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Topic: Neighborhood Christmas Light and Sound Show (Read 993 times) previous topic - next topic


I am intrigued by the capabilities of the Hallmark Peanuts(R) Gang Light Show Set.  Each of five pieces is autonomous; any of the five may be activated - it in turn wirelessly triggers the other four to join in a synchronized light display while playing a song.  A YouTube demo is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEMZwOZSqH4

I would like to implement this concept on a neighborhood-wide basis.  Give autonomous boxes to each of my neighbors that will control Christmas lights up/down the block in their yards, in sync with a master control.  Like the Peanuts(R) Gang, I would like this to be done wirelessly.

  * Master control Arduino
    * Sends music to attached FM transmitter (provided separately)
    * Communicates wirelessly to numerous Slave Arduinos within a couple blocks (1000+ feet)
    * Sends explicit light activation commands to all slave Arduinos in real-time, or
    * Tells each slave Arduino which sequence to initiate
  * Slave Arduinos (many)
    * Receive wireless commands telling which lights to turn on/off.
    * Alternatively, receive commands telling which stored command sequence to initiate on its own.
    * Control (dozens of) Solid State Relays (SSRs), which in turn control strings of (probably 110V) Christmas lights.

  * Master control Arduino
    * Quieries each Slave Arduino to ensure it is still working
    * Provides a web page or a simple accessible HTML text file that shows the status of all system components, again wirelessly
  * Slave Arduinos
    * When queried, provides health status.
  * Both Master and Slave Arduinos
    * Ability to update their sketches wirelessly (from a PC).
    * Low cost (goes without saying!).

This is a follow-on to a project I implemented with a single local Arduino that controlled 32 strings of lights via SSRs, no music.  In summary, I stored a light sequence that would activate strands that were arranged on four tree-shaped poles.  This provided a pleasing but limited animated display.


It can be done with Arduino. If everyone has Wifi you can use that. XBee Pro can send signals up to miles apart depending on the power and antennas.

But... Others have solved this problem. Maybe not as much fun if you like the nuts-and-bolts part of the design and (maybe) more expensive. Here is a great overview of the technology available to home light display enthusiasts.



Thanks for your pointer to Bill Porter's excellent article.  He provides a wealth of information, and high quality.

Not yet a home run for me, however.  I DO want to, and AM having fun with the nuts-and-bolts design, but am avoiding expenses like the plague.  The result of Bill's designs are excellent as shown in his video, but I'm not read to make such a large investment.  Lots of expense involved in the controllers.

With the Arduino-based solution I am pursuing the result will be more basic, and much less expensive.  The toughest nut I haven't yet cracked is wireless.  I don't think Bill uses wireless - he mentions cables running 800 MHz signals.

So, many thanks for the pointer to Bill's site - it's a great addition to my toolbox.

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