The force is strong with this Christmas tree light show


[Zach] is a huge Star Wars fan, and in addition to the array holiday decorations that adorn his house, he says that his wife is nice enough to let him put up a Christmas tree full of Star Wars ornaments. For the past few years, the tree sat in the corner of the room unlit, but his wife thought that it should have some lights this year.

His wife came home with a small string of battery-operated lights, but [Zach] wanted something with a bit more geek cred. He decided to program the lights to play the Star Wars theme song, translating the tune’s pitch to light intensity.

He dug through his bin of electronics and found an MSP430 along with a small target board that would do the job nicely. He sat down with some sheet music, translating the notes to PWM values, resulting in the light show you see below.

While his wife provided a lovely violin accompaniment to the tree, we think that a small audio module would make a great addition to the tree next year.


  1. josh trow says:

    “…his wife provided a lovely violin accompaniment to the tree…”

    You got yourself a keeper there.

  2. soi sentinel says:

    Excellent implementation, how about a sound intensity setup for next year so he can use an mp3 player to play the music and the msp will pwm the lights in sync

  3. Anonymoose says:

    Hey! I have that USB hub! I had to glue the thing into its base with PVC cement.

  4. skater_j10 says:

    A sound module such as this might be in order next year, but it’s simple enough to think about getting this year :) Lovin’ the Star Wars Christmas theme!

  5. anon says:

    If it were a bigger tree and individually addressable lights itd be cool to have the brightness correspond to volume and have height correspond to pitch, so the lights on the top of the tree light up with higher pitched notes. Then set it up so it takes MIDI files (through a web interface?) and play something that has multiple notes played at once. That’d be one hell of a project, though.

    Nice tree, Zach. I like seeing non-arduino uC projects.

  6. Stu says:

    Nice one…

    One could also use an array of bandpass filters on op amps to get the same effect, one could even split the bands across the lights.

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