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Thread: Hacking The lights and sounds of Christmas

  1. #1
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    Default Hacking The lights and sounds of Christmas

    I wanted to share a project that I worked on before Christmas with the help of Dr. Lava. I wanted to use the TTL outputs of the RYIA multibus with Laser Design Studio to sync my Christmas lights to music using the time line I was able to have a laser show let it snow come up first then the sync light show came up to Christmas Cannon. At first I was going to purchase an 8 channel TTL board but remembered that I had a Mr. Christmas lights and sounds of Christmas controller that I got a couple years back for 30 dollars in fact I had two I really did not like the cheesy midi files that synced the lights you had no real control over anything and the audio was tinny. I opened the thing up and to my surprise I found a 6 channel relay card that was connected to the main board that had the Midi eprom on it there was a multiwire connector that fed 3volts to the relays I removed the connector and figured out the ground then hooked up Christmas lights to all 6 channels. then applied 3 volts to each wire figuring out which channel it went to. I have attached a schematic so if you want to do this next year you will know the color code. After emailing Dr. Lava and asking him about the TTL capabilities of LDS and the RYIA multi bus he sent me a picture of what pinouts needed to be soldered in order to get TTL out I have also attached this be warned there will be some changes to the pin outs on the upcoming rev I did not use pin 7 and 8 so I left them unsoldered in anticpation of the update from RYIA, also the board is ESD sensitive so take precautions. Dr. Lava also sent me some files that I could load into LDS and see some examples of how to put TTL on the time line, one was an example one bit on one bit off and the other was all bits on and all bits off I ended up using both in the project here is the end result the first is the laser show and the second is the light sync with no lasers this year. I may add beams next year to that part if my Wife finds a new job both of these shows worked as an endless loop it ran for hours with out a hiccup. I put the audio in to a Low power broadcast stereo FM transmitter so cars would be able to hear it when they drove by sounded really nice for about a block. The laser show is let it snow I got it off the ILDA Swap ftp a while back and am not sure who to give credit to please let me know and I will, nice show I did not have time to put one of my own together so it worked out well.
    Michael
    Laser show let it snow http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIRHHrZRGQU
    light show Christmas Cannon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwd0q2PeQQU
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    That's a neat project- thanks for sharing the details
    -Mike


  3. #3
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    Default Thanks for the reply

    Thank you for the reply I was starting to think I would not get any well Christmas is over on other things I guess.

  4. #4
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    Thumbs up

    Great job setting this up. Not many people take the time or have the will to synchronize ttl lights shows. Thumbs up!

  5. #5
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    Great job!
    I have the same Mr. Christmas box and thought about what you did. Keep us up to date on your progress for next year.

  6. #6
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    Default Lights and sounds

    Thanks for the replies, Dr. Lava I could not have done it without your help. I hope to do more next year and add blue laser beams. Riya sent me a PM reminding me that the product is Riya Multibus not Ryia like I put in the original post TYPO. For the record its a great product and I will be purchasing more down the road I have run the laser projector wireless with a spare WAP plugged into the RIYA multibus, I named it laser projector pretty cool just look for laser projector under wireless access points on the laptop select it warns you no internet available (hackers will scratch there heads,) I just ignore that and away I go.
    FYI for LDS users I have found that you need to create a shortcut from the program file for the realtime.exe when running the projector on the network if I go to start and try to run it from there it cant find the device. I keep the shortcut on my desktop and it works fine.
    I still have not found out who programmed the laser show Let it Snow whoever did it as I had said before nice Job and it was great having it to use for the project.

    Michael

  7. #7
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    Look into free software called Vixen for controlling Christmas lights.

  8. #8
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    That might be OK if he didn't also want to do laser shows simultaneously.

  9. #9
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    Here is another cheap USB-TTL device that can be used. Lazerjock turned me onto this little guy. Very cheap and has an easy to use API.

