Introduction: Awesome Halloween Light Show With Music!
For this project, i made a Halloween light display with some special lights called RGB pixels that are synchronized to 4 Halloween songs. If you would like to see these light shows and future ones, go here. This light show can be difficult to build if you don't know a lot about the tech im talking about and can be expensive (mine was $450+). You also should plan your display out about 2 months in advance. I've been working on mine since May. If this all sound really difficult, i have a little easier and cheaper way of building a display using a arduino and relays that you can build for this Halloween. It was made for Christmas lights, but you can change out the red, green, and white lights with green, orange, and purple lights. It also costs less than $50 and still is a neat little light show, but not as cool as the RGB pixels version. Here's that project: Light show. Now if you do deicide to try this project, make sure you have lots of time before Halloween. If you don't, you could build this for a Christmas light show if you have time for that. This project will be about the basics of what you need and how to build it. I will put links to projects that go more in depth about the steps.
A pixel controller
12v or 5v power supply
A good powerful computer (windows 10 is fine, older ones are harder to use)
A second, less powerful computer such as raspberry pi 3 or 4, beagle bone black, or a standard computer.
FM transmitter or speakers (you only need this if you are using music with your lights)
16-20 awg wire 3 core.
some other tools and hardware
other Halloween decoration (optional)
Step 1: Getting to Know the Tech/planning Your Display
So why are RGB pixels so much cooler then regular Halloween/Christmas lights? Basically each individual light can change any color it wants and can be different from the rest. So the 1st light can be green, the 2nd can be purple, the 3rd can be off, and the rest are flashing between blue and red. See, you can do any pattern you want with these lights unlike normal lights that are all on 1 color, or all off. For more about these lights and how they work, go here. Even though the title says Christmas, you can change the colors so it looks more Halloweeny (if that's a word!). I highly recommend you read that before you continue in this instrucable. Now planning out your display. You should completely know what you want to do at least 2 months advance from when you want the lights on for the public. I started 5 months in advance! (that was a bit overkill) You should know how many lights you want in your show, how you want them setup, and what day(s) you want them on. The reason you should know this is because 99.999% of the stuff you need is bought online and sometimes from china, which means waiting weeks till your stuff arrives.
Step 2: Making a Sequence/setting Up Controllers
So from here on out, i will be assuming you know a little bit about RGB pixels and the electronics it uses. If you don't know a little bit about using this stuff PLEASE read this instuctable before you go on here or it will look like im talking in a foreign language. So once you have your show planned out and all your electronics with you, begin sequencing a song in xlights or your show sequencer of choice. Make sure you use Halloween songs and Halloween colors (orange green purple etc.) If you don't know how to sequence a song, read this: building a light show part 2: xlights. Once you have your sequence(s) ready, setup falcon player on your raspberry pi, or beagle bone. If you are using xschedule, check this video out: how to use xschedule. If you don't know how to setup falcon player, read this: building a light show part 3: falcon player. Now once you have setup falcon player (or xschedule) with your sequences. Setup your controller. I dont have a instrucable on how to do this (yet). But i can recommend a video to you if your are using falcon controllers. falcon controller setup. Now that you have finished that, you can move on to the next step.
Step 3: Prepping Your Lights
Now that you have your controllers and sequences setup, it's time to prep your lights and some other stuff to get your show running. Since i don't have a instrucable on prepping your lights, i will go into more detail about that here. First what you want to do is figure out how you want to get the data from the controller to the pixels. If you have read some of the instrucables i linked in the other steps, you will know that pixels have 3 wires. There is a 12v dc wire, a ground wire, and a data wire. There are 3 things that most people do to get the data to the lights. First, if you have pixels without connectors on the end and just the wire, you could buy 18 awg 3 core wire and solder that on to the pixels, then screw the wire into the controllers. Second, if your pixels do have connectors on them, you could buy 18 awg 3 core wire, then solder the connectors to the ends of the wire, and just plug the connectors into each other. third, you could just buy premade extension cords with the correct connector on them and plug those into your pixels (that is usually more expensive though). Now that your extension cords are ready, you need to find a way to mount your pixels to your house. There are 2 things most people do to put there lights on there house. 1: just buy some christmas light staples (or regular staples) and staple your lights around your windows or whatever you are putting them on. 2: Use Boscoyo strips (Link to website). Boscoyo strips are basically long pieces of cuttable plastic with holes in them. You then push your pixels into the holes and mount the strips to your house. you can drill screws through the plastic, then into your house to mount them.
Step 4: How to Get Music to Your Audience
Now you have almost everything setup. You have your show player (falcon player or xschedule), your main controller to run your lights, wire to get power and data to your pixels, pixels, and you even have sequences to run your pixels. But there is one thing we are forgetting: audio. How do you get the audio to the people walking or driving by your display? There are 2 things that you can do. You can just put speakers up near the road, or you can transmit the audio onto a non used FM radio station. The way you would use speakers is just run a really long 3.5 mm audio jack from your raspberry pi audio jack to the speakers near the road. All you need to do to use your music on a FM radio station is find a radio station in your area that nobody is using. For example, all i hear is static on 90.7, so that's the station i use. Then you need to buy a FM transmitter which you can find on ebay or amazon. Then plug a audio cable from your raspberry pi to the fm transmitter, select what station you want to use on the transmitter, and boom your done. The audio will then play on the radio station you picked and cars can tune there radio to that station.
Step 5: Finish
You have now finished all the steps to making a Halloween light show. All you need to do is go onto your raspberry pi interface and push play! I know i didn't go into much detail for each step, and you still may know nothing about what i'm talking about, but this instrucable would be a mile long if i did go into more detail for each step. You can check out all the links below if you want to know more detail on how to do everything. Also don't forget to check out my light show on youtube. Thank you for reading this instrucable!
easier way to build a smaller light showMore about basics of RGB pixelsHow to use xlights
How to setup falcon playerPixel controller store Where i learned about RGB pixels (youtube channel)
where to download xlightswhere to get falcon playerhow to setup f16v3 (youtube video)
How to use xlights (youtube video)Where to buy pixel, wire, and more
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