With yesterday being December 1, Ryan’s Christmas Lights is now operating for 2013, with the initial switch on happening last night. After doubts that the evening might have been wet, the weather cleared up in time that there wasn’t a problem.
This year the website has received a major overhaul with a brand new more modern looking layout, powered by WordPress, a content management system.
It is halfway through December, and Christmas is not far away!
The 2011 photo gallery uses a new format to previous years. Is the new gallery format better or worse than previous years? Let me know!
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.
The website has received a few design updates in preparation of this year’s Christmas display. Including:
– New popout video page
– Enhanced menu bar
– Improved rollover descriptions on the Computer Control page
A new FM transmitter has been sourced from EDM Designs which should provide a clearer reception from the the street and maybe even a little further (although I am yet to power up and test how far it will go). The broadcast will remain on the same frequency of 88.9 FM this year. Transmitter model and photo are up on the Computer Control page.
That’s all for now.
Just a small update to let you all know the blog engine has been updated to now include RSS and Atom feeds that you can subscribe to.
The other new feature is blog entry ratings – I have left this on for the time being, though I’m not too sure whether it has a use here.
Back on the display subject, I am expecting delivery of the new Light-O-Rama CMB16D-QC boards sometime this month. Sequencing is 90% complete with just the launch night patterns left to finish.
On the note of the launch night, there is a chance that I may delay it until the first weekend of December this year. I am now studying at University level so may not be able to get everything set up by the 1st. By mid November I should know if I will be ready for the 1st of December or not.
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 new green LED lights arrived sooner than expected just last week. I was not expecting to get the lights until mid September, however they have now been labelled and put away for a few months. I did take a few photographs of them though!
Initial tests of running the ‘Light-O-Rama’ branded controllers with DMX seem to work reasonably well, though I did experience some technical difficulties with ‘access’ errors a couple of times. What I concluded was that the software must be trying to control the lights more than once (think of it like two or more people trying to drive the same car).
Regarding the webcam, I’m expecting that it should be functioning again around early to mid October. By then the ‘show’ computer that drives the lights and music will be in place in a new spot that should hopefully make managing the webcam possible as well as running the show.
2009 marks the tenth year of decorating, and this year’s display is well into the planning stages with two songs completely sequenced and a third one to follow shortly. All up, there will be four songs in total (not including intermission, opening or closing tracks).
I am pleased to say that the talented Carrie Lyn Infusion single titled Suite Christmas Rush will again be in the playlist this year. The song can be purchased for personal use on the CDBaby website for just US$1.
To keep the suspense I will not be naming the other songs just yet – you will have to check back closer to showtime.
At this stage I am thinking this year (2009) will be the last year that I try to do things ‘bigger and better’ for some time. I would like to continue doing a display each year, but just not on such a massive scale due to the amount of time it takes to get things right.
Also, the webcam is currently down and has been for quite a while. The situation is that the Windows XP driver for my capture card (WinFast TV2000 XP Expert) is incompatible with a new computer causing blue screen of death errors every couple of days. So until a fix can be found or a new capture card can be installed, I’ll have to keep the webcam offline – sorry.
Its been a few months since the last post, so it is about time I update all you Christmas light fanatics.
First of all, a new Christmas lights order of about 5,000 LED lights has been placed with a manufacturer in China via Starlight Christmas Superstore. I should be getting these in August or September sometime.
This year I am retiring my current method for computerising lights (Olsen595) for a commercial alternative that can do much more (Light-O-Rama) including control of light brightness and ability to operate higher voltage lights safely. Financially, this single change is the killer this year.
After adjusting the amount of new lights and controllers that I’ll be getting for 2008, the financial requirement now sits at approximately $2200. So far I’ve managed to raise just over $1000.
In other news, the computer page has been modified to display information in a similar fashion to the detail and history pages. However, this text is still based on the 2007 display at this stage.