The Mini-Controller is an entry-level controller for displaying effects on a single string of TRIKLITS (up to 125 lights maximum). It can also control multiple strings that are wired in parallel, where each string will display the same thing. The MC has a number of built-in effects, and a USB port that allows live control via a PC.

The instructions and list of effects for the Mini-Controller are available here.

The MC is powered by a 9-12vdc power source. It must be able to supply about 30ma per attached light. The power-input jack does not have reverse-polarity protection so care must be taken in wiring up your own power. Connecting power backwards will instantly and permanently damage the lights. The CENTER pin is POSITIVE, the OUTER ring is NEGATIVE.

Mini-Controller Software

Some sample, beta-version software is available for configuring and controlling the MC from a Windows PC. We hope to provide support for MACs and Unix systems in the future. Two programs are available for Windows PCs. TRIKSET allows you to set the number of lights connected to the MC, which is necessary for the built-in effects to function properly. TRIKPLAY is a demo program to show you how to write software to control the lights via the USB port. It plays an MP3 file and makes the lights react to the sound.

Download TRIKSET SOFTWARE v2012-07-25.

Download TRIKPLAY SOFTWARE v2012-07-25.

Download TRIKLITS.INF Windows Driver file.

Driver and Software Installation:

Download the TRIKLITS software above and unzip it.

Attach Mini-Controller to PC with USB Printer type cable.

For Windows XP
Windows will bring up a message saying it "found new hardware".  It
will ask if it can connect to Windows Update to search for software.
Pick NO, then NEXT.

On the next screen, it will ask what you want to do,
Pick "Install from a list or specific location", then NEXT.

On the next screen, pick "include this location in search", and browse
to the folder containing the TRIKLITS.INF file (download link above).

Windows will warn that the driver has not passed logo testing, and it
never will, so pick CONTINUE.

Pick FINISH and then you are done installing the USB driver.

For Windows 7
Windows 7 makes it harder to install a device driver manually.
It may say it found a new device, but it won't be able to automatically
locate the driver for it and won't give you an option to install it yourself.

Go to the START menu and pick "Control Panel".  In the upper right corner
set the option "View by:" to "Small Icons".  Then click on "Device Manager".
You should see a device listed "USB-DMX", possibly under the "Other Devices" category.
Double-click on "USB-DMX" to bring up its Properties menu.
Now click on "Update Driver" button.
Pick "Browse my computer for driver software".
Click the Browse button and set the directory to the one that contains the TRIKLITS.INF file
you have downloaded.
Windows should find the driver and give you a warning that it can't verify the publisher.
Click "Install this driver software anyway" and then you should be done.

After installing driver
Now you can click on the TRIKSET or TRIKPLAY programs in the software
download directory.  Note that you must have Java installed to use this software.
If not, go to Java.Com to download.


The TRIKSET program will bring up a pull-down menu listing your available COM ports. You will need to figure out which COM port the MC is attached to. Pick the correct COM port and click on the CONNECT button (if you pick the wrong one, the program will hang). If it succeeds, the MC version number, and number of lights attached will be displayed. Here you can change the number of lights, and also set the address for the remote control. More info on that later. If you make changes, you must hit SAVE to make them permanent. There is also another tab at the top of the screen for creating your own user-defined patterns, it currenlty only supports strings with less than 32 lights.

Creating your own patterns

Run TRIKSET, pick the correct COM port and hit CONNECT. Now click on the PATTERNS tab at the top of the screen.

You create a Pattern by setting up a number of Steps of things to do. Each row across the screen represents one Step. Each step has an Action (in RED), a Control (in BLUE), a Time to run for (in YELLOW) and a Speed (in ORANGE). Each small circle in each step represents a color value for the corresponding light on your light string. Each Pattern you create is numbered at the left of the rows in GREEN.

To pick a color for a light, click on the color chooser at the bottom left of the window. There are also areas to pick white, black and grays. The color you choose is shown in the small square just above the color chooser. Once you pick a color, you can then click on a circle representing a light to set that light to that color. For example, pick a RED from the chooser, then click on the first empty circle at the top-left of the light grid. The circle turns RED and the first light on your string lights up RED. A box is drawn around the current step that you are working on. Go ahead and pick a few colors and set a few different lights to different colors.

You can also use some quick editing checkboxes on the top right of the window. Copy-Down will copy all the selected colors from the current step to the next step. Copy-Across will copy the color you have for the first light to all the lights, and Clear-Row sets all the lights in the row to Black.

Now you need to set an Action for this step, as it defaults to NONE. Click on the RED pull-down menu and select an Action, for example, DISPLAY. Then use the TIME (in seconds) and SPEED sliders at the top of the screen to select a TIME (how long to display this Step for) and a Speed (used for all Actions except DISPLAY). So for example, pick DISPLAY and set the time to 10.0. This creates a step to display the selected colors for 10 seconds. Now, click somewhere on the next step down to move the selection box to the next step. Here you can create a second Step for your Pattern. The Actions available are FADE-IN (fade in the selected colors), SHIFT-LEFT and SHIFT-RIGHT which move all the lights to the left or right (shifting in BLACK at the starting point), and ROTATE-LEFT and ROTATE-RIGHT, which rotates the lights in either direction (the first light moving to the last light and vice-versa). For these Actions you should also select a speed for how fast or slow they happen (but not 0.0).

So lets say you've now set up 2 steps, and that is all your Pattern needs to do. Maybe your first step sets some lights to red for 10 seconds and your second step fades them to blue for 5 seconds. On your second Step, note that the BLUE Control button is set to "GO-TO-NEXT", which means continue on to step 3. Since this is the last Step of your Pattern, click on "LOOP-TO-START" instead. Now look at the GREEN numbers in the left column. You can see that you have created Pattern 1 that starts on the top line, and ends (loops) at step 2. A new Pattern (#2) starts on line 3. You can create a number of different Patterns in this manner.

When you have created your Patterns, be sure to hit the SAVE button! This downloads the Patterns into the Mini-Controller. Now you can disconnect the MC from your computer. Your Patterns will be selectable using the MC buttons. User Defined Patterns show up between the TEST Pattern and the Random/Demo mode Pattern. Push the Play (triangle) button until you see the TEST Pattern (easy to spot because all the lights will turn RED and then changed to GREEN, BLUE, WHITE, etc). The next press on the PLAY button will bring up your Patterns. The + button is used to step through the Patterns you defined.


The TRIKPLAY program is a demo to show how the PC can control the lights. You must select the correct COM port and hit CONNECT just like TRIKSET, then you can hit EFFECT for a simple effect or PLAY to play an MP3 file. The source code is also included and you can use Processing to play with it.

Remote Control

The remote control has a 12-bit address code. Each of the 12-bits can be Plus, Minus, or NC (No-Connect). The remotes are shipped with all 12-bits being NC. The Mini-Controllers by default only listen to remotes with all 12-bits being NC. The address on the remote control must match the address on the MC.

You can change the MC address through the TRIKSET software. To change the Remote Control Transmitter address, you need to open up the remote unit and make corresponding solder connections for each bit.