We’ve successfully completed our 2012 Christmas Light and Holiday display. We couldn’t be more proud of how well everything came together. Now we have the unfortunate task of taking everything down, boxing it up and figuring out what we’re going to do with it all.
Before long we’ll certainly be right back at it again, trying to figure out how we’re going to top ourselves with our 2013 display. We learned some very valuable lessons this year and will certainly apply them to future projects. Overall we were pretty successful and the majority of the projects we did turned out pretty well.
We have a few more pictures and possibly another video yet to be added. Those might not be posted until after we take a much needed break.
We humbly thank our neighbors on Madison Street and the surrounding area of Hollywood Hills, Florida. Without your patients none of this would be possible. Thanks to everyone who came out! It’s really great to see how many people stopped by to visit and take pictures.
As always, we look forward to next year.
Unfortunately we’ve been having some work done to our house so there are a number of decorations that we couldn’t put up this year. We’ve also had some technical challenges, which made us rethink a few items. We’re hoping to work all that out in the coming weeks and finish out the season strong.
Until next time!
It’s taken quite more than originally planned, but the end results speak for themselves. Working around the clock, we managed to get the display operational a couple of days early. There are some minor issues to be worked, but we’re quite pleased with the end result!
Now time to relax a bit
Even though we’ve been working on our display for a good part of the year it seems like everything is coming down to the last hour. The last few weeks been spent wrapping up last minute projects and trying to make this year’s Christmas light show our best ever. We only have a few weeks until we power up so we’re frantically trying to finish everything so we can start synchronizing lights to music.
We converted all of our old GE Color Effects strings into RGB pixels and will be controlling them with a SanDevices E682 Universal Pixel Controller. Our plan is to use electrical conduit to make 4 arches and attach the GECE to that. The same E682 controller will also drive the mini matrix we built a couple of weeks ago.
We also finished attaching waterproof pigtails on all of the lights that will outline our roof. We recently got some ECG-P2 pixel controllers, which we plan on using to control all of the decorations on our roof.
Early November we’ll start initial setup, laying out data and power cables and programming with to plans power-up the display Thanksgiving evening at 6:30pm. Hopefully we’ll be done in time Look for pictures and additional blog posts in the coming days and weeks.
Broward County, FL – Most of the projects geared toward building new elements for our Christmas light and holiday display are coming to a close and we really hope to make our 2012 display the best place for Christmas lights in Hollywood, Florida. With that said we’re still finding creative ways to use some of the extra RGB pixels we bought earlier in the year.
Our latest build is a very simple 25 x 14 (350 pixel) RGB LED Matrix made out of corrugated polycarbonate sheet. We were wandering the isles at Home Depot looking for something to use as the base for small-scale matrix and we happen across corrugated polycarbonate sheets for about $22. The spacing looked about right so we snatched one up. Measuring, marking, LOTS of drilling (and we mean LOTS of drill) and a coat of spray paint later we have ourselves a nice matrix.
We wanted to build a much larger matrix, unfortunately we went a tab bit over budget buying tons of stuff for this year’s display. Needless to say our plans for a mega-matrix have been scrapped, but at least we were able to put this one together. The 25×14 resolution should be good for scrolling text, effects, color washes and some low-resolution graphics so it’ll be a welcome edition to this year’s show.
We’re in final preparations for our 2012 display and will most likely start putting up lights on the roof outline in early November will full-scale decoration following shortly after. REALLY looking forward to powering up this year’s display Thanksgiving night!
Fort Lauderdale, Florida – With just over 8 weeks remaining until we power up our holiday display for 2012 we are busy working through the few remaining projects we planned on adding to this year’s light show.
Over the last couple of weeks we completed building 4 Renard Christmas light controllers, 4 XBee Pro wireless Renard snap-ins and this weekend we mounted each Renard 16 Lighting Controller to include XBee wireless snap-ins inside CG-1500 enclosures.
We attached 2 – ¾” conduit hangers to the outside back of each CG-1500 enclosure; this will allow us to more easily attach them to poles to speed setup. Inside each of the enclosures is a single Ren16 mounted to a small piece of pressure treated plywood. We then used SPT-2 cable and male/female vampire plugs to attach 1 input and 16 output electrical connections to later attach legacy lights for control in our display.
Finally we took each completed controller outside, attached them to power and verified that they could wirelessly receive data from well beyond the farthest point on our property. We look forward to November when we’ll start final setup and testing for our 2012 Christmas light show. Our first show is scheduled for Thanksgiving night (show schedule).
After a false start several months back we had to abandon plans to remake our mega-tree star. Good news is we should have everything we need to make a 2nd attempt and we’ve already started working on it. Look for additional details in the coming weeks.
For our first time soldering a circuit board it took about 1 ½ hours from start to finish. The wiki instructions we followed were super simple and we think we made pretty good time. We look forward to building the remaining 3 Ren16s in the coming weeks.
If you’re not familiar with Renard Christmas Lighting Controllers, they are essentially computer-controlled electric switches with dimming. We bought 4 – Renard 16s, each providing 16 channels of lighting control for a combined 64 channels. We plan to use these to synchronize our legacy LED lights to music this year so that our entire display will work in unison to ensure we are the best place to see Christmas lights in Hollywood Florida.
In addition to building our first Renard 16 we also built an XBee Pro Snap-in, which plugs into the controller to allow for wireless communication. Due to large number of extension cords, and various other cables sometimes it’s great to cut the cord when possible. Using XBee Pro Snap-ins to drive our LED Christmas Lights will hopefully make the viewing experience that much better for all of our South Florida neighbors.
We’re making tons of additions to this year’s holiday display and while we may not be the biggest place to see Christmas Lights in South Florida we certainly are one of the most technologically advanced. We’re eager to bring the lights this November.
Until next time!
We just wanted to quickly post an update regarding project status. The Renard 16 Christmas lighting controllers we purchased as part of a Do It Yourself Christmas group buy back in June have finally come in. We’ve also finished building all of our Coro Stars and both RGB radio station signs.
We’ll blog more once we start working on new projects in the coming weeks.
We’ve been making slow but steady progress building elements for this year’s Christmas lights and holiday display. We’ll blame it on the uncharacteristically hot summer temperatures overwhelming South Florida, which had us putting off any work that didn’t need to be done. We also ran out of waterproof connectors, which introduced a delay while we waited for deliveries.
Our progress report for the week starting August 13th is that we have completed assembling 10 – 2’ and 7 – 12” Coro Stars we started weeks back. Our original plan only called for 10 stars total. The addition of 14 stars accounts for much of the extra built out time.
Another positive announcement is that we ordered and received our FM radio transmitter and we’ve finished building one RGB LED radio station sign telling people to “turn to 102.1FM”. These signs will be visible during display hours and will alert visitors that they can tune into our FM broadcast to hear the music our lights are synchronized to. Read more
This weekend we spent a bit of time building intelligent RGB LED stars, which will be used to decorate street-facing windows for our annual Christmas light show. The remaining stars will be distributed throughout our display. Since this was our first time working with CoroPlast (Coro) we had to make a couple of process changes after completing the first star but we think the results speak for themselves. A brief walk-through of our design, build instructions, pictures and a video follow. Read more