How do you make the lights blink to the music?
-Well, to make the lights blink, fade, shimmer and other effects, I have to choreograph them to the music using Light-O-Rama's software. Using a computer, I can order the lights to do almost anything I want in the program. I spend roughly 2.5 hours per minute of song choreographing the lights. All of the song sequences are created before the lights have been put up on the house. I have 80 different channels of lights, which basically means I have 80 outlets that I can turn off and on again.
How can I hear the music over the radio? Did you buy a Radio station?
-No, I don't have to pay anything for the radio waves. I bought a low powered FM transmitter that broadcasts radio waves as far as my block goes. The radio signal reaches less than 200 yards away from my house, which complies with FCC rules. The transmitter is plugged into my computer like speakers. The sound you hear is from the computer itself. Therefore, no, I am not connected to any local Radio Station.
How long does it take you to set up?
-2011: was my first year going computerized, so i didn't know what to expect. I thought I could probably put them all up in one day... Boy was I wrong. I had too much confidence in my youthful body. It took me a week to set up all the lights by myself.
-2012: it took me two weeks to set up. I had a lot go wrong in setting up. I broke a few strands of lights and one of my microprocessors that control the light board broke. Everything was good and it all worked out.
-2013: I have a timeframe limitation for the first time ever. Because of college, I have Thanksgiving weekend to set up the whole display. That gives me 3.5 DAYS!! I plan to have help from my family and friends. We shall see.
-2014: For the amount of lights and time, I set up fast! It took me 4 days.
How much power does it take to run your show?
- If I were to power on all the lights at the same time, I would be running approximately 30 amps of electricity. I run the show off one outlet on a twenty amp breaker and two outlets that are on separate fifteen amp breakers. The small power consumption is due to the use of low powered LED lights.
How much does the power cost?
-Some don't realize, but not all lights are on at once all night long. I'm actually saving money on power by animating it. To be honest I don't know the power cost. I'm guessing it's around $30 for my display.
How many lights do you have?
-2010: I had roughly 2,000 lights.
-2011: I had 7,286 lights.
-2012: I had 10,454 lights in my front yard. In the backyard I had approximately 300 lights. The backyard lights were visible from 97th Pl and Main St. With that, I have approximately 2,000 ft of extension cords to power all the lights.
-2013: I had less than 2012's count. I rounded the lights to about 8,500.
-2014: Biggest year yet! We had approx. 12,000 lights!
How does the computer control them?
- From the serial bus in my computer, the signal is converted so it can travel through Cat-5e Ethernet cables to my four CTB16PC units that have 16 channels each that I plug my lights into. The sound comes from my computer and is transmitted over the radio and through a speaker in the yard. I bought the Do-it-Yourself kit, which means I had to solder the circuit board and all the components. Here is a basic layout.