House Lights

How It Works

My house is decorated with G.E. Color Effects Lights.  There are 16 strings that line the roof, windows, door, house corners, and base.

 

How To Build It

The Arduino controller for these lights is in the living room, inside the house.  I chose an indoor controller simply because it seemed easier for all 16 strings to terminate inside the house.  

From the base of each string, I soldered standard three-prong plugs, the same used for AC appliances.  I then used 16-gauge extension cords to reach the strings to the indoor controller.  The benefit of this method is that I could use long runs of extension cable to reach all corners of the house with minimal voltage loss.  The negative aspect is that hundreds of feet of extension cord is heavy when laying it all out!  With the indoor controller, I plug the extension cables into household outlets that are wired directly to the Arduino.

The roofline, door, garage outline, and house base has strings of lights attached to the shingles, gutters, and siding with the clips that came with the lights.  Easy enough.  To mount lights on the house corners, I purchased cheap, white wood strips, then screwed the clips to the strips, then snapped the lights to the clips.  I attached the strips to the corners with outdoor foam tape, sometimes using string to ensure the strips didn't fall down.  

Because the corners have only 10 lights per strip and the lights come on 50-bulb strings, I cut-up the strings and used extension cords to extend the string to reach multiple corners.  However, I learned that the maximum length of the extended string should not exceed 270 feet, otherwise the light signaling & power is reduced to much, causing the lights not to work properly.

The window lights were tricky.  At first, I used suction cups with a dab of oil to affix the Color Effects strings to the window from the inside.  But because the bulbs are so heavy (G35's), the strings would fall from the windows from time to time.  Then cleaning the oil from the windows after-season was a pain.  The solution was mounting the strings to frames made from thin, white molding.  The strings have clips that easily screwed into the molding.  So now I push the frames into the inside of my windows frames each Christmas; it takes just minutes!

 

Last modified on Thursday, 02 March 2017 03:50

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