  10. #10
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    Default TTL usb device

    Hi John
    I do not see a link for the device would be interested in seeing it. The reason I am using LDS and Riya is the fact that I can control the TTL on the time line this way I can combine laser and lights its just that this year I did not have time to sync the two so I put both the Christmas laser show and the synced Light show on the time line and set it for endless loop. I could just walk away and it would automate. Next year if I can I will try to do some beams along with the light sync not sure if I am going to do Christmas Cannon again great song but after programming it for hours I think I could retire it for a while. I will pick something shorter next time. Also I would like to see if I can get DMX going on LDS. Oh Dr. Lava paging Dr. Lava, to the think tank we can talk about that later in the year.

    Michael

  11. #11
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    Sorry about that. Here is the link: http://www.usbmicro.com/

    Yea, it's cool to have laser and Christmas lights control in one nice show. You can do that with Spaghetti, too. Consider getting something like a DMX controller, though. Then you can control a lot more devices from one controller by daisy chaining and you will be able to easily control some very exotic devices such as par cans, snow machines, etc. Just a thought.

  12. #12
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    Default Link, DMX, LDS

    Thanks for the link John I will check it out. Yes agreed DMX gives a lot more options it would be great to use both TTL and DMX TTL for the christmas lights and DMX for additonal lights fog machine ect.. I was looking into some RGB LED pars I found some for around 47 bucks each if you buy four http://www.cheaplights.com/cart/page13.html 112-UPL86x4 It would be nice to paint the house with different colors I think they could be faded as well So far the support from Raytrix GmBH the makers of LDS has not been great on DMX. I sent Lennart an email before the holidays asking about the DMX support and he replied they only support the easylase interface on this at the moment. When looking at the manual they say they support
    www.soundlight.de and that there is a driver for it in the program I have not found that driver and have I asked Lennart for more information on this since the company seems to cater to the european market specifically Germany and does not give a clue on where to purchase there USB controller here in the states, but he never replied. So far I love LDS for all of the things it does at the price point you can get it for but the support and documention is sketchy at best Dr. Lava has been a great resource, and also I have picked a lot up on my own just by working with it. To be fair I have had a lot of past experience with Pangolin's Laser Show Designer Professional and was a beta tester for Rick Gebhardt in the early days of Laser Illusions Alpha software, plus I have done a ton of professional digital video editing and Adobe After Effects work so the learning curve was not that bad for me. Dr. Lava is in the process of redoing the manuals and I have offered to help I will also be doing some tutorials as well (as time permits) the software deserves a better rep than it seems to be getting I am judging this based on what seems to be very little in the way of comments or interest by this community on the product, and I think updated manuals and tutorials in english will help greatly to get more Laser folks to start using it. If there are users out there please lets start a user group dont just let it collect dust.

    Michael


  13. #13
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    Mmulher,

    Johnny Yayas first name is not John, that is just his screen name.

    Lazerjock

  14. #14
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    does any one know how to connect a wireless mr. christmas up to a computer and what software to use to sync my lights together also if possible links on how to set the syncronization up properly im new at all this and am looking for as much information as possible in lamens terms plz

  15. #15
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    Hi
    I am not familiar with the wireless version but if you open up the receivers and find a relay board in there you can bypass the wireless part and wire it up to TTL like I did but you will need a software interface that outputs + 5 VDC ttl triggers to open an close the relays. thus switching the lights on and off and a background in electronics to wire it. Keep in mind there is no way to fade lights in and out just on and off you will be able to put your own soundtrack in and program which is much better than the preprogramed MIDI stuff that comes with the lights and sounds of Christmas

    . You may want to go to a place like www.cheaplights.com if all you are doing is syncing up lights and are not working with lasershow software and projectors. They have DMX controllers and other off the shelf devices that may work better for your needs.

