It's all about the blinking...
See a comparison of the hardware used to run the displays between 2007 and 2017.
I decided an upgrade of the minitrees was in order for 2013, so I have ordered 8 new 120cm white Christmas Trees to see how they look with 100 to 150 LED's installed on each one. Should make for an interesting upgrade.
A few other upgrades are being considered for the arches, megatree and 4 trees in the yard to make things look brighter and better in 2013.
After the close and packup of the 2012 show I decided that I really needed to work on a better minitree design. My existing trees have 100 RGB LED's over a black mesh and do look quite good and neat for what they are, and considering they are 6 seasons old, they have done quite well over the years.
While looking for snow machines on eBay, I found 8 120cm white Christmas Trees for $132, delivered, so a week later they arrived. 150 5V RGB LED's cable tied to the tree, with power injection each 50 LED's and we have the following comparison video....
Last year I wanted to do singing faces, but the design I found looked horrible. Thanks to the internet someone put up a picture of a singing Christmas tree and I was hooked.
The above image is the smaller size frame. The outer edge is 6mm round bar, and the inner sections are 3mm. The larger one (1/3 larger than this) will be 6mm outer and 4mm inner to make it a little stronger.
Here is an early test using 12MM RGB LED's in the mough positions. I have yet to finish the LED install, but should manage this in the next few weeks. I have actually been really busy cleaning and repairing my sons new (Old!) first car, but what can you expect for a $1500 16 year old car lol.
The 2 test boxes for this year arrived today. These $25 boxes are 240mm x 190mm x 160mm, and around 2mm thick walls, which makes them pretty tough. I'll be replacing all of the "Masters" boxes sourced last year with these as they are a lot more waterproof and stronger.
The above image shows the box closed. The top is a bit deeper than the base, but this should not be an issue for mounting of the controllers at all.
Here you can see the ribbed base. This ribbing really does stiffen up the base, which is made with plastic about 2mm thick. The screws to mount the top and bottom are plastic, and there is a nice rubber o-ring supplied for sealing between the 2 halves.
Here we see a standard PSU in place in the box. It takes up about 1/3 the width of the box, and this means you could easily fit 2 of these PSU's on their side like this, and maybe even a small controller like P2 or two, as well as fuses if you design the layout carefully.
Some people will only want to mount a PSU in this box, so this is shows the PSU laying flat on the base. There is a similar box the same width and height, but the case lid is only about 1/3 as high, making it more suited to just mount controllers or PSU's but probably not both.
This shows the height of the box and lid compared with a PSU on its side.
I decided to do a comparison of the old "Masters" box and the new box to be used this year to test their waterproofing. A piece of blue cloth was placed inside each box, and the box was "rained on" with a sprinkler for 10 minutes. I'll let the pictures tell the story...
The above image is the "Masters" box with the blue paper inside it. The rubber seal around the front was checked and was in place and intact, and this was a brand new box - no mounting holes for anything.
A sprinkler was hung from the clothes line above to rain what would be a moderate rainfall down on the box for 10 minutes. The box was sitting up to allow any water to drain away from below it, so no water got in through the cable entry below.
Here is the blue cloth after the 10 minute test - I was shocked at the volume of water actually in the box - probably 5millilitres were drained from the base which was not absorbed with the blue cloth, and at least that much or more (I suspect a lot more) was absorbed.
Here is the new box, filled with the same type of cloth undergoing the same treatment, In reality I actually let this test run about 15 minutes as I had visitors arrive at the time.
This is the result - no water! I'll be ordering another 5 or 6 of these boxes soon!
After seeing the result of this test, as well as having issues with 3 of the masters boxes having water ingress, I decided to start to upgrade the boxes from the old to the new.
The old Pixicles box in a masters box. The original box was located under the eves, but still had issues with water ingress during windy rain which barely wet the control box!
Here is the PSU, P12R and fuse board all packed into the new box. I still have a few wires left to connect up, but overall it went well.
Here is the outside of the new box. I'll also need to buy a few more of the plactic weatherproof cable entries this week to allow the upgrading of a few other items soon.