The Technical Stuff

Here I will try my best to show and tell you how my display works!!! Any extra questions email me: christmas at (this websites name)

Controllers: This year I have eight controllers 1 renard 24, 6 renard ss24, and one renard ss16. (all pictured below) These controlers each connect together via cat5 and can be spaced apart to allow for easier connection to lights with less extension cords. The signal from the PC software Vixen( is sent to each controller and then each controller which is connected to the electricity switches on different channels. The controllers are also all homemade (I get the blank board and a bunch or parts, I then solder the parts on to the boards and voila!), which makes them much cheaper and for a student without a limited income this is a major plus.



A Free software program which allows for songs to be programmed. It is basically a large grid with time on the X axis and each “channel” or string of lights having a row on the y axis. It looks kinda like this. However when you get into the hundreds of channels it takes more time and becomes a much more time consuming activity. Vixen also deals with the automatic start up of the show each day, the sending out of the information to each controller as well as the audio.

In between the Two:

The signal goes out the computers COM port to the first Renard 24, it is in turn connected to the next in the series creating a so called daisy chain. The signal is carried over normal cat 5 network cable. There is a limit to the number of channels that can be controlled from one COM port due to sheer data transfer, but we have not reached that point yet.

From the Controller to the Lights:

For this portion we use 2000+ feet of white 18 gauge “lamp wire”. This is one of the most costly parts of the display so to cut down on cost we make custom cords by cutting the needed wire and adding a vampire clip to the end (see picture below). This way we can create cheap cords that are the exact length needed, and blend into the house during the day so it does not look like an house with orange lines going everywhere. The wire is SPT-1, which I have seen to be sufficient since they are only up for about a month each year, however SPT-2 is also available, which has more insulation.

The Audio from the PC to your car:

This is one of the parts of the display most people are interested in, this is because surprisingly few people know that anybody can have a “low powered” radio transmitter(see picture), which by definition goes less than 200 ft. So that’s exactly what I have It was purchased from Ebay (I would recommend a .5-1 Watt), and a Dipole antenna can be easily made if needed (Which I did) . From there it is easy plug the transmitter into the wall select a vacant frequency, hook a 3.5mm cable from the audio output from the PC to the input of the transmitter and broadcast!