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Discussion Starter #1
Hey gang -

Progress is being made on many fronts for year one of "the Haunt I Haven't Named Yet"...

Anyway - Is there a good Lightning and Thunder prop option that can be made for less than $50?

I would really like loud sound connected to one or two lights that would illuminate a semi large front yard.

For those who have followed my LED threads - you know I am not the most electronically inclined - but have finally conquered the LED beast.

Any thunder and lighning help would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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The best 'on the cheap' I've found is the Lighting FX box that you find on Ebay (I've also heard that Spencer's has them), runs about $20-$25. You plug your floods into it and place it near the sound source you want to run (mine is a Thunder-No Rain cd I picked up on Ebay for $5, just look up the word "Thunder") and off you go, all under $50. You could build a color organ from any one of the kits available online, but why bother when this item works right out of the box.
 

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Wallmart has a complete thunder and lightning device for about 23, that's about as cheap as you're gonna get :D
 

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I've never timed mine to music but, strobes in the trees actually look really cool and pretty spooky.
 

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Reports from the field say stay away from this years Target Thunder and Lightning machine, a real dog.
 

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There is one from FrightCatalog that you plug lights into... up to 500 w. They say household lights, but as long as the wattage is ok, you could use a combination of strobes and incandescents, or maybe a combination of the photo floods I have heard of people using? http://www.frightcatalog.com/Halloween-Special+Effects/Optical+Illusions/Lighting+FX-1408006/

I have heard people had good results placing a machine or color organ setup on their roof and pointing it up into the trees.
 

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I just bought a light organ kit from 123 electronics, the one Zombie pointed out. I plan on using this in conjunction with my BOSS stereo digital delay guitar effects pedal. the pedal will take the signal and split it and send one signal out straight which will run to the kit and the other through the delay which will go to the PA system. Now that I think about it,this is not really on the cheap.
 

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I checked out the one Target is offering for 19 dollars today and all it is is a strobe light that stays on (like a regular strobe) with thunder noises that come out the back... Could of been so much better if the strobe was coordinated with the thunder. I passed on it.
 

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For thunder and lightning on the cheap, I'd be looking for the Lightning FX unit. I got mine from Target last year, and Ghostie just bought hers online, you'd have to ask her where, I think with shipping it cost her $35. It's a great unit, handles 500 watts of lighting, and comes with it's own CD for sound. I think most of these other systems with multiple channels, time delays, etc, are just way overthinking, and overspending on a simple illusion. Cheap and effective is good.
 

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Now if you want to talk really cheap lightning and thunder effects, I can describe the setup that they use on the Haunted House Makeover DVD that the Big Scream TV people put out. Very simply, it's a flicker circuit that can be purchased at any lighting store. You plug that into an outlet, then you plug in an extension cord to it. On the end of the extension cord you plug in a night light, to give the flicker circuit box enough juice to warm up and activate. At the end of the same extension cord as where you plugged in the nightlight, you plug in two strobes set to different speeds. The flicker circuit will activate the two strobes on and off as it goes through it's reheat cycle. Unfortunately while you can play thunder sounds in the background, there is no way to coordinate the sounds with the lightning flashes produced. But to tell the truth, I think even that simple set up is fine enough for the kind of effects we're talking about here. No need to overthink, when basic effects will astound people just as well as complicated expensive solutions.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Vlad et.al.. It's getting down to crunch time - and my business is getting really busy - the good thing is that what I lose in time - I make up for in cash - so I can trade some "builds" for purchases. So I will chack all this out. I tried surfing last week for a lightning effects gizmo - but couldn't find any for the prices described earlier in this thread - (good for them getting deals!)

I'll chomp on all this info. Thanks!
 

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Edwood- here's one more option. Three years ago, when I was wanting to add lightning to my haunt, I happened to be at Sears looking for a tool and noticed they had their Xmas stuff already out (yep, it was the beginning of October). As I wandered thru there I came across this item called "LightVibe" to make "dancing xmas lights". You were supposed to use it to make xmas lights flash in time to music. Well, guess what - it's a color organ. So, for something between 35 and 39 bucks I walked out with what has proven to be a very nice lightning machine, with outputs for three separate electrical cords, sensitivity adjustment, etc. If you have a Sears nearby, check it out.... it'll save the shipping costs.
 

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Reports from the field say stay away from this years Target Thunder and Lightning machine, a real dog.
I can confirm this!Ok sounds but no volume adj. and its just a timed strobe not occasional flases like real lightning.
 

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You can get supper dark pro black lights at home depo and Lows but you must order them in. They have no blue glow and they make any white or uv active stuff POP in a huge way.
 

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Regarding the delay between the flash and the sound: Real lightning can be simultaneous light and sound. That simply means that the lightning bolt came down frickin' close to you!

I saw somebody's video where they had delayed thunder, and I think the effect is less startling that way. I think subconciously we know it's synthetic (and I could see what the haunter was intending when it happened), but the combined startle of light and sound is a bigger assault on the nerves. (Either that, or maybe our primitive brains recognize that the simultaneous blasts mean that we just about got fried, which is a scarier situation to be in.) Just my opinion.
 

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Regarding the delay between the flash and the sound: Real lightning can be simultaneous light and sound. That simply means that the lightning bolt came down frickin' close to you!...
Good point Long_Tom. I got first hand knowledge of that last night when a bunch of storms rolled through. Instant lighting AND thunder...man it was close.
 
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