Lights for line voltage controllers

Now that we've covered the line voltage controllers, the next item of intrest is the lighting systems that can be used with them. One obvious choice are the rope lights. These usially come assembled and ready to go, but not necessary with the right connectors for your lighting controller. So if you're going to use rope lights, your best bet is to match them with the right controller.

When using the Velleman line voltage lighting controller kits, you usually have to build your own lighting systems to go with them. When I finished my K5201 light computer, my idea was to use it to control seven lava lamps, but I found out that lava lamps do not come cheap, so I decided to build an alternative lighting system. I came up with an 8-light system that cost about as much to build as one lava lamp. Actually, I started with seven lights, but added an eighth later. Here's what it looked like.

I made it out of "keyless" candelabra light sockets (I think keyless means they don't have a switch), and mounting hardware for the sockets. I mounted them onto a 1 by 2. Once I got them mounted, each light socket looked like this:

The final step was to cover the sockets with the plastic candle tubes and screw in the light bulbs. I mounted the sockets six inches apart. At first, I used nothing more exciting than 7 Watt night light bulbs, which were cheap. Then I started experimenting around with other lamps, like some neon flicker flame lamps. I was able to find some of those for under a dollar a piece. Below are some of the lights I tried:


The first lamp is the neon flicker flame. There's nothing new about these lamps. I remember them from the early 60's. The other two lamps are brand new, however. The middle lamp consists of 16 red light emitting diodes and is designed for exit lights. It draws one Watt of power. The lamp on the right is a fluorescent light that draws 3 Watts of power. It puts out 120 lumens and has a life of 6,000 hours. It seems to be the least suited light for flashing that I've tried.

Of course, during the holiday season, you can use C7 Christmas lights in the light strip and set it in a window sill for all to see.

Another possibility is to build neon light strings to use with the line voltage light controllers. More on that can be found on the light string page. 

Copyright  © 2002, Colin Pringle  (
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