Christmas Light Controller Project – Part 1

Last weekend my son and I embarked on our second Christmas light controller project. I’m not sure how sophisticated our lights will end up, but we both like learning about electronics and the challenge of DIY.  

This current project builds upon our experience gain from constructing an eight channel Raspberry Pi light control. That setup now controls our Christmas tree lights and still needs some software tweaking, but works reasonably well.

Light-O-Rama CTB16PC Kit

This time we upgraded to a Light-O-Rama Kit that can be set up outside more easily and can be easily expanded by purchasing additional kits. The software is also much more sophisticated than what we used on the Raspberry Pi, allowing for all kinds of creativity.

For now, we purchased one 16-channel control kit (CTB16PC) which comes with over 175 components that need to be soldered. This is the FUN part!

When the kit arrive, I quickly realized the this was a much bigger project than I was expecting from a soldering standpoint. I’ve assembled audio XLR cables and some other small soldering projects in the past, but never tiny components like the ones in this kit.

My small soldering iron with it’s worn down medium sized tip was not going to work for this. My son headed to a local electronics specialty store, “You-do-it” Electronics Center in Needham, MA to purchase a few tools.

In Part Two, I’ll share the tools we purchased and the soldering class we stumbled upon.

More soon.

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