Total Raised for Redkite: $3,000, including $500 from Delta Electricity

See a comparison of the hardware used to run the displays between 2007 and 2019.

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Jan-Mar Build
Aug-Dec Build
Going Green


Well what a day, and it has nothing to do with April fools :)

Today I managed to almost finish Vixen 2. I still need to add 32 channels of. I think I need a new name for the 3 transformer boxes. Heck the PC, 3 transformer boxes and other items could use new names :)

Vixen 2 open

This is Vixen 2, almost complete. Unlike Vixen 1, this contains 160 channels. A pair of Renard 64's and 2 Renard 16's. 32 channels will be wired to connections on the front, and they will power the silhouettes in the windows, and 240V gear on the front deck.

Vixen 2 closeup

This is the 2 Renard 64's, and the 2 Renard 16's in place over the SSR's. Channel 1 is on the right, and that Renard 64 controls the first 64 channels, and then the 2 Renard 16's do the next 32, and finally the last Renard 64 does the last of the 24V output channels, and the rest of the outputs will be directed to connections on the front panel.

Vixen 2 closed

This is Vixen 2 with the side panel closed and the board in place. It's a tight fit in that case, and no room for any DC power supplies in this one.


After completing the case, I decided to start on doing the cases for the next 20 LED floodlights. I only have LED's for about 8 more, so I'll have to order more soon, but I'll got some of the cases done before then. Each trip to Sydney or Bathurst gains us 2 more Floodlight cases (at $16 each), and now I'll modify the current 10 I have to hold the LED floodlights.

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APR 11

I have been busy upgrading the LED Floods over the last couple of weeks. So far all the old LED Floodlights have been upgraded to the roughed up glass, and there is another 10 cases ready to go. So far all the old DC SSR's are being removed, and the glass frosted with the use of a Dremel and stone tool, and then a 12mm high standoff added to hold the LED's close to the glass as they were almost 20mm away before.

The glass sealing to the case is also being looked at and revised to include a silastic seal between the case front and the glass as least year water collected there and caused some corrosion. This year I will try to ensure that no water gets in any external light at all, but I know thats not possible, so minimising it is the aim.

Clear Glass

This is an image of the original white LED floodlight through clear glass. This was taken from a distance of 6 feet, so the spot is about 3 feet wide, and fairly small and bright. It's ideal for a spot on an item, but not really any good to light up a larger area like a wash type light.

Frosted Glass

With the "frosted" glass, the same floodlight from the same distance shows a much wider spread of light. Both images were taken at the same ISO, shutter speed and f-stop to give a good comparison. A slightly softer light with a 6+ foot spread will be ideal for most lights. I'll probably leave 2 or 3 white floodlights without frosted glass, and 2 or 3 with frosted glass for various spots in the display. All the color LED lights will get frosted glass covers.

Storage of the LED lights

An extra shelf was added to the storage cupboard to hold the additional floodlights 4 deep, and 4 across. The top shelf holds 8 completed floodlights, and 4 more waiting for the silastic to cure enough to be trimmed. The bottom shelf holds some of the spare cases awaiting the new LED floodlight boards (and a trimming of the silastic too!). The pink label is the number of the floodlight, as well as the RG & B current per LED. At the moment none of the floodlights have any DC SSR's installed, as I am awaiting the final design of the DMX powered DC SSR's from John in Melbourne.

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APR 12

YAY, my LED Floodlight boards arrived today, thanks to John down in Melbourne. These V2.0 boards have mounting holes for a future DMX powered DC SSR to be mounted directly onto the board, rather than thaving to find some way of attaching the boards (Last year I used cable ties and a plastic spacer).

I also ordered the LED's for the floodlights. 1000 each of Red, Green and Blue were ordered from the LedShoppe as well as 50 additional 10mm LED's needed for red strobes in the megatree this year. The 10mm Green and Blue LED's are currently too dear, so I'll wait and see if I can get a better deal elsewhere as I need 150 of each of them.

