How to make dancing christmas lights

How to Make Your Christmas Lights Sync to Music - Smart Garage | Home Automation

Christmas Light Sync to Music?  How?

If you are reading this article, you must have googled the keyword, “Christmas light show.”  You probably also found many videos of great Christmas light show that synchronize perfectly with various pop songs.  If you want your own lights to flash to the tunes of your favorite music, then you must make a plan and get the right types of equipment for your light show set up.  You need to spend a lot of time, lighting and tools to complete it to ensure the end result is awesome.  Here are the 10 steps to your light show set up:

  1. Decide your light show scale
  2. Prepare your light show equipment
  3. Obtain a control system
  4. Acquire outside assistance
  5. Design your display
  6. Program your show
  7. Let them hear you
  8. Get powered up
  9. Publicize
  10. Maintain your display


Decide your light show scale

When planning a light show, one of the first steps is to determine how many channels your show requires and what lighting elements will be controlled by each channel. Decide how your lights show scale is important.  You can either choose a specific highlight spot of your house or choose to light up your entire house.   While you are planning the scale of your light show, you need to understand following set up concepts:

  • Know your Channel number requirements.
  • A channel is a unit of lights that can be controlled individually.  The flash of a string of Christmas light is controlled by one channel.
  • All the lights in a channel work as a single unit. Unfortunately, you can’t flash an individual light bulb.  However, you can control the flashing speed and frequency to match your music categories.
  • For an entire house set up, you may need up to 64 channels.  Any bigger than that, you might need a professional to assist you.
  • A medium-size house typically needs 32 channels to set up.
  • A small scale like your garage, your front door, or your living room tree area, you can consider using our TapTap for simple (still professional) set up.

2. Prepare your light show equipment

Once you decided the scale of your light show, now you will need to prepare for the equipment, specifically, the Christmas lights.   The best time to purchase your Christmas light would be after Christmas, usually the price fall to 20-30% of the regular price.  However, you can always check out online deals on Amazon, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, K-Mart for special sales.    Your total list of equipment includes:

  • Christmas Lights
  • Light Control System
  • Software System
  • Sound System

LED Christmas Lights

In addition, we would also recommend you choosing LED Christmas lights for several benefits. Most people know that LED Christmas lights save a lot of electricity but there are many more reasons to consider making the switch.

Connect More Light Strings

You can typically connect 8 to 10 times more LED light strings together end to end while only using one plug outlet. Most traditional Christmas mini lights allow you to connect only 4 or 5 sets end to end, but with many LED mini light strings you can connect 40 to 50+ together depending on the light count. This makes decorating large Christmas displays far easier.

Cool to the Touch

LEDs produce next to no heat, which means they’re always cool to the touch and safe for children and animals to be around all season.

Visually Unparalleled

LED bulbs produce a brighter more vivid light than traditional incandescent bulbs. The light output is stunning and one of the most complimented aspects of LED lights in customer reviews!

Incredibly Long Life

Many LED light sets are rated to last tens of thousands of hours, which is well beyond a traditional set of incandescent mini lights that typically may last only a season or two.

Advanced Technology, Innovative Designs

LEDs are available in a kaleidoscope of colors and several varieties even feature unique light display capabilities such as being dimmable and color changing. The newest RGB LEDs are even capable of thousands of light color combinations!

LED lights are much easier to use for large Christmas displays, they are safer, they last longer, they produce more vivid color and use up to 90% less energy. Now you know why so many people have already made the switch.

3. Obtain a light show control system.

When it comes to a control system, you have 3 options based on your knowledge and budget:

  1. A fully built system
  2. A kit
  3. A DIY control system

I. A fully built light show system

A fully built system is a system that made and tested out of the box.   It costs you about $20 – $25 per channel. A fully built system can be purchased from various online stores.   If you are the following type of person, you should go for this because it saves you a lot of time!

  • Those do not want to do any electrical work.
  • Those who have no idea of where to start.

