June to September
See a comparison of the hardware used to run the displays between 2007 and 2020.
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My Mouser order arrived yesterday so I thought I would make the most of it, and complete the Ledtriks display. 3 of the 4 displays are working, and I am waiting for some programmed chips to arrive from Tim before the last one is operational, so MAYBE by the end of the week.
Here is 3 of the 4 panels running through a test setup. The difference in brightness will be negated by the perspex cover that still has to be sourced when I have a few spare $, as it's not going to be cheap...
Above image shows the back of the 4 panel Ledtriks in operation. The current 3 panels draw 1.2A peak at 4.7V DC
Something tells me the dog likes laying in front of the fire for some strange reason. It might have something to do with it being 8.2C outside, and over 23C in the shed, but I'm not sure.
Well no Ledtriks chip yesterday, but I really did not expect it yet. In the last couple of days I have done a few things though. I ordered a new programmer for the Ledtriks Chips, completed installing 2 LED Floodlights in their cases, tidied up the Ledtriks cableing, and replaced the Ledtriks power cable so now I have no issue with voltage drop due to current draw.
Here is the back of the Ledtriks. I found that the Ledtriks panels don't have to be cabled up in the 1-2-3-4 order. I have mine 1-3-2-4, which saves cable between the 2 "sides" as they had to be routed through a small hole in the wood supports.
This is the rear of the LED Floodlights. The larger cable entry on the left is for the Cat-5 control cable, while the power cable can be routed through the right hand side. I have yet to decide weather to put a rectifier and capacitor in the case, or even a 25V DC regulator from a decent AC source.
This is the front of the led floods. The 3 chanel DC SSR is now mounted on the back of the led board and the inside of the case was sprayed with silver paint and then given 3 coats of clear lacquer. PC motherboard standoffs were used for these 2 boards, but I'll have to find an alternate for the rest as I don't have enough left for the other 8 boards.
See, they do work... Although this does not look bright, I think it's similar to roughly an 80W white floodlight. Not quite up to scratch with the old 120W white and 100W color of last year, but I will be using a lot more individual floodlights. Instead of 3 sets of 4 globes I used last year, I plan on 6 to 8 sets of 3 channel floodlights just for the house, and probably 4 to 6 more just for spotlights on items in the display.
I completed the 2 Renards 16's today as well. I still have to finish the ZC supply, and source a few additional pieces for them, but it's basically complete
They arrived! The chips have been installed, and tested fine. A really quick youtube video was created to show the people over at DoItYourselfChristmas, and you can see that here.
4 Panel Ledtriks initial test video
The varying brightness will be fixed when the opaque cover goes on, same as last year. I'm off to Melbourne for a 4 day getaway with my wife, and hopefully a small impromptu meeting with some of the Melbourne light fans while we are down there.
Back from the Melbourne trip, and the kids (and Dog) are glad we are home. A big thanks to John for organising dinner and sweets, and Tim for showing us some great new things he has been working on. My ATTINY programmer has arrived, but I am yet to find time to work on programming it, but I hope to sit down and work on it next week.
I have managed to complete 6 LED Floodlights, and 2 more are waiting to be installed in their case and be tested for the usual 4 to 8hrs on. I have noticed that the LED's get to 50C when run for more than an hr or so, and the back of the LED board sits up around 75C. I guess a few of the 13 or so Watts have to be converted to heat, so it gets rather toasty in there.
This is the rear of the LED board, with the DC SSR bolted to one corner, and cabletied in place. A piece of plastic sits between the boards as an insulation layer between them. Only 3 channels are built, as there is no real need to waste the parts for an unused 4th Channel.
This is the front of the floodlight. The 4 corners have small bolts through the board, and anchored with 5 minute araldite to a point on the glass which has been roughened pretty severely with a dremmel and stone tool. The rest of the glass is lightly sanded with wet & dry sandpaper so the scratches disperse and soften the light, giving a better white color when all 3 colors are on.
Because of the poor interior color and the need to seal the original holes, araldite is used to plug the old holes, and also seal around the 2 new holes. The interior is painted with a silver color paint, and then given a couple of coats of clear laquer. The rubber seal at the front, missing in this shot, is then glued in place.
Here are 6 of the 10 floods required for the year completed, and ready to deploy later this year. Each one has been tested for a minimum of 6hrs, but some have been run for a fair bit longer. Parts have been ordered to put a small rectifier and cap in each of the 14 planned lights.
8 LED Floods complete, and the last 2 are being built now, with Green and Blue LED's already installed. I have ordered 800 White LED's, and picked up 4 more LED Floodlight boards while I was in Melbourne. I'm not sure what they will be used for, but they will be used somewhere. I also ordered a 4 chanel Video recording card and 1 camera from ebay as well. 4 Cameras will be placed in the yard, and another 4 on the house for complete coverage with 10 to 12 cameras. I have considered using the white floods as a sort of security light, and depending on their brightness, I might run 4 or 6 of them on the house controlled by a few movement sensors.
Made a small order to bump up the spare parts here. Only $53, but that should give me plenty of spares of pretty much everything.
