kevin-r61 year ago
I am working on making one of these with a few modifications and I just wanted someone to take a look at it before I dive into it.
changes : 1) LED lights within the housing of the circuit 2) a switch that will cut out the SSR and just leave the lights on 3) two audio input options, headphone jack and audio cable, connected in parallel and only used one at a time.
Question: Am I correct in showing 3 wires within the the extension cord and that two of them, including the ground, need to be connected?
If you see anything else wrong with my circuit please let me know! Thanks!
music LED circuit copy.jpg
thealeks3 years ago
awesome instructable!

how would i change this to control a battery(2 AA's) powered light string?
Adum24 thealeks2 years ago
I did this with an Arduino and a few simple lines of code. Though, I did it with some LEDs and they were connected in parallel so that may be different for your string of lights...
You would need to use a relay that's rated to control such a small voltage. I personally, have never really seen such a relay, and to be frank, it kinda defeats the purpose of it. A relay is a device meant to use a small voltage to control a large one. In this case, you might want to go the transistor route, or maybe look into ICs.
dgreffard2 years ago
The problem I am running into, is that the xmas lights are on steady.
I realized I am not using a "powered" speaker...is there a way to power this without having to rig up another speaker with power already in it?
sirjamesorr5 years ago
do u have to use an ssr?
No, you can also use a regular mechanical relay. (although, it will produce a lot of noise and it'll wear out quick.)
Other than that, you can use power transistors, and certain ICs. But, the SSR is the most straight-forward method.
Knuxz3 years ago
What you are referring to as an "amplifier" is actually the speaker. The amplifier on cheap speakers like that is the circuit. Just a friendly tip.
rybitski4 years ago
Just found this instructables. Thanks for giving the link back to my site. I think it is amazing how popular this project that I made my junior year of high school is. Every year around Christmas I always get a bunch of emails asking questions about this project and where to get the particular CRYDOM SSR I used. The only reason I used that particular SSR is that someone I knew at the hospital had a bunch of extra ones that he had replaced in some machines. These are not the easiest SSRs to find so it should be noted that other types can be used. The thing to look for is the input voltage range (3-32 VDC) and the load capacity (this depends on what you want to power). They generally come in either 120V or 240V versions. The 240V will work with 120V (which is what the typical US outlet is). Just something to keep in mind when looking for a relay that could save you time and money.

@ Gamer: The original version I made I used the power cord that went into the speakers like you are suggesting here.
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lane295 years ago
how do u control alot of lights , but not have them all off / all on
PhebeEve5 years ago
Is the wiring different if the speakers have their own power? I followed the instructions but I am unable to get power to the lights, please help!!! my ssr has input - + (on the left) and output 280VAC 3 AMP (on the right)
Sawanlive5 years ago
Where to get the SSR??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
anoddmind5 years ago
would using a alternate relay make the lights react to different frequencies, I'm a little new to this?
c3d6 years ago
Gigafide you really done a great job!! My questions is it looks like you have 4 speakers going at once. How can you separate the music in order to have a complex show such as yours?
capaciter6 years ago
could I make this work for a bands lighting with a mixer for the source and par bulbs in cans ?? looking to help my sons band out with super low budget also new to usin my brain...if any could help let me know ...thanks
Coffee bean6 years ago
great simple 5 stars
lager6 years ago
AWsome man 5/5
batboy614906 years ago
I heard of somebody using an automotive relay once. Do you think that would work?
gamer7 years ago
better yet, instead of adding an extra power cord, use the one that also powers the speakes, if possible -gamer
gigafide (author)  gamer7 years ago
a lot of sets of speakers do allow for that. unfortunately this crappy cheap set I have do not allow for it. but yes, that would be more practical.
Keith-Kid7 years ago
Aweomse 5 Stars!!!!!!!!!!! Bravo!!!! Great!!!!! Love it!!!!