II.  A light show Kit

A light show kit is s starter kit that functions almost the same as the system.  It costs from $15 or so per channel, but it’s pretty much the same thing as a fully built product.   The only difference that I can think off is the enclosure, and it is very simple to place an electronics board in an enclosure.

  • A great option if you’re looking to save money.
  • You can pretty much purchase all the parts from the online store now, including the bare circuit board and the parts.
  • Require minor work and customization.

III. A DIY Light Show control system (DIY KIT)

A DIY system costs roughly $5 per channel and up. The price depends on how much you actually do yourself. A system consists of a controller, which communicates with your computer, and solid-state relays (SSRs), which actually switch the lights. SSRs can be bought or made yourself.

  • Budget saver
  • Requires lots of time on hardware
  • Total customization
  • For those who enjoy the engineering process!

4. Get the right Light Show Software.

The light show software breaks the song into segments, allowing you to program each channel of light to either fade, twinkle or turn on and off in each section.  Most of us are not software programmers; therefore, getting software for your light show system is essential.  There are a few venders that provide excellent services, and some software can be free when you purchase the whole package.  Here are some of the current software options you should consider!

Free source: 

  • Vixen is a free, open-source software for Christmas lighting.  If you’re just starting out, and are not looking into detail perfection, then Vixen may be a good starting option for you.
  • xLights is a popular Christmas sequencing program for the “DIY” community.  It is open source like Vixen. xLights has a strong passionate community behind it, and you can see that the developers are constantly improving the functions of the software.  The only downside that xLights requires some learning curve.  For those who want to be professional in the light show community, xLights is the best and most often updated program for now.
  • Light-O-Rama provides is a paid program.  To me personally, it is a bit expensive for “once-a-year” use.  To me, the set up is a bit complex and difficult too.  

Note, if you are a tech-wizard who wish to program the whole thing yourself, you might not be able to have the option for pre-built products, as most of the brand products are closed-source and hard to be compatable with the others.


Quick reminder!  Making a total DIY system is fun, but for beginners, it’s a lot of electronic troubles.   If you are building a small scale fun light show.  You should check out TapTap, a 6 channel christmas light controller.  It even has a built in AI that builds the light show for you.  And it can synchronize with Asante GV- The smart garage door opener!

5. Design your display, Light Styles & Decorating Ideas

Design the actual outside portion of your display. Common elements to include the following types of lights & locations:

  • Mini lights or net lights display – windows, bushes & walls
  • Icicle lights or c-series display – roof and ceiling design
  • Mini Trees / Tomato cages display – animated tree display
  • A Mega Tree display – large animated tree display
  • Wireframes display – 2D or 3D in shape, animated display
  • Blow molds display – yard corner display
  • C9 Christmas Lights Display – outdoor, sideway display
Mini lights or net lights display

Mini lights or net lights usually go on landscaping, such as bushes, windows and a large area of walls.

Icicle lights or c-series lights display.

Icicle lights or c-series lights usually go on the roof and ceiling area.

Mini Trees / Tomato cages display.

Mini Trees / Tomato cages wrapped in lights of one or multiple colors.  Arranged in a line or a triangle, they are very useful in an animated display.

A Mega Tree display

A Mega Tree usually consists of a large pole with lights extending from the top to a large ring around the base. Again, it is very useful in animation.

Wireframes display

Wireframes Christmas displays are metal frames with lights attached.  It can be either 2D or 3D in shape.

Blow molds display

Blow molds are plastic lighted sculptures of deer, Santas, etc. They are usually placed throughout the yard.

C9 Christmas Lights Display

C9 Lights are bulbous, colorful lights that usually go on the yard perimeter.


6. Program your show

Program your light show is time-consuming!  This process includes your music of choice, which node should sync with which light string, and how long should your display be.   The traditional programing can take up to a few months.  The more your channels are, the more complicated your show is.

Taptap II includes a built-in AI that can help you generate a sync song automatically.  The AI itself will save you lots of time in managing your display.

7. Speaker Options

Okay, now let’s talk about the speaker of choices.  If you have a large scale light display, you will need to make sure that your speakers are good enough for the area to hear, but you also need to be mindful of your neighbors.  Speakers playing the same music over and over again will sometimes drive the neighbors crazy.

