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Programming your Christmas Lights

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Presentation on theme: "Programming your Christmas Lights"— Presentation transcript:

1 Programming your Christmas Lights
Andrew Konkol Technical Architect at Sentry Insurance Creator/Designer of the Konkols Christmas Light Show

2 Christmas Light Addiction Problem
CLAP Christmas Light Addiction Problem

3 Music Turns flashing lights into Magic Classics, Pop, Rock
TSO: Trans-Siberian Orchestra

4 Sequencing/Scheduling Software
Ties lighting effects (on/off, fades, chases, etc) to a timeline, in sync with music Bitmap vs. Vector Popular Free Vixen (2.1, 3.0, Vixen+) HLS Nutcracker xLights Not free Light Show Pro (LSP) – $100-$400 Light-O-Rama (LOR) - $50-$400

5 Computer Most software is Windows-based Needed for Sequencing
Needed for controlling the show and playing music during showtime Unless you are using a stand-alone controller

6 Power (Electricity) AC DC
Traditional incandscents, LED lights from the store Dimming requires zero-cross detector DC Needed for modern LED-based lighting 5V, 12V common PC Power supply works well for this Need to consider total power required (Amps/Watts) Outdoor = GFCI

7 Zero Cross Detection

8 FM Transmitter/Antenna
Gets music into the warm cars of visitors Low Power (avoid attention of FCC) Dipole antenna RDS (Radio Data System)

9 Protocols / Interfaces
RS-485-based DMX Renard LOR PixelNet Ethernet-based E1.31 (DMX-over-Ethernet or Streaming ACN) Pixel protocols WS2801, TM180x, WS2811, TLS3001, GE Color Effects Protocol converters Examples: Etherdongle (takes in E1.31, outputs PixelNet), E1.31-to-DMX/Renard bridges, etc.

10 Controllers Takes in information on a protocol bus and turns it into blinky-flashy Use microcontrollers PIC by Microchip Programmed in C or Assembly; flashed with PicKit Parallax Propeller Programmed using proprietary “Spin” language; flashed with “Prop Plug” 8 Cores Arduino

11 Controllers – AC Uses Solid-State Relays (SSRs) Fancy power-strip
On-board: AC switching happens on the same board as the protocol processing Off-board: AC switching happens remotely – 5V signal connects SSRs to main board Fancy power-strip Examples include Renard SS (8, 16, 24), Renard 64, Lynx Freestyle, Lynx Express, Helix, LOR

12 Controllers - DC May either switch a DC power source (using DC SSRs), or provide power directly Commonly controls RGB floodlights, strips, or “dumb” RGB strings Examples include Renard4Flood, Ren48LSD, Renard 64, PixelNet Dumb String Controller (DSC)

13 Controllers - Pixel Takes input protocol and produces pixel protocols to control “smart” RGB nodes Provides constant DC power, plus a “data” signal to tell individual nodes to set RGB output levels (providing 256^3 = 16M color possibilities) Examples include PixelNet Smart String Controller (SSC), PixelNet Zeus, SanDevices E68x series, J1SYS EthConGateway (ECG), RPM Pixel Bridge

14 Controllers – Stand-alone
Some controllers can run the whole show No computer needed at showtime Theoretically could provide a more robust platform (Windows is not a real-time OS) Files (MP3, sequences) stored on removable media Just hook up other controllers, lights, and an FM transmitter, and you’re set Examples include Helix and EtherDongle with Conductor daughter board

15 Lights! Incandescent AC LEDs
1 channel per string AC LEDs DC LEDs, including “dumb” strips/strings/floods RGB strings typically use 3 channels per string Pixels (“smart” strips, strings, modules) Typically use 3 channels per node, so a string of 50 would use 150 channels

16 Topology How does it all connect together? It all depends!
What protocols, controllers, lights are you using? Centralized versus decentralized Data and power connections

17 Topology of my show

18 Resources – General DIY lighting forum. Renard, Vixen, E68x, Audrino, HLS – Lynx, SmartStrings, Etherdongle, LSP, xLights – Lots of LED-based products, boards, kits, enclosures – Corrugated plastic props, DMX-based stuff, RGB - Ray Wu’s store – lots of RGB products, direct from China (message Ray direct to get a combined shipping quote) – Commercial (non-DIY) lighting control products – Home of LSP – home of Vixen, including latest 3.0 releases - Australian forum – lots of DC-based stuff (RGB, etc) Don’t forget to check out the Wikis – most forums have one

19 Questions?

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