• 3.5mm Plug: A miniature plug with a 3.5mm (1/8") diameter shank. Used for audio applications such as PC audio and portable electronics.
  • 6.5mm Plug: A plug with a 6.5mm (1/4") diameter shank. Used for audio applications such as Hi-Fi headphones, etc.


  • AC: Alternating Current. Like the 240V (or 120V for USA) power in your home.
  • ACN: An architecture, including protocols and language, which may be configured and combined with other standard protocols to form flexible, networked audio, lighting, or other control systems. It can be implemented on networks that support UDP, IP, and related protocols. It is not bound to Ethernet as a transport medium, but Ethernet is an obvious choice
  • Animatronics: The use of electronics and robotics in mechanised puppets to simulate life.
  • APRA: Australian Performing Rights Association. For legal use of copyright music in Christmas display broadcasts,. an APRA licence is required unless you personally seek permission from each and every artist used. See FM Broadcasting for further information


  • Baud (Rate): The bit rate (speed) of a data transmission. eg. DMX has a 250,000 (250K) baud rate.
  • BNC: Type of coaxial connector. Sometimes used for video or antenna connections.
  • BOM: Bill of Materials. A listing of all the parts required to populate a circuit board or build a project.


  • Cannon: An XLR connector. The name comes from the company (Cannon ITT) that made them long ago.
  • Capacitor: An electronic component that stores charge. Some are polarised and need to be connected a specific way.
  • CAT5, CAT5E: Types of 8 wire cable and associated connectors. The cable is available in solid and stranded wire types.
  • Circuit Board: A (usually) fibreglass board with electronic components mounted on it. Can also refer to the bare board itself.
  • Coaxial Cable: A shielded (either foil or braid) cable often used for RF transmission. Types include RG58, RG59, RG6.
  • COB: Chip On Board. Refers to an integrated circuit mounted to a PCB substrate, then covered with epoxy.
  • Controller: Refers to a circuit board that controls multiple channels of AC or DC lighting.


  • dB (Decibel): A unit of relative intensity, often used to specify audio or RF signal strength.
  • DC: Direct Current. The source can be battery or a power supply.
  • DC-DC Converters: Converts one DC voltage to another.
  • Diode: An electronic component that only conducts electricity in one direction.
  • DMX, DMX512: A protocol for sending 512 channels of 8-bit dimming data to intelligent lighting.
  • DMX Chip: The IC that transmits or receives RS485 data in DMX systems. Often a MAX485 or similar (different prefix) part number.


  • E1.31: (also called Streaming ACN) is a protocol for sending DMX512 data over the ACN (E1.17) family of protocols.
  • ECG-M24H is a small 10/100Base-T master controller board designed for the E1.31 protocol and control of slave I/O boards. The design philosophy is to use this board to communicate via HTML for configuration and via UDP for packet reception/transmission. The board includes a powerful PIC24HJ256GP206A 16 bit processor with 256KB of flash and 16KB of RAM.
  • etherCON: An RJ45 connector in an XLR style shell. Made by Neutrik. Used for commercial applications.


  • FAQ: Frequently asked questions.
  • FTP: File Transfer Protocol
  • Full-Wave Rectifier: A rectifier that converts both halves of each AC cycle to (pulsating) DC.



  • IC: Integrated Circuit. Often called a chip. Contains many transistors all in a single package.


  • Jumper: A link that shorts out two pins on a circuit board. (for setting options, etc) Sometimes called a shunt.


  • KK Connector: Type of connector with 2 or more in-line pins. Common pin spacings are 2.54mm (0.1") and 3.96mm (0.156").


  • LAN: A local area network (LAN) supplies networking capability to a group of computers in close proximity to each other such as in an office building, a school, or a home.
  • LOR: Light-O-Rama PC software for animated Christmas lighting. It may also refer to the proprietary communication protocol used in LOR software and hardware products. E.g. "My software talks LOR".
  • LSP: Light Show Pro PC software for animated Christmas lighting.


  • Megatree: Tall Christmas tree with a large number of either standard or RGB pixel lights.
  • MOSFET: Type of transistor used to switch DC power. Stands for "Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor".
  • MOV: Metal Oxide Varistor. An electronic component used to dampen voltage spikes, often in mains voltage circuits.
  • Multifunction: A box that comes attached to nearly all off the shelf LEDs Christmas lights that outputs various standalone effects such as Twinkle, Strobe, Fade and Steady On. They must be removed when running an animated display.


  • Network Switch: A small hardware device that joins multiple computers together within one local area network (LAN).


  • Ohm's Law: See Ohms Law
  • OTS: Off The Shelf as in lights that are on the store's shelf, pre-made, ready for sale.


  • PCB: Printed Circuit Board. A (usually) fibreglass board with electronic components mounted on it. Can also refer to the bare board itself.
  • Pixel: The smallest lighting element that can be controlled individually. Often this is an RGB LED with integrated driver IC.
  • PLL: Phase Locked Loop. Use in [[FM_Transmitters]]
  • powerCON: A rugged mains power connector. Made by Neutrik. Used for commercial applications.
  • PSU: Power Supply Unit. Usually low voltage AC or DC output.


  • RCA Plug: A plug commonly used for audio/video applications such as Hi-Fi, TV, DVD, etc.
  • Regulator: An IC (or module) that provides a stable voltage output, even with a varying input.
  • Renard: A communication protocol based on RS-232/485 used by Renard controller under Vixen Sequencing.
  • Resistor: An electronic component that resists the flow of electricity.
  • RF: Radio Frequency. Can he in the KHz (Kilo-Hertz) to GHz (Giga-Hertz) range.
  • RGB: Simply the acronym for Red Green Blue.
  • RGBW: The acronym for Red Green Blue White.
  • RJ45: An 8 way modular connector. Most commonly used for network connections, but also used for DMX and SSR connections.
  • RS232: A standard defining the electrical characteristics of drivers and receivers for use in unbalanced digital systems such as PCs and peripherals.
  • RS485: A standard defining the electrical characteristics of drivers and receivers for use in balanced digital multipoint systems. (usually commercial & industrial)


  • SMD: Surface Mount Device. Refers to electronic components that do not have traditional legs and that solder flat to the PCB.
  • SMPS: Switched Mode Power Supply. Much more efficient than older (but simpler) linear power supplies.
  • SMT: Surface Mount Technology. The use of SMD components on circuit boards.
  • SPI: Serial Peripheral Interface
  • SSR: Solid State Relay. Here, it often refers to a complete PCB with multiple opto-couplers and TRIACs.


  • Thingy: Most commonly used to describe a item where the describer doesn't know the correct name of that said item.
  • TRIAC: comes from "Triode for Alternating Current", and is a semiconductor used to switch AC power.
  • TFTP: Trivial File Transfer Protocol


  • USB: Universal Serial Bus. A computer bus which provides two-way communication between a PC and its peripherals.


  • Vixen: PC software for animated Christmas lighting. Vixen Lights


  • Whatsit: See Thingy.
  • WLAN: Wireless Local Area Network, see LAN.


  • xLights: PC software for animated Christmas lighting.
  • XLR: A reasonably heavy duty connector available in 3, 4, 5 and 6 pin varieties.
Categories: Category:ACL

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