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Automated christmas lights

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pdelass

New Member
I am a fresh electrical engineering graduate, and as my first fun side project, I decided to instead of having an intense programming/whatever it takes to do the christmas light displays like in the commericials along with music (Christmas Lights To Music - Carol of the Belles - Video for example), I want to make something that will make it easier for more people to have fancy lighting displays.

My idea is to have something like a power strip/surge protector (6 to 8 normal AC outlets) that anything can be plugged into (i.e. strands of lights), and essentially plug music in, and based on that alone the lights will flash with the music.

The general plan right now is to have a audio input (headphone jack) to a graphic equalizer chip, which will take 5V DC. The chip I am looking at will be able to branch off in sections based on what the frequency is, and that is where I will put the AC outlets.

What I need to know is how to set up some sort of switch to turn the AC outlets on and off, and how to keep those at 110V, instead of just being the continuation of the 5V DC circuit. A lot of this probably doesn't make sense, like I said, I just graduated, and after working a few days, it feels like I learned nothing.
 

Boncuk

New Member
How about using solid state relays (SSRs)? They are controlled by an opto-isolator and can switch mains loads.

Sharp Semiconductors offers a widespread assortment.

Boncuk
 

MrDEB

Well-Known Member
Why reinvent the wheel?

The easiest way to do the automated Christmas Light thing is to build whats already out there.
Do It Yourself Christmas Forums - Powered by vBulletin
The parts are easly to assemble, circuit boards are available as well as pre programmed PIC chips.
The software couldn't be better
I myself have 10,000 lights this year. Been tooo busy to get the 12,000 I had last year.
 

KMoffett

Well-Known Member
I am a fresh electrical engineering graduate, and as my first fun side project, I decided to instead of having an intense programming/whatever it takes to do the christmas light displays like in the commericials along with music (Christmas Lights To Music - Carol of the Belles - Video for example), I want to make something that will make it easier for more people to have fancy lighting displays.

My idea is to have something like a power strip/surge protector (6 to 8 normal AC outlets) that anything can be plugged into (i.e. strands of lights), and essentially plug music in, and based on that alone the lights will flash with the music.

The general plan right now is to have a audio input (headphone jack) to a graphic equalizer chip, which will take 5V DC. The chip I am looking at will be able to branch off in sections based on what the frequency is, and that is where I will put the AC outlets.

What I need to know is how to set up some sort of switch to turn the AC outlets on and off, and how to keep those at 110V, instead of just being the continuation of the 5V DC circuit. A lot of this probably doesn't make sense, like I said, I just graduated, and after working a few days, it feels like I learned nothing.

Google: color organ

There are lots of circuits out there with lots of audio to 5vdc to 120Vac interfaces.

Ken
 
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mramos1

Active Member
pdelass,

Looks for electronic surplus websites. You can get really good deals on old SSR. I have bought a couple bags over the years. Sometimes mpja.com has them, but there are many places that have them cheap.

We have a 12' 350lbs wreath we have flashed every year since 2001 using two 15 amp SSRs. We have two dedicated 120vac/15amp circuits to drive the lights and it pulls 12+ amp per side. I really like the SSR, no noise or mechanical issues.

And no, I am not paying the electric bill, but flashing it on and off I am sure helps some :D
 
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