Last night, the lights which were up so far were turned on just before dusk to do the first full on computer control test.
Results were better than expected, although not perfect. With two different types of controllers being used this year, (Light-O-Rama CTB16PC’s and DIY Olsen 595 Switches) there appears to be a very slight delay with the former, of only a fraction of a second. This is fixable by adjusting the light patterns in the sequencer (Vixen 220.127.116.11) so that all the channels of light that use the LOR controllers send out the message a fraction before messages are sent to the Olsen 595 controllers. This, I hope, will correct the problem. Testing will continue leading up to opening night, which this year is Tuesday December 1st from 8:00 pm (lights on from 8:30 pm).
Set up over the past week has been slow due to record breaking heatwave conditions, but while there’s a break in the very hot temperatures I shall get to work setting more decorations up.
Yesterday the 240 volt cables needed for the rope light train and stars were installed in the roof once again and today the five LED red/white roof triangles put up.
If all goes to plan, the rope light train and star motifs will go up tomorrow followed by all the roof lights being connected to the show computer on Wednesday or Thursday.
The three windows now have lights around them as do the three verandah poles.
Regarding the streaming webcam, I’ve calculated that I should be able to turn it on on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights of December for three hours (such as 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm) without running out of internet bandwidth like last year.
The first of the display was put out today. The data cables (ethernet patch cable) for computer control have not yet been put in as planned.. they were supposed to go in last weekend but will finally be installed tomorrow.
The next job after that will be laying out power cables to various points in the roof, and putting up lights on the roof.
On this day next week is the planned light up on the 1st of December.
Only yesterday were the roof lights completed. The mega tree is not up yet, nor are any computerised lights in the left/right gardens.
I had to delay many of the lights going out until necessary electrical work was done by a qualified A-grade electrician.
Let’s just hope I get it all done in time for the advertised launch.
Outside decorations are beginning to go up.
Last week the magic cave had white tinsel and foam attached to it. LED Blue and clear icicles are now up. Decorations in the main lounge window out front and window around the side have also been put in their place for the season.
A dead end area to the side of the house (which has been a junk yard longer than I’ve been on this earth) has been cleaned out to make way for four of the new ‘Light-O-Rama CTB16PC’ computerised Christmas light controllers.
Today the plan is for some of the rope light path borders to be put out. Right now they are laying in the sun so that they will be easier to bend into the correct shape.
The new lights for this year arrived in Australia last week and were picked up today. The order contains 4000 new LEDs – some in white, blue, or red – at a cost of $1220. This bumps this year’s expenditure up to $2375, the highest it has ever been.
The newer lights mean that the Mega Tree will contain double the amount of LEDs this year, and the garden bushes will no longer have clear incandescent mini lights.
The display will begin to be set up in the next day or two. New set up photos will likely be added sometime during October.
‘It was the night before new years, when all through the garden, everything went dark…’
Ok, I made that up. Anyway, last night was the final night that the 2007 light show was operating. Over the next month the lights will be removed and stored until late September or early October.
Another vandalism attack occured during the display this year (with the other one happening last year) causing an estimated damage bill of around $100. I am hoping this will be covered by insurance again. Other problems such as melting light sets in 40 degree celcius heat will also be claimed for.
Over the next few weeks some plans will need to be finalised before further planning commences, such as what new features I would like, what improvements to existing features I can do, and – for this year most importantly – what sort of computerisation method will I use (Currently I use Olsen595 boards made by a friend of mine. There are several commercial products available that have more flexibility that I may well consider.)
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and I would like to welcome you to the new year.
This last week has been quite stressful as the first outdoor test with more than 28 computerised channels up and running returned a result that I was not exepecting. Some how the lights on the roof were following the flashing pattern of the front garden sets on top of their own instructions. This meant that they would remain on for most of the time (If either the garden light or roof light was set to turn on, they would come on – so unless both lights were instructed to turn off the roof would remain on.)
But at last the problem was fixed after replacing a nusiance cable TWICE and getting a lot of components found on the ‘brain’ replaced. (The brain’s job is to coordinate all the on/off signals and send them to the right light set).
Ryans Christmas Lights 2006 Completeness – 6600/6600 lights!
That is right folks, 100%.
A video of the display is up on the video page, and photos have been uploaded on the 2006 photo gallery page.
The display has long beaten the halfway milestone, and is three quarters of the way to completion.
Also during the mists of assembling the show, a fantastic discovery was exposed. What is this discovery you say? Well, new neighbours to Ryan’s Christmas Lights, Phil and Pam, have their very own Christmas lights show. Why? Just like me, they get a whole load of joy out of seeing the smiles of cheerful children exploring the display, excited to the max.
Ryan’s Christmas Lights 2006 has taken an unexpected expansion backwards, in order to give the impression that both Christmas displays actually one gigantic light show for everybody, both young and old, to enjoy. With Phil’s electrical knowledge and my computer skills, expect to be surprised by the awesome displays – they are NOT to be missed this Christmas season!!
Ryans Christmas Lights 2006 Completeness – 4500/6100 lights.