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.

Display Had Problems … But Not Any More!

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).

And So It Begins…

It may only be September, but preparations for this year have already begun. With 20,000 lights, 1,000+ metres of cabling and 56 computer controlled channels, there will need to be a lot of spare time for set up. On top of that this year is when I need to sit my final secondary exams (i.e. year 12) so I’ll need to break for 3 weeks for that most likely.

You may notice a few enhancements around this website also. I revamped the blog colour scheme and updated some information on the computer page. Since the last update, one of the webcams has been fixed into its permanent position outside whilst the other has been disconnected due conflicting issues between the camera and recording software. This camera may be replaced prior to December 1st but there are no promises.

Mid-year Update

Hey there, just thought I’d post a mid-year update.
Firstly, as of today I have finally met my financial obligations regarding payment for the LED Christmas lights order from China. With thanks to an unexpected gift from a relative, the total money raised for this year now stands at $1850.

With regards to the Christmas lights order, they have arrived in Adelaide and will be picked up closer to Christmas. The garden renovation is progressing quite well – one new photo added to the 2007 photo gallery.

At this stage I’m not sure if fog and bubbles will be a part of this year’s display, but either way I’m sure the lights alone will be dazzling enough!

Under Budgeted for Display Improvements

I looks as though the origial budget for this year’s display upgrades is not sufficient enough! It appears that the original budgeted $800 is only half of the amount that will be needed. $750 has already been spent on this year’s display, and another 1800 LED lights need to be purchased (LEDs average at $35 per 100 LED globes). This means that the new ‘target’, although not budgeted, is $1500. $750 is required to be raised by October. $100 should be no problem, and one of my sponsors may be able to provide up to $150. This leaves $500 left to raise…

Website Changes

It was not long ago that a new website design was unveiled… but now there have been a few more changes.

For starters, all the photo galleries in the navigation bar have been moved into a ‘popup’ menu that is activated by hovering over the photo galleries link. The galleries also now have picture thumbnails instead of the drop down combo box check them out!!

Finally a quick facts page has been created with… you guessed it… quick facts!

There will also (hopefully) be a webcam online around November this year – a page is already up for this but without a webcam image!