Chronicles 2009

Day 1  Countdown –    November 25th, 2009 – The Last Day before 2009 Christmas Katy lights up!

This evening we will load the Primary PC with the updated sequences and music and then hook it into the network, and begin testing.   For the last 6 months I have been working on sequences, which I have only seen thru the animation screen of the LOR Software I use.  Getting to see the results with the actual display will be exciting, and an opportunity to see what worked and what didn’t really look that great in person.  I can then tweak the shows as necessary for the season.  This primary PC will be hard-wire networked into 5 LOR 16 channel controllers, and two Cosmic Ribbon controllers with10 channels each mounted high in the air.  At the same time it feeds a wireless network I have that sends the commands across the yard to 6 other 16 Channel controllers.  That gives us 196 channels to work with.  Well, I hope the testing goes well and you can come see the show.  Times will begin at 6 PM daily.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels to those of you on the road, and in the air.  You too Jessica!

Day 2 Countdown-    November 24th  – Time is Almost Up!

Tuesday night completed getting the lights into the grass grid, and added the lights to bushes.  I was surprised how long it took to do the bushes, but working in the dark meant alot of careful stepping around.  This was ideal to have the opportunity to step back with the lights on to make sure there were not any gaps in the lights.  I took 42 strands of M5 LED lights for the grass and another 76 strands of C-6 LED’s for the bushes.  That’s 8,260 lights on six channels.  A picture of the grid made from PVC is below which I use to stretch the grass strands over.  If functions as good border, and keeps the lights off the wet ground, and also makes for more visibility from each light versus just laying them in the grass.Grass Grid2IMG_6546

Day 3  Countdown –   November 23  – Like We are about out of Time!

Monday night was about getting the perimeter LED C-9 strings tie wrapped to the PVC outline, and adding additional cross supports.  To keep the lights in the front grass area off the ground I stretch them between a PVC grid.  My original spacing was too far apart  and the strings looked droopy.  By adding another couple of rows they are about  5 ft. and the strings look much better.  Tuesday night is all about getting the rest of the lights up.  There are 100 strings for the front yard grass to go, and then the bushes get theirs Wednesday night.  The last big task is setting the up Primary PC and setting the show schedule, and testing late late late Wednesday night.

Day 4 Countdown – November 22 –

The rain stopped so it was time to clean up the yard and do one last trimming of the bushes before adding all the ground lights, and lights on the bushes.  This took half of Sunday as we have had alot of wind and pineneedles were everywhere.  Also got on roof to clear up the two valleys where the pine needles accumulate.  Last was clearing the the lights over the front door where there was a pile of  pineneedles.  Finaly able to put ladder away at least for while.  Mounted antenna for FM transmitter, and built a frame along street and around display.  I used this two years ago and decided to bring it back.  This enables me to stretch all my ground lights and keep them off the ground.  I also makes for a clean perimeter and eliminates any stakes to hold any lights up.  Last was drilling into the concrete sidewalk to mount the 1″ PVC that I channeled to hold the C-9 lights.  This came out nice as the lights keep orientation and the wires are hidden.  Monday night I will begin stringing the ground lights.

Day 5 Countdown – Nov 21st –

Saturday was wet and cool making things a bit difficult.   Updated all 11 LOR controllers to software version 3.2 and tested their ID’s and functions.  Completed running cables ( had to get another 1000 ft. of SPT2) so it was time to start cleaning things up a bit.  Biggest wiring project was the Marty fan which required 16 runs by itself.  Also built two special cables for strobes at the street which will be inside the mini trees.  These are new red and green strobes.

Day 6 Countdown – Nov 20th –

Completed connections on three controllers for left side of house.   Two remaining with one half completed.  Still need to make all cables for Marty Fan,  then get them run, and connected at both ends.  Rain has arrived and is not supposed to pass until Saturday morning.  Will move inside to complete updating primary PC with latest software updates, and song configurations.  Still need to update several of the songs with changes and update the visualizer.  It’s going to be a busy weekend with all the ground lights to get out, and more cables to run.

Day 7 – The Final Countdown Begins – Nov 19th

Last two days have been focused on wiring up controllers and verifying wiring.  Completed Mega Tree’s three controllers last night plus 3 more working the right side of display.   Possibilty of rain Thursday and Friday which would throw a wrench on schedule.  Work tonight scheduled for left side of display to get leapers running and work toward completing wiring.  Still have to run a wire bundle to the Marty Fan which is 16 channels.  This weekend will be adding all the lights to bushes, and last the ground.

Nov. 17th – The Wiring Starts

Last night started the wiring from lights to controllers.  Completed running about 5000 ft of SPT2 cord with about 2,000 ft. left.  Wired up 3 controllers with 8 to go.  Tested a few lights and the new “wall of lights” which came out suprisingly well.  That’s one of the new surprises for 2009.  Still have alot to do and just 10 days left.  It’s going to be close.

Nov. 16th – The  “Marty Fan”

Finished the MartyFan construction and installation Sunday as hoped.  The 8 mini trees and 6 leaping arches are also installed so the weekend was a success.  Now it’s time to begin running 7,000 ft. of  wire to connect the lights to the controllers so we can begin testing.  See Photos on the Marty Fan in the 2009 Construction Page.

Nov. 15th – Mega Tree Complete

The Mega Tree took all of Saturday to get the lights up and secured.   The added size of C-6 lights and longer lengths due to new height of tree at 32 ft. made it more challenging.  Additionally having new strings of lights required extra time to get the strings stretched straight without any cord twists from packing.  The crank system worked again without a problem with the new cable required again because of new height of tree.  My base this year is very simple, and worked great.  Functional to keep light plugs off ground, and enables me to service any components within the tree.  Stringing the Mega Balls, and strobes inside tree takes quite a bit of time actually because you cannot really see what it is going to look like until the tree is up, and you have to run rigging as you raise the light collar or top ring which holds all the lights.  Today, Sunday will be time to get the Marty Fan up, and Mini Trees with Leaping Arches.  See Page on 2009 Construction for more on Mega Tree Construction.  Final looks like:

Mega Complete WebIMG_6540

Nov. 14th – The Mega Tree Begins

Goal today is to complete the Mega Tree.  We have 4 colors of lights with 12 channels per color, or 48 channels dedicated to our Mega Tree.  Each channel has 4 strings  of 70 LED lights. or 280 lights per channel.  That’s 3,360 lights per color x 4 = 13,440 lights.      If we get that completed we can start on the Marty Fan, and then the mini trees along the front with the leaping arches.  Time to get moving.

Nov. 9th – We Begin the 2009 Rig Up

The 2009 rig up has begun with flury of activity.  The day after Halloween each year kicks off our installation schedule for our show season which begins on Thanksgiving Night.  With 50,000 lights to put up, and 7,000 ft. of electrical cord to run our hands are full for the next couple of weeks.  Check back for updates on our progress.