Christmas Lights to replace RaspberryPi 3B and LightShowPi?

So right now, I’ve got a Pi3B I’m using with “lightshow pi” to do holiday and christmas lights. On my Roof, around some windows, on trees and such. Probably about 50 strands of standard Christmas leds controlled by a RELAY and GPIO from the PI in 8 groups ( highs, mids, lows,etc ). Cheap but mono-chromatic for the most part since they don’t change colors, etc.

I want to up the game and use the PixelBlaze for better patterns and colors. Has anyone done something similar? What about a lightshowpi type program where it plays music, or listens to it, and then sync’s lights to it? Is the cost of the LEDS ( 50*25’ strands ) going to kill me?

Hey Robert!

Let’s ballpark this for you quickly, assuming convenient procurement. I think you can probably eek out 10-30% cost savings with clever sourcing and patience.

I’ll also constrain your framerate to “awesome or better” by assuming one Pixelblaze per 500 pixels. You’d coordinate them with Firestorm.

We can get to a basic cost per foot based on procuring multiples of this set:

$166 / 115’ = $1.44 per foot

$1.44 * 50 * 25’ = $1,800 (~11 of the above packages)

I don’t know what big time Christmas light budgets are like - I know some people go pretty crazy.

If some of your install can be on strips instead of strands, you can easily get to $0.19/pixel. With some being indoor (inside windows, e.g.) you can skip the outdoor IP rating and get even lower prices on strips, especially if you’re willing to buy on Alibaba and have 2 month lead times. On the Facebook LEDs Are Awesome page, people commonly recommend vendors for larger bulk purchases - I think the name “Ray Wu” comes up frequently.

Hope this helps ballpark things for you!


If the cost is scary, but you really want to do it(who doesn’t right?!) what about scaling back the project and doing an additional part each year?

Like say just the front porch and railings the first year.
The next year another section of the house that would flow well with the first.
and so on.

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