IoT Holiday Lights – Final Build


My project for the Internet of Holoday lights was based around our living room which was not very livable. It was a mess and with the upcoming holidays I wanted to set the living room in such a way that it would be suitable for entertaining guests. Additionally I wanted to accomplish the above mentioned in such a way that the holiday lighting becomes part of the living room and I don’t need to remove it after the holidays. Hence the concept of Dynamic Living-room Lighting.

 In the previous posts, I have review the YUN and the infineon shield and have presented an overview of the project system. I also setup the place for the lighting with some homemade arts and crafts and give a preview of the system setup. I explained the Library I made for the Infineon Shield as well as the implementation for the MoodLights and made them Dynamic. I also made a XMAS Tree with LEDs and some stuff. I connected them to the YUN and made the control for the Xmas Tree Dynamic and static. It is now integrated into the OpenHAB interface and the YUN works as a relay. I have made the minions dance using a DIY approach and connected them to an RPi. I also wrote a python script to get mentions on twitter and play music while controlling the minions.

In this post, I finally explain the bigger picture and the completed layout of the whole system.

Redoing some things

Many times it becomes essential to redo things in a project because of unforeseen circumstances but in my case it is mostly due to an uncontrollable urge to tweak things. Just like the motor for the minions had to be replaced, the final build had to be modified as well. I will simply go though each component in brief and it’s installation for the final build.

The IoT Tree

The Tree has been explained in some detail in my previous post [Dynamic Living Room Lights] The XMAS Tree and in the living room, it was placed in the opposite corner so that it lights up a part of the room. The image below shows the placement and since the data transmission takes place over a serial link, I took a four core wire and laid it out ‘inside’ the wall. This way I use up three wires- GND/Common, Audio-In and Serial In.



The length of the wire was increased and hence I had to drop the baudrate to 9600bps. I was lucky and it worked otherwise I would have to use something like modbus to talk to the remote. I was contemplating the use of the fourth wire for 5V since everything works off it, but I did not want unnecessary voltage drops messing with system operation. 120 leds suck up some current and their blinking causes spikes so I use a 1Amp SMPS for just the tree.

The Moodlights

These did not really get relocated, I just added a little extra wiring from the RGB LED Strip to the Infineon Shield. Image below shows the same.


I had to go out of the house for that wire… The LEDs themselves look good but the quality of LEDs is a bit questionable. I bought some RGBs 10MM lamps and will experiment with them before making any comments on that.


That looks good.

The Controller YUN

The YUN performs two functions in my project- It controls the Curtain lights and the Infineon Shield AND it acts like a relay by talking to the MQTT Broker to get commands and sends them to the remote XMas Tree. I need to put it somewhere near the Curtain lights because the LEDs are to be switched ON and OFF at high speeds and lengthly wires can cause issues- for lighting, I am not so sure but for HF communication I am sure. Hence I decided it would be best to just keep it short and so I mounted the YUN and the Infineon Shield with the Filter Circuit in the corner. I wanted to make a case using plexiglass and glue like I did for the BeyondThePhone challenge, but right now I have a slight fear of my electric saw due to a recent accident and hence I will skip that. Hopefully, I will be able to 3D print cases for my next project.(hint hint ) My wall mounted solution is shown below.


It is mounted crooked due to the curtain wires being shorter that they should be(my bad). I intend to complete this box at the earliest and with some better connectors too.

The Minion Shelf

One of the things that makes the whole setup unique is that the lights need not be taken down. For the tree I would image taking down some ornaments but the tree and its’ lights will stay there. More inconspicuously, the minions will stay on the shelf waiting for a command. Now in my previous post, I had exposed the twitter capability which enables me to trigger the Minion Dance on the getting a mention tweet with a keyword. Additionally, I have in my OpenHAB system, a button which can be used to trigger the same music and dance action manually. This makes for a fun demo for visitors and is a good conversation starter.

My wife put things together in a more presentable fashion as shown in the images below.




You can see there are RGB LED strip at the back which are controlled via IR. The IR remote can control the lights and I will demonstrate this in a later video but these can also be controlled via OpenHAB.

Once everything is in place, I can finally take a look at the bigger picture.

The Bigger picture

So its time to look at the final build. First a look at what was…


From that to…


and with only the curtain lights,


The Infineon RGB LED Shield Drives these and does a pretty good job too.(More in the Video in the next post.)


It is clear how both the light have a unique effect on their respective parts of the room. If both are combined in OpenHAB, the result is…


The blue cold adds a cold mood to the room which is what the mood lighting is supposed to do. Success! More than that, the sound and flickering lights combo create a Disco Mood and I have a video in the next post to show that.

I did not think that the curtain lights would be enough, but actually they work quite well. I am running them within limits so as not to damage them. Once the challenge has ended, I will further experiment with the shield’s capabilities especially the DMX interface.

The Software

I love using OpenHAB. It gets things done quicker and I like it so much that I have one RPi running it 24×7. I have explained how to create an interface using OpenHAB in a previous post and my current menu for the YUN is shown in the image below.


The First Item is the color picker which is used both any and all items in manual mode. The MoodLight Mode selects either Manual (with color picker support) or Audio Mode(with direct audio influenced color change). The next item is the Tree Light which has four modes; The manual and audio are same as before and the additional P1 and P2 are pattern modes for predefined patterns. The fourth item is the Shelf lights switch which is used to turn the lights ON or OFF. These are pre-programmed with a sequence and can be replaced with any kind of lighting scheme. The last button is to make the Minions dance by pressing a button. Simply press the button and see them wiggle their’ hiney!

That’s it for now. Hope every one likes it.



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