In this step we are going to start acquiring the necessary hardware and software.
First you need a strand of GE color effects G-35 Christmas lights. I'd suggest trying to find a strand with 50 lights in it, but one of the 36 light strands will also work. If you can find them at Costco, they are usually available for ~$60 as apposed to the full retail price of ~$100.
Next you need to get an XBee Programmable and programmer for the FreeScale co-processor. I suggest checking out Digi's Getting Started
for more information. You'll also need a second XBee (series 2) connected to your PC to send data to the programmable XBees. You can download the required software, drivers, and getting started guide here
The example computer programs are written in Python. You'll need to download Python 2.7
and then install pySerial
. All of my code and the XBee profiles are located on GitHub at: https://github.com/mrsutherland/lightshow
You may need a 1kOhm resistor and 10pF ceramic capacitor to reduce noise on the data line for the Christmas lights. It doesn't appear to always be necessary, but I've had some issues without them.
Finally, you'll need some misc components to wire everything up without using the XBIB board:
* 1 small prototyping board or breadboard
* 1 XBee breakout board
* 1 LN1117T - 3.3V linear regulator to provide 3.3V to the XBee from the 5V off the Christmas lights
* 2 10uF radial caps - for the linear regulator
* 1 LED - association LED isn't strictly necessary, but very useful.
* 1 1kOhm resistor for the LED
* optional enclosure