[Fountain icon] border=0

A lightshow controller for fountains


An illuminated fountain offers a spectacular sight. This sight can even be enhanced by using colored lights and variations in jet intensity. With enough sophistication, a "light and water show" can be conceived that will dazzle audiences for minutes and longer.

Artistic installations can be illuminated with this sytem as well, allowing the object to change its appearance over time.

JWA Systems has gained experience in programmable fountain lighting. We developed a system enabling users to program the lighting scedule interactively. And precisely this interactive aspect is what makes the system unique. While programming, one can instantly see the effect of changes to the program. After installation, a user commented: "You have turned it into a toy. It is fun to play with, but very purposeful indeed."


The hardware consists of a 16 channel dimmer (expandable), dual pump power drivers (3300W) and a programmable sequencer (lightcomputer). These are fitted into a robust flight case. Heavy duty connectors bring power to the lights and pumps. Safety is guaranteed by the usage of a large separation transformer.

The sequencer stores the program and executes it when required. A program can be initiated by buttons on the flightcase, or from an optional computer linked to the system.

Programs are created either by the user or by JWA Systems. Especially for new users we will program a few shows for a quick starter. Programming is done by using the lightshow programmer developed at JWA Systems. This programmer provides for multiple time lines, visual programming using faders and cue points, and a timeline editor. The possibility of preview allows for at home simulation.

The system also responds to music, although this development is in an experimental stage.

User interface for lichtshow controller

The following graph shows a screenshot of the userinterface. Programming the controller is performed on three levels.

[Lightshow userinterface preview]

1. States


The basic element in the programmer is called a state. It is just a setting of the 18 faders shown in the upper part of the screenshot. Each state appears as a bar in the timeline window, shown below the faders. This shows the relative position of a state within an effect.

2. Effects

[Running Light]

States are grouped together to form an effect. An example of an effect is a running light. While playing, the sequencer smoothly changes light intensities when it glides from one state into another. One can preview an effect by selecting one and hitting the "play" button.

3. Program

A program is made up of several effects. It basically consists of timed start- and stop commands for the various effects. Effects can be played simultaneously, so it is possible to "stack" effects. For example, effect A pulses a jet of a fountain, while effect B flashes a red light. Now imagine when these effects run simultaneously; The water is illuminated only at a specific phase in the jet pulse.when the jet is at full strength. Another effect could be added, e.g. the slow cycling of red, blue and green lights. This design offers a wide range of possibilities.

Realized projects

A "water and light organ" was built for "V.O.F. de Fontijn", where it was part of the roof of an open-air bar. The "water and light organ" consists of one large fountain, and 16 smaller ones arranged in a circle around the main fountain. 14 "PAR" type lights and 4 halogen floodlights are employed for illumination. Colors were kept off the green side, mostly red and yellow tones were used. The system has operated flawlessly for 3 months up till now and received many positive reactions.

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This article was written by Arian van Dorsten jwasys@xs4all.nl
The most recent version can be found on: http://www.xs4all.nl/~jwasys