A Little History

Ever since we moved into our home in 1989 I have been putting up Christmas lights. Every year I would put up christmas lights like everyone else.  I ran around and plugged everything in and before I went to the bed ran around and unplugged everything.  Each year I would add something new to the point that I had more lights than I knew what to do with and no where to plug them in.

Then one Christmas season I believe in 2000,  a program on HGTV called Crazy Christmas Lights featured people across America that were doing some amazing things with Christmas lights. The show featured one guy, Chuck Smith, from Tennessee who had computerized his lights to music. You can find more information on Chuck at his web site  www.planetchristmas.com . I started reading the forums on the Planet Christmas website  how all these guys all over the world were computerizing their christmas lights to music.  I was hooked. 

They were talking about SSR's and building their own control boxes. Stuff over my head.  I started reading the x10 forum on how they controlled lights with x10 modules.  X10 is a way to communicate with devices over powerlines. x10  is used primarily for home automation along with the program ActiveHome that allows you to control the x10 modules. The program is not very user friendly and I could only control the lights from the computer manually. I needed a way to automatically contol the x10 modules  with ActiveHome. I used WinRunner to record the steps needed to turn the x10 modules on and off. I created a program that controlled my christmas lights. That first year I had some of my lights turning on and off but no music.

I continued to use x10 modules to control christmas lights for a few years.  I started reading about Light-0-Rama(LOR) on the PlanetChristmas web site. I purchased 2 controllers with 8 channels each my first year.  The first few years I experimented with LOR I would only have my lights blinking on and off, fading up and down, twinkling and shimmering. Last year 2007 was my first year where I synchronized  my lights to music on FM 107.7 using the whole house transmitter.  

In 2008,  I purchased 4 more controllers with 8 channels each which brought me upto a total of  56 channels.  In 2009, I purchased 5 more controllers which brings my channel total up to 96.