You’re Not Seeing Double: RGB Christmas Trees


[mrpackethead], created this monster of a tree.  As shown in the video, it’s capable of showing animations, patterns, and potentially video. The 6m tall creation is studded with 2000 waterproof RGB LED modules. Software for the tree was written in Apple’s own Quartz Composer and integrated into Madrix, a piece of software designed with the purpose of controlling LEDs. The 600W system is 100% Arduino-free and costs less than the equivalent of 0.04USD per hour to run in New Zealand.

[Geoist] opted for the Arduino way to rig up his own smaller RGB Christmas tree. Finding a slightly kitschy fiber-optic model in his local department store, [Geoist] was eager to harness its colour-changing powers. Upon opening it up, it was discovered that it was controlled by nothing more than a light bulb and a spinning disk of coloured light filters. [Geoist] gutted the setup in favour of a breadboard with 3 RGB lights hooked up to an Arduino. The sketch for it is available on his site.

30 thoughts on “You’re Not Seeing Double: RGB Christmas Trees

  1. Nicely done, but the links do NOT disclose where he got the LED modules as far as I can see. Maybe someone else can dig this out. Without disclosing the hardware, this is just a YouTube view.

  2. I took a look at the site for Quartz Composer, and all I can say is: ewwwww. I would much rather have an arduino (or better yet, a straight up ATMega micro) than interface with that shit.

  3. LOL @ opening the colour changing fibre optic thing for the colour changing electronics, I did the same with a colour changing egg only to find there was just a single LED with the RGB fading circuitry built-in.

  4. Mrpackethead: Way to go, Great job. I know you want to sell a solution, but someone is gonna figure out where the RGB modules came from anyways. You might as well tell us. We are ‘hackers’ after all.


  5. Ha . glad im not their neighbour :o) otherwise ive had killed them … all that disturbing/disgusting blinking light shining in my window … NO no no they can be glad :o)
    By the way , It’s Fuc… UGLY, what a waste of electricity. they could have used their electronis skills in a better way :o)
    Remember Christmas in old times , ok thats why i hate this….
    Merry Christmas to your all folks and a happy new year …

  6. @ Astro3000
    It looks nice, better than your house ever will.

    @ XMallRun
    Yeah you’re right, but the company’s probably buried in page 50< in Google. Thats why he can get away with it

  7. Hey Astro3000, Until you know the way people really feel about these christmas display and the use of electricity in the US, why don’t you quit your griping and open your ears to what is around you. People like you can only find fault in others in the way they display their creativity from Christmas. Sounds to me like your childhood was not that great. And then I read your myspace page. WOW!! You listen and believe in anarchy and communistic believe but yet you find time to believe in old fashion christmas. What next? Hilter is Santa Claus. You have to have love and kindness in your heart to understand real Christmas spirit which you have now shown your lack of. And as for XMallRun, feel free to email me and will educate you on where and how thoose modules came from. Your lack of knowledge and experience in so called hacking make me wonder about you. Do you want to learn how to create items like you see or do you want to hack someone’s else hard work into something for yourself. In Christmas, there are many very creative people that built these items, not purchase them from other source. TRY and learn from people instead taking and putting them down.

  8. The post is correct that the system is Arduino-free but in reality its driven by a Parallax Propeller. I wrote the ArtNet driver for the project which takes data from the network (from Quartz) and stores it to memory for other portions of the code to parse and then drive the LEDs.

  9. @Ben, Yes, the Current Art-net controller is propeller based, but in all likelyhood its going to get replaced with a different micro. Propeller spin is easy, but it aint fast!

    As for the tree, this is actually running on a different controller again, but its a real hack up and it won’t get any further.

  10. @Astro.

    I’m so sad that you are not enjoying Christmas. Our neighbors love our lights. In fact next year, they are joining in as well. We’ve had thousands of people come to see them, and just for a few minutes the cares of the world dissapear and they go with smiles on their face. This is our gift to to the community ( and the planet )..

