The Original Light Show
I originally made this light show in 2014. It was Christmas time, and I happened to be hankering for a project, so we decided to decorate the house with a few LED lights and some Christmas mood music.
It took me a few evenings and about $50 to complete the electrical part and wiring using a bunch of Arduinos and RF boards. I used NRF24L01 radios to control the lights from my PC and eliminate cables in my house.
I created the light sequences using an open source tool called Vixen. It’s free and awesome.
Finally, I mounted 6 RGB ropes around the windows. All LEDs for each window change color at the same time. I ran one RGB pixel rope horizontally between the top and the bottom rows of the windows. The color of each LED on this rope can be controlled individually.
Upgrading with the Force!
Unfortunately, the electronics looked pretty bad: spaghetti style Arduinos connected with breadboard wires (I don’t have any pictures, but trust me, it was ugly).
In 2015, I decided to make custom boards so the electronics would look prettier. This took just a few more evenings and $25 to purchase custom PCBs from China.
This time, I made an arch out of the LED pixels instead of mounting them on the house to make it more flexible and portable and added another module to control the old-school 120V lights.
I also decided to mount the new electronics in some weather-proof containers so that I could keep them outside of the house. I ended up having 3 boxes: one for the arch RGB pixels, one for RGB LEDs and one for 120V lights wrapped around trees in the front yard.
The Retrofit Strikes Back!
After this retrofit, the electronics started to look a lot better:
Box to control windows RGB LEDs
Box to control Pixel RGB LEDs
If that's not enough Star Wars for you, check out how to awaken the Force in your PLC.