If you noticed that your neighbor might not be too happy about the light show music, you will need to broadcast over an FM frequency. 

There are many outdoor speakers, make sure the speaker you use is dusk resist and water resist.  Once the speaker is set, Respectfully inform your neighbors of your plan to create a light show display.   Stick to a single showing at the top of the hour, once or twice a night. Once your neighbor knows your display schedule, you should be okay with the light display.  My trick is to include their favorite songs into your display list and make it a group project.

8. Promote your light show work

Finally, your light show is ready.  If this is your first time putting the light show together, you would need someone to spread your work and build a good reputation for you. Here are some steps we recommend you from easy to professional:

  1. The easiest is always, putting a sign in your yard.  Stating your light show playtime, FM frequency, etc.
  2. Let your friends, neighbors, and work buddies know about your display time
  3. Put your show online through social media, facebook, Instagram, etc.  Make sure you put your light show location, broadcasting time and keyword search into the video titles (SEO)
  4. Build a website, do SEO.  Make it a family tradition.
  5. Go into competitions. Such as “The Great Christmas Light Fight”

Again, inform your neighbors that you are publicizing your display. They’ll be much more accommodating if they know your plan to attract attention from around the neighborhood.

Finally, Enjoy your work and holidays!!

Additional Tips

  • Try to manage your time.  Setting up a light show is time-consuming.  To manage things effectively, try to research all kinds of information online and manage the time well.  Check each light strings before you set up the display as well.
  • Be careful with the electronics.  Make sure you research the information regards to electronic works.  You may watch some YouTube tutorials for a step by step guide.
  • Check out the free forums.  If you plan to make it a big show, try to join the community and check out other peoples design and ideas.
  • Talk to neighbors, police, and your homeowner’s association about possible issues with traffic flow, noise, etc. It is much easier to prevent problems than to correct them. However, make sure they understand that there might be problems, not that there will be problems. People need to know what to expect, but don’t stress things so that they shut you down before you even start up your display!
  • FPGAs make fantastic custom control devices, which can hook between an RS232 connection on a PC and a relay board for the lights. An entry-level Spartan 3e Xilinx demo board is around $150.
  • Safety is always the number one rule. If your neighborhood has a lot of pets and kids, make sure your set is kids and pet-friendly to avoid any injuries.

How Do I Get Started With Cool, Musical Christmas Lights on My House? – Learn Christmas Lighting

Have you ever driven by one of those houses that does the Christmas lights to music and thought “I wish I could do that!“?

You and me both!  

On the outside, it seems like making a music-coordinated, color changing light display would be difficult…maybe even near impossible, and certainly only for the geekiest folks in the world.

The truth is, not only is creating a great, dynamic Christmas light display possible, it’s not more complicated than you can handle, and it doesn’t have to be expensive!

Not only that, but it doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor!  This is a great hobby where you can include your spouse, kids, and friends in both the setup and sequencing of your lights.

In this article, I want to share with you how I learned to create my first display, and show you what tools you need and a basic idea of how it works together.

Sound good?  Let’s dive in!

Ordinary Christmas lights work by simply lighting up a strand of lights when power is applied.

It’s likely you put some of these lights up on a tree or on the outside of your house or at least seen it in your neighborhood. Maybe you put up a lot of standard lights, and you’re ready to kick it up a notch!

You may also have seen that house down the street or in the other neighborhood where these type of lights that turn on and off as a whole strand, are synchronized to music.  Pretty cool!

Traditional lights, paired with a controller box and some software, can make a pretty neat show.

But what you may also have seen is the next generation of Christmas lights – pixels!

These lights, which are not as expensive as they look, are able to be individually turned on and off and change color on command.

This ability makes them far more exciting than a full string of traditional lights cycling on and off!

They’re then controller by sequencing software that runs on a regular computer.

While the sequencer/computer for both types of Christmas lights may be the same type of computer, the way that they’re controlled between the computer and the actual lights themselves is quite different.

Why am I going into all this?

