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Macrosill
05-26-2007, 12:23 AM
Welcome to the DIY Christmas Display Forum. Pull up a chair and make your self comfortable. Why not make your first post on this board right now. Say hello and let us know a little bit about you and your display.

My name is Brian and I live in NY. 2006 was the 1st year I synchronized my Christmas and Halloween displays to music. Christmas consisted of 108 channels controlling over 13,000 lights.

I would ask you update your profile and enter your location, a general state of provence would be good. You can also add yourself to out our Frapper Map for Vixen users (http://www.frappr.com/?a=constellation_map&mapid=68719618061). You can see it Here (http://www.frappr.com/?a=constellation_map&mapid=68719618061)


I hope you enjoy your stay and come back often.

klanger
05-26-2007, 12:36 AM
Hi,

Well here we are, new home, and a new Lounge, lets go

My name is Kevin Lang, and live on Phillip Island, Australia. This is my first time building and useing computer controlled christmas lights. I hope this site continues the great support and friendships from all the other sites.

This year will be a learning time and hopefully will have 64 channels of lights running via an Olsen 595 with Vixen

Kevin

KC
05-26-2007, 04:00 AM
Hello,

My name is K.C., and I'm addicted to Christmas lights. They say admitting you have a problem is the first step. I've been clean for almost 13 minutes now.

My first year animating was 2006 with 10,000 lights. This year my plan is to transition to a dimming controller and to plaster the neighborhood in optical joy.

Jeff Millard
05-28-2007, 07:27 AM
Hi,
My name is Jeff Millard and I live in Maple Shade NJ. 2007 will be my second year of animated Christmas Lights. I've hosted 2 miniPLUS events at my house, and am very proud to say I've had folks from at least 5 states visit. My display is currently controlled by 160 LOR channels. I have also built a Vixen controlled 595 system with 16 four channel SSRs. I intend to finish the LEDTriks display before the season, and animate the trees in our seasonal campsite for the Fourth of July.

jeff

pete
05-28-2007, 09:52 AM
Hi,

My Name is Pete Brideau. I Live in Milford, New Hampshire. I started animating my holiday lights Halloween 2006 with 2- basic 12 channel setups. I'm hoping to light up 2007 with the addition of 128 channels controlls by 2 595 and 64 channels by a Grinch controller......Oh man I need some more lights...:)


Pete
a.k.a..SNSPRT

grages
05-30-2007, 04:56 PM
Hi All,

I'm Shawn Grage, I am from Central Florida (Oviedo). I always thought Christmas lights were great and I think I am in the begining stages of a terminal addiction.:lol:

I have bought 3 Grinch boards and 36 SSRoz boards that I am working on getting the parts together to complete. Not to mention that I have 1000 Leds on the way to complete my LEDTriks board. I hope to have 128 channels for Christmas with around 10,000 lights.:!:

I sort of like the look of the PIC Dimmer that FireGod was posting on the Vixen Forum. So that may be one of my future goals. Not to mention more SSR's.

Matt
05-30-2007, 05:04 PM
Hi,

I'm Matt and I have been doing Christmas Lights for a few years. I stumbled across an article on PlanetChristmas in a magazine in 2005, and stumbled across Computer Christmas. I quickly caught the lighting bug, and am now hopelessly addicted. After a not so successful 2006 season, I'm getting my show together for 2007 with about 128 Renard channels and about 8,000 - 10,000 lights. I'm also looking into adding some LedTriks panels and maybe a countdown clock.

-Matt

wjohn
05-30-2007, 07:23 PM
Hi My name is John,

and I am also stumbled into automated Xmas lights in Dec 2006, after I saw an article in Australian Personal Computer magizine describing a local PC nut and his Olsen 595 based controller.

I first jumped onto CC and then found my way to the Vixen sight. During the Xmas break I think I would have read most of the posts on both boards and made my mind up to 'go for broke' this year and automate my lights.

I am the only one in my street who goes to the trouble of lighting their house. Normally I have 5000 lights in a static arrangement. This year I went out to the post Xmas sales and bought up another 25000.

I have joined in with the hardware development and have run some limited COOPs for LEDTRIKs, GRINCH and SSR PCBs. I am also running RENARDs to control 240VAC lighting. Thanks to Phil Short's support.

Living in Australia means we have more expensive lights (due to a step down transformer being required), and most are operating from 24VAC.

I am trying to cut back, as my wife is of the belief that Vixen is the 'other' woman ;-)

John

Rocket
05-30-2007, 11:22 PM
Hi,

My name is Rodney Lynott I live in country New South Wales Australia.

For the past 10 years or so i have had a couple of strings of lights and a santa on the roof but nothing very impresive. Late last year i found Computer Christmas and just had to have a countdown clock so i made one based on Peter Olsens design.

Now im hooked and hope to make a mega tree this year controlled by vixen as well as some smaller items.

I have an electrical/electronic background and happy to help others where i can.

Rod.

Northern Lights
06-06-2007, 06:46 PM
Hi everyone,

My name is Mark and I live in Ontario, Canada.

2007 will be my first attempt at computer controlled Christmas lights. I was put on to a web site by a co-worker who lives near a display in Toronto.

After seeing what could be done I was hooked!

I was fortunate to get in on the co-ops for the Olsen 595's (thanks Brian), for the SSR's (thanks Sean), and the huge parts co-op (thanks Jayson)!

Just waiting for the parts to arrive to see if I can still solder after 20 years.

Being a complete rookie I'm sure I will have some questions once assembly time comes (i.e. which way do you solder on the resistor and how can you tell a 180 ohm resistor from a 750 ohm resistor).

The fun is just beginning

Anyway, the new forum looks great and I look forward to spending a lot of time here.

Thanks... Mark

wjohn
06-06-2007, 10:52 PM
Hi everyone,

My name is Mark and I live in Ontario, Canada.
.

Being a complete rookie I'm sure I will have some questions once assembly time comes (i.e. which way do you solder on the resistor and how can you tell a 180 ohm resistor from a 750 ohm resistor).

The fun is just beginning



Thanks... Mark

Mark, just be careful with the hot end of the soldering iron ;-)

http://www.elexp.com/t_resist.htm

is a good color code.

Zane
06-07-2007, 07:17 AM
Being a complete rookie I'm sure I will have some questions once assembly time comes (i.e. which way do you solder on the resistor and how can you tell a 180 ohm resistor from a 750 ohm resistor).

Resistors are not polarized so you can put them in any way you want.

Xccentric
07-14-2007, 06:39 AM
Hi everyone!

My name is Andrew Evans.
I live in Brisbane Australia.
I am 45 years young!
I am one of many people in a street who try to out do one another each year with lights for chrismas!

I am also part of a church group who sets up a huge display every year.
I wish to jazz this display up alittle this year with your help!
I found this forum while searching the net... Looks good I must say!

klanger
07-14-2007, 08:07 AM
Welcome Xccentric,

Another aussie yah, yep this is the place to be for blinky blink christmas lights, hang around and you will meet some great people who know a lot and are willing to answer any question you may have.

Kevin

Doug-in-the-woods
08-07-2007, 08:57 AM
this is Doug in the woods living up here in Salmon, Idaho
xmas 06 was my first year of Christmas lights on steroids
been planning on expanding my display for 07. Have 2- 595 boards (only one complete), 36 ssr boards (18 built)
Had my scout troop build the ssrs last year (electronics merit badge)
expansion plans = hard wire outlets around house up under the evaes
spliting the 100 string lights into 2 50 string (more control over appearancs)
rewiring the candy canes I purchased December 26th so the red and white strips can chase up the cane (wire up 25 light bulb strings (cut the 50 string lights in half)
building several wire frame sculptures.
reprogram Vixen for 2007
maybe build a display for local credit union (need to build 2-3 more 595 boards and ssr's

teberle
08-07-2007, 09:35 AM
sounds like you will be very busy.

jeeves55
09-19-2007, 03:13 PM
Hello,
My Name Is Brent and I live in Valparaiso, IN.
2006 was my first use of animated lights with 16 channels. With the equipment borrowd from a coworker, and the help of these guys here, I had a very successfull Christmas.

But these guys here were at another here. Not this here.

Ronp
09-19-2007, 05:39 PM
welcome back cruizer
Were the same people just a new place.
lotts of new stuff this year ...check us out in the live chat room link at the top and bottom of the page

kballing
09-21-2007, 08:11 PM
I live in Utah, and am going to try a modest 32 channel for the first time at my apartment complex, granted the management allows.

If you're ever in Salt Lake City at Christmas time, the lights at Temple Square are a must see.

Macrosill
09-21-2007, 10:35 PM
Welcome aboard kballing!

Ratmandu
10-10-2007, 05:02 PM
Hi everyone, I Live in Huntsville Alabama, And im going to just try this out his year, with a small, 16 channel display, with my own controller and possibly software (if i can write it fast enough) Since I cant find any software for OSX or linux (I can't stand windows) So I hope to be pretty busy for the next couple months :p

Macrosill
10-10-2007, 07:38 PM
Welcome and good luck! Above all have fun!!!!

RJ
10-21-2007, 11:35 AM
Hi,

I am RJ and I live in a little town in central florida named Avon Park. I began January of 2007 and have been working to put my show together from then on. I am more on the electronics end of it so I design and build my own equipment from scratch which I make avalible to users here. So far this year I have developed the LedTricks LED panel, The Grinch on/off controller, The Robo Light robotic full color LED spotlight, the Grinch DMX convertor which allows you to run grinches and 595 from DMX, and The LYNX DMX light dimmer. All of which is being used in my display. As I am addicted to the stuff already I truely expect to release almost as much next year as my list for development is already long for next year. My display this year will consist of approximately 20,000 lights on 216 channels of DMX. this includes 4 20' leaping light arches with 1400 lights each and 2 Robo Color Spot lights and 3 LedTriks Led boards. If there is anything I can do to help you in any way please feel free to contact me.
RJ

ryanshow
10-26-2007, 10:02 PM
Howdy, My name is Ryan Strayhorn. I live in Byron Center, MI. I am 15, I own my own business ( www.acpentertainment.com ) and my own display ( www.christlights.org ). My display has 32 channels this year (first). The display this year uses 5 computers, and 25,000 lights.

Jeff Millard
10-27-2007, 09:57 AM
Welcome friend!
Jeff

robots4joey
10-28-2007, 02:42 PM
Well, Ive been lurking around for years... so I suppose I'll introduce myself:

I'm Joey (19), I live in Wichita, Kansas
I'm a mechanical engineering student at Wichita State University

I am planning a 64 channel display this year powered by Vixen (thanks!), a coop 595 (thanks!), and parts coop (thanks!), I'm making my own version of the "outlet strip" SSR's (credit to robert stark)

Hope for success this year, I've got enough parts to double channels for next year :)

Thanks to everyone, I wouldn't have been able to do it without you!

rovingmind
10-30-2007, 09:12 AM
Hello, Oregon Ohio resident here, completely new to computerized lighting displays but not to christmas lights. My wife and I just bought ourselves a house and moved out of a tiny apartment this year. I am starting the plans for halloween and christmas for Next year now that i have the space to decorate with more than 8 strings.

Macrosill
10-30-2007, 09:14 AM
Congratulations on the new home. Welcome to the board. We are glad to have you here and hope you visit often.

NogginBoink
10-30-2007, 11:07 AM
Hi. I'm Matthew and I'm in the Ft. Worth, Texas area.

Last year I began designing an FPGA-based 128 channel dimming controller. I couldn't get it finished in time for the season so I'm trying again this year.

bromsat1
11-04-2007, 07:17 AM
Hi All Xmas light fans

My name is Finn, and I live in a small village on the nose of Jutland in Denmark.
I have looked on this Christmas lights controlde by the computer, for quite some time now, on the different home pages as well on YouTube.
I know none in Denmark, who have tried it yet.
So why not me, I'll try out with eighter a 8 channel or 16 channel controler, depending of how many SolidState relays I can get my hand on.

I have also looked a bit on the Grinch controler on your page, but I was not able to find a printboard layout, and I think it would be quite expencive to post it for Denmark.
Reason, I tried to buy some Christmas stuff, on Ebay, but had to say no, duet to the fact that post and packing exceeded the price of the item twice.

So if possible to find the printboard layout somewhere, I like to hear from you.

I have already played a little with the Wixen software, it's great fun.

Best regards

Finn :D

Macrosill
11-04-2007, 08:49 AM
Finn,
Welcome and we are glad to have you aboard. I think it is great that you will be the 1st to do a computerized display in Denmark.

The Grinch controller layout is not available for home etching, as far as I know. Shipping from the USA to Denmark is not too bad. For a 1 pound box First Class Mail would cost less than 9 dollars. It does not list a delivery time but I would guess 1-2 weeks would be reasonable. Post in the Grinch forum and maybe the pcb layout will be made available.

http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1047

bromsat1
11-05-2007, 02:29 PM
Hi
Thank's alot for the varm welcome, i used the link you supplied, and dowloaded it, so let's se if I manage to make the PCB in time.
If not, I have gained access to 8 SolidState relays, so I can make a simple parrallel boks this year.
I tried with 8 channels in Wixwn, with a test picture of my drive in, and it looked more or less okay.

I'll post some quick movie or Jpeg so you can se what I been fixing this year., do to I'm a little late.

