Noobie Help - Stranger Things

Hello to all,
I'm a complete noob to arduino and haven't coded since BASIC was popular. Thus, I know 0 C++. But I'm a prop building junkie and love trying new things. I have a project I'm working on and could really use some advice. I'm building a room to look like the Beyers living room from Stranger things. I want to string multiple sets of christmas lights across the room, but want to able to turn whole strings on and off and make them fade and blink (not the alphabet thing, I already made that). This is literally just turning strings of christmas lights on an off. I built a rig to plug everything into. So, he's the set up:

1 Arduino Mega driving
2 8 channel 5V relays (so, 16 channels)
For which I have 16 channels of power to plug light strings into.

I used a youtube video to figure out how to build the power rig, but it relies upon keeping my computer plugged in to the rig at all times so the I can run something called VIXEN to control the lights. I can't do this because I'll need to use my computer for other things. So. . .

I have no idea where to start on code. I've been trying to learn some C++ through books, but they just keep teaching me how to do math. If I want to control the relays to turn light strings on and off, especially multiple channels at once, where do I start?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

There is much to learn. There are a number of programming examples in the Arduino IDE - file/examples 01 thru 08. For hardware you can get an Arduino Projects Book. You'll need some LEDs and resistors and such for those. This is just a starting point.

Probably anything you can think of has been done already. A site search will turn up many posts on nearly any Arduino subject, from hardware to C++.

Some links to forum pages:

how to use this forum

before posting a programming question


several things at the same time

using millis() for timing

useful links


Arduino reference

Why switch debouncing is needed

Adding images to posts

And on and on.