Hack Addressable Christmas Lights into an LED Display

By Jason Fitzpatrick on November 7th, 2011

Christmas lights have come a long way from the original incandescent strands. Newer lights, like GE Color Effects, include LEDs driven by addressable micro-chips. Read on to see how you can hack them into a customizable display.

John Graham-Cumming, a tinker and coder, found a tutorial online which demonstrated how GE Color Effects lights could be hacked into something new. Building off that tutorial he stripped the lights, removed all the PCB boards, and then rewired the whole thing into a new and compact frame.

Watch the video above to see it in action and then hit up the link below for detailed photos, a step-by-step guide, and his source code for driving the whole display.

Turn GE Color Effects Christmas Lights into a 7×7 Display [JGC.org via Make]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/7/11
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