Brgds
Finn

Ace
11-05-2007, 04:34 PM
Hello
My name is Jeremy, I am brand new to the hobby. I have been poking around here for the past couple of days, and have found a wealth of information. Thanks to all who have contributed.

datmafia
11-06-2007, 07:52 AM
Hi,
My Name is Kev and I've long been interested in learning how to control Christmas lights. I've read up on what is needed quickly to compare the DIY methods vs. light-o-rama solutions. The only concern I have is my lack of electrical expertise-I don't want to make something that is going to be a fire hazard. I am under the impression that I need to make SSR's and make a box (like parallel port) to connect the SSR to the PC and use Vixen to program it. I have also read some of the tutorials on here and hate to say I'm still lost. Any info for a newbie would be appreciated as I don't see the need to spend 500.00 to make a programmable Christmas light show. I want the ability to make simple to complex light shows to Ambient and Techno music without spending a fortune or melting/burning down the house. Whew-Thanks for letting me on board.
DATmafia

NogginBoink
11-06-2007, 10:39 AM
Kev,

Your reading is right... you need two pieces of hardware:

One device to translate signals from the computer into signals for your SSRs. This would be an Olson 595, a Renard, a Grinch, etc.

The second is a set of SSR's. Most of the SSR boards folks are using here control 4 channels from a single RJ45 cable. So, on your controller board you're likely to have one RJ45 jack for every 4 channels. You'll need an SSR board for every 4 channels as well, and a cable from the controller to each SSR.

So, first decide which controller you want to use. I think an Olson 595 would be a good beginner project... it's a simple circuit, it's easy for a beginner to understand, and it's got good suport on the forms.

Adam I
11-12-2007, 03:14 PM
Hello All,

I'm Adam and I've been running regular Christmas lights for years. I’m looking forward to animating my light display.

There is a wealth of information here.


Thx Adam

Macrosill
11-12-2007, 06:23 PM
Welcome aboard Adam, glad to have you here.

ben
11-17-2007, 10:29 AM
Hello all! My name is Ben and I am 13. I am lucky enough that my dad had a box full of lights to help jumpstart my Xmas!! I spent the last 2 years at after Xmas sales because i knew my year of alot of lights was coming. Well, this year is it! Xmas 2007 will start with 1500-2k lights and around 16-20 channels. It will get bigger!!!!!!

I live in mechanicsville, VA so if anyone is near me and does this could you stop by and help me!! Send me an E-mail or PM so we can work something out!

Ben

robots4joey
11-17-2007, 07:34 PM
Welcome Ben!

It's cool to see someone else obsessed with rockets as well as Christmas displays!

-Joey

ben
11-17-2007, 08:12 PM
Welcome Ben!

It's cool to see someone else obsessed with rockets as well as Christmas displays!

-Joey

what cert level are you? I am JRL1 but I buddy fly J - O motors.

Ben

tommy
11-18-2007, 11:43 PM
Hi Everyone...

My name is Tom and I live in a very small town in Nebraska. I've wanted to learn about how to control Christmas lights using a computer for about 10 years now. And now that I've found this place, I think I'll have all of the support that I'll need to get it done.

Ever since I was a kid, I've always been fascinated by Christmas lights. And when I was only 7 years old, I bought my first string of seven C9 outdoor lights. And since then, I've been adding to my displays. My first controller was mechanical.... using a motor from the bbq grill that drove a small 'finger' to depress several micro switches to turn on in sequence spelling out the word "NOEL". Fortunately, the technology has changed and the C9s and C7s are retired as well as the mechanical sequencer, and now mini lights are the mainstay.

A few years ago, I stumbled across Planet Christmas and found out a lot on that site. That led me to the Computer Christmas site with even more great information. And finally a few weeks ago, I found DIYC and the Christmas Wiki. So now I have just about all the info I can use to start making some displays.

I just finished downloading Vixen and the user manuals & schematics for the Ledtriks panels. I'm totally impressed with the willingness of everyone to help out the newbies like myself. This is going to be one great hobby.

Tom

xmus
11-19-2007, 01:58 AM
I just finished downloading Vixen and the user manuals & schematics for the Ledtriks panels. I'm totally impressed with the willingness of everyone to help out the newbies like myself. This is going to be one great hobby.

Tom

Tom welcome, I can tell you one of my favorite parts of this community is the collaboration. If you need a little mental stimulation, you've found the place!

tommy
11-19-2007, 04:49 AM
Xmus....

Thanks for the warm welcome. I've already had the pleasure of communicating with Brian several times this weekend. And within minutes of my first post, wjohn sent me a message offering his help. It's that kind of attention that you all have shown that will help ensure my success.

Now my biggest hurdle is going to be getting stuff planned before I start ordering boards and parts. I may have to forego sequencing to music this year and just go with the sequencing. I don't think there will be enough time to get everything done for this Christmas season. But then, that will give me something to do the rest of the year.

Tom

dodgesport
11-19-2007, 11:01 PM
Name is Ken and I am a newbee to this. I have a strong electronic background and fiddle with small stuff. This will be my big adventrue into automation. I have always wanted to play with it. I have a three channel music light controller. But that gets pretty boring pretty fast. I subscribe to Nuts and Volts and the VIXEN article got my electrons flowing and I want to get into this. I was planning on building a ICICLE board, but came across the posts describing the Grinch. It sounds like it will fit both my budget and beginning skills. So off I go.
This looks like a great site, lots of very positive posts and helps.

Thanks to Brian for getting me logged on, maybey my Spam filter stopped the autolink from getting sent.

Hapoy iighting and Merry Christmas!

piesrule58
11-20-2007, 03:45 AM
Howdy all,

My name is Terry and I live in Newcastle, NSW, Australia. My wife and I love Xmas and we have been steadily building our static display over the last 6-7 years. We now have around 20,000 mini lights plus rope lights etc.

The next step is to computerise the display to music. Hopefully this is where you guys will come in, because I am a complete novice when it comes to electronics. Any advice on what I need to get started on an Aussie display (240v) would be greatly appreciated.

I realise that it is going to take time to set up so I am planning on my first computerised display for Xmas 2008.

By the look of this forum I think I am in the right place.

klanger
11-20-2007, 04:05 AM
Hi Terry

Welcome to the best DIY community on the web, and welcome to an other Aussie, one by one we'll take over the world.

Kev

piesrule58
11-20-2007, 04:50 AM
Hi Kev,

Thanks for the welcome and your earlier advice. Maybe you can help me out with something else. I have downloaded Vixen but I dont know how to start it. I am far from a computer expert and I think I may have to unzip the program but I don't know how to.
Any advice?

Thanks, Terry

wjohn
11-20-2007, 08:54 AM
Howdy all,

My name is Terry and I live in Newcastle, NSW, Australia. My wife and I love Xmas and we have been steadily building our static display over the last 6-7 years. We now have around 20,000 mini lights plus rope lights etc.

I realise that it is going to take time to set up so I am planning on my first computerised display for Xmas 2008.

By the look of this forum I think I am in the right place.

Terry, Welecome!! 20,000 Aussie bulbs is a major investment and great to have you in the Forum and another Aussie. There is a strong and vocal group of aussies, Except for Kev , who is just vocal snice he broke his foot.

I have sent you some details of automating Xmas lights Aussie Style.

Great to have you here and cant wait to see your 2007 pics.

John.

TimW
11-22-2007, 10:47 AM
Hi. My name's Tim and I'm another Aussie. Have been doing christmas lights on a small scale for a couple of years. (Hmmm ... Has anyone noticed that it starts small and then strangely grows each year until you have to admit your addiction?)

Ok.. so I'm hooked. After adding a couple of strings every year I decided last year to embark on a project to automate from scratch. I decided I wanted to be able to 'play' my lights from the front yard via my midi keyboard and sequence them. A bit of microcontroller development, some experimentation with Triacs and Mosfets lots of reading through the forums and I managed to get around 50 channels up and running.

Add a midi sequencer as a controller and I 'record' my performance to music. Its quite warm over here during christmas so its a good thing to do late at night!

This year I've added dimming (the harder you press the keys the brighter the lights) and modified an old AT keboard that turns on a channel per keypress by generating midi codes.

Still only a couple of thousand lights and a bit of ropelight on the roof... but its fun. And growing.

Richh
11-25-2007, 02:53 PM
Hello, My name is Rich and I am from Mooresville NC USA. I have been a big fan of animated Christmas lighting ever since seeing the video of Carson Williams house 2 years ago. Since I am a big kid at heart (47 years of age), I was looking to getting started in the hobby this year, on a simple 8 channel setup. I was looking into using a modified power strip (6 outlets plus 2 more) with some additional circuitry as well. My problem is that I thought I saved the webpage with these instructions to my favorites, but now I cannot seem to locate it. I think maybe it was posted on a forum somewhere, but can't remember which one. If anyone can point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it. I would like to start with this set up this year since I already have the power strip and additional outlets, Also want to keep it simple for starting out in the neighborhood.

I also understand that there is someone in my town who is heavily into this hobby. I would certainly love to see their display as well as maybe getting some starting pointers.

Please feel free to PM me with any information. Thanks for a great place to visit for all animated lighting discussion.

Macrosill
11-25-2007, 03:24 PM
Rich,
Welcome to the community. We are glad to have you here.

Wayne J is the guy in your town. He is a staple member here.

As for the outlet strip mod seek out RonP. He is out outlet strip expert.

You can usually find both of them in the Live Chat in the evenings. There is a link to the chat in the top right hand corner and on the lower left of the index page.

Meat Sauce
11-28-2007, 06:44 PM
Hello all. I'm from the keystone state (Pennsylvania) just outside of Philadelphia. I have been wanting to computerize my Christmas lights for some time now. Last year I got on the 595 coop and bought three boards which are still sitting in my basement. I have all the excuses for not doing anything with them yet (kids, career, new house, etc). I am preparing for a 2008 deployment to iraq with my national guard unit so with no kids, house, or career to hold me back I plan on keeping myself occupied by finally building the things I need in preperation for Christmas 2009. I dont know A thing about electronics but with this forum I think I can do it. Be prepared for some of the dumbest questions ever to be posted on the internet. I am looking forward to learning from all of you. Thanks in advance.

KS
11-29-2007, 11:51 PM
Hi all. I'm from South Florida. Made the mistake of letting my wife see some computer controlled lights. She asked if I could do it too. Well with a little soldier, some dremeling, and liberal application of hot glue I have eight relays hooked up to my parallel port in a more or less child proof box controlling the tree in the living room.

My wife loves it. The lights are good for a peaceful 20 minutes a day from the 1yo. And I taught my daughter how to use some of the tools.

Of course now my wife wants one of the billion channel displays setup outside next year and I'm stuck trying to decide what to build.

Wayne J
11-30-2007, 12:06 AM
Welcome KS!
Don't know if you wan a billion channels to sequence, LOL, but a Renard 64 would be a great start. ;)

Rocketman4
11-30-2007, 10:31 AM
Hello everyone, I'm hooked and haven't started.

Currently I bought a GE lights and sounds box. to cover this year. I want to go crazy next year for Christmas 2008. Haven't purchased anything not sure what direction to go in. Start small but with the capiability to expand. 16 channels for Halloween, 64 for Christmas. The electrical end is easy 10 years in the field. IBEW Local 479. Any questions here feel free to ask. Electronics are going to be intersting. Thanks for any help.


Ben

Macrosill
11-30-2007, 10:50 AM
Welcome aboard Ben, nice to have you here, from one brother to another, I was in IBEW Local 25.

shocker
11-30-2007, 05:01 PM
I am 36 old i live in montreal,canada i am electrician, i like electronic and decide to try making a computarize display i know it is a bit late but ill start small, i stop my choice on the renard 64 that i just buy from one of your member, by the way I am french speaking so sorry about misspelling
and i am very happy to have found this forum

Nudge
11-30-2007, 10:59 PM
Oh Hey,

My name is Charlie and I'm from Queensland, Australia.

My plan is to build a display in the next 2 years (2008), would be sooner but the Army has me for the time being.

My wife wants to do something with alot of lights (10,000+) :twisted:

I just got to get the controller for it.

Either way, this looks like a lot of fun.

blurp
12-01-2007, 01:22 AM
Hi, my name is Bradley, and I live in Hampshire, Tennessee. I'm an application engineer and systems analyst. I put up my first display last year, with no animation, but 18,000 lights. This year, I'm at 30,000 using 12 channel parallel with brick-style SSRs I bought on ebay. The lights inside my house dim when all my minis are on. So even though I have a total of 40,000, I am stopping at 30,000 tis year. I plan to get another 200amp service next year for the lights, and add music.
I started my animation by writing my own little app, but then I found Vixen and abandoned mine.

Great site, great info, great community. Cheers!

www.bradleyjacobs.com

webboyjeffrey
12-02-2007, 01:45 AM
Hi,
I'm Charlie and forty something, living in a surburb of Chicago. During the day I play information technology consultant to city and towns for things like WiFi for entire cities, computer networking and IT security. My daughter is in her third year at the University, she's going to be a school music teacher, that is, if I don't run out of $$$ first :lol: .

I mentioned to my wife this would be the perfect father-daughter project; she can sequence the lights and I'll put the system together. My daughter is hyped, my wife... she thinks I'm nuts, but a good sport.

I discovered this forum after I nearly purchased a commercial controller system. Thanks to you, I refrained and been lurking in this forum for a couple of months still trying to understand if the projects on this forum will do everything those big $$$ commerical ones do. I have a fair amount of experience in soldering and reading schematics so hopefully this won't be too painfull if I decide to go the DYI route.

