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Lowes Gemmy LED Color Changing Lights


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#1 Rick Ouellet

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 08:23 AM

Hello,

I purchased color changing LED lights at LOWES. These are the ones manufactured by GEMMY and comes with five 10 inch ornaments that change color. It seems to have an inline controller on the power cord along with a circuit board at each light cluster. Has anyone hacked into these things to control them with LOR controllers?

Thanks,

Rick

#2 Rafter Bar R

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 02:43 PM

The "Gemmy" lights work similar to "FireFly", even though FireFly is manufactured by another lighting outfit, they do work with LOR. More on FireFly.


http://lightorama.my...um76/17480.html

#3 Vic Fortenbach

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 04:20 PM

I ordered some of the icicles version online. I should receive them next week. Its going to be hack project number 3. My current plan is to start the hack in the middle of January 09.

The current way the lights are connected or programmed seems to allow only 5 colors; red, green, blue, white and purple. I don't see a reason 16 or 256 colors could not be "created" with the hack and a LOR controller(s).

After seeing some of the post left by firefly and LOR users, I know what problems might result with the gemmy lights. So the hack will be fun.

Stay tuned
It's not about how many lights or channels you have, its about you use them!

#4 DanglinModifiers

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 05:39 AM

I'll be very interested to see what you can do with them!

If I remember correctly, someone had discovered that the sequences are actually stored on a chip in the light bulb themselves. The only thing the controller seems to do is start them in sync, and keep them from getting out of sync.

#5 Vic Fortenbach

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 08:19 AM

That is interesting DM, I never heard that. If that is the case, it will be more of a
challenge to hack them.



Stay Tuned
It's not about how many lights or channels you have, its about you use them!

#6 Rick Ouellet

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 09:35 AM

I've e-mailed Gemmy to see if they can give me any info as to how they actually function and with any luck maybe a schematic so I can modify them. The only similarities to the FireFly that I can see is that it uses red,blue and green LED's to create 7 colors. They sell some sort of timer control box which enables you to attach multiple strings to play in sync with preloaded songs or you can attach an mp3 player.

Maybe this is the thing that needs to be modified to work with LOR?

Rick

#7 Ponddude

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 10:12 AM

I have four sets of the C-series bulbs. They were going great and looked very nice for about 3 weeks...then it started to go bad.

I noticed one night that one strand was not synced to the others. I unplugged the whole thing and it didn't seem to fix the issue. The bulbs are about 30 ft in the air in a tree, so getting to them without taking down the whole set up was an issue. So i just let it be. The next night the show started and that same string was completely dead....it wouldn't come on at all. I had contacted Gemmy and they told me they wouldn't replace them. After some persuasive talk with them I got them to say they would replace them at the end of the season. I noticed last night that the plastic bulbs themselves are completely full of water...at least the ones I can see. I need to take a look at this much more closely when I get them down next week, but so far it has become and issue.

#8 Rick Ouellet

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 03:52 AM

Ponddude,

You're just running them on their own right, you have no control of when they change color? That's probably what I will have to do for 2009.

Thanks for the heads up with the water problem, I will more than likely drill a few holes in the bottom of the balls to allow water to drain out. Each LED cluster inside the ball seams to be fairly well sealed from the elements.

Rick

#9 Vic Fortenbach

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 04:43 AM

Rick if you get schematics, could you please e-mail me a copy. Posting them on any chat board might upset Gemmy.

Just to clearfy, Gemmy makes a "controller box" that allowes you to sync your own lights to music using your MP3 player. This box is simular to the "Lights and Sounds of Christmas" made by GE. This controller box has no MP3 input and has been sold the past two years at Sears, Costco and Lowes. Gemmy ALSO makes several styles of "color changing" light strings. These light strings do not have any music input and just a small controller at the beginning of the light string.

The light strings are the ones I plan on hacking.

Stay Tuned
It's not about how many lights or channels you have, its about you use them!

#10 Rick Ouellet

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 05:24 AM

Will do Vic,

I wonder if it's as simple as hooking up the pc sound output where the mp3 input is on the Gemmy controller. Here is a link to the box I'm talking about.

Rick

#11 Vic Fortenbach

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 06:43 AM

I don't see any reason why connecting up your computer audio output to the MP3 player input would not work. Try the "line out" connector on your computer first, before using the speaker output. Connecting the speaker output of the PC *might* damage the control box.

After viewing the YouTube video, I did not know that Gemmy made a timer and non timer versions of their control box.
It's not about how many lights or channels you have, its about you use them!

#12 Rick Ouellet

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 10:19 AM

Vic Fortenbach wrote:

I don't see any reason why connecting up your computer audio output to the MP3 player input would not work. Try the "line out" connector on your computer first, before using the speaker output. Connecting the speaker output of the PC *might* damage the control box.

