Choreographed Christmas Light Show (x4)


[Lucas] is at it again this year. Not satisfied by the computerized systems available on the market, [Lucas] decided to build on last year’s project. To save a bit of cash, he built the setup around Parallax’s low-cost SX28 proto board. The system is capable of controlling 102 channels, with 8-bit dimming. 6 boards control 7 channels each and are communicated to through a serial protocol (reducing the whole setup to only 36 feet of wiring).

More importantly, he’s teamed up with 3 other neighbors who also share a passion for outdoor Christmas lighting and they’ve put together the Christmas Tour of Lights. Money raised from all donations goes directly to the St. Jude Children’s Reasearch Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

20 thoughts on “Choreographed Christmas Light Show (x4)

  1. LOR is good commercial software.
    Personally i will stick with free Vixen software.

    Also, slight edit:
    Its not 36′ total of serial, but rather that is my max length. I have 6 controller boxes, that communicate in series. The max length between them is 36′. Which is interesting due to using tty level serial thru 18 gauge solid unshielded sprinkler wire. And it works perfect.

  2. Sure…I bet those donations are going towards paying for your ridiculously successful attempt at light polution. As pretty as it may seasonally be, are your donations really over the amount of not running the show at all than just donating what it would cost to run it?

  3. If you have bad taste it’s fine, but if that includes antisocial electricity use, light pollution and even amplified music, it’s triple annoying. Glad I live in a better neighborhood.

  4. This year the donations will about equal what i am putting into. But next year i will have all the same stuff, plus a bit more. This year was a big build up year. I expect next year i will surpase the amount of money i have put into the lights with donations to Saint Judes. Think long term.

    CAN SOMEONE PLEASE DESCRIBE ANTISOCIAL ELECTRICITY USE???? What the h@!! does that even mean. Thankfully capitalistic electricty costs allow me to do this. Once obama gets done i won’t be able to afford this, even in pennsylvania.

    The sounds is kept low and the neighbors love it. Especially the kids.

    So Baa Humm Bug to you to.

  5. Ya know Chris H.
    The more I think about it the more you P!$$ me off.

    Its funny the socialist idiot calls my christmas light display an antisocial use of electricity. When in reality its the most “Social” thing in a 5 mile radius. Me and the wife run around outside giving candy canes to the kids. Everybody loves the display and it brightens everyones holiday. And guess what, its 100% my own motivation. No government waste and the donations go right to an awesome non-government charity. I might not have surpassed the money I spent with donations yet, but i definitly will next year. And one thing, just to let ya know, there is not 1 single LED in the display. I don’t like the look of them and i refuse to put them in the display.

    Alright now that i got that out.
    Merry Christmas Everyone.

  6. hi Lucas, if I’ld known you’ld be reading along I might have refrained from peeing you off on christmas. Sorry about that.

    On electricity use: we all share one planet and it would be cool if we could all keep it in shape.

  7. You global warming idiots are stupid.
    Why don’t you stop farting, that will save the planet.

    Please do not ever lecture me about sharing one planet.

    I mean really, you lecture a guy who is trying out of his own will to raise money for kids on using a bit of electricity. Misplaced priorities.

    Give me a couple more years and i will be installing another 200 amp service at my house.

    And the kicker is, i still won’t be using nearly as much electricity as Al Gores house.

  8. FYI, already raised over $1,350.00 dollars.
    And given that the Rite Aid Foundation is expected to match everything the Tour of Lights ( collects up to 10,000 that means i should easily collect more than i spent on the lights.




  9. It’s nifty to look at, kudos to the tech efforts put into making it. On the other hand I think it is sad to think of the poor astronomers that are having a hard time because of the light pollution (and everyone else looking further than their nosetip)

    Support them at the International Dark-Sky Association:

  10. Light pollution for one month. Cry me a river. Its usually done in a city where they have street lights that point upwards and all that crap, this is the least of anyones problems.

    I think its a cool idea if it helps others.

  11. Ignore the downers… They won’t be happy unless the world is a socialist cookie cutter.

    Real people like what you do, it inspires people and brings them together.

    Each year 7 or so of my friends and family go out on our light tour of our area, there are a few who put on shows similar to yours (not so sync’d of course), and anyone from the area who doesn’t like it is free to not go see it.

    As for wasted electric, the mall wastes many more times that power everyday if the year–go fight them.

    Light pollution? Not an issue if the lights are out over night, and frankly a typical parking lot or shopping center is a far worse offender.

  12. Chris H. , Russia called and they want you to come back with antisocial views. Why don’t you antisocial buttwipes take your and your solar powered crap and find nice desert with no neighbors around so you can moan and gripe about enivormental issues. Most christmas displays are running leds, which by the way is low power. Second, the music is hear inside your car radio via a fm transmitter. And third, most display owners give more from donations to charities than you do when you walk by the pot for the Salvation Army donations. Crawl back under the rock you slither from and wait til after Jan 1st to come out.

  13. I’m charmed… so social=socialistic?
    The Soviet Union was not exactly environmentally sound. By the way that was over a decade ago, you’re supposed to be Muslim-bashing now,

    I withdraw my apologies due to the comments that came after that.

  14. Well I am another christmas light junkie, with 50,000 lights, 448 channels, and I raised close to AU$3000 this year for charity. Add to that the enjoyment for the thousands of people that visited the display, had their picture done with Santa and received FREE lollypops or candy canes.

    My display draws less that 10KW when totally turned on, but because of the nature of the animated lights, the real current draw is less than 2KW continuous averaged out over the 4 hour display time, and that includes the security cameras and the PC to drive the display.

    We have had disabled schools, old age homes, and terminally ill children come to watch the display and they love it, and thats what makes it all worth while!

    Oh and I work as an operator at a coal-fired powerstation – deal with it.

  15. Anti-social electricity use? WTF??? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve seen posted. Or printed. Ever. Hundreds of people get enjoyment from watching these types of displays, which for the complete moron who posted that statement, uses far less energy than a static display half the size.

    And ‘light pollution’? I’ve heard of that, this light display doesn’t meet the definition. So I feel compelled to ask: are you individuals so sad, sorry, and bitter that you find it necessary insult what someone else does that so many others enjoy? Or do you just want to tell others what they should do in order to live in ‘your perfect society’?

    If you want to change the world to your liking, your time might be better spent joining Greenpeace protesting oil rigs on a rickety boat leaking diesel into the ocean. Or maybe hugging a tree in the upper northwest or Amazon rain forest. But by all means, get a life and an education, and develop some common sense and critical thinking skill, ’cause, damn…

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