With Thanksgiving over for another year, makers are starting to turn their attention to another major holiday — like Reddit user “omantn,” who has put together an Internet of Christmas Village diorama for his collector wife.
“My wife has always collected [Christmas village ornaments] but she has never had a place to display them,” omantn explains. “Its a cable mess for the lights and then she has to remember to turn them all off and on. I went another level and made each house an individually controlled LED and [a Raspberry] Pi hosts a web app that lets you control all the lighting and the train (stop/start and speed).”
The project centers around a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B single-board computer, which is connected to a relay board that, in turn, controls each house in the village — and the train which runs around the display on a circular track. There’s no physical interface, but instead a mobile-friendly web app — which provides access to a central power control plus individual RGB lighting for the 10 individual ornaments in the build.
“There are a few things unfinished,” omantn admits. “For example you can see in the last pic a green light hanging off the top. This is a proximity sensor. I have four and am going to put holes in the corners of the track and mount them there so the app knows at all times where the train is.”
The build uses a single Raspberry Pi 4 Model B to control all the villages, plus the train. (📷: omantn)
“There is a button in the app for ‘stop at station’ so I can make the train stop right in front of Victoria Station,” omantn continues. “Also the street lights are battery powered, but its 3V total from batteries, so I am going to try to run them off the Pi as well. These are all upgrades for next year.”
More information is available in omantn’s Reddit thread; the maker has suggested that source code may be published to GitHub in the near future, but it was not available at the time of writing.