My wife, daughter, father-in-law and I were out this Christmas looking at all the pretty lights. There is the one display we always go to that is cheesy and has about a million (maybe for real) static lights. My wife hates these for anything but the gawk factor and is real popular with the kiddies. This year I was looking online for other displays in our area. A facebook page came up with a local address with no pictures and about 3 'likes'. I thought we'd check it out. We drove down this one way street and saw some pretty lights on peoples homes. As we reached the end of the street we found a traffic jam as people were slowly circling the cul-de-sac. At first I thought a Christmas party was letting out. We were wrong, and boy now I am almost wishing that I saw the lack of facebook traffic on a fan's page as a sign of NOT to go there. What we saw was what we thought was a fairly simple static display. However, as we creeped along behind a line of cars (some of which were standing in the cul-de-sac) I saw the once static display come to life. Because I love to get lost on youtube, I knew what was happening. My wife and I (even though it was raining) rolled our windows down expecting to hear "hark hear the bells" by Manhiem and .... nothing. I then saw a small sign that said to tune our radios to 100.1. We did and were lost in wonderment at the synchronized music. My seven-year-old wasn't as near as impressed as she was by the gawdy super light display that we always go to. My wife, however, was mesmerized and so she says "That is what I want on our house next year".
As my head and wallet started to ache we began researching how to do this. I have some programming and other computer background and great interest (if only a minute amount of ability) in electronics. I began looking at LOR controllers. Then we began looking at lights. To put in perspective of what we have. The lights we have fits in one small box in a closet in our garage. This year I used about 5 strands of lights to make the simple Cross we usually have. So, we have pretty much nothing. I thought maybe some after Christmas sales at Lowe's. Day after Christmas, about noon - no dice. Looking online I found a bit more information.
Now comes to the crux. I had decided to look for led lights for the low power consumption. Searching around I found that (at least on ebay) I could grab rgb tape for nearly the same price as outdoor led (~$1-1.50 a foot) which means looking at other controllers which means looking at other software which means going back and looking at incandescent bulbs which means thinking about long term cost and expansion... and now were doing the Hokey-Pokey.
We really are interested in having music synchronized computer controlled lighting on our home but in order to afford it need to begin buying components soon. Especially with lights we can hopefully catch some clearance sales online.
First of all ... lights.
If we go with rgb are these kind of light tapes worth the surface they are mounted on.
If not then are the kinds of led or incandescent lights on 1000lights.com or any online store worth anything.
I think once we decide what kind of lights were going to buy we can decide on a control system. I would be moderately comfortable with most if not all the software you could throw at me. I might even be willing to do a bit of soldering. If we go with led or incandescent we will certainly start with 16 channels and most likely get 32 after all is said in done for the 2013 season. We want at least a 10' tree (although I'm pulling for a 20' - not sure if she'll notice).
Thank you for all of your ideas and let me know if my approach is crazy or just plain dumb (if neither and you think I'm a genius then thank you and your donation will be in the mail)