My main goal for this project was to make it cheap and amusing. Using 4 automotive relays, a wifi router, desktop computer, 2 receptacles, a few small electrical components, and of course Christmas lights, you can syrncronize 4 channels of christmas lights for under $15.
DISCLAIMER: ELECTRICITY IS DANGEROUS, I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYONE GETTING INJURED BY ELECTROCUTION IN THE MAKING OR USING OF THIS PROJECT, USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
List of materials:
Desktop computer (with parallel port)
Parallel port cable
4 automotive relays
Printed circuit board
4 NPN 2N3904 transistors
A box or enclosure
Download Vixen - http://www.vixenlights.com/downloads.html
Download TightVNC - http://www.tightvnc.com/
find VNC app or program for your phone or use another computer to run TightVNC
The first part of the project is to build the hardware using the circuit diagram in the picture and enclose it all in a wooden box with the 2 receptacles on the outside and the parallel port and power cable coming out the side. i used extension cord to wire in the inside of the controller box and used the plug to plug in the box and the female end to plug in the 12v transformer. Make sure that you cut the piece of metal in between the 2 outlets on both receptacles on the hot side, I do this so i only have 2 receptacles and not 4.
plug in all your lights to the proper outlets on the light controller box (has not been tested for more than 400 watts per outlet, EXCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK) and plug in the power cord that goes to box and the parallel port cable into the computer. Download the Vixen lights program from http://www.vixenlights.com/downloads.html and import your audio track and create the sequence to the song you have. Vixen will even let you make a preview screen so you can see what the sequence will look like when it is played in real time.
I setup a wireless router so that i can control my desktop with my phone using a program called TightVNC, you can download it at http://www.tightvnc.com/. For my phone I have a Droid Incredible 2 and I used AndroVNC which works with TightVNC. This allows me to control the computer without having to have a monitor, mouse, and keyboard. make sure you have a wifi card hooked up to the computer so it can connect to the wifi router. I find that the sequence lags if you are still connected to the computer via VNC, so when i start the sequence, I disconnect VNC and it runs fine.
Setup some speakers, run the sequence, and enjoy.