Time for a pre-season update! With the weather warming up, days becoming longer…and more importantly Santa Claus back in town…the Christmas lighting season is not far away!
Ryan’s Christmas Lights is in the process of being set up with a target completion date of December 1 as usual. With so much left to put out it will be a challenge to get everything installed in time.
As of today the 2011 Christmas display is being gradually set up. The mains-power 240V AC controllers have been installed while the new 24V DC controllers are almost completed. They should be installed by the weekend along with the DC controllers which were introduced last year.
A 2011 gallery page is now available, this year using a different page design. Let me know your comments on the new style of gallery. Former years continue to use an older design.
New DC controllers from Light-O-Rama arrived this week. 2011 will use more DC control than ever before due to the safety benefits over 240v AC control. This means there are less 240v extension cord runs needed to get a working light show.
I am now waiting on some replacement lights and low voltage cords to land in Australia sometime this month or in October and then I will have everying needed to make this year’s display.
The new FM transmitter has been powered and tested, and the range is more than sufficient for passing cars.
And on a different note, you may have noticed a migration message or small amount of downtime on this website. This is due to moving to an Australian-based web server for better speeds.
It is now just a few days away from switch on, and some power problems remain.
The show will still light up on December 1st subject to weather, but with some elements non-functioning. I am hoping that these last few problems can be ironed out before the weekend.
Please note that if thunderstorms and rain are present on December 1 then light up will not go ahead for safety reasons – sorry.
It is getting closer to the planned December 1 launch, but I am still having issues with certain DC channels.
The roof appears to be working fine now but the mega tree is another story. I think it is pretty much a given that the street gum tree will be dropped from this years show in order to free up some back up channels for hopefully getting the mega tree working properly.
Unfortunately problems continue with some lights connected into the new DC controllers. For the time being, I’ve ceased setting up more lights that will connect into the DC controllers.
AC lights set up is about 3/4 complete.
Worst case scenario would be that all DC channels will be non-operational, which means no roof triangles, no mega tree, and no street tree lights. I hope this does not actually happen however.
Not the most positive update, but an update nonetheless.
Over the last week, lights have been installed to the roof. The LED roof strings will run from DC boards this year, and unfortunately initial tests showed some kind of electrical leakage problem within one of the strings somewhere.
This has resulted in the loss of one of the four white triangles, and I am urgently looking into ways of getting a replacement at short notice (10 metres long).
I’m still not sure how the light set could have been pulling so much power (ten times the amount it is supposed to) without even lighting up.
Combined with the DC power supply problem earlier this month, DC is sure appearing to be stubborn.
Can you believe it is already halfway through the month of October? Time for an update!
Christmas decorations and lights have now been installed in the three front windows. The window borders will be installed during the next week.
Where the majority of time has gone is setting up the new DC controllers. The controllers themselves appear to be working perfectly out of the box but where the issues have been is with a dodgy power supply unit (DC Controllers must be connected to a PSU and not directly wired to 240v AC).
I opted to purchase a non-brand name power supply, due to hearing that other Christmas displays were using them without issue. However when I powered up my PSU, older computer monitors using VGA cables started showing strange lines and the ADSL2+ modem lost connection to the internet. Turns out this particular cheap supply from China emits high electromagnetic interference in the air (EMI). Cheap fixes such as ferrite rings and filters proved no good.
I will now be using official Meanwell power supplies even though they cost anywhere from $100 upwards as they do not let off any noticable interference and also come with a reliable warranty.
The new DC controllers finally arrived earlier this week, although I’ve not been able to test them just yet. Enclosures need to be made for them before I power them. I’ve not had anything to test with the DC power supply either, so there is a potential double headache to be had if neither work as intended.
New controllers aside, the older AC controllers have been installed this week, so the ball is officially rolling. A new LED sign has also been set up in one of the windows – although it won’t be turned on until November. A few set up pictures are available in the 2010 photo gallery.
Why the earlier setup you ask? With university studies continuing right up until the 2nd-last week of November, I may not be able get lights and cables up as quickly as in the past. Worse case scenario might be that I will not be ready by the 1st of December, in which case the launch night will be postponed – but more on this in November.
This update is just to let everybody know that four new DC-powered light controllers have been ordered from America.
Light-O-Rama, the business which manufactures and sells these boards, is bringing out a newer, cheaper, DC board called the CMB16D-QC. There is little difference to the more expensive CMB16D controller other than the different cable connection method.
Anybody whom is looking at starting out with computer control and LED lights (or anyone wishing to expand the size of their computerised display) ought to look at the CTB16PC for controlling AC lights (incandescent lights, regular rope lights) or the CMB16D-QC (requires a large power supply) for controlling DC lights (LEDs).