After viewing the YouTube video, I did not know that Gemmy made a timer and non timer versions of their control box.


Vic, Gemmy makes two timer controllers; one with sound and one without sound.

#13 Ponddude

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 02:27 PM

Rick Ouellet wrote:

Ponddude,

You're just running them on their own right, you have no control of when they change color?  That's probably what I will have to do for 2009.

Thanks for the heads up with the water problem, I will more than likely drill a few holes in the bottom of the balls to allow water to drain out. Each LED cluster inside the ball seams to be fairly well sealed from the elements.

Rick



Rick...

No I am not controlling with anything other then the built in controller. They look great, but the water may eventually become a problem. I wasn't so concerned because it is operating on low voltage so I know its safe, but if they fill up they could get heavy and fall or freeze and crack the plastic. I will be sending back the broken set and drilling holes in the other ones when I take them down on Saturday.

#14 Driv

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 01:29 PM

gemmy lights can indeed be used with controllers, i just don't know how.

heres a video of someone using them (see the stars along the driveway)



#15 J_Plak

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 02:47 PM

The Video is from Ron Lister 2006 Maybe ron will tell how he did this :-)


Jerry Plak

Jerry Plak

#16 Ponddude

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 03:07 PM

Ron's stars are made out of coro. He made the shapes and installed 4 red and 4 green bulbs in each one. When all 8 bulbs are on, they become white. He has a section on the stars on his site...

http://www.christmas.../Coro_Star.html

I made something similar to these last year with 5 gallon buckets I got at Lowes. I just cut the top off and put the lights in. They looked great and worked very well. They didn't fit in with my show this year so I didn't use them.

#17 Vic Fortenbach

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 03:21 PM

Rons video with the stars around the driveway looks cool. At his website http://christmaswond.../Coro_Star.html, he gives a detailed discription of how he made them. Very good idea.

I was looking at DYI christmas and found that there is a discussion on that board about hacking the Gemmy lights. The chat so far is just about whats inside the "shell". No real hacking... yet.

I received my lights all ready to hack, now I just have to clean my work room.
It's not about how many lights or channels you have, its about you use them!

#18 Scott Cockroft

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 04:12 PM

Driv wrote:

gemmy lights can indeed be used with controllers, i just don't know how.

heres a video of someone using them (see the stars along the driveway)





Hi

Those are not the Gemmy lights. They are coro stars that he made. He has a how to on his website for them. http://www.christmas.../Coro_Star.html

Scott


Edit: I guess I was a little late in posting this. I didn't see the other replys :)

#19 Vic Fortenbach

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 04:54 AM

Since the Gemmy LightShow hack that i'm going to do and is hopefully going to incorporate LOR, I'm going to post all of my findings here in the DIY LOR forum

If you’re curious, there is a post on Planet Christmas, about the Gemmy LightShow. There are some pictures but no "in-depth" hack info yet.

Stay Tuned....
It's not about how many lights or channels you have, its about you use them!

#20 Driv

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 02:02 PM

Ponddude wrote:

Ron's stars are made out of coro. He made the shapes and installed 4 red and 4 green bulbs in each one. When all 8 bulbs are on, they become white. He has a section on the stars on his site...

http://www.christmas.../Coro_Star.html

I made something similar to these last year with 5 gallon buckets I got at Lowes. I just cut the top off and put the lights in. They looked great and worked very well. They didn't fit in with my show this year so I didn't use them.


they sure looked like gemmy stars to me! ron did a very nice job on them :D

#21 Rafter Bar R

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 04:08 PM

4 red and 4 green bulbs in each one. When all 8 bulbs are on, they become white. In order to get "white", you need some blue LED's. It looks "white" through the camera, mixing red and green gives you a yellowish color.

#22 Kim Hatfield

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 11:15 PM

Okay fellow LOR users,

I am new hear and this will be my first year with LOR. Already i have an issue and i think i am in the right chat room for some help. I purchased some fairy led stars and webs to put on my roof. They claimed them waterproof but when i recieved them it was clear that the 8 way motion controller was not waterproof. I wrote the out of states company and i get nowhere with them at all. Is there anyway to eliminate the controller and just straight wire the lights? I am sure there is probably something in there to reduce the amps going to these little lights but not sure.

I also have falling snowflakes with motion controllers on that i would love to bypass. My LOR is going to do all the work for me. Besides the controllers reset to the first selection each time power is cut off. I am surely not going to climb on the roof and onto the second story everynight to reset the lights.

Any help would greatly be appreciated!!!!