    Best of Luck
    Michael
    Dreamcaster Multimedia
    Visit our website:
    https://sites.google.com/site/beamta...oticactuators/

  16. #16
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    Default thanks alot 2 more ?'s what is a ttl n how to wire it nd would vixen software work

    Quote Originally Posted by mmuhler View Post
    Hi
    I am not familiar with the wireless version but if you open up the receivers and find a relay board in there you can bypass the wireless part and wire it up to TTL like I did but you will need a software interface that outputs + 5 VDC ttl triggers to open an close the relays. thus switching the lights on and off and a background in electronics to wire it. Keep in mind there is no way to fade lights in and out just on and off you will be able to put your own soundtrack in and program which is much better than the preprogramed MIDI stuff that comes with the lights and sounds of Christmas

    . You may want to go to a place like www.cheaplights.com if all you are doing is syncing up lights and are not working with lasershow software and projectors. They have DMX controllers and other off the shelf devices that may work better for your needs.

    Best of Luck
    Michael
    thanks alot 2 more ?'s what is a ttl n how to wire it nd would vixen software work

  17. #17
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    Default Vixen Software

    Hi
    I believe Vixen software is MIDI based which is another way to sequence lights as far as I know Vixen does send out TTL I have no experience with it and you may want to hit the vixen user forums for more information on Plugins that work on available interface boards for it.

    Now for TTL and how to wire it TTL is either on or off its voltage a maximum output between 3.3 and 5VDC that comes off of a digital to analog converter DAC in most cases 8 channels per board, these would be wired to the relays on you lights and sounds of Christmas.

    There are most likely DAC boards that interface with your USB port on your computer that are compatible with Vixen software you would need to consult with the support forums that are on the Vixen website.

    Remember TTL is on or off no fading which does limit what you can do with your lights. The lights and sounds of Christmas is on or off no fading in and out of lights. DMX would be a much better way to go you would use a Vixen compatible board and an analog to DMX converter to DMX dimmer packs that would drive your lights.

    Analog allows you to go from 0 to 5vdc which will in turn bring a dimmer up and down allowing lights to fade in and out. you could use a combination of both analog and ttl to get more control outputs to your lights some would fade and others would turn on and off.

    Here is a link to a forum discussing Vixen and TTL you may want to jump in on that one.
    http://www.efx-tek.com/php/smf/index.php?topic=1934.0

    We are laser light show heads here on photonlexicon the stuff we do is a lot more expensive, not that what you are trying to do is cheap.

    But If you get the Laser bug look out its kind of like the saying for any one who owns a boat "break out another thousand".


    Hope this helps
    Good Luck

    th
    Quote Originally Posted by craigger58 View Post
    thanks alot 2 more ?'s what is a ttl n how to wire it nd would vixen software work
    Dreamcaster Multimedia
    Visit our website:
    https://sites.google.com/site/beamta...oticactuators/

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmuhler View Post
    Hi
    I believe Vixen software is MIDI based which is another way to sequence lights as far as I know Vixen does send out TTL I have no experience with it and you may want to hit the vixen user forums for more information on Plugins that work on available interface boards for it.

    Now for TTL and how to wire it TTL is either on or off its voltage a maximum output between 3.3 and 5VDC that comes off of a digital to analog converter DAC in most cases 8 channels per board, these would be wired to the relays on you lights and sounds of Christmas.

    There are most likely DAC boards that interface with your USB port on your computer that are compatible with Vixen software you would need to consult with the support forums that are on the Vixen website.

    Remember TTL is on or off no fading which does limit what you can do with your lights. The lights and sounds of Christmas is on or off no fading in and out of lights. DMX would be a much better way to go you would use a Vixen compatible board and an analog to DMX converter to DMX dimmer packs that would drive your lights.

    Analog allows you to go from 0 to 5vdc which will in turn bring a dimmer up and down allowing lights to fade in and out. you could use a combination of both analog and ttl to get more control outputs to your lights some would fade and others would turn on and off.

    Here is a link to a forum discussing Vixen and TTL you may want to jump in on that one.
    http://www.efx-tek.com/php/smf/index.php?topic=1934.0

    We are laser light show heads here on photonlexicon the stuff we do is a lot more expensive, not that what you are trying to do is cheap.

    But If you get the Laser bug look out its kind of like the saying for any one who owns a boat "break out another thousand".


    Hope this helps
    Good Luck

    th
    Spaghetti does TTL. You could do what the above using Spaghetti.
    I no longer visit this forum. Please contact me by other means. Thank you.

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