After all, I said I was going to tell you what you need to get started making a great Christmas light display.

The reason why I’ve gone into all this is that it’s important to have a basic understanding of how pixel lights vary from traditional Christmas lights.   While they may look similar when they’re on a house and all on in a single color or white, they’re actually quite different.

I’m going to focus on pixel lights here because they give you the most bang for your buck.

The fact is, the ability to individually control each light, and then run videos and effects across them is immensely powerful and impactful.  You get at least 10x the functionality, for only about 2x the price!

So, what do you need to get started?


The first thing you need are some lights…or pixels!

The definition of a pixel is:

Pixels are individually color-changeable lights, which are all wired together.  They are different from regular Christmas lights because each light can change on its own.

Now, these pixels can take many forms, but the most common is called a pixel node, as seen in the picture to the right.

These pixel nodes are driven by a protocol like WS2811, or a similar type of serial data.

Understanding this is not super important, as long as you verify that your controller and your pixels both speak the same language!

Chances are, if you buy your controllers and lights from a Christmas lighting vendor, they will be compatible.

What other types of pixels are there?  Well, there are lots, and you can learn more about all of the common types here!

Controller and Power Supplies

Once you have your pixels, they need to be driven by what’s called a pixel controller.

A pixel controller takes the information that comes from a computer or professional lighting controller and turns it into a type of signal that the pixels can listen to.

Once the data leaves the pixel controller, power is then “injected” and fed to the pixels themselves with the data.  This power is fed via low-voltage power supplies, usually 5v or 12v.

The great thing about pixels is that they are self-addressing – no buttons or menu’s to press on the pixels themselves!  The order that you plug the pixels in determines what their order is in the computer.

Pixels also are helpful because they amplify their signal as they pass it along.  This means that you can run some very long strings of pixels off of a single controller output, only needing to re-inject power, but not data, as necessary!

Learn more about Christmas lighting controllers here!

Computer/Mini Computer

Last, in a simple system, you then need some sort of computer to control the lights.

Most people are going to be programming using a computer program called xLights, or Vixen.

These are the two most popular and also free sequencing programs for Christmas lights.  Want help deciding which program to use – this article will help!

The computer will be connected via a very simple network (as simple as just a network cable!) to your pixel controller, which will then be connected to your pixels along with power.

When you give the pixels an animation or another command from the computer, they’ll do as you say.   These commands can be as simple as turning on in a single color, or as complex as a video!

Once you program your lights, you can run your show on the computer or via a mini-computer called a Raspberry Pi or Beaglebone running the “FPP” software, or just a regular PC.

This is somewhat of a simplified explanation, and there are more things that you’ll find that you’ll need as you go along. But, these are the basics.

So, if you’re just getting started, take a breather – because I know that was a lot of information!

How to decorate a house for Christmas


We celebrate the New Year on such a scale that when Christmas comes, we find ourselves in confusion: how to create a holiday against the backdrop of a holiday? It seems that the house has already been decorated, but the atmosphere is not the same. Today you will learn how to prepare for Christmas in order to 100% experience its magic.

Choose a festive wreath

Few people know, but the main attribute of Christmas carries a deep meaning. The closed shape of the circle symbolizes endless life, Resurrection, and the green color of the branches symbolizes hope. You can use a wreath in different ways: hang it over the threshold as an amulet, decorate a festive table with it to attract good luck, or supplement it with candles. Catholics, for example, put 4 candles 4 weeks before Christmas and light them one by one every Sunday, thus measuring the time.

You can use a ready-made wreath or create your own.

Decorate your windows with stickers

Small pictures on the glass will make it look fabulous and entice you to look out the window. And on holidays there is something to look at: elegant streets, decorated courtyards and children singing carols.

How can you please your loved ones at Christmas?
Souvenir thimbles, coins with the image of bells and stars, pendants on a postcard, divination mirrors, as well as candles in a jar that will decorate the festive table will be original gifts. All this you will find in a special section.