Kim

#23 Robbo

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 07:30 PM

kim do a search of the site and you may find the answers you speak, I aint no electrician but did ask this question in an aussie forum as we have differences to the USA and i was helped after supplying pics of the pcb inside the controller and was a simple case of soldering 2 points together so that it bypasses the control part of the controller and the lights are now steady on. Some of my lights have a memory and it remembers the last setting, the other thing is that a lot of our lights in Australia run off step down transformers, so they really only run on 12-24vac.

Happy lighting :D

#24 Kim Hatfield

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 12:30 AM

Hey Robbo,

I have searched everyway possible and the only chat i found was back in 2006. It was a user wanting to use them to chase up and down a pole. They told him they would run fine on the full on position. But i am being informed by a very reliable source that a problem will probably surface when i try to fade them up or down. That eventually the controller will fail.

You dont happen to have a link to the site you mentioned?

Thanks for the info!!!

Kim

#25 Robbo

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 03:13 AM

I'm not sure if the site i mentioned will be of help to you Kim, as I also mentioned Australia is and can be very different to the USA, for starters we run off 240V hence the reason why we use step down transformers to produce 12 or 24 voltage to low voltage lights. No matter what I would say you will have to take the controller apart and do a bit of soldering, but being no expert I cant guarantee that either. Details of the lights and possible pictures may help

#26 Vic Fortenbach

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 05:12 AM

Now back to our regularly scheduled posts….

Hacking the Gemmy LightShow lights

I have two strings of the swirl lollypops, which have been selected to be hacked.

In case you’re not familiar with the Gemmy lightshow products, check out

http://www.gemmy.com/product.cfm?productId=80381

or the You Tube video at


First I need to ask some questions to myself:

What light controller are you going to use: LOR

What do you intend make these lights do with LOR:

Minimum; Let LOR control multiple strings together, on/off together.
Now, multiple LightShow light strings connected together will sync their program
to each other with in 60 seconds of power being applied.

Best choice scenario; Let LOR completely control the colors and/or effects with out
being a LOR channel monster.

What is your budget: Next to nothing

Stay tuned……
It's not about how many lights or channels you have, its about you use them!

#27 tboerjan

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 09:03 AM

I believe these are the "stars" Ron showed at the 2007 PLUS. I believe he just has a red and green bulbs inside each coroplast star. He did a class on them and if I'm remembering it right, I think he used both colors to get his white, I don't think there were 3 bulbs....

Oops... just like everone else has said and I, too, jumped in before scrolling to the last post. Sorry

#28 eldoradoboy

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 02:28 AM

what ever happened with these lights? anyone ever get them hacked?
-Christopher

#29 dolowe55

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 05:01 PM

Vic,

Any luck with hacking the Gemmy RGB LED Light show strings? Your last post of March 09 left me hanging for an answer. Thanks!

#30 Vic Fortenbach

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 02:39 AM

Sorry, about leaving everyone hanging from my last post.

Each light “fixture” on the Gemmy Light Show color changing lights has its own program chip. The program chip and circuit, controls the on and off (and dimming) function of 3 separate color LEDs, red, green and blue. The chip turns on different combinations of LEDs colors thus mixing them to create different colors when viewed through a diffuser lens (the plastic covering). Since each fixture has its own chip, hacking the whole string would not be cost (time and money) effective. Since you would have to work on each fixture separately. At the beginning of the Gemmy string is the power supply and other circuitry. Hacking the plug end would also not be beneficial, since the only result would be an on/off function.

I purchased my Gemmy strings after Christmas, so I may just scrap the original design and use the plastic fixtures alone with my LEDs and control circuitry.


It's not about how many lights or channels you have, its about you use them!

#31 dolowe55

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 05:09 AM

Vic,

Thanks for the update. It's a shame it is too much trouble to hack, as they would have been a great project to do. Oh well, NEXT?

#32 Max-Paul

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 02:18 PM

yes I looked at my two sets. One is the red and white perment hard candy and the other is of santa's face with a little red cap attached at the time. The power supply does two things. One provieds a lowered DC voltage and a "Data line" to each lamp module. I believe this data line is just a low voltage 60Hz wire. This is then divided down to represent seconds. Then the program in the chip on each lamp board as Vic stated is what tells what LED to turn on and at what intentisity. To make it useful I think this is what will need to happen. First you will need to run new wires to each unit. You will need 4 wires to each unit. A common, red, blue, and green. Then you will need to cut the trace of each LED going back to (been a while) a transistor and then wire the hot lead to the resistor before the LED. And find a good place to attach the common return wire.

As for me, I am going to gut the old light system (done). Install a C9 socket and drill a hole so the SPT1 wire can get out of the base (done). And then install a dimmable C9 bulb when they arrive (have them on order).