Make a DIY Dimmer for Your Christmas Lights

What You'll Need
Christmas lights
SSR Dimmer

Making a DIY dimmer for your Christmas lights will make it possible to control the intensity of the lights much easier. Making your own dimmer switch isn't actually very difficult, as long as you have the right tools and materials available you really shouldn't have a problem doing this.

It's even possible to make your very own Audio DIY dimmer which will make your Christmas lights flash to music. These projects are easy although you do need to have a basic knowledge of soldering and electrical wiring.

Step 1 - Choosing the SSR

The first thing you will need to do is choose the solid state relay, or SSR. This will be the most important component in your audio dimmer project. If you're building this for use in the USA then you will need to choose an SSR which is rated to work at 120V AC current. Make sure that the rating of the SSR is a minimum of 2 amps, but preferably more. These switches cannot be used on over 200 bulbs as this could cause problems.

Step 2 - Acquiring an Amplifier

You will also need an audio amplifier to use as your Christmas lights dimmer, you don't need to buy an expensive amplifier as you can simply take apart an old set of computer speakers. The amplifier inside the speakers will be enough to control your lights. You can put everything back into the speaker case to keep it nice and tidy.

Step 3 - Fitting an Adapter

Now you need to use a drill to drill a hole in the case of the speaker so that prongs from a plug can fit inside easily. Fit the adapter to the case and screw it up so that it can't move.

Step 4 - Soldering

In your amplifier you need to use your soldering iron to remove the cables from the mini jack wire. Re-solder the input wire to a fresh piece of wire. If you are new to soldering, it's a good idea to spend some time practicing first. Soldering can be difficult to get right because you don't want to accidentally connect two terminals together.

Step 5 - Finishing Touches

Now all that's left to do is connect the input cable to the solid state relay switch. Connect the jack to your computer and the dimmer to your Christmas lights. Now whenever you play music through your computer speakers the lights will dim and flash.

This is a great fun project which can make your Christmas tree lights look even more appealing and attractive. It is important to make sure you are confident working with electricity before undertaking a project like this. The SSR will be run from mains electricity and you really need to know what you are doing.