Use pendants

To create an atmosphere, add Christmas decorations to Christmas tree decorations: angel figurines, star-shaped gingerbread or themed pendants. You can decorate not only the Christmas tree with them - locker handles and a chandelier are also suitable 😊

Arrange candles

Christmas is a very bright holiday in every sense. First of all, because it is associated with Christ as "the light of the world." Therefore, light more candles, turn on garlands and prepare sparklers.

Do not forget to decorate the kitchen

Many people decorate the living room, but the kitchen is unfairly forgotten. But you will spend a lot of time there, because the dishes for the festive meal will not appear by themselves. A few small details like magnets or plates are enough to inspire more cooking.

Add the finishing touches

Small details make the interior harmonious and complete. You will need souvenirs in the form of a bell, a snow globe and fragrant soap. Arrange everything around the house and make sure: it is 100% ready for the holiday!

Note to perfectionists

If you want your Christmas gifts and decor to harmonize perfectly, use items from the same series. We have prepared 2 collections that will make the holiday special.

Prepare for Christmas

Prices shown are valid at the time of publication.

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Crazy Chicken War, Talking to Santa and Singing Christmas Tree Lights - What Apps to Entertain You During New Year's Eve

Almost everyone has a time during the New Year holidays when, it would seem, there is nothing to do: watched your favorite series, watched all the New Year's films, ate salads, took pictures of all the Christmas trees in the city . .. What else to do with yourself? Especially for this case, we are talking about applications for Android and iOS that will not let you get bored until the wave of work and session has covered you again. And if anyone thinks that apps are a waste of time, trust me, some of the items on the list are not for procrastinators at all.

New Year and Christmas Apps for iOS

Appy Christmas

If you've been wanting to talk to Santa Claus for a long time, but never got the chance, this is your chance. In the application, Santa will mimic you by repeating your own lines, but don't be upset - he can also be made nervous by poking and stroking him. In addition, the application has a special calendar that provides the user with paid applications at no charge every day.

GlowTunes Christmas

All lovers of the beautiful GlowTunes Christmas will help develop design skills through decorating the Christmas tree. Moreover, it can be decorated not with ordinary holiday toys at all, but with lights that glow and play unique melodies. The user just needs to select a color and click anywhere in the tree to place their lights, then press the play button and see a dazzling show of lights and music.

Glow Tunes app

Twas The Night Before Christmas

If you have younger brothers or sisters and children, then this application will allow you to spend time together with benefit. In the application, you can get acquainted with Christmas poems animated by 3D technologies. The application allows you to choose from three professionally recorded narrations or record your own voice reading a poem. Here the user is expected by complex three-dimensional animation on each page of the book, original music, sound effects and sound effects, the ability to record your voice for playback with provided sound effects and music, poems in the original language and much more. Have fun, and even "pull up" the language.


What are holidays without songs? This application will allow you to sing along with your friends using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. One player must click "Play", and the rest - "Join". You can play alone or with friends and family. The maximum number of device connections is four.

ICaroler application

Where's Santa?

The application will help the user to follow Santa Claus on his travels around the world. An animated marker that locates Santa Claus and a descriptive message will let you know what he's doing. A useful feature of the application is that you can learn geography, because by tracking the position of Santa, it is easy to master many parts of the world.

Santa in the city 3D

This application will allow you to fulfill your old dream - to ride in Santa's sleigh right over the city, made using 3D technologies. While you are flying with Santa, help him collect letters .

Santa in the city 3D application

New Year and Christmas applications for Android

100 Christmas Gifts

An application for those who like intellectual fun. You can help Santa Claus solve many Christmas themed puzzle games and other small games and obstacles so that Santa can sneak into the next room of the house.

Angry Chicken: Christmas

If by the end of the past year you were tired and stressed enough, this application is for you. Your task is to collect as many eggs as possible. However, the more time passes, the angrier the ninja-like chicken becomes. The problem is that you can't throw eggs. Why is a war with a crazy chicken not a good way to calm your nerves?

Angry Chicken: Christmas App

Greedy Pigs X’mas

A real Christmas action game in Defense Tower style. In the game, you, along with Santa's helpers, will protect New Year's gifts from monsters.

Learn more