Total Raised for Redkite: $5,015 including $500 from Delta Electricity

See a comparison of the hardware used to run the displays between 2007 and 2020.

Other 2012 Pages:
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Jan-Feb Build
Mar-May Build
Sep-Dec Build
Going Green


In June I did my usual trip down to Melbourne for the Melbourne Mini held by the Tuppets. This excellent 2 day gathering has been attended by me for the last 5 years, and I will continue to head down each year to both learn and help others as best I can.

2012 saw a lot of new members attending this year. I only took a few images, but here is the main one of the group on day 1.

Rear Row, Left to Right: andrewm (Andrew), LithgowLights (David), cscool36 (Colin), djgra79 (Graham), Tuppetsdad (Bruce), Tuppet (Tess), Tom82 (Tom), Daunce, Ruprect, abundy (Jim).
Front Row: AAH (Alan), Ewan (Ewan), Muzzag50.
Missing (Left before photo): Pipersmall (Hamish), Charltonmick (Michael)

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The ACL Strobes arrived yesterday from Fasteddy, and I started building them, with 91 of the 180 completed, programmed and tested.

These strobes are my first attempt at SMD soldering with an iron, and I am rather happy that things have gone so well. The strobes are only 18mm long and 12mm wide, with 6 surface mounted items, a transistor and LED as well, so the boards are rather packed.


The above image is of the strobes, showing the front and back of the boards. The small 6 pin items at top left are the PIC chips used on the rear of the board, and are the hardest to solder, but I am pleased that it was not as hard as I thought it would be.

Strobes 2

Here are 90 of the 91 completed strobes. Because they are programmed to ensure they are "random", so by programming the items with the 3 available codes, I have tried my best to ensure they will be relatively random when they are initiated. 45 of each of 2 codes are done.

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The ACL Strobes are all done, tested and awaiting covers and wire before the next stage - placing them onto items. The covers will be delivered to me at the Sydney mini in July, so I can put the strobes away for a bit and relax, letting my eyes recover from the strain of building the strobes.

We had some more concrete put down this week, so it will take a while before we can walk into the shed without using the rollerdoors.

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JUN 15

This week was all about cleaning the van, cleaning the shed and throwing away a LOT of items. 2 loads to the dump, and the trailer is 1/3 full again.

I also started more of the shed lining, so hopefully soon the shed will be completed.

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In July it was Sydneys turn, and 20 people turned up to hear Phil's excellent controller and software talk, as well as do a lot of hands on and small group discussions, which is one of the best ways for people to learn. Held at the Sydney Fish Market, this was by far one of the best Mini's I have attended so far, with a lot of people new to animated lighting, so I think there was a lot of knowledge taken away on the day by many people.

A number of prizes were donated for the day, including an AVD controller, a J1Sys DMX to Pixel controller, 250 5V RGB LED's and 200 meters of 3mm heatshrink.

Left to Right: Fasteddy (Eddy), Beatsmushin, john_s_sub (John), dpavisic (Danny), Johnny's Wife, Johnny, Wombat (Ian), JPB (Jon), Tony_Lights (Tony), LithgowLights (David), cscool36 (Colin), Lytnin (Dave), Random (Geoff), Christmas in the Shire (Craig), Chipping Norton Lights, Aussiephil (Phil), Yagoona_Lights (Ben), Peter H (Peter).
Missing: Edwin2168 (Edwin), bbayjohn, Burkle (Jacob, Lithgowlights Son who took photo).

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JUL 11

Well the shed lining is complete, and over 60 new hanging points have been added for storage of the lights for now and in the future. 2 more loads to the dump and a number of older household items sold off to free up space in the shed.


Here is the latest Ray Wu order, almost entirely for the Icicles, although I expected to use all 3 power supplies for the icicles I ended up using just 1. The Pixel modules will be used later for the additional poles, and the 27 channel controllers are for a few items, including controllers for the Window Silhouettes.

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JUL 19

Pixicle section 1, the longest section along Gutter 1, was completed today. This is a run of 6 rows of 45 Pixels, connected at one end to the P12R controller and the other end to the first of two 4.5 meter long angled runs each containing 28 pixels long and 6 high. Additional power supplies were run to the end of the Gutter 1 strip due to the power requirements and cable length of such a long run. This has stopped any "pink" coloring of the far end when all pixels are on full white.


Here is the mesh being measured for size on the house.

