March 9, 2021

After the holidays it can be hard to resist those mark downs on animated lights but will those lights be able to work in your animated light display?

In this post, we’re going to discuss some of the pros and cons when considering purchasing animated lights from your local hardware store.

Whether you may already have some of these lights, or are using the “Twinkly” brand lights in your display, there are two different sides to consider if you want to add them to your animated Christmas Light Display.

Lights From a Hardware Store

If you’re considering some lights from the store or even a prop, it’s important to pay attention to the quality. Most often, these brands design the lights and props to only last a couple of seasons. They’re not really made to last very long. This can be a hindrance when building your own light display.

If someone was able to get these lights to work in xLights or Vixen, because if the quality, they will not look as good or be as bright as what well-made pixels would be for the display. Another piece to consider is that if the light needed to be repaired, you most likely wouldn’t be able to.

When it comes to comparing costs and quality, it’s a much better investment to just purchase pixels instead. On the flip side, if you did decide to purchase some of these lights and props from a local store, there are a couple of things you can do to add them to your display.

If you do have the regular lights or props that just plug into the wall, you may be able to set them up where they can just turn on and off. Now, it might not be a very animated look but it is possible to do especially with the AC props that have a little animation built into them.

You wouldn’t be able to control the speed or animation but using a controller, you can have the ability to control these by turning them on and off. You can learn more about that in this video: DIY Christmas Lights Controller for Under $40

Twinkly Lights

Twinkly is a brand that has making some waves in the animated lights in the industry and are really easy to use. These lights are able to be controlled through the Twinkly app and unless you get the professional Twinkly lights, they are not able to controlled outside of the app.

What you are able to do with these lights is wrap these lights on the tree, you set up your phone to see the lights, it goes through its calibration, and allows you to map the lights. You could do this inside of xLights, but I will say that Twinkly does this and they do it very well.

Using What You Have

If you do have the Twinkly lights or even some animated lights, and props, there is nothing wrong with using this in your own display. But to take it to the next level, it may make sense to invest in the pixels and controllers.

For myself, I use mostly pixels and props but I still have some of the items bought from the store and use them in my own display. There’s nothing wrong with having a mix or even using what you have on hand.

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