  11. Hello this is a repply to disneynut &
    First to both of you –>
    You said i should learn abouth christmas , From who ? you ? Ha ha ha … With all your blinking lightshow and enormous amounts of plastic items , I think YOU have to learn something…
    disneynut write ->
    “You have to have love and kindness in your heart to understand real Christmas spirit which you have now shown your lack of”.

    If this is the socalled christmas spirit , phew im better be without , This has nothing to do with christmas.
    Do you know where santa came from ? Germany i can tell you .. and for the comment “What next? Hilter is Santa Claus” I can only tell you he was a real true human with a heart , he gave to the poor presents all made by himself , small things that make happiness.

    Today every little greedy buisnesman/whoman want people to buy presents for as much money as possible. Look at those people every year misunderstanding the consept about christmas , where is the spirit i ask you ?
    I remember from my childhood , I hate all those blinking lights , but i love the old tradition
    with Candels , small things on the christmasthree,
    This today are so ugly i have no words , you can even see the tree for blinking lights.
    And you write this to me->

    “feel free to email me and will educate you on where and how thoose modules came from.”

    Thanks …You educate me ? Now i have to laugh ha ha ha …..
    I have made things out of electronic since my childhood.. No you dont find them on my page , Why ? because it’s our music page .We have other pages.
    I made my first electronic guitar amplifier as 11 year old .. ok .. You have something equal here
    you made things from -> Audinoboards Athmell Ect Ect allpremade boards and with a little socalled hacking , Phew this reminds me of Lego . Modules putted togeather , try at least before you write
    to look at yourself. People screaming up like you ” come here i will educate Ect Ect ” In the real world they know so little and fool themselves like you do. You don’t know what i can made AND you try to tell me what to do , Ha Ha .

    You said this–>

    “TRY and learn from people instead taking and putting them down.”

    Im not putting them down , but i tell you what i hate about people like them do.
    So those smallbrained people destroy christmas spirit with all those Plastic and Blinking lights.

    And for the comment about im a communist , YES I AM… and it’s clearly that you are a stupid american capitalist. Youn can’t see the beauty in the small and the spirit you talk about are gone .

    Mrpackethead wrote –>

    “I’m so sad that you are not enjoying Christmas. Our neighbors love our lights. In fact next year, they are joining in as well.”

    Fu… You Im trying to enjoy christmas , but all those stupidos with their blinking lights destroy the spirit . we have an idiot in our town making this every year and it destroy all the small things people create in there gardens. A little
    tree with a few lights and so on are much more beautyfull …

    You said–>
    “We’ve had thousands of people come to see them”

    Yes typically american , they will do anything to be in focus and doo all they can to be in center of others.. ” hey came and look at me” mentality , Phew Everything pushed to hights and so big as possible , typically american.
    This is another reason why im a communist….
    Americans always try to be in center of others and make themself on top of all others.

    You write –>

    “and they go with smiles on their face.”

    Yes typically american … Beside this lightshow youn can find a little beautifull christmastree
    with only few lights , lightning just a little in the dark and its beauty will newer being noticed , typically “the more , the better , the bigger the better ” Phew you have NO ChristmasSpirit both of you….

  12. Wow, I just love it when my point is proven by person as yourself. First, and foremost, the word is Candle not Candels. Second, Being Communist, do the world a favor; stay where you are. Don’t visit the US. People of your kind don’t deserve Christmas. See while you was rolling in your self pity, I was fellowshipping with friends, family and co-workers. I spent my holidays happy, joyful, and worship the birth of Jesus Christ with my church family. The lights, in addition to all things holy is just a simple plus. If you would remove head from your rear end and wipe away the crap maybe, just maybe you could see the same. I doubt it. Oh and by the way, the swatika over your fireplace would look better with red and leds lights


    Yup your on the money. Almost.. We’ve had that exact same module ( its manufactured by at least 8 crowds we have talked to. ).. Its fine till you want to take it outside, and if it gets slightly wet ( light rain ), its all over… IP66?? yeah right.. Be on your own head.. We learned the right way.

