CHRISTMAS DISPLAY … Driving on State Route 191 and County Road G-4 between Stryker and West Unity and you will find an amazing display of dancing lights to the Trans Siberian Orchestra, which was programed by Kaid Woolace. (PHOTO COURTESY OF BEN WOOLACE)
By: Rebecca Miller
Anyone driving on St. Rt. 191 or County Rd. G-4 between Stryker and West Unity, in the evenings this month, can enjoy the treat of hearing three minutes of the Trans Siberian Orchestra while lights dance from tree to tree, pole to pole and all across the front of the house of Ben and Kinsey Woolace.
Their home is located on the corner of the two roads and is a well traveled spot to do such a thing. Twenty year old son, Kaid, spent the past year, off and on, programming and designing the display.
Not something to be attempted by the faint hearted, making this display took hours and hours of programming on his laptop (over 2000 lines of code!), more hours of building the relay box that houses all the electronics needed, and more hours wiring it all together.
Kaid also made a prototype of the yard and house, to show just how much wiring he would need, and a little micro controller that he uses to to turn the lights on for the evening.
“We did lights and made them blink randomly last year,” Kaid shared, “ and at some point I decided it would be fun to add music.” A student at Northwest State Community College who has already earned his Associates Degree in Computer Science, Kaid is now there working on his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Technology from Miami University. The video conference classes are held at NSCC, making it possible for him to live at home, instead of three hours south at the University.
For those who have an interest in the technical info, Kaid has a sound board on which the song Wizards in Winter is stored. He outputs the song from the audio board to an FM radio transmitter and people who want to stop and hear the music can tune their radios to 97.1.
WIRES, WIRES, AND MORE WIRES … Kaid Woolace, the architect of the beauty seen and heard on the corner of St. Rt. 191 and County Road G4, took a moment to explain the complicated relay box which houses much of his project. One can see the beginnings of the at least 22 heavy duty extension cords that help to make it all possible. (PHOTO BY REBECCA MILLER, STAFF)
The micro controller has a number of outputs on it and each one is connected to a relay in the box outside. There are long heavy duty extension cords spread across the yard from the relay box to the lights, which are all LED in the colors blue and white. He and his mom also made a sign, drilling holes to form 97.1 and sticking red lights through the holes so that those going past can see to what station they need to tune.
There are close to 45 strings of lights with 100 on each string. It is quite a lovely sight and lots of fun for families to slow down, open their windows and enjoy. Kaid agreed that if there is any advice that he would give to someone thinking of synchronizing their lights, it would be, “Pick a short song!” He laughed and said he loves the music he chose, but it was a lot of work to do a three minute song.
So right out in the country, just northwest of Stryker, the sounds of the TransSiberian Orchestra may be heard for those who feel like an evening drive out to take in some lights.
Rebecca may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org