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View Full Version : What it takes to bring your block to life



tweist
05-18-2010, 05:13 PM
After over 20 hours of soldering parts, I have completed the assembly and initial testing of the control system for the block. This year I will be controlling 14 houses. Most of the houses will only have 16 channels, but that should be more than they need. Mine of course is a different animal.
We will be pushing the limits of the REN-W and REN64's. Each house will be recieving one REN-W and one REN64. If anyone is really interested, let me know and I will show you how I am doing it.

plasmata
05-18-2010, 05:51 PM
C'mon tweist, did you really think no one would ask? :rolleyes: Please give us the details on the configuration. I'd also like to know how far the ren-w's are capable of receiving.

tweist
05-18-2010, 07:37 PM
Here is the basic layout, but we have since had two more homes that would like to get in on it this year, so the total as of today will be 14 homes.

If you would like to see our first try at this last year, check out the following Youtube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOHABRvNFHQ

Enjoy.

plasmata
05-18-2010, 08:27 PM
Wow! That is impressive. I bet the hardest part was getting everyone to buy into it. You can't get 12 people to agree on anything these days. So does everyone do their own wiring or does that fall on you?

tweist
05-19-2010, 09:44 AM
It is a team effort, and yes the entire neighborhood gets in on it. We really have a lot of fun doing it. All the neighbors have to do is put up there lights and not plug them in. One other neighbor and I go around to each house, check the amount of current each circuit needs( so we don't overload an SSR channel) and then we plug them in to the proper channels. It is really fun to see 30 people standing in the middle of the street on thanksgiving night to see the whole thing come to life. It really was not hard to get the neighborhood to buy in on it since it would not cost them anything and we always put up lights anyway. On a side note, it has truly brought the neighbors together. we all talk a lot more now.

kychristmas
05-19-2010, 09:50 AM
Looked pretty good last year. But I'm sure Dirk's Ren-W will make it great. Can't imagine the sequencing. My big addition this year is to try and animate the neighbor's across the street. Their 5 year old loved my display last year and I thought it would be great put a mini-mega and some mini's in their yard. I'm also hoping for a snow ball fight wireframe going across the street.

You might want to budget a Plane ticket for Dirk to come help you configure it! I'm sure California in November will sound great to him :)

yvaliente
05-19-2010, 11:37 AM
Tweist,
I am putting you on my Calender to come by and see your show. I leave in riverside, close to the Tyler Mall. All i can say its IMPRESSIVE to have that many neightbors participating. Programming must be a blast.

XmasInGalt
05-19-2010, 11:43 AM
That is awesome!! You must of had a ton of cars in your neighborhood last year. I wish I lived closer so I could see your 2010 display.

ppohlman
05-19-2010, 02:45 PM
That is going to be wicked awesome.

I bet having the Ren-W available will cut down on a ton of extra cables.

tweist
05-19-2010, 03:13 PM
Thanks all
As for the cars, yes it was very hard to get in the driveway between Dec 18 and Dec 28. The waiting line was all the way down the block, but no one complained because they could hear the music on the radio and see the display all the way down the street.

I will be doing a new video this year for youtube and will let you know when it is out.

As for programming, I had to build a simulator of the block. I got pictures of each house off of google earth, mounted them to some foam board, and then punch a lot of holes to install LED's where the lights would normally be setup. After all the wireing was complete, the sequencing was a lot easier because you could see it move or display at each house. It only took about 35 hours per song to sequence. not to bad.

and yes I am crazy.

IdunBenhad
05-19-2010, 03:59 PM
Hi:
FYI: You can purchase the Xbee XBP24-BSIT-004. It has a power output of 100 mw and is $36.00

The firmware can easily be changed from Znet to Zigbee protocol, which is what the XBP24-ASI-001 uses. Digi has a file that contains all the necessary firmware and instructions on how to flash the module.

With double the power output of the Xbee Pro you are apparently using, it may help you reach more houses!

dirknerkle
05-19-2010, 04:21 PM
I'll chime in real quickly on the XBP24-BSIT-004 radio... doublecheck the frequency it uses. The normal XBPro is 2.4ghz. They also make radios that operate in the 900mhz spectrum. I don't know where the BSIT radio fits in their line but obviously, radios using different frequencies are not going to talk to one another very well, so do your research before you buy!

-dirk

IdunBenhad
05-19-2010, 04:27 PM
Hi:
The XPB24-BSIT-004 is 2.4/2.5 ghz., but Dave is right. Be careful what you buy. I know, I've been through this madness about two times, now.

Below is the data sheet at Digikey.

http://parts.digikey.com/1/parts/1518243-module-xbee-pro-znet-2-5-w-rpsma-xbp24-bsit-004.html

txag2008
05-19-2010, 05:15 PM
As for programming, I had to build a simulator of the block. I got pictures of each house off of google earth, mounted them to some foam board, and then punch a lot of holes to install LED's where the lights would normally be setup.

Wow, that sounds crazy.
Can we see that?

IdunBenhad
05-19-2010, 05:40 PM
Hi:
Looks like I have been misled and was putting out erroneous information on the Xbee modules.

Disregard the thing about the power level. That module is now obsolete and was still only 50 mw.

"Sorry 'bout that!"

barbotte
05-19-2010, 06:24 PM
wow it must be nice to live where you dont have to deal with snow ..rain ..then snow again ... that is very cool stuff
cheer

Hunter310
05-20-2010, 10:12 AM
Tweist,

This is EXACTLY what I want to do for sequencing my house this year....being a newbie and all, my wife wants to "see" what it is going to look like. She wants to be part of it, but when I show the preview of my sequences so far, all she sees is a bunch of square colored boxes flashing (with the picture of the house behind them of course), but the preview lights are not exactly where they should be, may be the wrong color (multi colored lights for example), etc.

What I really want to do is exactly what you did. Take a large street view from Google Earth of my house, put it on foam board, and bring lights in to show what it would look like.

My question is, how exactly did you do this. Again, I am a newbie, so I am still learning every day. How did you create a "string" of LEDs and connect them to the controller? I assume LED is my only choice here, but honestly I don't know.

Thanks for any insight you, or any other DIYC member can give me.

Steve E.



I got pictures of each house off of google earth, mounted them to some foam board, and then punch a lot of holes to install LED's where the lights would normally be setup. After all the wireing was complete, the sequencing was a lot easier because you could see it move or display at each house.

tweist
09-16-2010, 06:25 PM
Steve

Did I ever answer your question? Not sure I ever finished answering it.

If not, search for the thread named "Neighboors asking about syncing the block". It should answer your questions, and if you are still wondering how to convince the wife to do this, just show her the youtube video's under my name.

Let me know if you have anymore questions. and sorry it took so long to get back to you.

Set up begins in 6 weeks.