I'm a bit overwhelmed right now wondering where to buy quality lighting and decorations, how many, lighting design, wiring, how to secure it to my house, etc., that the thought has crossed my mind of hosting a weekend of workshops, for people of all experience levels in Chicago, after the holidays, where we could share our ideas and have fun, as long as I don't go broke doing it. ( I have not told the wife about this idea yet!) Lot's of ideas...I 'll keep on reading this great forum. I know the answers are in here!

xmus
12-02-2007, 02:08 AM
Welcome all you new folks!
You know to check the co-op area for new co-ops going on right?
First decide what controllers you want, and then get in line to buy one :)
http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=14

brandonj
12-03-2007, 11:08 PM
I am Matt Steel. I teach an Industrial Automation Maintenance program at a local technical college. I stumbled across this site a couple of months ago while "working". I am always looking for projects that I can use to motivate and excite my students. Putting projects together like this are perfect. I built the 8-channel relay box and it is running in my lab. I etched a Grinch but it isn't assembeled. Students inevitably start asking the hows and whats, before you know it they're asking where to get parts so they can get going. The looks on their faces says it all! I shows them that with all of the stuff they are learning and some imagination they can have a lot of fun.

BTW, when I say "students" they are most typically over the age of 21 ...and we still get to act like kids sometimes.

Tons of thanks for dumping all of your knowledge and talent out for the rest of us to adsorb. This web site always comes up in the conversations, where credit is due.

sdriessens
12-04-2007, 05:35 AM
Hi, my name is Scott and I am yet another Aussie to join the ranks. I have been displaying lights every Christmas starting with a few now retired strings purchased in America when an Australian set cost close to AU$40. I have considered animating for quite some time and have been lurking through this forum for a few months and finally decided join up and introduce myself.

The current plan is to animate our display for 2008 and I am interested in any recommendations. The Grinch and Olsen 595 controllers seem appealing and I would be interested in purchasing preferably assembled boards when offered. A heads up would also be appreciated in animating in Australia due to the obvious differences in lights and difficulty in obtaining components if I need to assemble.

Thanks,

Scott

lemaster63
12-09-2007, 01:37 PM
Hello everybody. My name is Bill and I live in Montgomery, AL. I am a retired USAF electronics technician and now run the business side of a large church. I have always enjoyed automated lights but also like many of you I found myself asking the question, "how did they do that?" Thanks to this forum I now know and am currently building my own system.

My church owns an old farm house we renovated on our church grounds that now serves as a youth/young adult hangout. I want to throw a light show on it as it is a large two story home with great architecture for lights. It also has a parking lot around it so it could accommodate a lot of onlookers without causing a traffic jam.

Anyway, I am enjoying the feel of this group...so friendly, helpful, and interesting.

Glad to be a member...
Bill

P.S. P.Short, wJohn, xmus, zaker and others who have developed the circuits, put together this site, and in some cases personally helped me…You guys rock!

rrowan
12-09-2007, 10:00 PM
Hi Folks,

My name is Rick and I live in Deptford NJ. I have always enjoy putting up Christmas lights but I have never been totally happy with static lights. This past thanksgiving the family and I (my wife and 3 boys) were at Walt Disney World. The light show in MGM park (Osborne lights) were great and had me thinking this is what I am missing. I just found this site today and been reading most of the day. Many thanks for all of the info here and the talented folks who are offering pcbs etc. I plan to start small and then build from there. I also really want to combine my main hobby and this hobby. My main hobby is model trains outside (G-scale). Thinking this would make a great light control system for my growing town.

I know the vixen software is windows base. Is there any plans for a Linux based? Also does a computer need to be running all of the time to control the light controller(s)?

Thanks

Rick R.

Macrosill
12-10-2007, 12:57 AM
Welcome aboard steelm, sdriessens, lemaster63 and rrowan.

wbuehler
12-10-2007, 11:08 AM
I came across this site after a co-worker showed me someones lighting display on YouTube. I love to put out Christmas lights and I can already see that my 2008 display will be something new. I would also like to thank everyone for the wealth of information that is on this site.

Bill

ppohlman
12-10-2007, 01:24 PM
I've been in this community for several weeks now, but I never really introduced myself. I guess it's better later than never. I am a Mechanical Engineer living in Salt Lake City, UT. I've been visiting the ChristmasUtah house for the past few years now. Every year I tell myself "I'm going to do that next year", but I never get around to it. This time I'm serious. I've already purchased PCBs and am planning out how my display will look for 2008.

Thanks to all of you for sharing your knowledge and providing a great place for all of us to get together and bounce around ideas, problems, and successes. Hopefully I can add a little bit when I can.

Macrosill
12-10-2007, 04:40 PM
Welcome Bill and ppohlman. Glad to have you here.

zoommedic
12-12-2007, 01:31 AM
OK i guess I should introduce myself....

My name is James. I am currently serving in the US Air Force and am loving life. This year my display consists of 3 strings of lights on my porch. The light project is set for 2008, and in a different house. I am looking at buying my lights on the 26th of Dec. and there after.

I have decided on purchasing a GRINCH and 16 SSR's. This is because of the observed ease of use, and the expandability. I do have solddering(sp?) ability so this should be no problem.

Macrosill
12-12-2007, 09:32 AM
Nice to have you aboard zoommedic.

Gemiengiree
12-17-2007, 01:27 AM
Hello,

my name is matt. i currently reside in michigan. ok...heres my story:
my dad and my neighbor like to compete with each other (i.e. - my neighbor has a christmas village consisting of approx. 30 houses and a motorized ice rink...in less than a week my father bought a christmas village consisting of 80 houses, mountains, a waterfall and kensington palace among other things) now the competition seems to have moved to christmas lights, but im a little overwhelmed at the moment. i really want to create a computerized light show but i have no idea what kind of lighting board to use or what other hardware i would need ....im pretty much a blank slate....so any suggestions or advice that ANYONE could offer would be greatly appreciated
P.S. - i have until christmas '08 to finish this and since im not spending my money, cost isnt an issue; also the goal is to create a lighting display that will land us in jail.

so....ill be reading as many of these posts as i possibly can and eagerly await any advice

thank you for your help

Mudsculpter
12-17-2007, 01:59 AM
First you will need to load your credit debt with after Christmas sales of 100ct light strings preferrably solid colors.

Then goto the wiki and read,read, read, in order to make a decision on controllers. It makes sense to plan your display first, and then decide what placement of those controllers you will need in strategic locations in the display.

A megatree is a big statement in a Christmas display. Design, or find a design that suits your terrain and make plans to build one

Macrosill
12-17-2007, 10:11 AM
Welcome aboard Matt! Stick around and next year you will defeat both your dad and your neighbor, we will make sure of that!

Iced
12-21-2007, 02:00 AM
Hi,

I'm extremely new to this art, but I'm already planning for next year so why not start 365 + 4 days early :D

My day job, I'm Dir. Software Engineering at a startup company in Vancouver, BC, Canada... and all day I'm a husband of 2.5yrs and also a new father to 1yr old son. For some possible related hobbies, I enjoy playing around with different things on a computer in Linux/Windows like GPS/Satellite/TV, etc... I'm pretty good at major programming languages (Java,C,C++) and scripting in Linux.

And the reason I'm here:
Every year for the last 10 years for a week , a full 1.5h'ish Christmas production is done at my church that includes about 50+ runs of colored incandescent lights all controlled from a light board that we control manually. I've been behind the board with one other person for 2 years now and he has been for the last 8 or 9. Each run is controlled by a dimmer switch. The set is a number of building faces with 5 different colored lights each dimmed on/off during the production.
There are 5 rows of 10 dimmer switches (rows are white,red,yellow,green,blue). A number of other dimmers control items like a cross on the top of a church, stable lighting, train stack, train lights, inside building lights, etc...)...

It's the 5 rows of lights that are quite a bit of work. For each row, we have a stick with some rubber backing that we roll over the switches turn all 'blue' on, all 'red' off, etc... and is mostly done to the beat of music and yes, very prone to error! I came up with the idea of automating it using a dimming system and landed on this Forum... So I'm not here to try and do something for '07, but I want to get a head start on the '08 production (2nd week of December)....

I'll see if i can post a pic of the board and maybe a few snaps of the set soon

So am I in the right place!? Yah, I hope so! Thanks to all those that have started this forum and to those that have made what appears to be huge contributions to this community. I'm looking forward to it. I already went to read about the Lynx, Firegod, Renard systems but I have to be honest, I need to step back a few 100 steps and start in "The Beginning"... Thanks in advance!

simultekie
12-21-2007, 12:23 PM
Hi there,
My name is Pete .By day I am a audio/visual technician and electronic nut. In my search of computer controlled christmas lights I landed here. It was like finding the holy grail. So much information. Well I have orders in,Boards in the process of being etched, planning for 2008.Not sure if anyone in my area(Fredericton,New Brunswick,Canada) has anything like this,but I will next year.Looking forward to the words of wisdom from the pioneers in this field

jeff.ott
12-29-2007, 04:53 AM
Hey all:

I'm Jeff as you can tell from my handle. I live in Roseville, Ca. I'm a MacGyver type. I love to put things together: cars, furniture, buildings, networks, and yes christmas lights. I found the vixen site last year just after christmas. Saw the Miller commercial and said, "Hey, I could do that." So I got on the internet and found the old forum. So I jumped in and ordered two of Brian's 595 boards and 32 of Sean's SSR boards. Then Jayson decided to run a parts COOP. Wow, what an effort he put together. Well, I finished up my Cobra this past summer (fall) and decided I better get back to christmas lights. Worked right up to christmas on my display. I need more time next year. It is amazing what we can do in communities like this one. Here's to Christmas 2008!

XmasInGalt
12-29-2007, 01:08 PM
Jeff, welcome to the forum. I live south of you in Galt. Matt Stemple also lives in the Sacramento area. You should check out his display. After seeing it, you may want to add dimming to your list of gotta have's.

jeff.ott
12-29-2007, 01:22 PM
As soon as I recover from this year, I definitely plan on adding dimming this next year. Soooo much more control that way. I need to get back into the forum and find out what dimmer options I have to use with my Sean Bowf SSR's. I believe that I have the right optos for dimming but will make sure before I leap. this next year I want to go from 6500 lights to 20k and make my tree BIGGER. . . . I also want to experiment with strobes. This forum is amazing thanks to all to work so hard for the benefit of all.

xmus
12-29-2007, 01:55 PM
Hey new folks

check out the you tube videos I made just for new folks :)

http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=14810#14810

tonypgst
12-30-2007, 05:46 PM
Well, after spending many hours reviewing the forums, I'm finally saying hello.

My name is Tony and I live in Jacksonville, FL. I've always been interested in automated lights after seeing videos online for the past few years. Now that my girls are getting old enough to understand and enjoy Christmas, they want more than the ho hum of just clear lights in the yard. For this reason, I'm jumping in feet first and plan to try and get at least 64 channels running this year. My love of tinkering has convinced me to go the DIY route, so here I am.

Now I'm off to post in the coop forum!!

Regards,

Tony P.

Blhudk1
12-30-2007, 10:16 PM
Hello Everyone

My name is Brian and I live in Valparaiso Indiana.This is my first year putting up lights. I bought a plug and play this year and I'm bored with it already.I'm a new-be or noob I've already heard some call us.I will need alot of help as I'm just getting started in this computerize lighting. Can anyone help as to what my first project should be to cut my teeth on?

Thank you
Brian

mikematz1
01-01-2008, 11:46 PM
Hi
My name is Richard but my friends call me Ricky I am 18 years old and I live in Georgia. I have been putting up lights for many years And would now like to go computer controlled, I have decided that I will need to find the components at a good low price.

xmus
01-02-2008, 03:12 AM
Howdy new folks, its me again, I just put 16 videos on youtube on how to use vixen.

http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2171&highlight=

skygodtj
01-06-2008, 10:17 PM
Hello all,

I'm TJ, live in Phoenix, also known as the Valley(I say SURFACE) of the Sun, Arizona, and am an airline pilot by trade. I'm on the back side of 40. It seems like I've been playing with electronics for about 30yrs, in ham radio for almost 25 of those, building, and adapting radios and electronics for ham radio.

Like a lot of folks here, I've been reading thru the threads, watching the videos and planning for '08. I picked up the GE Lights&Sound of Christmas box in December for my first foray into the controlled lights world.. yeah it was an easy intro, but like the line from Oliver... Please sir, I want some more...

So, with some Lynx boards(2-4, 32-64ch) in the next coop order to start with, a DMX Pro arriving any minute and abt 7000 lights that used to be in nearby WalMarts, Walgreens and CVS now in my garage, I'm ready for anything (I hope!)

Thanks for this place, and again in advance for help I know I'll need :)

wbuehler
01-06-2008, 10:33 PM
Welcome everyone

Bill

LITE_ARK
01-07-2008, 02:18 AM
Hello,

My name is Mark and I live in Arkansas. I'm an electrical engineer involved in designing control systems for use over large geographical areas. Besides that, I have a ham radio and a master electricians licenses but readily admit that I have not done too much with either. I have also done some work as a sound technician (FOH mixing) and video editing.

I saw some of the videos on YouTube during the 2007 holidays for the first time and was completely hooked. I found this site from researching the web for info about setting up computer controlled displays. It seems like it is one of the best on the web for content and detail and is obviously well supported.

I am in the planning stages for my first display for Christmas 2008; already purchased 15,000 lights at the Walmart after Christmas sales. I am also planning to enlist the help of some others with graphic arts and music backgrounds to help me work on some ideas (two or more heads are better than one).

Thanks to all who contribute and support DIYC!

hutchijw
01-08-2008, 09:01 AM
Were glad to have you here. You'll find that everyone here is pretty generous with their knowledge

Macrosill
01-08-2008, 09:18 AM
I have not posted in this thread in a while.

