Make Music Controlled Christmas Lights




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.

Step 1: Parts List

-Old Speakers
-Solid State Relay (buy at at
-Excess power cord taken from some old device.
-Outlet adapter
-Soldering Iron and equipment
-Christmas Lights

Step 2: Speaker Setup

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

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

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

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.

Step 6: Final Steps

If the amplifier is still screwed into the front of the speaker casing, then remove it. Then put the speaker casing back together with all the wires and SSR tucked inside. Now all you have to do is plug in the speakers, plug in the excess power cord (which is now connected to the SSR inside the speaker casing), and then plug the audio input into any computer or mp3 player and enjoy!

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    28 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I made a Christmas light controller similar to this one. But, I have a mp3 shield ready to use (and my music file too). I have been looking everywhere for a piece of coding to make it start and stop at the beginning and at the end of the code. Any one have the piece of coding I need? Thanks!


    3 years ago

    am i right in assuming each speaker would be a seperate channel? how do u switch between different channels so all the lights arent blinking at the same time

    try putting a resistor on the red + wire then to the SSR seems like maybe you are getting to much signal to SSR, Resistors are cheap try a few different ones maybe 100 ohms 1000 ohms 1000 ohms or a variable resistor (Potentiometer)


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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...


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    4 years ago

    Ok, so I am trying to get a string of christmas lights to react to the subwoofer on my surround sound.. I dont want to fry it so ill ask first.. I was thinking of using a separate speaker that would use the subwoofer speaker connection (with the subwoofer also connected in the same spot) to be what sends the signal.. since id imagine that it would be the same signal-ish that sends the audio to the subwoofer.. would I be able to modify this set up to work for that?


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Will this schematic work?
    With this Relay?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I realized I am not using a "powered" there a way to power this without having to rig up another speaker with power already in it?


    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.


    7 years ago on Step 2

    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.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    how do u control alot of lights , but not have them all off / all on


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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)


    10 years ago on Step 1

    would using a alternate relay make the lights react to different frequencies, I'm a little new to this?