Strobe array for dance parties

Check out this slick strobe array for dance parties. Controlled by a DMX512 interface, only a small modification was necessary to get the strobes working. If you’ve played with a small commercial strobe light, you’ll know there’s a potentiometer to control the strobe speed. He simply soldered a relay after the pot. This allows him to tune them to be charged and ready for when the relay is closed.

[via HackedGadgets]


  1. Digital says:

    shortly after the man walked by he collapsed in a fit of epilepsy.

  2. kvmanii says:

    Nice! I thought that when I first read this lol

    Aside from pretending you’re famous and facing the paparazzi

    or that flash light that will make you throw up.

    be sweet to mount this in the ceiling or behind a frosted glass wall..

  3. Barney says:

    Now all we need is an arduino controlled MDMA dispenser.

  4. Xeracy says:

    a little more documentation would be nice. I am quite interested in making one of these. Fortunately, I have a few of these strobes kicking around, so imma poke their guts and see if there isn’t a better way to control the strobe than just a relay. I used three of these cheap strobes in a play and they were quite unreliable even when on a non-dimming circuit.

  5. Jake says:

    Can someone please explain the point of a “Dance Party” to me??

    Is this where low-tier students drink/do drugs, and then just kind of “move to the music”? Or is there actually something intellectually beneficial about this activity?

  6. IluvBread says:

    arduino controlled m&m dispenser?

  7. Erik says:

    @Jake: wow, slither out of your study session for a minute and make a friend… or two! And I don’t mean your virtual friends on WoW/teh intertubes, but real-life physical friends – and not the kind that will just sit in a circle with you hunched over while throwing >6-sided dice all day.

  8. Frogz says:

    erik: what are those? where can i buy them?

  9. PoiSo says:

    @jake, wow not all students that like to party do bad academically 0_o

  10. imsolidstate says:

    @Jake: Or even better, one of the opposite sex.

    This is cool. I need one of these and some way to hoist it up in the air at my house and piss of my annoying neigbors that complain about everything.

  11. lwr20 says:

    @Jake: I think its some sort of mating ritual :)

  12. Wraith says:

    I find it interesting the effect the lens flare has on the camera, almost looks like an electrical arc if you bring up the frequency

  13. Erik says:

    @Frogz: I also remember reading about a new service where you can pay girls to game with you lol

    But seriously now; On the street corners in the slums you can buy them.

  14. pɹɐoqʎǝʞuǝʞoɹq says:

    Makes me feel famous. And epileptic.

  15. BiOzZ says:

    seizures made easy :3

  16. DanS says:

    I want more information on the MPLI.

  17. Lance says:

    I was very disappointed there was no music with that video. Pretty cool though.

  18. telmnstr says:

    Check out optoisolators!

    Very cool project. I’ve often thought about trying to hack those cheap strobes.

    Years ago Guns and Roses toured with a wall of strobes that did text in them. They were probably High End Systems Dataflash strobes. Could probably replicate this.

    (The more expensive DMX strobes can do really high repetition rates, but the 700 watt one I have wants a 20 amp 110v circuit. Also, it’s not reliable in the timing as to when it will fire.)

  19. William T says:

    Nice article… you made a bunch of good points throughout. I’m glad I stopped by for sure!

  20. tyco says:

    Now he just needs to figure out how to replace the commercial strobes with disposable cameras!

  21. tripointlogic says:

    I wanna put that on the front of my car !

  22. tayken says:

    How about adding a digital potentiometer instead? Then we can change the speed dynamically to achieve some patterns.

  23. MR TOP HAT says:

    QUOTE IluvBread: arduino controlled m&m dispenser?

    omg thats pure genius

  24. M4CGYV3R says:

    Lol, “Dance Parties” is just PC speak for raves.

    I still need to figure out how to sequence DMX-512 from a PIC. I want to make my own controller.

  25. RHF says:


  26. Jake says:

    @Erik & friends
    No, I have a life, I just don’t get the “go hang out in a room and move around pointlessly” thing.

    My idea of having fun is hiking in a state park, or building/working on something with friends, or riding motorcycles… Basically, doing something meaningful with close friends and family, something that builds memories with the people that I love!

    I guess I just don’t understand people that party. The party lifestyle is meaningless and fleeting, but it seems to take kids years to figure this out. It should be simple, logic :/

  27. Scopeuk says:

    i believe the standard way is to stick an rs485 converter onto the UART and then configuring to port to the standard protocol settings for dmx, its a fairly relaxed protocol with regard to timings

  28. davo1111 says:

    24 strobes @ $25-30 each…

    = $576-720…

    Thats quite a bit just for some strobes…

  29. Wizz says:


    First, we make 1 big party like this per semester, and I don’t care what people smoke or drink, I just personnally enjoy making lighting devices and soundchecks…

    Now, it’s fairly easy to setup DMX, as Scopeuk said, put a SN75176 to your USART RX and you’ll find plenty of code for PIC and AVR chips for DMX handling.

    And those strobes cost me $10 each, so more like $310 with shipping and taxes over all.


  30. olivebranch says:

    this is a great bit of kit – I could see that, with a few mods and amped up a bit in a warehouse with a serious sound system… hmmm now we’re talkin’!!!

  31. Sir WATsalot says:

    When I’m in a really good mood I sit in the corner and mainline a mixture of fentanyl and methamphetamine and listen to Mars Volta and cry for 7 hours. With my good friends.

  32. D- says:

    LOL… No wonder you didn’t use the video that showed the strobes in use at the club! Junior did that “singer” just say I thought I heard? Dad just sprayed his beer across the room.

  33. D- says:

    Respectfully Jake, if you need it explained it’s doubtful you’ll understand. Kinda like the person who has to have it explained to them why other folks enjoy what you do, may not understand. Like many I never lived in an either or world. Party Saturday night, get up on Sunday to do the things you mentioned.

  34. Rob says:

    Good job. Any chance of some more details on the circuitry controlling the relays?

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