Useful Tips

How to make your Christmas lights sparkle to the music


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Surely you have already watched a video where Christmas lights flashed in sync with the music. The single of one of the most watched videos of all time on YouTube - "Gangnam Style" PSY - also presented an extravaganza of festive lights. (Watch the video below). If you want your garlands to flicker to the beat of your favorite song, make a plan and purchase equipment that will impress your friends and create a dazzling demonstration. It will take a lot of time, garlands and tools to realize the plan, but the result will be amazing.

Your actions

Decide on the size of your daisy show. You can hang the whole house with garlands - both inside and outside - or choose a separate plot on your house and in the front garden. Remember the following while planning your daisy show:

  • A strip is a section of garlands that can be individually controlled. For example, a separate branch in the courtyard may be a strip if you hung it with one set of garlands.
  • All garlands in a strip work as a single section. Unfortunately, you cannot light a separate garland bulb.
  • Bands 32 through 64 are a great size to start with if you have never programmed the lighting of lights to match the music. Any stripes that are larger than these will cause you to curse the day you decided to take up the project (or the day your wife made you start it).

Stock up. It is best to buy garlands on the day after Christmas. So, you will find garlands at a price of 20 rubles, although they cost 80 rubles. Compare prices for different department stores so as not to miscalculate. Compare prices online.

Get a regulator. You will need equipment that connects to your computer. This control can be bought in assembled condition, complete or a home-made system.

  • The whole assembled system works right out of the box. It will cost about 700 - 800 rubles per lane. This regulator can be bought in online stores. Dwell on this choice if you do not want to mess with any electrical work (especially soldering) or have no idea where to start.
  • The kit partly requires keyboard control. It costs from 500 rubles per lane, but it is almost the same as the whole control, only without a case. Since it is very easy to put the electronic board in the case, this kit will be a great option if you want to save money. Some merchants sell everything they need to assemble a regulator, including a bare circuit board and parts. If you want to solder a little, check it out.
  • The do-it-yourself system costs from 200 rubles per lane. The price depends on how much you have to do yourself. The system consists of a controller that is adjacent to the computer, and a semiconductor relay (PPR), which actually lights the garlands. PPR can be bought or made by yourself. If you bought this system, you have to take a long time to make this equipment, but then you save. You will also have the opportunity to fully customize your equipment, and you can easily fix the problems.

Get help. This project can be very significant and difficult, because at first you can be stunned. Engage friends and family or sign up for the forums below to help you.

  • Depending on the degree of difficulty, give yourself 2 to 6 months to prepare before your daisy show is fully completed. It sounds horrific, but that is how much time you will need.

Install software. If you are a low-tech specialist, buy software to help you program the garland blinking. There is also a free program for home-made systems (see the links section). If you are ambitious and pretend to be a technical master, codify this program manually in any main programming language. However, remember that you cannot use this option for pre-assembled products, since most of their protocols are closed source.

  • The software of your choice will break the song with which you want to synchronize your garlands into very short segments (.10 seconds), which allows you to program each line of garlands to turn on, off, sparkle or flicker. There are three commercial software options.
    • Light-O-Rama is the supplier for most residential garland demonstrations. However, it is very complicated, because to compare the minute of the song with 32-48 bands, you have to spend four whole hours.
    • much more expensive but easier to handle. Some residential garland demonstrations also choose Animated Lighting.
    • the second option is the least expensive, but you will have to familiarize yourself with information about control systems and electrical engineering.
    • free software, easy to use, but powerful in incandescent bulbs, LEDs and CCD LEDs.

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Create your own decoration. Create exterior decorations. You need to include the following common elements:

  • Mini lights or bare garlands that extend throughout the garden.
  • Light icicles or garlands of months that hang from the roof.
  • Mini-trees are two- or three-foot trees made from a tomato cell, which must be wrapped in garlands of one or more flowers. Located in a line or in a triangle, they are often used in animated scenery.
  • A mega-tree usually consists of a large pillar decorated with garlands that extend from the top to a large ring around the base. Again, it is used in animated scenery.
  • Frames - metal frames decorated with garlands. Compressed forms - plastic luminous sculptures of deer, Santa, etc. They are often placed around the yard.
  • Garlands C9 - bulbous, convex and multi-colored lights that are usually placed around the perimeter of the yard.

Program your show. And here you have to sweat! Select the music with which you will synchronize the flickering of garlands. And then start programming on the timeline. Do not grab onto all at once. Most likely, it will take a couple of months, depending on the length of your show and the number of bands available. The show will depend on which software you choose.

Let them hear you. Take advantage of the effect, which will create a great sound, keeping everyone calm. The same music that sounds from the speakers again and again will infuriate the neighbors, so in most cases you will need to broadcast music at the FM frequency. Please see the warning section at the end of this article.

  • Be sure to inform your neighbors of your intentions to create an animated demo. It’s important that your neighbors support you if you want your demonstration to last long enough for other people to see it.
  • Scroll one show at the beginning of each hour, as well as once or twice a night. If the neighbors find out that the show lasts only three minutes and will be broadcast at 8 or 9 pm, they will treat this with greater understanding than if you started it from 6 to 9.

Turn on the power supply. Make sure your house has enough power to turn on the lights. An ordinary mini-light thread, for example, pulls 1/3 amperes. Speaking of power, the computerization of your demo wraps up a smaller electricity bill than a static demo, since not all garlands shine simultaneously. Please see the warning section at the end.

Advertise. Put a sign in your yard. Make a website. Post on the demo site. Notify your friends. If you do not, no one will come and watch your demonstration. Don't go to extremes - just make sure people find out about you.

  • Again, advertise your demonstration to your neighbors. They will be much more accommodating if they learn about your intentions, and will help to attract the attention of everyone in the district.

Set your scenery. Every morning, go out into the courtyard and check your scenery. Repair or remove unusable light bulbs, or eliminate objects damaged by weather conditions. Make sure everything is ready for this night.