Jump to content
Light-O-Rama Forums

Want to use controller for a seemingly simple lighting application


Recommended Posts

I am a collector of classic arcade and pinball games and my home is decorated like an early 80's arcade. I have blacklight carpet, disco balls, rotating beacons, lasers etc. I recently bought over 2,500ft of new in box translucent lighted rail from 1979 that was used in skating rinks and arcades at the time. While it isn't a Christmas display it looks like you wizards of winter have probably done exactly what I am looking to do so I came here for some guidance.
I will try to be concise, feel free to contact me for more details if needed.
What I have: Light strips similar to rope light (but in hard plastic rails) of 12v low current incandecents (think anti trip lights on stairs in a movie theater) There are 6 different colors and they will be installed in patterns such as rings around a room, etc. Wiring will be in wall and run to a central location, all indoors.
What I want to do at a minimum: Turn lights on by string (probably 4, maybe 6) that will probably be arranged by color. So for example I may have a red, green, and blue ring around a room and I might want to have them flash in a loop so it creates a "blooming" effect or maybe random, make them all turn on full and then fade out etc etc. so I would like the ability to create a sequence that can run in a continous loop.
What I would really like to do is have a controller and whatever additional module (raspberry pi perhaps?) that can take an audio line in and perhaps with basic definitions do a display responding to the music, like a VU meter on a stereo. I don't need any specific match like a color matched to a freq range or such, just the lights jumping around with the music. I don't care about timed sequences as there are thousands of songs on the audio source which is a video jukebox displaying on monitors all over the arcade and a full set of speakers already in place and operating.
In a perfect world I would like to have the lights respond to music levels and if there is no music default to a pre defined pattern, then resume music response when music resumes, or a means to manually change modes (VU meter or pre-canned sequence). And a way to trigger all lights on for testing would be nice as well, these are not requirements. Multiple controllers, such as one to run a pattern for some strings, and a second to respond to music, would be fine.
Here are a few pics of the lights and the area I am installing them into.









Link to comment
Share on other sites

Light-o-Rama products generally respond to pre-programmed sequences and might not be a good fit for what you are trying to do.


Consider a Color Organ.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am very likely going to grab one of these after taking a look at them, thanks again for the link. My thinking on this is eveolving a bit as I see the options and I am looking forward to experimenting as much as anything else. Although it looks like I can acomplish on a large scale the DMX run effects I could easily build a pinwheel or other structure out of those light rails and have an independent display picking up on the ambient, so the combo of music and pinball sounds in the pinball room would create a different vibe than the display in the arcade rooms. Good stuff, thanks Ken!


-I have a hallway linking the pinball and arcade areas, I could make a literal light tunnel with that color organ, I like this gadget the more I think about it.

Edited by Acro2pilot
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I hope you guys are happy.  I couldn't leave this thread without asking myself "What is this color Organ thing you speak of?" and then following the link like the true sheep that I am.  10 minutes later and after multiple thoughts to myself such as "That's cool", "I want one", and "I wonder what I would ever use it for?", I am now $153.97 lighter in the wallet with a pre-assembled 120v color organ and matching control panel on the way to me.  I think I'll set it up in a weatherproof enclosure with pigtails similar to a LOR CTB16PC to control some colored PAR floods around the backyard fireplace / social center.  I just eliminated the floods from my xmas show this year so they've just sitting around waiting for a new home until now & this seems like a perfect application for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LOL, Ken did us both a service. It is a simple concept and I have owned the old self contained ones in the past, and it isn't a difficult circuit to design and fab but having that kit right there gave me the spark of an idea to do a hallway that is a VU meter, tie 3 channels to green, 1 to yellow, and 1 to red and I have a walk through VU meter. SWEET!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a next step, if you guys are interested; take the light strings you use for your VU meter and put them on a small AC relay so they can be a VU meter or part of the LOR sequences. Use one LOR AC channel to switch between LOR mode and VU meter mode.


Gotta watch yourself here because of the 120v AC stuff, but would get you the best of both worlds.


I designed this for several Firesticks, but ran outta time before I could complete it.


Each stick was 5 channels and used a VU meter circuit that was gonna drive a Solid State relay.


Maybe another day. . .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Has anybody put any thought into how these things may or may not handle left / right channel distribution when inputting from something like an iphone headphone jack?  I had one of those "hmm" moments last night thinking about it and really have no idea what the answer may be. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...