Christmas Display Automation

Thread Starter


Joined Dec 18, 2015
I am exploring the options of using a Raspberry Pi to drive a Christmas Display.

The display is a very basic scaled down version of the popular Power Tower amusement theme park ride.

The base for the display is a 30' Radio Tower and on the tower there would be a floating stand acting like a vertical track system. On the stand would be a series of Christmas blow molds that would be illuminated. I am trying to mimic a design that was engineered differently but conceptually the same - see the attached photo.

The stand would float up and down vertically on the tower by the aid of a powered winch or DC based motor with a gear head reducer on a cable system. That itself would be controlled with a DC speed/motor controller.

A reversing relay and a delay relay would be needed to ensure the motor has stopped before applying power in the opposite direction. It would need limit switches at the top and bottom to ensure the travel does not exceed the allotted travel area. The switch position would also determine the travel direction.

The display would mimic the full scale ride by taking a series of wary blow mold penguins to the top and dropping them at a fast pace. A looping sequence would be needed with long periods of rest as not to strain the motor.

So with that I am seeking some assistance from those who are Raspberry Pi experts to see if what I want to do is even possible?

What sort of sensors/switches could be used to control the travel, etc.



Joined Oct 15, 2009
Sure it can.. You don't even need a Pi if you just want it to go up and down stopping at each limit switch and reversing back the other way..
There are numerous post on here for motor/relay control like that..

I would only use a Pi if I wanted more "programmed/random" movement/special sequences,etc...

Thread Starter


Joined Dec 18, 2015
Yes, it needs to have more sequencing. The idea is to control it from a main program like Xlights. That is software that people use to do computer controlled AC/RGB Christmas lights.

My challenge is trying to get all of the right parts that will work in a outside, cold and sometimes wet environment. I am thinking I can use Mouser to get the parts. I was thinking of perhaps trying to build a small scale prototype first before really throwing lots of money into the project.


Joined Apr 11, 2010
So, I wonder what you would control with Xlights? The motor? What is the output of Xlights? Do you have any idea of how you will interface them? Etc...