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JUL 20

Pixicle section 2 (Angle 2) is complete, along with all connections for additional power, and to connect power and data from Gutter 1 and through to Angle 1 sections as well. Because of the length of the run a seperate power connection was provided from the P12R to the far end of the Gutter 1 as well as between Angle 1 and 2 to reduce the "Pink" coloring at the far end of the pixel row (Some 16.5 meters away from the controller). Once pixicle section 3 (Angle 1) is complete I will have a better idea of the voltage at the far end, but at this time I dont think I'll need to provide power to that end as well.

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JUL 22

Worked on, and completed, section 3 of the front Pixicle items. I have yet to test them all connected as they will be set up, but it will be done in the next few days.

I will buy some more mesh this week and do the last 3 smaller sections.

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JUL 29

Pixicles are all done and tested, and the final figures actually suprised me in terms of current use. The old icicles 4680 lights drew 378 watts, and the 1002 new WS2801 5V Pixicles draw 139 watts on white.

Still a little bit of tidying up to do on the pixicles, and work out where to store them, but the basic setup is working fine, and thats the main thing.

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3 of the 4 cases for the controllers used to drive the Window silhouettes were completed today. A single 27 Chan controller was mounted in a short length of 90mm conduit with cables coming out the base. I'll complete the last one tomorrow, along with the power supply unit for the 2 rooms.


One of 4 controllers for the window silhouettes. A 5V in, pDMX in and out and the 4 or 6 outputs (4 in this case) protrude from the base of these controller housings.

With luck I'll also get the ropelight items started this weekend, but I will have to see if I get time. I also have to find a paint to use on the ropelights.

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A couple of busy days, starting with the completion of the 4 window silhouettes controllers.


These are the 4 completed controllers. The box above is one of the 2 required 5V supplies, one for the lounge with 3 outputs and 1 for the laundry with a single output.

After the completion of the controllers I got stuck into the strobes, with the strobe strings being completed and installed on the Bethlehem star and star on the top of the Megatree.

Strobe 1

Strobe in place on the Bethlehem star. A total of 16 were placed on the Bethlehem star, and 10 on the star for the Megatree.


Strobe illuminated. Considering the length of the strobe flashes it was actually hard to get an image of them while illuminated.

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A few things tidied up and finished today, including the power supply for the laundry window Silhouettes and the restringing of 2 led ropelight items.


This is the candle and Holley. Initially it was just all green and drew 79.2 Watts. The 24V DC Ropelight cut this down to just 11.81W, and because I used white ropelight I was able to spraypaint it to be more colorful, with red flame, blue base (yeah I know Holley is green but I dont have any green metalcast paint), and a purple glow around the candle. The colors dont show well on the camera, but believe me it looks way better than the old dull green item.

Old angel

This is the old angel with one wing blown. It drew a massive 304.8 watts.

New Angel

This is the new Angel. Both wings are illuminated for the photo, but the wings are on 2 additional channels allowing me to flicker the wings extremely easily. Again the green clothing went to blue in the final version, but the red trumpet and purple sash stayed the same colors. This 24V item draws a total of 37.68 Watts, a huge saving over the original.

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AUG 13

A busy few days, with a big cleanup of the shed, the hanging up of all the pixicles so they are not laying on the ground, as well as completing a few minor upgrades to a few of the controllers.


This is the last of my 240V ropelight items being converted to LED Ropelight. This santa on a harley towing a trailer was initially a 720 bulb, 240V roplight item drawing some 321 watts, but after the upgrade it ended up being a 792 LED 24V item drawing just 46 Watts.

Old angel

This was an old LED item from a few years ago and it is showing its age, with a few sections blown. Rather than restring it this year I decided to give it a little upgrade and paint a few sections so it looks a bit better, and rather than being just green and white, I think this looks much better.

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AUG 16

This week I have managed a few things that have edged the build closer to being completed.

  • The 5 large Pixel Poles are all completed and tested, meaning all the poles are now done.
  • The window control box, which supplied power to the 8 external windows, 4 shrubs has now had its upgrade completed, so it now has 16 4 chanel outputs and 6 Strobe outputs all tested as working.
  • The megatree star and Bethlehem star strobes have been tested in a real-world setup from their control boxes and work well.
  • Ordered the final Pixel controllers needed for the show this year.
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AUG 23

A lot of tidying up of controllers, and thanks to a loan of a 27 chan board from Ben at Yagoona Lights I completed the LED RGB Ball controller box upgrade, and also added the strobes to the top of the firework item.

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