Welcome to all the new members. We hope you find our little corner of the world interesting and inviting. There are some very smart and helpful people here. Please read and take away as much new knowledge as you can. Also help us and leave some knowledge you have for us to learn from as well. We are a community based on US, you included. We would be nothing without the supporting membership.

mrtenn1
01-10-2008, 01:02 PM
Just wanted to say thanks. Thanks for being there when I need help, which is frequent as I know very little about electronics. Thanks for keeping me out of trouble as I have no time left after reading all the information on these sites Thanks for making this fun. Now may be I will be able to operate my Mr Christmas Light and Sound and perhaps head into the big time :D

kmc123
01-10-2008, 11:07 PM
Hi Everyone,

My name is Kevin and I now have ANOTHER time consuming, money sucking hobby!!! :)

Like many of you, I saw the Carson Williams video on Youtube and was hooked!!!

I won't actually automate my lights until the 08 holidays, but I started purchasing everything before Christmas '07. I like the motto "Go big or go home!" ;)

I'm going to attempt 272 dimmable channels in '08.

As of today, I have 71,358 Lights, 2 sets of Renard 64's with SSR's, a 1 watt FM transmitter, a homemade PVC pipe vertical dipole, USB to Serial adapters, RS-232 to RS 485 adapters, Music, PIC Programmer, and a few more things...

I still need to make my "Tune to" sign (It should be cool - I'll show you all when I finish!), Program the PICS, get the (3) REN-T boards (Ordered) and the (6) REN-24 boards (Told coop I want them), Cut all the angled aluminum to make heat sinks, make SSR enclosures, think about layout, buy cable...

HOLY COW!!! Forcing myself to type this out is really making it sink in!!!

Anyway - Thanks everyone for this fantastic community!!!

I've put up a site at:
http://www.kevincook.net/Hobbies/Electronics/Lights/
to track my progress if anyone is interested...

-Kevin

tonypgst
01-15-2008, 03:37 PM
Kevin,

Nice website you have. I too am tracking my progress and planning for 2008. My wife thinks I'm crazy, wait until I get an electrician over to make some changes, lol. Anyway, thanks for sharing. It is always fun to see what others are doing.

Regards,

kmc123
01-15-2008, 03:55 PM
Thanks Tony!
Where is your site? I'd like to see it.

tonypgst
01-15-2008, 10:38 PM
No website yet, but working on it. I keep everything in a notebook and in excel for now. I'll be sure to share when I can.

Rivenheart
01-20-2008, 09:30 PM
Hello to everyone,
My Name is Rob Smith I reside rurally north of Tulsa Ok.
I have been into electronics and computers for 20+ years, ever since the advent of the Kim-1 computer and into interfacing for awhile now. I have always enjoyed lights, for xmas, for Halloween, or just because. When I found this forum it was like manna from heaven, for a Maker.
I hope I can help, and I know that I'll learn things to help this project along.
Thanks for the great resource.

gerald sundberg
01-25-2008, 11:37 AM
I to have just stumbled onto this site. When I say stumbled I mean it. All my life I,ve fought this computer stuff and now I have to learn. We have had a static display for 30 years now so I think it's time to make a move. Hope to start with 32 channels. I've got lots of things ready for music & animation. I'm going to need help doing the programing, so I'll be asking lots of questions, I hope you'll all help. GLYASDW Jerry

theoldgeezer
01-25-2008, 01:35 PM
Great site. I am a retired programmer who has never wired a board in my life so I am definately going to be looking for some very basic information on putting a system together. I have an idea for what I want to build but it will need a lot of channels. Hope to have it up for 2008 providing I have sold my house and moved by then. I am known as OG on other sites.

Macrosill
01-26-2008, 07:41 PM
Since this is post 1001 for me I figured it should be Welcoming all of the newest members to our community. We are happy to have you hear and look forward to helping you and getting help from you.

daviddth
01-26-2008, 10:33 PM
Great to see such a wide variety of newcomers to the board. Welcome, drop by the chat sometime as theres occasionally a glimmer of sanity and conversation in there :D

Brian, 1001 posts??? You need a hobby lol

XmasInGalt
01-27-2008, 01:50 PM
Welcome to all new members!!!! I've been a member for a year and the folks here enabled me to put together a Christmas display in 07 that was amazing!! With the great support and diverse projects, there is no way you won't find what your looking for here!

MakeItCool
03-18-2008, 06:06 AM
Hi Everyone!

My name is Andy, and I'm here looking for information to determine whether the software and hardware discussed on this forum will provide an effective and inexpensive (as opposed to the alternative) means of essentially providing the same effect of syncronized lights and sound as a far more expensive professional Show Control system would.

Basically, I'm looking to find a system that will control 20 - 30 RGB LED fixtures both independently and in groups, provide support for color control, sync them to various sound events and perhaps also allow for external events/switches to start/stop show sequences.

Is it possible to do any or all of these things using Vixen and existing (relatively) inexpensive hardware?

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Andy

kmc123
03-18-2008, 10:16 AM
Makes 3 of us!
We need to do a night launch with some rockets covered with surface mount LED's for some serious high flying blinky flashy!!!

kmc123
03-18-2008, 10:18 AM
what cert level are you? I am JRL1 but I buddy fly J - O motors.

Ben

Meant to quote that :)

wbuehler
03-18-2008, 10:37 AM
MakeItCool

Yes I beleive that you shuld be able to find what you need here. Best place to start with LED control would be JEC's pixels. Send him a PM or you may catch him in the FlashChat room at the top of the page.

The are a lot of designers here and a lot of good control hardware. Everyone here has always been great about answering questions and providing any help that they can.

Welcome to DIYC

Bill

Mikester
05-28-2008, 11:24 PM
Hello everyone

My name is Mike Hart and I live in West Palm Beach, Florida.

I am looking forward to building my first automated lighting system this year. I have looked at other systems, but the DIY approach really appeals to me.

I have been designing and building automated production machinery for many years now, so DIY is definatly the way to go for me.

Right now I am mostly lurking and reading, trying to catch up. I have joined a coop and ordered some ren 24 boards. Can't wait to start putting them together and start playing!!

Thanks

Mike

kmc123
05-29-2008, 07:09 AM
Welcome aboard Mike!!!

jeffathompson
05-29-2008, 07:38 AM
Welcome aboard Mike!!!

Kevin, I think you meant Welcome A Board!!!! ROTHLMAO

WWNF911
05-29-2008, 09:16 PM
Kevin, I think you meant Welcome A Board!!!! ROTHLMAO

I dont get it. :confused:

deplanche
05-30-2008, 07:26 AM
Here we use lots of printed circuit BOARDS. Took me a few to get it too.

agbrint
06-24-2008, 04:47 PM
Hey everyone!

I've finally got round to actually posting on here.. so here goes!

I'm Alex, and i live out here in England. I first decorated my house in 2006, where i had 3 zones of internet controllable christmas lights. Then in 2007, i decorated my fiance's house in southeast Alaska with 96 channels of computer controlled lights. Its all documented on my website - www.madhouseuk.net (http://www.madhouseuk.net).

I discovered Computerchristmas last summer whilst researching for last Christmas, and that led me to DIYC shortly before christmas :) Wish i had got here before then though!!

For Christmas 2008, we plan to run 128 channels, and sync to music using Vixen of course.

So yeah, thats me, for now at least!

Virtus
06-24-2008, 08:21 PM
Welcome Alex. It's nice to have you here. Your displays look great!

Penfold
06-25-2008, 03:05 PM
Hello Alex and all new board members. This hobbie has a way of getting under your skin! ENJOY the heck out of it!!!

Thomas Steiner
07-20-2008, 04:21 PM
My name is Thomas Steiner & I live in Huntington, Indiana with my wife, Doreen. We have two grown up lovely daughters and two grown up great looking sons. We also have one granddaughter & one grandson. I have been decorating our yard with lights for 39 years. Although I don't run a computerized display and don't really plan to, there are still some elements of control to everything. It is a great hobby to get into & we really love to do it. We are a family of one law enforcement officer. I have been collecting plastic Christmas lawn blow molds since I was 13 years old. I have always had the passion of love for my blow molds. I am called,"the plastic blow molds expert and a blow molds veteran", for many a years as I have been collecting and displaying blow molds for 39 years and putting them into my Christmas display every year. I am one of the few that I would call a true blow mold expert. Some of the blow mold manufacturing names are, Faster-Forms, Farley Technologies, Artline, Blinky Products, Bel Air, Holiday Innovations, Borse Plastics Products, Judith Novelity Sales, Empire Plastics, Beco Products, Poloron Products, Santa's Best, Union Products, TPI/Canada, Drainage Industries, Sun Hill Industries, Dapol, Noma Lites, Mold-Craft, Falcon, Grand Venture, etc. This seems to be a Christmas place where I will fit right in. Thank you for having me here.;)

kmc123
07-20-2008, 07:06 PM
Welcome Alex and Thomas!

Macrosill
07-24-2008, 06:27 PM
My name is Thomas Steiner & I live in Huntington, Indiana with my wife, Doreen. We have two grown up lovely daughters and two grown up great looking sons. We also have one granddaughter & one grandson. I have been decorating our yard with lights for 39 years. Although I don't run a computerized display and don't really plan to, there are still some elements of control to everything. It is a great hobby to get into & we really love to do it. We are a family of one law enforcement officer. I have been collecting plastic Christmas lawn blow molds since I was 13 years old. I have always had the passion of love for my blow molds. I am called,"the plastic blow molds expert and a blow molds veteran", for many a years as I have been collecting and displaying blow molds for 39 years and putting them into my Christmas display every year. I am one of the few that I would call a true blow mold expert. Some of the blow mold manufacturing names are, Faster-Forms, Farley Technologies, Artline, Blinky Products, Bel Air, Holiday Innovations, Borse Plastics Products, Judith Novelity Sales, Empire Plastics, Beco Products, Poloron Products, Santa's Best, Union Products, TPI/Canada, Drainage Industries, Sun Hill Industries, Dapol, Noma Lites, Mold-Craft, Falcon, Grand Venture, etc. This seems to be a Christmas place where I will fit right in. Thank you for having me here.;)

Mr. Steiner Welcome to DIYC. Just be aware that we are knowledgeable of what has occurred in the past in other Christmas related communities. I hope a repeat incident will not occur here. As a warning to you, should any posts appear questionable your account will be moved into a moderated status and all posts will be reviewed prior to them being visible or your account will be banned immediately!

ThaiWay
07-25-2008, 02:07 PM
Greetings from the Big Mango. My name is John and I live in Bangkok, Thailand. I retired early from a career in Radio (on-air/management) after selling my house in Hawaii, and moved here with my five little show dogs (now six!) I did a static display - first since i was a kid - in 1991. Then a hurricane destroyed the island and a third of my house in November 1992. I wasn't going to put up any lights that year until a neighbor lady and her daughter dropped by one evening and offered me money to do the display again to bring some Christmas Joy to our battered community. (Far too few people on our island did even in the best of times!) Ever since I've been hooked.

Mini lights and Hawaii winter weather don't mix. As long as you accept that they'll work for half a season (maybe) and then you toss them, ok... but I hate them. So I was heavily into c7's and c9's. To get chases or color changes I modified controllers from 140-ct multi-program strings to drive mechanical relays and they clicked away and failed. Then bought a 4-channel chase box and drove 10A SSR's and burned a few along the way. I was hungry for more control and less of a light bill, so broke down and bought commercial boards in 2003. But I never seemed to have the time to learn/do more awesome programming. Two seasons of that and then I up and moved to Thailand... WITH my boards and 1800 LED's. Now I have the time, but I've been on hiatus as far as an OTT display for three seasons due to a host of reasons.

I've been really unhappy about (the lack of) communication/support from the company from which I bought my boards. I have them up for sale, and was going to order 96 channels from a different company when I stumbled on DIYC by way of a post on PC. I just now read through this Welcome thread and am intrigued by the possibility of saving a ton of money on hardware (and putting it into new LED's?) I haven't a clue where to start, but I'm sure over the next few days - with your help and a lot of reading here - I'll have a better idea about what direction I should go. Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

rlilly
07-25-2008, 02:24 PM
Welcome, John!

Boy, have you got a lot of reading ahead of you! It can be a little confusing at first as you develop the understanding on how all the pieces fit together.

The Christmas Wiki link above is the collection spot for all the details of the various controllers available here.

I suggest you start HERE (http://doityourselfchristmas.com/wiki/index.php?title=Beginners_Guide) to get a overview.

kmc123
07-25-2008, 03:04 PM
Welcome! We're glad to have you!

Wayne J
07-25-2008, 07:47 PM
DIYC & Vixen.... Lighting up the WORLD! :)

Welcome ThaiWay

ThaiWay
07-25-2008, 11:19 PM
Bob, Kevin, Wayne... thanks for rolling out the welcome mat. I'm sure I'll have lots of questions as I try to get into it.

kostyun
07-26-2008, 01:00 AM
Welcome ThaiWay - your probably going to want to listen/talk to a lot of the Aussie - as they are also 220v/50hz.

mrpackethead
07-26-2008, 01:23 AM
Welcome ThaiWay - your probably going to want to listen/talk to a lot of the Aussie - as they are also 220v/50hz.

J.FYI ( and off topic )

Technically the normal single phase supply in NZ and Aussie is 230V - 50Hz... However the majority of us are all using low voltage light strings, (12/24/36V) as the law requires us to do that.. Typically Every string is feed by a transformer..

But nice to see the DIYC thing in thailand.. I suspect that there won't be too many christmas displays there..

crosstalk
08-08-2008, 08:13 PM
Hello Everyone

My name is Scott I live in Zillah Washington, with my wife and two kids. I have been putting up lights for quite a few years. I love doing it for my kids they get a kick out of it. I hope to do a computerized system soon. I currenly work for a school district in my area as the network administrator and have a good understanding of electronics and soldering.

