Glossary

Since words can be confusing, this page provides definitions for all of the words/terms used throughout this site.  Note: If the term has a hyperlink, we have a page that provides more detail about the term or its related subject. 

  • Alternating Current (AC) - Alternating current is the type of electrical power that is available in your house.  It's called alternating because the power actually has a cycle of reversing.

  • Audio - This refers to the sound file (either a song or voice-over) that we use to sequence the lights.  This is what you'll hear on your radio during the show.

  • Automotive Connectors - These waterproof connectors were created for automotive and marine uses but we have found then to work great for lights as well.

  • Bulb - Short for "light bulb" and usually refers to something that emits light.  

  • Cable Gland - A device used to make waterproof connections between the contents inside of an enclosure and the outside environment.

  • Cable Ties - Also called "zip ties."  These are a great way to attach lights/pixels to structures.

  • Controller - A device that controls the lights in a synchronized light show.

  • Coro - The word "coro" is a shortened version of the term "coroplast."

  • Coroplast - The word coroplast is a short name for corrugated plastic. Because corrugated plastic is weather proof, non-conductive and easily takes holes it is frequently used in making lighting props.

  • Crimp Connector - This is a type of connector used to make electrical connections.

  • Direct Current (DC) - Direct current is the type of power that you get from a battery.  It's called direct because the power is constant unlike AC power.

  • Display Element - Another word for a prop.

  • DMX - Digital Multiplex protocol -  A protocol used to control devices such as lights or fog machines. The signal is unidirectional, meaning it only travels in one direction; from the controller or first light, all the way to the last. 

  • Dongles - A small device that plugs into the USB drive of a computer. Dongles offer different functionalities, such as providing mobile internet access, speeding data transfer, running secured software, or connecting multiple devices to the computer. 

  • E1.31 - Streaming ACN protocol  - A lighting control protocol used by many lighting controllers. It implements a form of DMX protocol (DMX512) over an ethernet connection.  This protocol is capable of efficiently sending large amounts of data in units called universes.

  • Element - A display element is another term for a prop.

  • Enclosures - A water-resistant box used to protect electronics from the weather.

  • Ethernet - A standard communications protocol used to connect devices including computers, routers, and switches in a wired or wireless network.

  • LED - A light-emitting diode (LED) is a device that emits light when an electric current passes through it. 

  • Matrix - A matrix is a type of prop that is composed of evenly spaced holes in a grid format.  Matrices are often used for displaying words or images in a show.  A television is a very complex matrix.

  • Network - The protocol and structure that communicates the messages from the computer running the show and the controller(s).

  • Network Switch - A small device that centralizes communications among several connected devices on one ethernet network.

  • Pixel - An RGB equivalent of a "bulb."  A pixel contains three LEDs.

  • Power Supply - A device used to convert A/C power to DC power for pixel consumption.

  • Prop - A prop is a generic term for a structure used in a lighting show.  It can describe any object (a coro object, a wire ring or a matrix) onto which lights can be attached.

  • Screen - Many of our viewers use this term to identify a matrix.

  • Segment - We use this term to generically refer to a component of our show.  Our intent is to differentiate between segments that are songs and those that may be introductions (e.g., Welcome) or narrated segments (e.g., About the Lights or Charity). 

  • Sequence - This term is used by the software applications as both a verb - we sequence the lights to an audio file - and a noun - a sequence is the outcome of sequencing and what will be used by the software to control the lights.

  • Serial Interface - A serial interface is a communication interface between two digital systems that transmits data as a series of voltage pulses down a wire. A "1" is represented by a high logical voltage and a "0" is represented by a low logical voltage.

  • Solder - A fusible metal alloy used to create a permanent bond between metal workpieces (e.g., wires).

  • Solder Sleeve Connector - This is a type of connector used to make electrical connections.

  • Song - We use this term to refer to a segment that is sequenced to a purchased audio/song file.

  • Spade Connector - This type of connector is used when attaching a wire to a screw connection.

  • T-Post - These are the fence posts that we use to display some of the props (e.g., spiral trees) in our show.

  • U-Post - This is another name for a T-Post.

  • USB - Universal Serial Bus is an industry standard that establishes specifications for cables and connectors and protocols for connection, communication and power supply (interfacing) between computers, peripherals and other computers.

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