Gremlins Sorted .. I Think

Until recently, the display was not running correctly due to various problems such as power loads and miscellaneous computer issues. I was starting to become disappointed with this year’s display.

However, the display has now been operating for two days without the gremlins from earlier in the month, so I believe the issues are sorted at last.

I hope to get video footage captured and uploaded within the next couple of days. Pictures have been uploaded and more will follow soon.

Season Greetings to all.

Opening Night Just Days Away

The 1st of December is so close now.

Today the computerised lights in the garden and on the roof were finally able to be tested. The result was surprisingly successful. I was expecting there to be some problems taking some time to fix.

So now the base and pole of the mega tree have been put up ready to have lights strung from it tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday, leaving the Sunday following as the final testing day.

The streaming webcam should be in operation during the count down and light up ceremony on December 1st allowing you to view the display if you can’t make it in person (though I must say it is much better in person!). Music will begin playing at about 8:15 pm with the lights turning on right on 8:30 pm ACDT (UTC+10:30).

Starting To Feel The Pinch

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.

Up They Go

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.

New Lights Arrive

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.

Computerised Christmas controllers arrive

Late this morning, the door bell rang. When answered, it was a delivery person here to hand me a rather large box which contained the new Christmas light controllers for syncronising lights to music this year.

So the assembly of the controllers has now begun. Once finished, an electrician will put in a new electrical circuit to run all the lights. This is the first time ever this is happening, purely as a safety measure due to the high amp capacity that each controller is capable of running.

I have also been informed that the ordered Christmas lights will be arriving in Australia during September – that’s only next month!

I’m estimating that lights will commence being erected outside during October.

A couple of new photos have been uploaded to the 2008 page and the upgrade costs updated on the history page.

The webcam quality has been improved also, although live streaming will not be available until October or November.

May Off-Season Updates

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.

2008 Update

The website has again been updated with a few more goodies:

  1. There is now a streaming webcam available during the Christmas season
  2. The 2008 photo gallery has been created (with a single photo)
  3. The videos page as been redesigned
  4. There are now two new pages – Details and History – in place of the former ‘Quick Facts’ area.

I am now at the stage of choosing what is needed for 2008 such as new lights and computer controllers. There will not be too many new lights this year as new computer controlling hardware is necessary which will cost in the thousands. A record breaking $2600 is the estimate upgrading cost for 2008, providing I can pull together enough cash.

Display over for another year

‘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.