I'm still a little confused on how to acquire all of the hardware that I will need, but I'm sure someone has an answer.

I'm looking at the renard systems at this point after reading your Wiki. I'm sure I will have lots of questions for the experts in the coming weeks.

kmc123
08-08-2008, 08:30 PM
Welcome Scott!
Poke around here and on the wiki - You'll find a TON of great info!!!
-Kev

Wizzard
08-19-2008, 04:14 PM
Good afternoon! This is Richard Young out in Monrovia CA. I was directed to this great site by a man at Christmaslightshow.com a week ago. He also directed me to lightorama.com. I have been doing Christmas light displays at my home since I was 13 and I'm now 60. I have never tried to sync my lights to music. I hope to do it this year but I may not have enough time. If I do, it will be, as they say in government, cheaper, better, faster! As much as I would love to use LightORama equipment it's just too dog gone expensive for me at this time. Next year might be a different story. I read Kevin Cooks site as I stumbeled upon it by accident here. It looks like he has a lot of inexpensive ways to control his lights.

Besides doing Christmas light displays for many years, my three sons and I have done 7 years of a major Haunted House. It was named number 1 in California two years in a row on Haunted at AOL. We had visitors from as far away as Santa Barbara and Venture drive down for the Haunted House. The event encompased two side by side properties and had such scenes as Skeleton Welcome, Grim Reaper Escort, Haunted Dinner, Frankenstiens Experiment, Tourture Chamber, Haunted Graveyard, Haunted Mine Shaft, Haunted Forest, and Witches Coven. There were over 12 zoned sound effects on professional Mac Kenzie Message Repeaters, one ambient sound track that was broadcast over the two properties, three wireless mics in the masks of three of the scenes broadcast to those scenes, 8 hand built (by my oldest son Christoper) HUGE strobes for lightening that were synced to the thunder soundtracks, six fog machines and many different animated displays driven by the old "crankshaft & motor" setup. There were also over 30 4' black lights and several 18" and 20" black lights as well.

That's it for now. I'm at work and lunch is over. I'll elaborate more in PT2, 3 and 4 of my next write up. These will include my history with Christmas light collectiong, my involvement doing 60's Psychedelic Light Shows for major rock concerts and my latest project hopefully slated for Christmas of 2009 which will be loosly titled The Monrovia Electrical Holiday Parade. Shhhhh the city doesn't know yet. I still have to schedule a meeting with our Mayor. He gave me his card recently to call his secretary to set up an appointment. In the meantime I'm buying tons of 555 timer IC's, 74193 counters, 74154 decoders and many of the 7400 family of gates, inverters and buffers along with a bunch of SSR's, Triacs, and SCR's. Have a GREAT rest of the day! Wizz

XmasInGalt
08-19-2008, 04:38 PM
Welcome Richard!
I know you will find alot of info here and a great group of people like Kevin that are a wealth of information and willing to help out.

By the way, do you have a web site for your haunted house?

Wizzard
08-19-2008, 05:48 PM
We did have a web site but it's now off the air as the last Haunted House we did was 3 Halloween's ago. My boys are older now and thier friends have moved out of the area. If anyone has any questions about our Haunted House I'd be happy to answer them.

kmc123
08-19-2008, 07:14 PM
Welcome Richard!
Thanks for the kudos :)
Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you out!
-Kevin

Wizzard
08-20-2008, 04:35 PM
Thanks for the welcome Kevin. I tried to reply before and got booted. I'll try this again but I'll be brief this time. I'd like to have some coffee and phone chat maybe over the weekend when I have free cell minutes if you're up for that. I like to phone as much as I like to write. Email me private at wizzardlightshow@aol.com and we can exchange numbers. Yes there are 2 Z's in Wizzard. This goes for anyone else out there interested in my holiday madness or past Haunted Houses that would like to phone. Richard

tpctech
09-06-2008, 03:25 PM
I live in Niles, MI about 3 miles from Notre Dame! Started with a 48 channel DMX system using custom boards from Dove systems using a theatrical light board and time code to sync to music. That was from about 2000 to 2003. I then changed to LOR and love it!:). We built our house in 1999 and did a lot of "built-in" wiring for christmas light control. I now have 2 16ch LOR boards in the basement with remote dual SSR in WP boxes at each tree in the front yard. Another 16 ch LOR board in the garage the connects dual WP recps at each porch support pole around the front of the house. I have 2 "portable" 16 ch LOR boards that I made into boxes with power distribution in the yard. This year 2008 I am adding 3 16ch LOR boards 1 with with relay multiplexing to power 8 8-channel leaping arches and another with relay multiplexing to power a reworked 20ft mega tree with 48 circuits (4 colors 12 circuits each) and the last LOR will power a new Snowman snow ball fight. It is a addidiction! My wife is pretty tolerant and my 7 and 5 year old girls get more excited about it each year! I hope to have Abby the 7yr old program a song this year!

KEN

Virtus
09-06-2008, 03:33 PM
Welcome, Ken. I had my kid program a song last year and then he talked about it so much that all his buddies in Cub Scouts wanted to try it. That was a fun (long) evening!

angie1313
09-10-2008, 11:24 AM
Hey everyone. I'm a new member to this fun forum. Thought I would stop by and introduce myself. :)

kmc123
09-10-2008, 03:03 PM
Welcome Angie! I've got a brother who just moved to Kansas recently... (Lenexa)

victor-eyd
09-27-2008, 02:47 AM
Hello everyone! My name is Victor and I live here in Hayward in the SF Bay Area. I'm just starting out so I bought the CK1601A 8 channel parallel port board from Carl's ELectronics. I have Vixen 2.0 already downloaded so if anyone who has had a lot of experience with this particular board it would be great to hear from them. Hopefully I'll be over the learning curve and adding my own sequences and info tidbits to this forum sooner rather than later. Thanks

Victor

nathank
09-27-2008, 07:02 AM
Hey there Victor. Always good to see new people getting interested in this addictive hobby. I warn you though, it IS addictive!

I did a quick Google on your controller and found the following link that you might find useful: http://www.ksochristmaslights.com/how_to/index.html#article4

I'm pretty sure you'll just need to use the 'Basic Parallel' plugin in Vixen to interact with that controller. Somebody will correct me if I'm wrong on that one :)


Hello everyone! My name is Victor and I live here in Hayward in the SF Bay Area. I'm just starting out so I bought the CK1601A 8 channel parallel port board from Carl's ELectronics. I have Vixen 2.0 already downloaded so if anyone who has had a lot of experience with this particular board it would be great to hear from them. Hopefully I'll be over the learning curve and adding my own sequences and info tidbits to this forum sooner rather than later. Thanks

Virtus
09-27-2008, 09:49 AM
... so if anyone who has had a lot of experience with this particular board it would be great to hear from them...Victor

Victor,
Welcome. When searching for information about using your board with Vixen also look for "Kit74" ( http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/wiki/index.php?title=Electronics_Hardware#Kit74 ) as that same board is sold as a kit from other distributors. I've used three of those off a single PC to get 24 channels. They work okay but beware of the occasional mechanical relay failure (stuck in one position...lights never shut off). Most DIYC members strongly prefer solid state relays/triacs for a number of reasons...but you can have a great show with the board you have chosen. Have Fun!

victor-eyd
09-27-2008, 06:24 PM
Thanks virtus and nathank for the welcome greeetings

I actually got started from reading kso's website and bought from the same place he did. Luck for me Carls electronics is in Oakland, just 20 minutes away.

So I'm guessing to start you'll use the Vixen 8-channel with the parallel port interface. Thanks again

Victor

bobheck
11-02-2008, 11:58 PM
I am Bob (Midlothian, TX), just joined. New to this whole idea, about 3 years into electronics hobby, and a professional computer programmer. I hope I can learn a whole lot and help others learn a little as well.

I am new and wanting to start 'small' (24 channels or less) and just dim some lights and some sequencing this year. I will grow as the years pass by.

Any suggestions on a beginner board would be great. I was looking at the Lynx, but it seems to be outdated and being phased out based on the comments I read.

I have read the Wiki also.

Stupid question -- still not sure of what a 'ZC' is.

I would appreciate any direction.

Thanks!

omzig
11-03-2008, 12:31 AM
Welcome Bob!

Maybe a Renard24 would be a quick start. One board, with the power supply and SSR's built-in. Since you say that you're 3 years into an electronics hobby, you should be able to build one fairly easily.

ZC is zero crossing. It is where the AC waveform crosses zero volts. The controllers detect this crossing to use as a reference point for dimming.

kmc123
11-03-2008, 07:35 AM
Welcome Bob!
I agree with Don, a Ren 24 is an awesome way to start!

Ronp
11-03-2008, 10:49 AM
The lynx has been updated to the Lynx Express an is a top of the line controller
developed by RJ ( http://www.diylightanimation.com )the choice you will have to
make is how you want to drive your controller,serial or dmx. Most of RJ's controllers
are DMX. The ren 24 is a good controller also. Welcome to our little corner of the web,
we are here year round working on ideas for next season. Ron

ReyesTHEstud
11-06-2008, 01:16 AM
Hello Everyone. This is Mark and I'm from George W's Austin, Tx. Just started looking into the computer controlled lights and was wondering where to start. I made a renard 8 PCB but ran into trouble finding all the components at retail stores. I wanted to look into going with the Grinch for cost reasons, but possibly the renard 16 for future expansion. Is there too long of waiting lists for parts this time of year?

-mark

kostyun
11-06-2008, 02:42 AM
Hello Everyone. This is Mark and I'm from George W's Austin, Tx. Just started looking into the computer controlled lights and was wondering where to start. I made a renard 8 PCB but ran into trouble finding all the components at retail stores. I wanted to look into going with the Grinch for cost reasons, but possibly the renard 16 for future expansion. Is there too long of waiting lists for parts this time of year?

-mark


There really isn't too much of a wait - most parts are in stock at the major electronics suppliers - Mouser is the one most of us commonly use (and there in TX) and also Digikey. I order about 95% from Mouser, and 5% from Digikey personally.

Every once in a while I am working on some oddball project and find that Mouser doesn't have or stock the items.

bobheck
11-06-2008, 04:23 AM
Welcome Bob!

Maybe a Renard24 would be a quick start. One board, with the power supply and SSR's built-in. Since you say that you're 3 years into an electronics hobby, you should be able to build one fairly easily.

ZC is zero crossing. It is where the AC waveform crosses zero volts. The controllers detect this crossing to use as a reference point for dimming.


Welcome Bob!
I agree with Don, a Ren 24 is an awesome way to start!

Thanks for the answers. I will look at the Ren 24.

HO HO HO and away I go! --- OK, I know what you're thinking. Be nice and don't write it ;)

ablarge
11-10-2008, 07:19 PM
Hello All,


My name is Aaron I live in Murrieta, CA I am quite new to all of this. I have always loved Christmas and putting up lights. Last year was the first time that i had an animated light display. I used A Mr. Christmas Lights and Sounds i bought from THD. I am working on making my own controller for new year.

Ronp
11-10-2008, 09:34 PM
Welcome Aaron
Feel free to look around for ideas and dont be afraid to ask questions.

kmc123
11-10-2008, 10:19 PM
Welcome!!!

draksig
11-19-2008, 03:34 PM
Hello there, newbe here!

My name is Wayne and I'm new to all this but am really interested in learning and eventually putting on a good show.

I work as a manufacturing engineer and have a computer programming background, which means that while I may not understand how all the gadgets and gizmos discussed here work, if I have the parts and a blueprint, I can build it.

I've never gone beyond a static display, and a small one at that, but look forward to planning something next year. After lurking and reading a few days, I've picked the Grinch controller and the SSRoz (this is the COOP SSR, right??) combo. Due to budget restrictions, I will probably only be able to start with 32 channels but plan on adding on for several years.

Well, got to go and post a stupid question in the SSR forum.

Edited to add: Live in east central Georgia, USA (anyone near Augusta, GA give me a PM).

Trip
11-19-2008, 03:50 PM
hello there draksig, seems like you got all your major decisions solidified. You have a fun year ahead of you. lol

Macrosill
11-27-2008, 12:53 PM
We have had a large influx of new Members the past couple months. The 1st 27 days of November have brought us no less than 265 new members. I would like to take this time to Welcome every single one of our new members to the community, DIYC! Thanks for joining us and we hope you find our community helpful.

kmc123
11-27-2008, 04:58 PM
Welcome Everyone! And have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

fearnold
11-29-2008, 05:58 PM
Hello all I have lurked here for quite some time now and hope to build my controller and ssr after the holidays. I got hooked buy purchasing (I did not know better) an all in one controller from one of the mega marts and I loved it I have 3 acres and 38 apples and evergreen trees so next year should be fun. Thanks to all who run the forums I find them a great source of info

Frank

Hessel Michigan

tonypgst
11-29-2008, 07:55 PM
Welcome All!!

SeaHoCaptain
12-05-2008, 11:15 AM
Hello Everyone!!!

Thanks for the wealth of information you all provide!!! I've said for years that I wanted to computerize my lights. It just seems I always wait till the last minute to get serious on the idea and then it's just enough time to do the usual. Before you know it the time has passed and I'm backin the same boat again.

Well this year we moved to a new house (new canvas right?) and still I figured I waited too long. BUT I took the extra steps, I order the boards an all the parts for a Grinch. I figured at least I would be able to play around with it a bit this year while fresh in my head and maybe just maybe NEXT YEAR...

