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Old 10-02-2012, 08:12 PM   #1
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Christmas Lighting Ideas


Hello all!

I would like to generate few Christmas Lighting ideas for this year and I need your help! Of course I am planning to decorate the tree. But this year I want my husband to help me put lighting outside the house as well.

Running extension cords from the outlets or electrical wiring should not be an issue. What I am wondering is how can I make the lights flash! I already have some static lights for the trees. I am planning to buy for the outdoors.

Is there any device or gadget I can buy locally or order online that can make my static lights animating the way I want? I want to have total control over the blinking patterns or flash!

I am a complete newbie in electronics! So, please help me find a solution.

- Sarah
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:39 PM   #2
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Christmas Lighting Ideas


There is a LOT of information on the internet about automation of Christmas light installations. Loads of people are doing it with varying degrees of complexity and impressiveness, and posting all the info out there for everyone to learn from. There are wireless computer-controlled solutions for light animation. There are wired solutions as well, and control devices with varying degrees of complexity from really basic (devices that just make lights flash) to very complex (scripted light animation via theater-grade lighting control systems).
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:27 PM   #3
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Christmas Lighting Ideas


Watch the movie "Christmas Vacation"......for examples of what NOT TO DO.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:46 PM   #4
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Christmas Lighting Ideas


If you are serious about animating your Christmas lights, check out www.doityourselfchristmas.com there's plenty of information there in the forums and in the wiki. I am a member and have been doing the blinky flashy lights display for several years now.

Here's a video of my house last year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=disi0lbNVQg
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:18 AM   #5
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Christmas Lighting Ideas


Take a look at www.environmentallights.com.

They sell LED light strings and controller boxes that give you a choice of multiple "blink patterns". They're quite a bit pricier than a string of lights you can pick up at WM, but a lot more flexible in terms of visual effects.

Gone are the days when you could just plug that special flasher bulb into your string to get blinky lights.
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Old 10-06-2012, 05:31 PM   #6
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Christmas Lighting Ideas


Good to know about your enthusiasm about the Christmas Lighting! Did you find anything yet? I was looking for similar products few weeks ago and found a few on Amazon. You can try using a programmable power strip from PwrUSB (pwrusb dot com)

You can hook up the power extension box to a computer via USB and program it anyway you like. It's okay, they provide a bundle easy to use software. So you don't actually need to know any computer language to flash the Christmas lights the way you want

If I am recalling right, you can program PwrUSB to flash the lights every 2 seconds on different power outlets. I was able to create some extraordinary animated lighting effects by putting diverging lighting on different power outlets (there are 4). Give it a try, you will love it!
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:58 PM   #7
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Christmas Lighting Ideas


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Originally Posted by asullivan View Post
Good to know about your enthusiasm about the Christmas Lighting! Did you find anything yet? I was looking for similar products few weeks ago and found a few on Amazon. You can try using a programmable power strip from PwrUSB (pwrusb dot com)

You can hook up the power extension box to a computer via USB and program it anyway you like. It's okay, they provide a bundle easy to use software. So you don't actually need to know any computer language to flash the Christmas lights the way you want

If I am recalling right, you can program PwrUSB to flash the lights every 2 seconds on different power outlets. I was able to create some extraordinary animated lighting effects by putting diverging lighting on different power outlets (there are 4). Give it a try, you will love it!
Thanks asullivan! I googled pwrusb and you are right it is an interesting and inexpensive solution for Christmas lighting compared to some of the other computer controlled lighting devices available on the market. I will definitely give it a try!
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