I’d like to wish everybody who came to see the display in person or visited this website online a wonderful and joyous Christmas Day. I hope the break over the new year is also safe and funfilled!
Unfortunately with thunderstorms and rain rolling in just before 9 pm this evening (Wednesday December 16), the display has been switched off earlier than usual. Sorry!
With any luck the weather will have cleared by Thursday December 17th.
The last of this year’s display videos has been uploaded to YouTube!
This year’s songs are Suite Christmas Rush by Carrie Lyn Infusion, Music Box Dancer by DJ Schwede, Wizards In Winter by Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Carol Of The Bells by David Foster.
You can view most of them by going to this YouTube playlist (scroll to 2009).
Rain has been forecast from late evening until tomorrow morning, and clouds are developing.
For the moment the show will continue as planned but if it begins raining the lights will be turned off early.
Three more videos of this year have been posted. One more remains which will hopefully be completed by the end of week.
Yesterday was the launch of this year’s Christmas display. It went off mostly as intended, although the ‘sticking’ issue returned on one section of the mega tree once again. I’m hoping it will be corrected for tonight.
A video from the launch is now available on the video page. Pictures and videos of individual songs are not available just yet, but they will be soon.
Well tonight the lights were set to turn on at 8:30 pm for a few minutes to find out whether the digital timers were set up properly. Whilst some of them were a little too slow, this was nothing compared to the problems the mega tree suffered.
The ‘sticking’ problem has returned. This is where certain strands of LEDs on the mega tree turn on and ‘stick’ in the on state until the power is physically cut off by switching off power to the controllers.
So the fast fix… another trip to the shops, another $50-$60 to be spent. I guess this is to be expected, but on the eve of opening night and less than 24 hours to go, I’m feeling a bit frustrated. I’m sure the smiles of little (and big!) kids tomorrow night will make this all worth it though.
Switching one of the colours to a spare channel on a different controller don’t seem to fix the issue, but running these colours directly (not through a controller) do work, so I’m a little puzzled as to what is causing the problem.
Update: disconnecting the faulty set and starting the connection process from scratch appears to have fixed the issue. Using a test set on the original mega tree channels however shows it is faulty.
As expected, the the half completed mega tree brought the light sticking issue with it from 2008. The cause in simple terms is that the LED light strings on the tree draw so little power that the light controllers have difficulty ‘seeing’ the light sets, so fail to switch them off.
The solution is to raise the power use for each affected channel.. making up a DIY light fitting that plugs in to a regular powerpoint would cost $6 or more for the parts plus time which is at an absolute premium, so the next best thing is a whole bunch of budget mini rope light shapes for around $7 each.
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 184.108.40.206) 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.