Well all the parts arrived yesterday except the boards which I'm sure will follow shortly. With luck on my side maybe just maybe I'll be able to control a few lights this year.

Thanks again to everyone for their contributions here. I like many have enjoyed just dreaming about doing some of these things you all have pulled off.

Happy Holidays to ALL!

David

kmc123
12-05-2008, 11:33 AM
Welcome David!
Good luck with your display - If you need help - Just ask!!!

JEEPGUY
12-05-2008, 12:48 PM
David,

Welcome to the board. Last year I got the bug right at Thanksgiving to get started and ordered boards and parts but a few parts were backordered and sealed my fate for last year. I got it all finished and this year I have blinking lights! I hope that you can pull it off this year.

Merry Christmas!

Wayne J
12-05-2008, 06:44 PM
Welcome!
A piece of advice to make your goal easier. Do plan your display, once you have a plan, stick to it, things will go smoother. Plan to give yourself extra time on things to allow for setbacks.

Good luck!

SeaHoCaptain
12-06-2008, 08:12 AM
Well I'm "planning" to start small... This year, if by some chance I manage to get the Grinch working, I'm building 8 mini trees and test out my abilities with them. I figure I borrow a few sequence already out there and play around tweaking them to just get the feel. I think that will get me further than starting from scratch this year.

On a good note .. ALL the basics are in (I was pleasently suprised to see the boards arrived yesterday). So timing with the weekend couldnt have been better. I was even able to hit up Lowes for the sweet $1.20 deal on lights and bought a few cases. Couldn't find tomato cages (must be the time of year) but I was able to get the floral display as a substitute. So last night I put my first 4 mini trees together :-) They look GREAT!!!

Wish me luck and stay close for help :-)

David

codasj
12-07-2008, 11:28 PM
Hello there!

My name is Steve and I'm new to all this. I got the bug of putting together a computerized christmas light show after a friend showed me a youtube video of a light show synced to wizard of winter.

I work as a server optimization coordinator/ project manager and have a former electronics background, which means that while I may remember everything or understand how all the gadgets and gizmos discussed here work, if I have the parts and a blueprint, I can build it.


I also have never gone beyond a static display, typically about 2000 lights and 8 - 2' mini trees. I am very excited to plan something next year. Up to this point I have only researched various manufactorer, due to budget restrictions, I will not be able to purchase one of those commerical devices. I am thinking of starting with something very small and plan on adding on each year.

I have many stupid questions from everything from PIC Programming to Serial/USB/Wirless Controllers to SSRs. I will look at the various topics on where to post all these questions.

I look forward to posting in the furture and learning from others on this site.

Virtus
12-07-2008, 11:52 PM
Good luck, Steve. This is the place to learn how to make it all come together.

SeaHoCaptain
12-08-2008, 09:01 AM
Welcome Steve from another noobie :-)

David

Spadinator
12-08-2008, 06:25 PM
Hello All!! My name is Mike and I have already put up my non-animated display this year but am looking to doing an automated one next year. I love to build things and am not afraid to get my hands dirty. My hobbies are Ham Radio and RC Aircraft. I am looking forward to building a Grinch board and getting started.

Ronp
12-08-2008, 06:59 PM
welcome Mike

Buy the time we are done you wont have time for other hobbies lol

kmc123
12-08-2008, 08:45 PM
Welcome Mike!
DE N3KMC 73!!!

SeaHoCaptain
12-09-2008, 08:18 AM
Hello All!! My name is Mike and I have already put up my non-animated display this year but am looking to doing an automated one next year. I love to build things and am not afraid to get my hands dirty. My hobbies are Ham Radio and RC Aircraft. I am looking forward to building a Grinch board and getting started.

Welcome Mike ... I started out two days before Thanksgiving with the same idea (Next year) .. But I said the same thing every year for the last few years never getting any closer. The difference this year I pm'ed wjohn (he said its never too late :-) Thanks wjohn!!!). Took less than two weeks to get everything delivered, assembled, and tested to blink. I may not be the most spectaculater show this year, but I will have eight mini trees out this year doing their thing.

You still got 2+ weeks, Theres time for a small display or a great start on "next year" :-)

David

Spadinator
12-09-2008, 07:23 PM
I thought of the time frame too but my Christmas budget is blown for this year due to Black Friday!! I also work 12 hour shifts so it would be kinda tough to get it all done this year. Plus this will give me ample time to build my display as well.

Lady122GA
12-13-2008, 01:50 PM
Well I thought I'd stop by and say Hi.. My hubby (sjwilson122) has been coming here for quite a while now and figured since I got "volunteered" to do the Vixen programming I best get my own account here, lol.
We finally got our xmas display up, and I have been having a blast with the sequencing aspect. I have found a TON of helpful ideas here, and I also have to say that if it wasn't for xmus's video tutorial I'd still be lost out there in cyberspace trying to figure this all out.
Ya'll have a wonerful site here, the forums have been my best friend while learning how to use the program. While browsing the forums I have stumbled across some fantabulous ideas - oh boy is hubby gonna be busy next year!!!! ;) I've already started to make a Honey-Do list for him LOL..
Well anyways, thanks ya'll!!!

sjwilson122
12-13-2008, 01:55 PM
OOOOOOHHHH NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!now she found the forum. Now I really in trouble !!!!!!!! LOL.......
Hi hunny, Welcome and see I told you there was alot of good people and great ideas here.

Ronp
12-13-2008, 03:29 PM
This could be a good thing ????/lol Quick Brian remove the price lists lol

scarymother
12-17-2008, 11:52 PM
Hi - my name is Lisa -and I have an addiction to decorating my yard. From my username perhaps you can tell that I am a "home haunter", for me Halloween has always been the BIG holiday. But now my yard looks so bear and -gasp- static. I've lurked for awhile but last week at Lowes I saw the GE Lights and Sound system. Of course using canned music isn't going to work for me.... next up is the Gemmy unit where you can use a MP3 but you can't control the lights. That brings me to sign up at this site because I've noticed many of you also started out this way. I look forward to learning from you and I hope I will be able to contribute in some way.

XmasInGalt
12-18-2008, 12:48 AM
Welcome Lisa. You will find an amazing amount of talent around here. There's a ton of information available and very friendly folks to answer your questions. Check out the Wiki if you haven't done so already.

toodle_pipsky
12-18-2008, 05:38 AM
Yay! The ladies represented! Watch out guys, next thing you know there'll be curtains up, potpourri, doilies and requests for pink pcbs ;)

Hehehehehehe, welcome!

SeaHoCaptain
12-18-2008, 08:28 AM
...pink pcbs ;)...


That started my day withy a laugh!

David

toodle_pipsky
12-18-2008, 08:44 AM
:grin: was going to say "pink pcb with lace edging", but then thought oh that's too much . . . . . although that would make it match my doilies . . . .

scarymother
12-18-2008, 11:05 AM
The pink will clash with the black and orange. Now, if you had a purple board with a border of skulls :twisted:.........

SeaHoCaptain
12-18-2008, 11:20 AM
The pink will clash with the black and orange. Now, if you had a purple board with a border of skulls :twisted:.........

PURPLE!!! Then we will be seeing my WIFE out here!!!

David

rsriverrat
12-18-2008, 09:54 PM
My name is Dale from Crestview, FL

i found out about this blinky flashy stuff from a friend a few yrs ago and found CC and the pic dimmer forums over at forumer, however never had the money to really do anything, but i am planning for 09 now. i have planned 2 sets of ledtriks and 128 renard channels for next yr, we are buying the house we are in so by july i'll be able to upgrade the power and run about 15k lights hopefully (wont my neighbors just love me, since only 3 out of 30 houses on my street have decorated)

anyway just thought id say hey, and also to seahocaptain from bel-air, md, i was born in dc and raised in st marys county, nice to see someone from my other neck of the woods around.

Dale

Lady122GA
12-18-2008, 09:55 PM
LOL! Darn, so I take it that's a no on the pink pcb's? And I suppose I'm gonna have to return the lace curtains and all this potpourri now to.... sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh oh well....
Although I kinda like the black and orange pcb idea... Would be able to add Halloween to the Honey-Do list :evil:

artzy
12-19-2008, 02:50 AM
OOOOOOHHHH NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!now she found the forum. Now I really in trouble !!!!!!!! LOL.......
Hi hunny, Welcome and see I told you there was alot of good people and great ideas here.

Guees we know one member that won't be bragging about all of the wonderful things he bought anymore..I'm just glad my wife hasnt found this forum yet...;)

SeaHoCaptain
12-22-2008, 08:44 AM
My name is Dale from Crestview, FL

i found out about this blinky flashy stuff from a friend a few yrs ago and found CC and the pic dimmer forums over at forumer, however never had the money to really do anything, but i am planning for 09 now. i have planned 2 sets of ledtriks and 128 renard channels for next yr, we are buying the house we are in so by july i'll be able to upgrade the power and run about 15k lights hopefully (wont my neighbors just love me, since only 3 out of 30 houses on my street have decorated)

anyway just thought id say hey, and also to seahocaptain from bel-air, md, i was born in dc and raised in st marys county, nice to see someone from my other neck of the woods around.

Dale
Welcome Dale! And Congrats on getting to buy your home!!! Maybe your '09 display will remind the neighbors it's Christmas Time and they are supopose to decorate!!! It's part of the fun of the season :)

Seperate note ... I cant believe with all the Smilies Icons out there we dont have ANY with a Christmas Theme?! Even a smilie with just a Christmas hat would be nice ...

David

joneslights
12-23-2008, 11:51 PM
OK somehow I posted to wrong thread.....

JPOhio
04-11-2009, 07:55 AM
Hi - my name is Jeff Phillips. I have been lurking around the board for about the last year or so, and figured it's time to join. I have a mere 2 years of animated lighting under my belt, so I would guess I'm still a newbie. I'm not real big into the diy boards, in fact, the closest I have come is the kits from lor. But with a board etching class being taught at the Ohio Mini... who knows, maybe I will get into it more.

Also, I am heading up the vendor participation for Light-Up-Ohio for 09, and I will have some info to post about that.

51fordf2
04-11-2009, 10:31 PM
Welcome, Jeff! Great last name!!! The world needs more Phillips'!

See you at Ohio. I'm the one doing the etch presentation, but, most of the boards can be bought from John in Australia (wjohn). They are very reasonable, and a lot less work than etching your own. Don't let not etching stop you from "diy"! I started etching my own boards, because a few of the boards I like, aren't available anywhere (yet), and I have quite a bit of time on my hands, because of the work I do, etc - kind of like a fireman! :) And, a few of the boards I do, are "unique" to my use, because I use a conglomeration of different pcb mounted relays, so I either use perf-board, or etch. Prefer to etch!

Again, welcome, and see you at LUOhio!

Roger PHILLIPS

JPOhio
04-14-2009, 04:54 PM
Thanks Roger, I look forward to your presentation. I have never done etching before, so I think it will quite interesting!

sparky101
06-21-2009, 02:12 PM
Hello Everyone,
Matt, an Electrician from Montana here.
From the first time I saw one of these animated shows I was hooked, but until now I really didn't have a place to put on a display. I have recently moved into a new house with great potential. So here I go..!
I am a total DIY kinda guy, and this is right up my alley! Ive pretty much got my hardware picked out, however I don't have any experience soldering PCB's together. Any recommendations on tools, as well as links to how-to's would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks again, looks like a great community glad I found you guys!

g2ktcf
06-21-2009, 04:18 PM
Hello Everyone,
Matt, an Electrician from Montana here.
From the first time I saw one of these animated shows I was hooked, but until now I really didn't have a place to put on a display. I have recently moved into a new house with great potential. So here I go..!
I am a total DIY kinda guy, and this is right up my alley! Ive pretty much got my hardware picked out, however I don't have any experience soldering PCB's together. Any recommendations on tools, as well as links to how-to's would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks again, looks like a great community glad I found you guys!


C'mon man...details! What are you building!!! lol

nathank
06-21-2009, 04:35 PM
Hello Everyone,
Matt, an Electrician from Montana here.
From the first time I saw one of these animated shows I was hooked, but until now I really didn't have a place to put on a display. I have recently moved into a new house with great potential. So here I go..!
I am a total DIY kinda guy, and this is right up my alley! Ive pretty much got my hardware picked out, however I don't have any experience soldering PCB's together. Any recommendations on tools, as well as links to how-to's would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks again, looks like a great community glad I found you guys!

My little brother was just in Montana for a conference last week, and he's now spending a few days in Las Vegas, then a week in San Francisco before coming back home to little ol' New Zealand.

Welcome to the boards! A wealth of information here, supported by a fantastic community.

Virtus
06-21-2009, 04:39 PM
Hello Everyone,
Matt, an Electrician from here.

See everyone...I told you I wasn't the only person here! Welcome, Matt.

51fordf2
06-21-2009, 04:50 PM
See everyone...I told you I wasn't the only person in Montana! Welcome, Matt.

Amazing! Two people in Montana, and they both have displays!! Now if we can get the three people in Wyoming...

http://crbest.com/lmao.gif

Roger

Virtus
06-21-2009, 04:59 PM
Amazing! Two people here, and they both have displays!! Now if we can get the three people there...

http://crbest.com/lmao.gif

Roger

Close...but they only have half the population of us...but don't worry, we'll get him!

sparky101
06-21-2009, 11:18 PM
C'mon man...details! What are you building!!! lol

I'm thinking I want a centralized controller with remote SSR's. So, a Ren64 to start with, hopefully that will be enough channels for this year. I have a bunch of ideas I'm kicking around, hopefully I will get something drawn up in the next day or so. Also, I plan on building one of those dancing arches for over the garage door. Those are killer!!

g2ktcf
06-22-2009, 01:46 AM
I'm thinking I want a centralized controller with remote SSR's. So, a Ren64 to start with, hopefully that will be enough channels for this year. I have a bunch of ideas I'm kicking around, hopefully I will get something drawn up in the next day or so. Also, I plan on building one of those dancing arches for over the garage door. Those are killer!!


