Easy Halloween Automation with your Computer

To add life to your 120VAC electrical displays.
Use x10 to cycle them on and off.

How x10 Works


The X10 can be a little flaky and may require sending multiple commands to make sure that the device really went on.

Disclosure: Currently, I am NOT using X10 for my haunts due to the added complexity.


First, obtain Firecracker Computer interface from x10 for $40.

Introductory x10 Firecracker Module Computer Control


Second, obtain an appliance module for each Halloween display.

I like the 3 prong Appliance Modules (500W) / Pack of 4 is ~$40.

The Lamp modules will dim, but don't work with motors.


Third, purchase Firecracker Fuse software

Fuse $20 Timer Software from X10

Fuse is a little slow to write all the start and stop commands, but the SWITCH shareware software I tried before was so so.

Smarthome sells a $35 Serial to x10 interface that you program you own commands through Visual Basic, if you have the time. They give you the starter software to get going and you write the commands and loops to trigger your devices. I don't have experience with this.


Fourth, Use the wireless remote or the Fuse software to scare the Trick or Treaters (TOTs)
The wireless module may be a little flaky if you use a lot of electrical connections (power strips and cords) and maybe due to the distance with wireless remote works over. It wasn't 100% smooth on my 2000 Halloween.

Total Cost ~$100 to run 5 individual displays. You could obviously chain some displays together. (4 appliance modules + 1 lamp module that comes with the Firecracker interface kit)

Send your project questions to csolsen@yahoo.com

Chris' F/X Displays







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