View Full Version : New to forum, but not to control.

01-13-2009, 05:00 PM
I finally decided to build a control system for my house lights. I'm a systems programmer with control application background before that. About 11 years ago, I wired up 8 light strings over our 8 cubicles at work to a PC, DIO board and Opto-22 rack, and wrote a C program to perform various patterns, fades, etc.
I have access to a 5600-96 board from Octagon Systems that provides 96 I/O bits of output through four 26 pin 3M header connectors. Only drawback is the card fits an ISA slot. Having access to a matching processor and card rack, I could make the entire system run outside in a sealed box with the program on an EPROM. Since I haven't found a Vixen plugin that will work, I will probably plan on just lights, no music, for the coming season. Right now, I'm planning on 28 channels, creating driver boards and remote SSR boards to interface to the Octagon board. I figured if I make 4 port SSRs and wire them the same as others, I can always upgrade to something later that is vixen compatible.
Thanks for the great forum and info shared!

01-13-2009, 05:08 PM
Since I haven't found a Vixen plugin that will work, I will probably plan on just lights, no music, for the coming season.

If you have the time to hook up something, the music is well worth the effort - it makes the show more enjoyable for viewers. Could you just turn on/off an MP3 player from the board that you plan to use? That way, you would still be able to have the music synced with your lights.


01-13-2009, 05:32 PM
If you're proficient at C, you might consider writing your own plugin for the Octagon board.

You can find the framework for building your own plugin in these threads (http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/tags.php?tag=plugin).

I agree that you'll be giving up most of the impact of your show if you forgo the music.

BTW, welcome!

01-14-2009, 04:48 PM
Good suggestions! Being this is my first foray into wiring my yard, that may be a future project. I currently have to build my SSR boardss, and 2803 driver cards. My wife and kids were buying lights for me this year after Christmas. My mini trees need to be built, Cat5 cables made, power cables made. If I get 'blinky-blinky' by next Christmas, I will be happy!
I'm also a little leary of transmitting music for a couple reasons. I have an FM radio station just over the hill from me, so I'm not sure if its proximity would cause conflicts, such as bleed over. Then my house faces a busy highway, and if I transmit tunes, I'm not sure the state patrol would like people stopping on the highway. Of course, I may have the same effect with just lights. Maybe if I make a flashing sign "Support Your Local Police"??!!!!

01-14-2009, 05:52 PM
Welcome, welcome. 08 was my first year and I faced a similar issue - busy road. It's not a highway, but very busy. The whole "Tune your radio" thing wasn't really a practical idea seeing it in action. So this year even though I'm going to keep the FM transmitter, Im going to put some speakers in the yard and turn them down low (so it doesn't annoy neighbours or me!) and try and encourage people (somehow) to come in.

Still may not be practical for you being on a highway and all, but thought I would mention it in case it gives you an idea for alternatives.