The REN64XC is what I started off with. I personally think that 64 channels is a good starting point. The board is easy to build..however, the documentation on it is a bit light. The information is there, you just have to look real hard.

Good Luck,
Chris

WireWrap
06-23-2009, 12:49 PM
...
The board is easy to build..however, the documentation on it is a bit light. The information is there, you just have to look real hard.

Good Luck,
Chris

Welcome, Sparky!! What Chris doesn't realize is that anyone who has had to do battle with the National Electrical Code can find anything, no matter how deeply it's buried!!! :grin: :grin: :grin:

g2ktcf
06-23-2009, 01:10 PM
Welcome, Sparky!! What Chris doesn't realize is that anyone who has had to do battle with the National Electrical Code can find anything, no matter how deeply it's buried!!! :grin: :grin: :grin:


Actually, you would be very wrong if you knew how much this mechanical engineer has had to read that bloody document!!!!! Now for a twist, make it all IEC! That throws a wrench in the gear works! :)

WireWrap
06-23-2009, 02:24 PM
I'll see your IEC and raise you one NFPA. :) :)

g2ktcf
06-23-2009, 02:25 PM
hmmm...that one too...had to design natural gas compressor stations for NGV vehicles! So I will have to throw in ASME as well. :)

WireWrap
06-23-2009, 04:27 PM
I'll call, just to get back on topic.

Wouldn't it be nice if a few of the engineers that write this stuff actually had to work with it in the field??? :shock: :shock: :shock:

'Course that'll never happen!! :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

g2ktcf
06-23-2009, 04:44 PM
i'll call, just to get back on topic.

Wouldn't it be nice if a few of the engineers that write this stuff actually had to work with it in the field??? :shock: :shock: :shock:

'course that'll never happen!! :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:


roflmao!!!!!

ripbme
09-10-2009, 02:23 PM
Hey ya'all!

I'm Paul, originally from Montana, but now I live in Hillsboro, Orygun. My wife and I bought our first house this spring and now we are excited about getting it decorated for Halloween and Christmas. I just started reading the forum and the Wiki a couple of weeks ago and doing some research, read slacking off at work, on line about animating lights. I look forward to reading more info and hopefully sharing my lighting experience.

Paul

Macrosill
09-10-2009, 02:30 PM
Welcome aboard! Nice to have you here.

Wayne J
09-10-2009, 04:06 PM
Hope you enjoy your first year!

dirknerkle
09-10-2009, 05:53 PM
Hope you enjoy your first year!

By the way, Wayne didn't imply that the first year was hard, or that ensuing years won't be enjoyable...:lol:

This is a GREAT place and you'll have a LOT of enjoyment from DIYC!!!

Welcome!

-dave

jukingeo
11-03-2009, 03:31 PM
Hello all,

I am Geo and I pretty much have been getting around on the internet pretty well since I first hopped on in 1996. I met my wife on-line shortly thereafter and in 2007 we have added two additions to the family in the form of twin boys that are almost 3 years old now.

I don't like to give out my age, but let's just say I am not a spring chicken anymore (which kind of means I am past my 30's). I love Italian food and lately it has been showing on my mid-section as I am sporting a John Deere tractor tire that I take with me everywhere. The tire comes in handy as a makeshift trampoline for my boys. It also comes in handy for the occasional "Skadoosh" if my path happens to be blocked :).

I have quite a few interests and some of my hobbies include:

1) jukeboxes (hence my screen name)
2) antique radios
3) amusement parks (roller coasters & dark rides)
4) model trains (n-scale)
5) experimenting with electronic circuits (mostly computer control)
6) vacuum tube amplifiers & sound.
7) steam trains & ships

(there are others too, but these are the big ones).

My two favorite holidays are Halloween and Christmas. And after a long lapse of not doing much decorating the past 7 years, I am not returning to doing something for the holidays. In fact I just came from a successful build for Halloween and now I am looking on to what I can do for Christmas.

After seeing the many 'music sync lights' videos on You Tube, I figured I would take a bash at it myself. I know I am going to use Vixen for the program, but as of now I am still deciding on a controller. I did make a post here in regards to that.

Getting started here, I wanted to search for some information on my own, but for some reason, I couldn't get a search function to come up. Does this forum have one? I sure hope so, otherwise I would be asking many questions that perhaps were addressed already.

Anyway, that's it for my intro. See you on the boards!

Geo

dirknerkle
11-03-2009, 03:44 PM
Jukingeo, welcome to DIYC!

We're glad to have you! This is an amazing community of people who are really smart (me excluded), clever (me excluded) and helpful (ditto...).

There is a search tool -- you'll find it above the banner in between "new posts" and "quick links."

Keep us posted how you're coming along and from time to time, if you have questions on how to do something, safety, or what-have-you, just post it somewhere in an appropriate thread, sit back and wait for the replies. They'll be quick and generally, you'll see a lot of them... ;)

-dave

jukingeo
11-04-2009, 08:42 AM
Jukingeo, welcome to DIYC!

We're glad to have you! This is an amazing community of people who are really smart (me excluded), clever (me excluded) and helpful (ditto...).

There is a search tool -- you'll find it above the banner in between "new posts" and "quick links."

Hello Dave,

Yeah, I found out the search button doesn't show up unless you are signed in. So once signed in, there it was.

I actually came over from the Computer Music forum. Supposedly there doesn't seem to be that much action over there. I am surprised! I created two posts two days ago and still have not had one reply. But I saw many references to Do It Yourself Christmas there and decided to come over here. Glad I did!




Keep us posted how you're coming along and from time to time, if you have questions on how to do something, safety, or what-have-you, just post it somewhere in an appropriate thread, sit back and wait for the replies. They'll be quick and generally, you'll see a lot of them... ;)

-dave

Well, as you already responded to my posts, you know my main issue right now is selecting a controller system, so I have to get that issue out of the way first.

Basically for my project this year I am not going to go crazy. I just intend to get single lighted items (such as candy canes or web lights for the bushes). Dealing with a single item on each channel should help me out with the programming so I don't end up confusing myself.

Geo

dirknerkle
11-04-2009, 11:30 AM
Basically for my project this year I am not going to go crazy.

Geo


If you succeed at doing that, you will be the first one here who hasn't completely lost his marbles. Most of us are long-gone... :lol:

One of the DIYC gang decided to put in a bigger mega-tree this year, so he bought a 70-foot transmitting tower and mounted it in his driveway!!! (Frank, I know you're listening... any new photos?)

Anyway, welcome again!

jukingeo
11-19-2009, 10:28 AM
If you succeed at doing that, you will be the first one here who hasn't completely lost his marbles. Most of us are long-gone... :lol:

Well, in terms of this year, I have a cap on both time and money. So I can't really go crazy even if I wanted to.

I don't think I would ever do things of 'Griswald' proportions though.

With time being against me as of now, I am only programming 12 of the 16 channels I originally intended to use.

My show is mainly centered around 8 candy canes and then I have four support channels in the form of 3 bushes and a string of lights on the house. I do have a 13th channel that I did program into two of my songs in the event I get a "twinkle" LED string so I can have a 'flash' effect. I was told to use strobes, but that is prohibitively expensive right now. So I might not use the 'flash' channel this year. Mini-bulb flash strings will not work because they rely on temperature (the bulbs only flash when they are warm). So you can't trigger them from an outside source.




One of the DIYC gang decided to put in a bigger mega-tree this year, so he bought a 70-foot transmitting tower and mounted it in his driveway!!! (Frank, I know you're listening... any new photos?)

Anyway, welcome again!

Yeah...I would consider that as "over-riched" in my book. I don't need anything that is 4 times the height of my house. I am not fond of ladders or high places and I sure wouldn't want to climb up 70feet to find a bad bulb in a light string. I usually stop at the gutter line (or fascia) of of a single story house.

The house is on a corner lot though and there is plenty of lawn space. Power is of an issue though and if I ever went to that extreme, I certainly would have to use mostly LED strings.

Geo

Vintage15
11-19-2009, 06:13 PM
Hey everyone!
Im new here to the forum today. I just wanted to introduce myself! I can't wait for Christmas! 35 days and counting!

dirknerkle
11-19-2009, 06:46 PM
Welcome to DIYC! This is a GREAT place and you'll find many, many folks here who share a common interest... er... obsession (?) with Christmas lights!

Glad to have you here!

-dave

elec5765
11-20-2009, 03:04 PM
I'm new to this stuff, I think i want to direct connect to my ssr's this year then really get into maybe an olsen controller next year. The only problem is I'm not really sure how to do the direct connect, could anybody help!!!!

ripbme
11-20-2009, 03:21 PM
Yeah, I'm having a good time. I just wish some of you guys would move to Oregon!

dirknerkle
11-20-2009, 04:26 PM
I'm new to this stuff, I think i want to direct connect to my ssr's this year then really get into maybe an olsen controller next year. The only problem is I'm not really sure how to do the direct connect, could anybody help!!!!

Welcome to DIYC!

You'll need *something* between the computer and the SSRs if for no other reason to protect the computer from possible reverse voltage/current. There's a lot more than meets the eye -- what SSRs do you have? Do you have a picture or schematic of them?

There are a LOT of people here who are glad to lend a helping hand -- right now everybody is scurrying around trying to get their lights up, controllers working, sequencing music and lights, and some still building, so any specific information you can provide about your need will be met with a much more definite answer than I can give here!!!

But again, welcome!
-dave

dirknerkle
11-20-2009, 04:27 PM
Yeah, I'm having a good time. I just wish some of you guys would move to Oregon!

LOL... some of us probably are banned from your state! HAH!

elec5765
11-23-2009, 09:55 AM
Thanks for the welcome, I think since it's so late in the season I will just use the Mr.Christmas hack and the after the season is over I can put more effort into building a new system maybe using an olsen controller. I'll keep a watch on the site for info. Thanks again and have a great season.

dirknerkle
11-23-2009, 12:58 PM
Thanks for the welcome, I think since it's so late in the season I will just use the Mr.Christmas hack and the after the season is over I can put more effort into building a new system maybe using an olsen controller. I'll keep a watch on the site for info. Thanks again and have a great season.

Whatever you decide to do, be sure to take pictures, write the steps down that you used, and SHARE-SHARE-SHARE!!!

The Mr. Christmas hack has good value -- and there's no telling where something like that can go! DIYC is a fantastic place to share your DIY experiences, and part of the beauty of this is that creative minds often scavenge ideas out of the most seemingly innocuous situations, combine them with other ideas and suddenly, a whole new setup comes up!

There are NO dumb questions or stupid efforts here and experimentation is what it's all about. Hmmm... let me rephrase that a little... SAFE experimentation is what it's all about ;). After all, we are working with potentially lethal electrical current!!!

Hope to see your postings pop up here often! Merry Christmas!

SnowFlakess
11-25-2009, 07:46 PM
Hello Everyone! I'm new here and wanted to drop a line in this thread and say hi! I hail from the West Coast. Happy Holidays!

Ronp
11-25-2009, 08:03 PM
Welcome to DIYC

wbuehler
12-06-2009, 07:49 PM
Welcome

Bill

micklejohn
12-09-2009, 08:49 AM
Hello friends,

I have just joining this community.I am very glad to be here and have all other members.I hope that we will have healthy discussion and latest information sharing regarding to related topics.I hope for a nice time in future.

Ronp
12-09-2009, 09:21 AM
Welcome to diyc
we always have some good discussions going on, the healthy part well we will try... lol

yarnos
12-09-2009, 09:53 AM
I'm John,I live in the land of down under (Australia), My wife and I have been driving our little toddlers around the suburbs browsing at all the christmas displays and noticed no displays had any light animations to music.I began doing the GOOGLE thing searching for light chasers and noticed how expensive it was. I then started reading the forum and the Wiki a couple of days ago and doing some research, and this forum nailed every issue down to a tee ( a bit of ozzy lingo :rolleyes:) )

I look forward hanging out here and learning from the best :shock:

dirknerkle
12-09-2009, 09:58 AM
Yarnos, welcome to DIYC!

You'll have a BLAST here! The Christmas Wiki is a great place to start -- a nice beginner's guide is there that can help you formulate your display thoughts.

And there's an unlimited supply of technical talent just waiting to be shared (although not by me -- I have no skills, no smarts, and according to 'former friends,' no life either since I got into this hobby!)

HAH!

Merry Christmas!

kydevildogmark
12-09-2009, 12:13 PM
Hello All,

My name is Sam Caudill I currently reside in my birthstate of Kentucky. I moved back to Kentucky after completing my contract in the United States Marines, and I have always wanted to be the next "Clark Griswold". Some of the things you guys have done is amazing and hopefully I will capable of having a house that is close to the same as you. Thanks for welcoming me in.

Ronp
12-09-2009, 12:17 PM
welcome sam and thank you for your service.
all you need is alittle imagination and lots of time you can build anything here.
There are lots of members that will help you along the way just ask and we will help.

kydevildogmark
12-09-2009, 12:22 PM
Trust me imagination wont be aproblem.:D

dirknerkle
12-09-2009, 01:04 PM
Trust me imagination wont be aproblem.:D

Maybe not... but lack of self-restraint may be!!!

(It's a common malady of DIYC-members... :lol:)

Welcome to the hobby that has no end, Sam! And yes, thank you very much for your service to our country!

