Author Options:

Lightning lighting Answered

OK I got one for you all! What I would like to achieve is a realistic lightning effect for Halloween displays. I've tried some different ideas, but none can give me a realistic effect. Most produce a timed effect (2 sec on, 2 secs off, 2 on, 2 off etc...) What I think I would need would be a circuit board or something like that, that would produce a random current to a strobe light source (ie. 1 sec on, 3 secs off, 2 on, 6 off, 1 on 5 off etc...) Could this be done? I've searched all over the internet and haven't been able to come up with anything. Thanks! Wes


You could build a tesla coil. They seem to produce some nice "lightning". ;P Have you heard of detecting lightning with AM radio? You hear a little blip every time a real stike occurs, even hundreds of miles away. The output of that blip could be used to trigger your strobe. There is no more real way to time lightning than by using real lightning!

Thanks for the ideas, but I was more interested in producing a simpler (less dangerous) solution. Living in central California, we don't get too many lightning storms and hoping for one on Halloween is a bit of a stretch. I was more hoping to see if someone knew how to make a switch of sorts that could randomize the current to my strobes.

I've been able to pick up radio blips from lightning in Nebraska (and Missouri on a good night) whilst sitting at home in Denver. Might be worth looking into? Anyway, good luck with your randomization effort. If you get it to be truly random, let me know, I've got some stuff in need of a little randomization around here.