I'm still short a few bits for 4 more DC SSR's, but I'll order them as soon as I work out what the white floodlights look like, and if they are worth using them as a security lighting setup.
While the website has not been updated, I have been working on the display. 6,000 more lights were bought today to
replace the ones scrapped last year. I had bought 30,000 lights from another Christmas Light fan in Melbourne, but due
to circumstances beyond his control, he would not supply them in time for my display this year. While this 6,000 lights
is not enough to make the display I want, it will be a good start. All the lights left over from last year have been
tested & repaired, and allocated ready for this years display.
We are currently trading in cars so we can pick up my wifes first new car this week, as well as working on extensions to the shed (Update: I hate Councils, 4 knockbacks over close to 12 months so we bought a caravan in late 2010 with the money instead), as well as some work inside the house, so it has been a very busy time.
This is my small haul of lights from today. Another 20 sets would really top off the need for lights for this year, so I'll see what I can do :)
I have started painting the lights for this years display. The new Arlec lights will be used to give more colors on the Minitrees, trees and house windows. This year I'll add red and blue lights to them, and maybe green next year.
The above picture shows just a few of the sets of red lights being sprayed. 2 coats of Metalcast paint is enough to cover the globes fully, and gives excellent color definition. 22 sets of each color need spraying, and a single $20 tin lasts just 8 to 9 sets of globes, so it's an expensive option.
Firstly I have to thank my wife for buying the lights as I had refused to return to the Bathurst Bunnings store. I bought 40 sets of lights on the 31st, and 2 days later went to purchase more, even the remainder of this discontinued line, and was told "The price is $9.95. If you dont like it, bad luck". I went back later and was told by a different staff member that the listed price is it, weather I buy 1 or 60 items.
Now in the past I have always found Bunnings willing to deal a bit, especially on run-out lines, or multiple purchases, but not with the lighting department it appears. The attitudes of the staff made it sound like the price I had got ($7.95 which was listed on the shelf!) was a big deal and I should not have got it in the first place. All I wanted was a token discount on the price of the lights - even 5% or so and I would have bought the rest of the stock off the shelf, but no luck.
More spray painting of lights completed today, and upgrades and repairs to the megatree lights have been completed. All 4 of my storage tubs are officially stuffed to the point of exploding, so I hope I can source at least 2 more soon.
I now have to complete the upgrade to the lights for the windows - that will be started tomorrow, once all the bedrooms have the wardrobes removed and walls cleaned, as LA Wardrobes are heading down to install new builtins on Wednesday. YAY
All window lights are done, and now I'm starting on the light for the trees and shrubs. The same as the house lights, an addition of red and blue to the already completed color and white sets should be perfect.
I bought the remainder of the lights in stock at Bunnings at a substantial discount thanks to a helpful staff member rather than the rude woman I had spoken to my last time in. Warren, thanks, you have renewed my faith in Bunnings.
Went to the pool with the kids, and on the way back dropped in & bought more rope for the lights on the rose garden. I now have 13 sprayed sets in both blue and red ready to go for the next sets to be made for the rose garden, shrubs and trees. 14 or 15 sets of red, Blue, White & Color needed I think, but I might put 2 sets on each of the trees, not sure yet.
Also ordered some clips for the lights to go onto the new Bethlehem star so they should arrive by next weekend so I'll get that finished (I hope).
5 out of the 6 lights for the rose garden are done, and the 6th is ready for testing tomorrow morning. The light sets have changed from 5 sets of white 250 globes to 6 sets which contain 125 color, 125 white, 150 blue and 150 red globes. A small change from 1,250 globes to 3,300 in an area 1.5 meters high and 2 meters in diameter.
I also ordered a few parts from Futurlec, as well as some CAT 5 cable which is needed for the build. CAT 5 is used to transmit control signals from the controller to the individual SSR's. Most of the SSR's are inside, but items like the LED Floodlights, 4 & 6 way 240V powerboards & a few 240V switches outside. Last year I used a whole 100 meter roll of CAT 5, and two 30 meter patch cords, but this year I'll probably need another 100 to 150 meters, so it was easier to buy a 305 meter roll.
Hoping to hear from TripleM radio sometime this week regarding voiceovers.
The last of the lights for the rose garden are done. Finally :)
I ordered another 4 port USB serial port today too, as I realised I might be a bit short on serial ports this year. Built and installed the last of the full wave rectifiers for inside the 10 RGB floodlights, and tested each of them once again.
Just heard on the Spoonman's podcast that he'll see what he can do regarding Voiceovers - YAY!!!!!!
Picked up a new set of side cutters and 60 meters of cable.
Also organised the return of 305 meters of cat 5, as the wrong type was sent - solid not stranded.
The last couple of days have been VERY busy. All the RGBW lights, with the exception of 2 small, low priority sets that I'll get to soon.
The big job this week is the 3rd SSR box, complete with 4 24V transformers, 128 channels of Ren 64, 90 channels of SSR's, built in ZC, and a partridge in a pear tree. This mess below is where I left off tonight - 16 of 24 SSR's installed in the case, and the leads go to nowhere for now. I hope to finish it tomorrow, and then start the wiring to the outlets