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Digital Lighting Controller For Christmas Light Shows, Pt.3

Christmas is just about here! Have you got your Digital Lighting Controller ready yet? In the first two articles we explained how the Digital Lighting Controller works and how to build it. This third article explains how to use the software - primarily the Windows-based sequencing program.

Part 3 - by Nicholas Vinen

As it turns out, the majority of the time spent developing this project involved writing software – both the firmware and the sequencing utility. We only had space for a quick rundown of the software functions last month. Here is a more detailed explanation.

Audio conversion

As previously stated, the Digital Lighting Controller supports audio files in the WAV format, with 16 bits per sample, mono or stereo, in one of the supported sample rates (11.025kHz, 12kHz, 22.05kHz, 24kHz, 32kHz, 44.1kHz or 48kHz).

If you have an MP3 file (or other format) that you want to play or sequence using this device, you can use third party software to convert it to WAV. This is also necessary if you want to use a WAV which contains compressed data (eg, Law or aLaw). There are many pieces of software capable of doing so.

The best is probably Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/). It is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux/Unix and can be downloaded and used at no charge. All you need to do is open the audio file and then use the File->Export command to save it as a WAV.

This WAV file can then be loaded into the sequencing software. Note that it only handles simple WAV files (one chunk, etc). This is because it uses the same WAV routines as the master unit does, so if you can open the file in the Windows software then it should work on the master unit too. Even so, it doesn’t hurt to check that the master unit will play the WAV before you begin sequencing it.

Click for larger image

Operation and additional features

Sequences can be created with or without audio. Sequences with audio have a .lsq file extension, those without have a .lsn extension.

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