While the family was in Sydney today, my wife purchased a further 2 Floodlights to be stripped down for use as LED Floodlights. I'll probably get to them this weekend, and complete the majority of the cases I have ready to go, providing I have enough LED's left from the last batch.

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APR 14

Not a lot done yesterday or today, but I have finished (and tested) 1 new LED Floodlight board, and just have a few LED's left to install to complete a second. I have enough LED's for a few more boards, but I hope the new LED order will get here on Friday or early next week.

I still wont be able to install them onto the cases as I need some more parts from Futurlec, so the cases and boards can stay seperate for a few more weeks.

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APR 22

5 More LED Floods completed, but still waiting on the futurlec orders to arrive before I can build them into cases. My LED order arrived on Tuesday, allowing a few more floods to be started. Yesterday I also received my LED Ropelight order - WOW this rope is cool! I ordered 10 meters of Red Green & Blue rope, but Eddie from Santas LED Lights (Link removed due to closure of the site after his death) sent me 1 meter of RGBW to trial, and thats NICE. Alas I had to send it back, but not before taking a few images and video if it being tested. The RGB rope costs about $7.15 per meter and is very similar in brightness and setup to the RGBW, but is only 4 wire, 22mm wide, and draws slightly higher current. I ran a piece only 1/2 meter long and it drew Red:50mA, Green: 42mA, Blue: 42mA. I am yet to get a price on the RGBW ropelight.


This is the RGBW Ropelight, with all colors on. It is 29mm wide, 36 LED's per meter, 28mm between LED's. The currents for a single meter length here were Red: 93mA, Green: 76mA, Blue: 76mA, White:78mA. As you can see from the above image, the lights are offset by half per row, which actually gives a nice chase effect if you do chase the lights in sequence.


This is the 5 wire (RGBW) Connector. Center pin is positive, and the led's switch on the negative side. Suprisingly the power supply cable is in 2 parts, seperated by a bulge(shown below) in the middle. In that bulge is a rectifier, so you could run the lights on 24V DC or AC, but the down side is all 4 colors are supplied of a single pair of cables, making it rather silly having multiple wires in the first place. Guess who's removing that bulge soon, so each individual color can be accessed by itself?


This is the "Bulge" in question. At $5 per supply cable, I wonder how much additional cost this involves. I might have to talk to Eddie to see if there is an option not to have this, and just have a 1 meter 5 wire cable for the connections?

Here is a rough demo of the lighting in action.

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MAY 05

A few people have asked if I put heatsinks on my SSR's, and the answer is yes. Here is how they are built.

Blank Heatsink

A piece of 20mm * 20mm Aluminium angle iron is cut to the right length.

Blank 2

Because the distance between the SSR boards is slightly lower than the 20mm angle would allow, a 5mm strip is cut off one side to allow the angle to sit lower and still maintain a decent heatsink area


Holes are drilled in the angle to mount the SSR's onto the heatsink. These are located high so that the heatsink sits very low on the board, minimising its height.


The heatsinks are then cleaned up, and mounted onto the boards with bolts. A small dab of heatsink compound maintains a decent heat path between the SSR and the heatsink.


Here are some complete SSR's ready to be installed in the case.

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MAY 15

I have been flat out preparing for the Melbourne mini early June. Floodlights have been finished, the third Vixen case has been completed, along with some extra insulation in order to safely survive the 2000+km round trip to Melbourne and back in the boot of the car. So far I have managed to 1/2 fill a large plastic tub full of stuff to take, and theres still more to add!

Ropelights, LED lights and flashing tshirts have been sourced from SantasLEDLights, and will be on display at the Mini in Melboutrne as well (Thanks Eddie).

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JUN 5-6

John Wilson organised an excellent Mini in Melbourne over the June 5-6 weekend. Wridgways was kind enough to allow us to use the mealroom of their warehouse in South Dandenong, and some 20 people turned up for a feature packed 2 days of learning and catching up with old friends.

