DC Problems Still Ongoing

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.

DC Issues Continue.. Now Setting Up AC Lights

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.

Roof Lights Up … And Then Goes Dark

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.

DC Controller Update

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.

Lesson learnt.

New Controllers Arrived, Setup Begins

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.

Blog Updated: RSS, Atom feeds now available

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.

New DC Controllers Ordered

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).

First Details For 2010

There hasn’t been an update since New Years Day, so I figured it is time for an some news.

Regarding the 2010 display, there will be changes but most of it will be behind the scenes. The biggest change is the introduction of DC controllers which is safer and more reliable for syncronising LED lights to music than the 240v AC alternative. The controllers operate under the same proprietary Light-O-Rama protocol as the CTB16PC controllers used during 2008 and 2009, so I’m hoping there won’t be too many bugs to squash when I receive them.

A few new additions will be added though! Three new rope light shapes were bought during the after-Christmas sales, and soon I shall be ordering new LED lights for the verge tree, putting an end to the unreliable incandescent fairy lights in that section of the yard.