  14. Hello disneynut before you post read history :o)
    1 : You said you warship Jesus ( me to ) but did you know Jesus was born in the early summer and they
    put he’s birthday up in december just because it
    was the old “solhvervsfest” dont know the english word for it :o)
    Yes he was born in the summer just check hov the stars position was for 2000 years ago :o)If you don’t belive just count them by your self ( i have done it )
    2 : you said Oh and by the way, the swatika over your fireplace would look better with red and leds lights.
    Read your history it was hitler used Swatika and he took it from the old tibeth and india religions where swatika is the symbol on peace and the sun ( Yes this is evil use of a pease sign )
    We communist use hammer and sickle because it symbolice the working people , hammer for the industrial workers and sickle for the the farmers and their workers. Learn before talk .
    This is communism :
    The political theory of socialism, which gave rise to ­communism, had been around for hundreds of years by the time a German philosopher named Karl Marx put pen to paper. Marx, also known as the father of communism, spent most of his life in exile in Great Britain and France. He wrote the Communist Manifesto in 1848, which later served as the inspiration for the formation of the Communist Party. Communism is also known as “Marxism. Marx believed that a truly utopian society must be classless and stateless. (It should be noted that Marx died well before any of his theories were put to the test.) Marx’s main idea was simple: Free the lower class from poverty and give the poor a fighting chance. THIS IS THE PHASES IN COMMUNISM. Phase 1: A revolution must take place in order to overthrow the existing government. Marx emphasized the nee­d for total destruction of the existing system in order to move on to Phase 2. Phase 2: A dictator or elite leader (or leaders) must gain absolute control over the proletariat. During this phase, the new government exerts absolute control over the common citizen’s personal choices — including his or her education ( if we need 100 busdrivers it is stupid to educate 10000), religion (if the religion are against human rights it will be forbidden ) and employment . Collectivization of property and wealth must also take place. Phase 3: Achievement of utopia. This phase has never been attained because it requires that all non-communists be destroyed in order for the Communist Party to achieve supreme equality. In a Marxist utopia, everyone would happily share property and wealth, free from the restrictions that class-based systems require. The government would control all means of production so that the one-class system would remain constant, with no possibility of any middle class citizens rising back to the top. the major social and economic problems we face today can only be resolved by putting an end to capitalism and establishing socialism; to achieve socialism, the working class and its allies must take political, economic and state power out of the hands of the capitalist class; decisive advances towards socialism can only be achieved by mobilising the mass of the people in support of an intermediate alternative economic and political strategy which aims at securing full employment, a general improvement in living standards, a wide expansion of democracy and a genuine policy for peace.

    With other words all are equal and no one more than others .
    Have a happy new year.

  15. The more you spew your religious and uneducated beliefs, the more proud that “I am American” and live in our society of freedom, love and the right to pursuit anything I choose to do. Russia used to preach about how great it was until they tore the wall down. Now all that cried being a communist was great are enjoying their freedom in the United States. True, government have screwed many countries up, i agree upon that. But when you bash other people in the way they express their feelings and rights, you become just like the government you fear. Just enjoy what God has given you, and turn your cheek to things you do not approve of. This will be my last post on this subject because I will not stoop to your level. I hope the holidays bring the same amount of joy as you bring it.

  16. “Your plaing he’s game” your are stupid…

    I has postet what i mean about this and you don’t have to offend me like im not offending what you said when you post something like this “great project” ect ect.
    What i was doing was simply writing what i like/dislike about it like what you others do .
    When people offend me im returning an answer if those idiots havent responded with garbage against me i havent written anymore than my first comment.
    My comment show what i mean about this project, if any of you others Dont have the same meaning , post what you mean but don’t offend me otherwise you get an answer back.

  17. I, like any other Arduino hacker during these holidays, had considered how awesome it would be to build an ATMega christmas light setup… But this is far beyond anything I could have even imagined.
    Stunning mate. Good work :)

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