Chapter 10. Animated Musical Holiday Lights

AUTHOR: Brian Peek



COST: $80 per Phidget Interface Kit 0/0/4, plus the cost of extension cords, wire, and Christmas lights

SOFTWARE: Visual C# 2008 Express, Visual Basic 2008 Express, or any full edition of Visual Studio 2008

HARDWARE: Phidget Interface Kit 0/0/4 (one kit can control four separate strings of lights); five two-prong, outdoor use extension cords; 14–16 gauge wire; two wire nuts that can handle 14–16 gauge wire; a project box large enough to hold one or many Interface Kits (available at your local Radio Shack); holiday lights; and external speakers or FM transmitter so the music can be heard


At this point, practically everyone has seen a video of someone’s house decked out in Christmas lights, all of which dance in synchronization to a musical score. In fact, Miller Brewing Company even had a television commercial showcasing a light show during the 2006 and 2007 holiday seasons.

Although these light shows may seem complex and appear to require a lot of knowledge to create, they can be built using nothing more than a Phidget Interface Kit, some extension cords, and a computer.

This project will show you how to use these items and some custom-built software to create your very own indoor or outdoor light show set to your favorite holiday music.


The overall architecture of this project is pretty simple. First, we will need to build some hardware ...

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