Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights

Ok one of my other side projects, hobbies, obsessions is Christmas Lights. Always was fascinated by them as a little kid and always loved decorating the house with lights for Christmas. In Georgia they used to refer to our house as candy cane lane. Anyway’s 2 years ago I came across some lights from GE called Color Effects lights. The are basically tri-color LED lights with covers on them that make them look like the original large C9 type Christmas lights. The lights come 50 on a string and a little controller that allows them to cycle through 12 different settings. That’s ok, but I also came across a hack that removes the original controller and connects them to an Arduino microcontroller and gives you total control over them. The geek in me just had to start playing with these. Last year I got them working but since we were still living in a condo I only had enough space to put one string of them on the balcony. Well this year I have the whole house to put them on and I did. So last week while I was on vacation I took a break from the car and hung 250 of these lights on the house.

The video isn’t the greatest as it turns out Christmas lights are really hard to video record, especially on an iPhone. But here you get an idea of what they look like, though they don’t change this fast between patterns.

I currently have 2 Arduino’s controlling each section, one for the upstairs strings and one for the downstairs. I have a weather tight enclosure that houses the controllers and the power supplies tucked up in the eves of the house. Each pattern runs for 15 minutes and then switches to the next pattern, the current patterns are 3 Red/3 White, 3 Blue/3White, Red/Green alternate, Red/Green alternate and walk, Red/Blue/Green, ripple of each color down the whole line and then repeat.

Nothing extreme this year just the initial setup, next year I’m planning on switching the strings to wireless control and then run by a computer inside the house running light show software, the goal will also be to set them to music as well. Clark Griswold would be proud!


  1. Wilson
    Nov 14, 2013

    Cool! I’m headed to Ace Hardware! I too am a light junky!

  2. Joe Demmons
    Nov 14, 2013

    Great idea Randy, this post made me think of that “Deck the Halls” Movie with Danny Devito lol

  3. Sean Guinan
    Nov 14, 2013

    God Bless you but Im never going to be the Christmas light guy,

    Let me know when you have a day planned on the car. I’ll fly up.

  4. Mark
    Nov 18, 2013

    The only thing missing is the RV parked at the curb.

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