Merry Christmas!

-dave

JEEPGUY
12-09-2009, 02:13 PM
Sam,

Welcome to the board, cousin Griswold! I'm glad you indicated your name because I don't think I can spell kydevildogmark unless I cut and paste it from your username.

kydevildogmark
12-09-2009, 02:25 PM
Easy history Jeep Guy. In WW1 the nickname came about from the Germans calling the US Marines Tueful Hunden " Devil Dog ". I am originally from Kentucky "KY" and my middle ame is Marcus " Mark" hence the name LOL. It was something that came about one day. Thanks Guys for you support. Yea as long as I can shove my lights down my neighbors throat it will work. We have a friendly rivalry and I am going for blood.:D

macebobo
12-14-2009, 12:06 AM
Hello Fellow Light Addicts, Artists and Lurkers,

I started this year with a simple 8 string animated Christmas tree using an mbed controller and huge SSRs (overkill really, but I had them on hand.) Here is a video of my tree in action

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/2Peh5GcIzgo&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/2Peh5GcIzgo&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

Next year I might make every light on the tree addressable and do some really cool stuff, if I don't get caught up in the outdoor stuff too much.

I am buying an older version of the Renard 64 from a co-worker, along with 16 SSR boards, later this week (12/15/2009). I am planning to animate my first outdoor display in 2010 and have a lot to learn and do between now and then. Eventually, I think my house and property could use ~256 to ~384 channels, time and my addiction level will tell.

I started building electronics as a part time hobby back in the 80's and am looking forward to having fun building, testing, programming and planning my display.

I am a computer programmer working for the State of Oregon, USA and hope to use these skills to help my display (Oh, how I wish Vixen was open source - the things we could do!) - If the Vixen developer ever wants some help testing, coding or QA, please IM me, I would love to see what is under the hood! :D

Merry Christmas Everyone, I hope Santa is kind to you this year!

Take care, say "Hi" sometime and have fun,
John (AKA MacEBoBo)

dirknerkle
12-14-2009, 12:28 AM
Nice job! And in the true "do-it-yourself" spirit! That's what we're all about!

Welcome to DIYC!!!

If Christmas lights is your thing, inside or out, this is the right place. The Christmas Wiki (in the menu bar) is a great place to get a lot of really good background and practical information, and of course, make yourself known by posting thoughts and questions!!!

Merry Christmas!

Whipper
12-16-2009, 02:19 AM
Ok, here I am. Once I realized I could DIY for 1/8 or less the cost of a commercial device, I'm all in. I have been "viewing" a lot of the Wiki and HOw toos from many of the websites for DIY. I have one basic question. When ordering boards, like the 595, it is just the board and I have to buy the parts separate when I'm not doing a Co-Op? Ok 2 questions, when would normal Co_ops start for 2010?:D

51fordf2
12-16-2009, 11:27 AM
Whipper - welcome!

Yes, you can save some green over the commercial offerings, but I look at it that I can have LOTS more show, for the same money...

The coops come in many shapes and sizes. Quite a few of the boards are "stocked" year around by several people on the forums. These tend to be the more 'common' boards, SSR's, etc. Some of the other boards are made 'on demand', so to speak - as there's enough group interest to have a bunch made up. When that happens, it's a group buy, or a coop. And often, if the boards are going to be fabricated, it's offered as a group buy, including the parts, to take advantage of a volume discount. Sometimes it's the person running the boards coop, sometimes a different person.

It can be confusing...I see you are reading the Wiki's, etc. Great idea! You can get a pretty good idea how you'd like to grow your display, and begin there. Learn all you can, how you want to proceed, and be ready when the coops begin. They seem to start around March or April, with a lot heavier action around summer. Read the coop rules, and you'll undertand why some things happen as they do. Be patient - I wasn't, but I wasn't alone -it's hard NOT to be, after you've decided to take the plunge.

One comment From my own personal experience, perhaps totally worthless - be realistic your first year. I went very big, 256 channels, and did manage to pull it off. But, I pretty much worked on it daily since February, and barely finished. Of course, I DID etch most of my own boards, and some other time consuming things, but everything does tent to take longer than expected. If I did it again, I would plan a basic dispay, that could be built in stages, so that whatever was done, come November, I would be able to set up whatever was ready. The Renard's lend themselves to that - build as you go, so to speak - you can add locations and channels almost at will. But all the differnt ways are great, and what you end up with, will jump out at you.

cypsplace
12-18-2009, 02:51 PM
Hello

Let me introduce myself, My wife and I (AnnaMarie and Gary). We have been Christmas light enthusiasts for a long time, Since Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation first came to the big screen. We reside in Citrus Hieghts California. We have four kids, and a new granddaughter. We first saw, as many did the Youtube video a couple of years back of the infamous lights to TSO music, and wondered ever since how we could incorporate it to our own decor. We have not yet implemented it, even though my wife and I come from technical backgrounds, she is a Electrician, and I am in the computer field. We just have not found the appropriate tools untill recently when we stopped to talk to a fellow member of yours here in the Sacramento Area. I know were to late for this year to get the necessary tools, but would like to start gaining the knowledge and hardware for next year. We look forward to meeting and talking to you all.

Merry Christmas,

Gary

dirknerkle
12-18-2009, 02:55 PM
Gary,

Welcome to DIYC! You have found the right place. And with your bride's background coupled with yours, well... you have the makings of somethat that will be sight to behold!!!

DIYC has an ample cadre of enthusiasts who are anxious to help in any way that they can. Everyone will likely point you to reading the Christmas Wiki information (the link near the top of the screen) and there's a terrific section for "beginners" to this wild and crazy -- and wonderful and rewarding -- hobby.

And never be afraid to ask a question in a posting or via PM (personal message) to another member. There are no dumb questions -- only questions that need answers.

Merry Christmas to you, and again, Welcome!

-dave

budude
12-18-2009, 03:16 PM
Hey Gary - welcome - - good to see another CA'er here - I'm from San Jose myself.

abstractannie
12-20-2009, 08:38 PM
Hello,
My name is Annette, yes its a girl!!!! So don't run away now, stick around!! I have been tearing things apart ever since I was 13, and learned along side my cousins how to work on cars, wiring, radios, stereos, etc. I love it and learned about computers in the days of DOS, so, hey, I know a little. It was not what I got a degree in, sorry.

I have always loved christmas lights and did the big lights in the house. The past couple years I have been recovering from a car accident, but am looking forward to getting back into decorating again with a "VENGENCE". I don't want to buy a dang system someone else made that they bumped up the price on and I can't have the joy of building myself.

So, I have read alot so far and will be reading more. I will have lots of questions, Im sure. Please don't run away because I'm a girl, I am just as happy to be on here as anyone else. No one in my area has any light programs period and I would like to be the first in this part of town. We have so many poor people who would love this and if I can bring a smile to a childs face who has so little at home, then that would be great.
Thanks in advance for your help,
Annette:)

WireWrap
12-20-2009, 09:56 PM
Welcome to the madhouse, Annette. You'll find a few others of the fair gender scattered around here, but ALL the residents are afflicted with the Blinky-Flashy madness.

So be warned. If it was your intent to sanely look into this hobby, you're already lost. It's addictive, compulsive... MADDENING, I say!

So Welcome aboard!!;)


:)

abstractannie
12-20-2009, 10:15 PM
I grew up with the "Blinky Lights" madness from my uncle, Dad and cousin's(Family). My cousin does a great spread in Waldorf, MD and he is wanting to do something with a light show, but is "Scared" to explore. Hahahahahahah, not me. He starts to grip about speakers, wires, blah, blah, blah. I look at it as fun. He puts out bikes with lights and displays he made himself, take the jump.

Yeah, Im loving it, doing all the research, Im hooked. Mainline please!!!

cypsplace
12-21-2009, 05:57 PM
hey,

Saw your website, like the lights and your itemization of what spent, phew! I'm a newbie
and am in the learning phase, thank God my wifes an electrician!

Gary

eroberts
12-22-2009, 07:56 PM
Anybody notice that the frapper map http://www.frappr.com/?a=constellation_map&mapid=68719618061 is about to expire?

Wayne J
12-22-2009, 10:07 PM
Anybody notice that the frapper map http://www.frappr.com/?a=constellation_map&mapid=68719618061 is about to expire?

I will get on that. ;)

yosemite
12-23-2009, 01:09 PM
Hello,
My name is sam and I live in central Michigan.
I am totally new to this type of display and will probably ask for a lot of guidence. I have put light displays for years but nothing animated.
I average less than 10,000 lights and planning to move into this slowly.
I 've had the addiction before but not the time. It looks like I have a year to get something together.

Is there a good place to start on the site to learn the basics and terminoligy ?

51fordf2
12-23-2009, 01:18 PM
Hello,
My name is sam and I live in central Michigan.

Is there a good place to start on the site to learn the basics and terminoligy ?

Sam, welcome!

The best place to start is the Wiki, just follow the link at the top of the page. Go through all of it, and it will answer most of your questions. Then go from there...and enjoy!!

R

barryiseeu
12-25-2009, 07:18 PM
Hello!! been looking around for several years -- have always had small to medium static display, but i am ready to make to leap to the next step, Animated displays for next year. In rural Oklahoma, I am looking for information on automation -- have been looking at the Grinch, I will be a couple of hundred feet from the house for my display, and need to have remote control. Any information or suggestions would be a great help!

barry

dirknerkle
12-26-2009, 12:53 AM
Welcome to DIYC, and Merry Christmas!!!

The best place to start is the Christmas Wiki (link at the top of the page). There's a terrific beginner section there, and it can help you formulate ideas. It sounds like you already have a couple ideas -- the Grinch, etc. If your display is further away from the house however, you may consider looking at Renard because it may serve you better when the distance to the display is a long ways. Communication to a Renard is by RS485 which can go up to several thousand feet. Communication to a Grinch is generally a lot shorter than that because it uses the parallel port. However, a Ren-C converter added to a Grinch can make it into a Renard (more-or-less) and that's a viable option too...

Keep asking questions!!!

-dave

Ekuth
12-26-2009, 03:01 AM
*waves*

Chris, living in the wonderful sunny land of Arizona... Apache Junction, to be specific.

Ran across the site by accident, read some, modded my Mr. Christmas and now I WANT MORE!

I'm already having dreams of dimmable strands...

trentsketch
12-26-2009, 10:30 PM
Hello hello. I'm Robert from NJ and I'm big on DIY decorations. My primary concern is that October holiday, though this year I pushed myself to at least start a decent Christmas display of my own.

I'm not big into the massive lighting schemes. I prefer to think of myself as a green designer, using as much recycled matter as possible for my designs and finding energy efficient alternatives to lights all over the yard.

Some past work for my family:
Cutouts of Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (http://www.flickr.com/photos/trentsketch/sets/72157610410463471/)

A Disney Snow Scene (http://s143.photobucket.com/albums/r151/trentsketch/Christmas%202009/?action=view&current=December-05_1013.jpg)

And my designs. The elves and workshop are extra hdf I had lying around that never got painted for Halloween, the platform for the presents cobbled together from an abandoned computer desk, the X-ING sign a butcher board and scrap 1x3, and the presents cardboard boxes covered in monster mud. Everything is amply covered in glitter to catch the light of a single LED flood in the front yard rather than individually lighting everything. It worked better than I expected, though I still need to tweak some things. For a month's work: not too bad.

Elf X-ING (http://s143.photobucket.com/albums/r151/trentsketch/Christmas%202009/?action=view&current=December-06_1404.jpg)

Present Stack (http://s143.photobucket.com/albums/r151/trentsketch/Christmas%202009/?action=view&current=December-06_1402.jpg)

Santa's Workshop (http://s143.photobucket.com/albums/r151/trentsketch/Christmas%202009/?action=view&current=December-20_1414.jpg)

Night 1 (http://s143.photobucket.com/albums/r151/trentsketch/Christmas%202009/?action=view&current=December-23_1424.jpg)

Night 2 (http://s143.photobucket.com/albums/r151/trentsketch/Christmas%202009/?action=view&current=December-23_1422.jpg)

Build photos and more detail shots available at the Photobucket Album (http://s143.photobucket.com/albums/r151/trentsketch/Christmas%202009/).

And I spent today going from store to store, picking up whatever clearance supplies I could to have at the ready for next year's build: lights, garlands, wreaths, bells, glitter, etc. And supplies for the Halloween tree I received for Christmas.

Jrd
12-31-2009, 02:40 PM
Hello Everyone,

My name is Ricky and I am new here (obviously) although I have already done some posting here I thought I should introduce myself since I plan on being pretty active this year if I am able to afford the parts and tools needed to get going this year.

I have read through alot of the wiki (not sure if I have read enough to say 'most' yet) and I am pretty sure I know what configuration I want to use so I will be posting my own thread with questions soon.

Merry after Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone! :)

dirknerkle
01-12-2010, 11:40 AM
I thought we might be able to use one of these so I thought I would make one. Just come on here and introduce yourself.Hi... I am Daine. I love video games, movies, and the other stuff most people like.I also play sports. I am looking forward to a great Community, Now you introduce yourself.

Daine, Welcome to DIYC. I'm sure we have a great many video game enthusiasts here, but most of the information here is focused on a special kind of video game -- one you construct yourself out of Christmas lights. If Christmas light displays is interesting to you, a great place to get started is at the Christmas Wiki (link in the menu above). There's a terrific "beginners" section there, and it's highly recommended.

Welcome to the "video game" that has no end!

omzig
01-12-2010, 01:17 PM
I think that Diane is a spammer (commercial link in her sig).