Lightshows - Getting Started

How do I Start?

It’s easy to get started. Our system is fully expandable, so you can start with a few sets of lights and build up your display over many years. To get started you will need the following items:

Our basic software is free and contains all you need to create and control you own display. The software also contains sample sequences to help you get started in creating your own show. Feel free to download the Software and give it a try.

A special USB cable (which costs around £20) is required to connect your computer to the lighting controllers. One cable will allow you to connect up-to 255 Lighting controllers to your computer. You can start with a single controller and then add more controllers to expand your display.

To get started we strongly recommend using one of our animation packs. These come complete with an 8 channel controller, power supply and 8 sets of lights in your choice of colours. The only additional item you require is the USB-RS485 cable to connect the controller to your computer.

Controller Types

We have a range of controllers available for different types of lights. All controllers operate in a similar manor and can all operate together on the same system, so you can mix and match controllers in your display. There are 3 main types of controller, AC, DC and Pixel controllers.

DC Controllers

DC Controllers are suitable for connecting low voltage direct current (DC) lights which operate at between 7 and 24 volts.

Suitable lights include

  • Low voltage LED light strings (i.e. low voltage fairy lights)
  • Low voltage Bulbs.
  • 12v or 24v RGB LED strip.

AC Controllers

AC controllers are suitable for connecting any mains voltage 240V alternating current (AC) lighting.

Suitable for:

  • 240v Rope lights
  • 240v Rope light silhouettes
  • 240v LED light strings
  • 240v Floodlights, Spotlights and bulbs

Note: Whilst any 240v lights can be connected to the AC controller and will work with the controller, please note that if the connected lights contain any kind of transformer or built-in flasher units, these often introduce unwanted delays when operating these lights. This is because such lights often contain capacitors which hold electrical charge and therefore delay the turning on/off of the lights.

Important Note: As these controllers use a dangerous, high voltage, extreme care must be taken when using and wiring these controllers and connected lights. These controllers are only recommended for those competent/qualified for working with 240v AC. If you need assistance with wiring these controllers please contact a qualified electrician or one of our approved installers.

Pixel Controllers

Suitable for special RGB Pixel and addressable LED strips. These allow the colour of each LED in the string/strip to be individually controlled.

Using your own lights

The cheapest way to start a display is to use any existing lights you may have. With our AC controller you will be able to easily use your existing lights. This is a good way to start, but there are a few complications that you should be aware of.

  • Built-in flasher units. – Many UK Christmas lights contain a multi-function flasher box that performs various flashing effects. These are obviously not required in such computer controlled displays as the controller will do any flashing etc. If any of your lights contain these flasher units, ensure that they have a static mode which you can use, and ensure they have a memory function so that they always come on in static mode when turned on.
  • Capacitors - Many traditional UK Christmas lights use low voltage led lights and hence contain transformers to convert from 240v to a lower DC voltage, typically 24v DC. Often such transformers contain capacitors to smooth out the current flow. These capacitors can cause slight delays when turning on or off. Built-in flasher boxes also often contain capacitors also cause unwanted delays. Ensure that when you turn your lights on and off they respond instantly. If there is any small delay, or if they fade slightly when turned on or off, then they are not ideal. Timing is critical on light shows set to music and any delay in the lights themselves is going to make it difficult to get exact timings.

If you have any lights that have these delays, you could possibly still use them but you would need to remove the transformer and flasher box and connect directly to our DC controller. This however needs some electrical knowledge.


Any Questions ?

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, we're happy to help. Either give us give us a call or use the Contact Us page.