Day one with Triklits!

I just picked up a box of Triklits from Mark of Network Wizards. I’ve been looking forward to these for a long time – I’m glad they are now available!

Triklits is a string of 24 lights. Each light can be assigned an RGB value. Inside each light are 3 leds (red, green and blue). The lights are $100 per set and have around 30 preset patterns including fades, blinking, etc. Each preset pattern has variations that you can set with a second button. I’ll put up a YouTube video tomorrow.

For an extra $25, you get a USB controller. This is where the real fun is going to be for me. The RGB values for every light can be changed 50 times per second. This is going to rock. C source code is supplied for the USB interface and is tested to work on XP.

I’ll update this post throughout the day as I play around with it (in between feeding Charlie, etc).


  • These lights are BRIGHT.
  • The power supply never seems to get hot or even warm.
  • The lights seem to be well designed and well constructed.
  • You need a USB (printer style) cable and an RJ11 phone cable to connect the lights to your computer. I dug both out of my cable box.
  • Doh! Don’t have cygwin installed on this computer (how is THAT possible?). Installing now.
  • Attempted to make a video with my phone (CU320), but the lights are too bright and don’t look great with the crappy phone camera. I’ll stop by work tomorrow and use the company camera.
  • Cygwin install was painless as usual.
  • Mark’s notes suggest recompiling the test apps to specify the com port XP assigns your lights. Another option is to set the com port in device manager. Click on Ports, then Communications Port for USB4. Choose Port Settings, Advanced, Port Number. I set mine to COM 10, the one used in the test apps and everything works fine.
  • Other blog posts about Triklits and Mark’s Burning Man 2006 installation. Google Blog Search and Technorati. Phil at Make has some nice things to say, too!
  • YouTube has a video of Mark’s Burning Man creation (made of 100s of trilit strings). Another. More videos at the project site. Don’t look at this one if you are prone to motion sickness.
  • Recompiling the driver and the test apps works as expected.
  • The ethernet interface is going to be handy when it’s available.
  • I built a very simple c app that sets the light colors based on the contents of a url. I want to add more transitions to the program, so that’s the next step.
  • The supplied source code is easy to modify. I expect there will be several apps, soon, that will make it easy to customize patterns from your computer.

Update: I uploaded the app I wrote this weekend to download animations from a url to run on the lights.  Details here.

3 responses to “Day one with Triklits!”

  1. kasper says :


    How do I compile the source files. Do I need to compile them with Cygwin ? I’ve installed Cygwin, but I’m really a newbie with that program ? Would it be possible to compile the driver with VC++ ?

  2. kasper says :

    Okay. Maybe this could be some source of information for other people experimenting with Triklits.

    I’ve managed to compile the files with Cygwin.

    – Make sure that if you download Cygwin you also include the gcc files ( check them in the installation menu ).

    – Makefile didn’t work at my place, but the seperate commands inside the Makefile worked out fine.

    – Make sure that the file cygwin1.dll is in the same directory as the .exe files if you run the effect programs.

    However I’d like to make a Triklits application in VC++. I’ve found a nice library I want to use :

    How can I use my compiled Triklits driver in standard C/C++ programs ?

  3. jackson culhane says :

    Hello John,

    Do you happen to know if triklits will be re-releasing these lights and/or where I might look to purchase them.

    Thank You, Jackson Culhane

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