After seeing this post last year about hacking GE Color Effects LED lights, I knew I had to get my hands on these. Basically, they are the most awesome holiday lights ever. They are pretty cool right out of the box, but with the protocol reverse-engineered, the possibilities are pretty much endless. It didn’t take long for an Arduino port to surface and over the past year people have made good use of the fully addressable nature of these strings. I ran out and picked up some of the last strings available last season just in case GE decided to not make them again and was happy to see they are on sale again this year.
I’ve been playing with them on and off over the past few months and they are almost ready to make their debut for this holiday season. In the process of creating software to control these light strings, I decided to stick with the Arduino platform since I’m pretty familiar with it now and it was quick and easy to implement. The original code and the Arduino port worked well, but I needed a more modular implementation of the light driving code. I ultimately created an Arduino library that simplifies the use of these lights. It is based on those original code examples yet neatly wrapped into a library. I wanted to share it in case others were interested in playing with these awesome lights.
You can grab the library here: GE Color Effects Arduino Library (or if you are using the 1.0 version of the IDE: GEColorEffects Arduino 1.0) As with any other Arduino library, un-zip the file into your libraries folder in your Arduino installation directory. I have included a simple example sketch as well. See this page if you need additional help. As I mention in the library source comments, you may have to tweak the timing due to the imprecise nature of the DigitalWrite function, but the timing provided works well on my boards. Have fun!