Matt doing DMX Talk

Matt did a talk on DMX, how it works, how we control it, and the various items that we can control.

Group Shot

The crowd watching Matt's talk. Front: Andrew (back to camera), Left side rear: Michael, Tim, Peter, Left side at Table: Dave, Ingrid, Greg (? - behind camera), Trevor, Phil, Andrew, Michael, Far side table: ?, Tess and her dad Bruce

Michael and Andrew

Michael and Andrew talk about SMD soldering, and showing a few different techniques to solder items.

Greg (?), Trevor, Phil, Matt and Tess in front

SMD Demo by Matt

Matt does an excellent SMD demo using a few different techniques for attaching chips.

Phil's board

Phils 48 Channel Tiger DMX board.

LED lights

Some of the different LED light strings available.

Ledtriks talk

Michael watches as Tim does an excellent talk on the past, present and future of the Ledtriks.

JUN 06

The Melbourne Mini had finished and was a great 2 days. Thanks to Wridgeways for the use of their office mealroom, and thanks to everyone involved in making the weekend one to remember. Hopefully people learnt something.... especially that laptops need chargers, and ideally the best place to keep them is NOT 1000km away on the workbench in the shed.

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JUN 20

The Melbourne trip is over, and it's now back into the slog. Phil had a brilliant idea for a part of his display - a piece of 90mm pipe with a glass light fitting mounted on the top and lit by a RGB pixel within it. I bought 25 used DMX Pixels from Andrew (MPH) at the Melbourne Mini, and had planned on using 12 of these in the Garden lights during the off-season. The other 13, well I had no idea, but now they will be used in 8 of these large poles. The top is white, the pipe will be painted white and a red stripe run down them like a large candy cane. I have purchased the light fittings, and am awaiting the delivery of the 90mm pipe.

I have to finish cleaning the shed for the daughters party soon.

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JUN 28

I only repaired some of the lights after the Christmas 2009 season, so its time to finish repairs. The most damaged sets were the icicles around the eves, and they have taken quite a bit of work to repair, but 1 set had been done, and the second is almost completed.

The problem is finding 1/2 the stuff I put away to clean up for the party!

Oh and LithgowLights moved to a new server over the last few days. The reason behind this is that had a combination of slow or poor help (plus they charge for it!), high prices (2x whan I pay now for 1/2 the storage and 1/4 the bandwidth), and horrid downtime (<98% many months) pretty much since they took over Kalypsoweb, my original host. The good news is that Vince, Kalypsoweb's original owner has started a new company called and I have moved the hosting over to their servers. The big plus is I have yet to get any of the almost daily downtime emails I was getting!

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2 more tins of spraypaint were needed to complete the globes for this years megatree. At $20 a tin, it might be expensive, but it works. As with the other tins, this was sourced from Supercheap Auto in Bathurst.

While we were in Bathurst, 220 meters of rope was purchased to replace the rope used last year. The rope is still in excellent condition, but the problem is the color - bright yellow! Last year that was the only color 4mm rope I could find locally, so I used it, but did notice that it was very obvious during the display, so this year it is being replaced with a pale green rope sourced from BCF in Bathurst.

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I have been flat out over the last few days repairing and upgrading lights. 16 sets of 150 string lights have each been sprayed Blue and Red in preparation for their addition to the Megatree this year.

The existing lights on the Megatree are 20 meters long, and contain 240 globes. This year the megatree will be raised slightly, but the volume of lights last year was simply too much. This year the strings need to be a multiple of 5 meters, so 10 meters was chosen. This meant that the old lights needed to be cut in half, while adding an extra 2 sets of lights on each string.

This year each of the 16 sets of lights will contain 120 white, 120 multi-colored, 150 blue and 150 red globes. The total last year was 7680 globes, and this year it will be 8280 globes. The leftover globes will be put aside for the leaping arches IF I have the channels spare this year. 7 of the 16 sets have had the "Upgrade" so far.

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