New display combines light, sound

Hillsboro physician Randy Claassen has combined his interest in electronics with his enjoyment of Christmas music to create a synchronized light-and-music display at his rural home west of Hillsboro.

The entire program is about nine minutes long and involves nearly 5,000 lights.

?I saw one in Wichita last year, and I thought, man, that would be cool,? Claassen said. ?Being interested in electronics, I said I think I can do this.?

Claassen looked online for the controller he needed. He then put together a radio and an FM transmitter he ordered from London, England, because they are not available in the U.S.

The transmitter beams a radio signal about a quarter-mile around his home. Car radios can pick up the music, which includes songs by Chris?tian recording artists Amy Grant, Steve Green and Evie, by setting the FM dial to 107.9.

?That?s a country station, but when you get closer (to the house) it overrides the local station,? Claassen said.

He said the cost of the project is less than people might think?around $300 for the basic equipment, plus the cost of lights.

The project has been a year-long part-time endeavor.

?I thought of it last Christ?mas, researched it during the winter, bought the (electronic) product on sale in June, built it during the summer and did all the wiring (and hanging of lights) this fall,? he said.

When the system was all set up, his computer crashed and he had to start that part of the project from scratch. He got the part he needed earlier this month and turned on the display for the first time last week.

?My daughters said, ?That?s pretty cool, Dad,?? Claassen said of the debut.

The free display will be playing daily from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. through Jan. 1.

Claassen encourages people to drive out to their home on Goldenrod Road.

From Hillsboro, go west on 190th a mile and a half. When the curve veers north, continue driving west onto a gravel road to the immediate intersection, which is Goldenrod. Drive south for three-quarter mile.

?You can stop on the road and see it, but feel free to drive in (to the yard)?but not too close because it?s a wide display,? he said. ?When my family looked it at, we went to the road.?

If the inaugural year goes well, Claassen will like expand the lighting in ensuing years.

?I saw one on the Web site that had hundreds of thousands of lights,? he said with a smile.

?I?ll probably expand, depending on how industrious I am.?

He already knows one thing he want s to add.

?I?m a sound guy, so I?m going to make a sound meter next year?10 feet tall,? he said. ?It?s just a sound tech thing.?

More from Hillsboro Free Press
Five ideas for saving time and money as you prepare taxes
The typical taxpayer is expected to spend more than three business days...
Read More