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Thread: My 2011 and how/why I failed

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Baulkham Hills, NSW
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    Default Re: My 2011 and how/why I failed

    Last night I built two new mini tree prototypes I am building for some relatives. They are far from finished, they are not sequenced, as they still use the shop fitted flash box. Personally I think the they are only 50% there.
    But 2 neighbours swung by and noticed them and commented how good they looked and sure hoped tp see more next year. when I explained they weren't for me, but were intended for gifts, both commented how wonderful it would be to have some just the way they were.
    I saw an unfinished prototypes.
    They saw an Mini trees you can't buy in the shops, they loved the colours, they loved the shape and size. They didn't care the string spacing wasn't perfect.

    Everyone loves my Mega tree. I look at and see strings that aren't straight, a 3D star with two pointers not working.

    I am sure we all have similar stories.
    I know it is difficult, but don't be so hard on yourself.
    Matt

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    Baulkolites.com is going to close - my new site is MyNoelLights.com

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Bairnsdale, Victoria , Australia
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    Default Re: My 2011 and how/why I failed

    Just too add another story.
    I started 4 years ago with 1 8 channel paralell relay board I scavenged from an old alarm system a few mods and I was up and running with 8 rope lights strung around my house.
    Year 2 I increased my channel count to 14 with a second scavenged card , only 6 working channels from 8 on the card. My wife loved the click click click sound every 15ms
    Year 3 I went to a Ren64 board built in late november and managed to achieve 32 channels by christmas eve mostly blue and white led strings
    Year 4 (2011) I jumped to 232 channels on 4 Ren64 cards with 60 DCSSR's , mostly RGB that I started designing and building display items in January. I planned everything down to using RJ11 plugs and sockets to make setup easy , Luckily I had 1 week off work late November as it took me 9 days to set up everything . All the little things I missed , RJ11 extension leads (bad idea btw) , a power supply dying due to 1 faulty wire that was shorting an the only power supply that I didnt have a spare for, DCSSR's getting wet and shorting spasmodically untill I solved that, a PIC on 1 Ren board dying for no apparent reason (6 hrs wasted diagnosing) and a heap of other small things.
    Sequencing well lets not go there, my first experience with 232 channels took 30 + hours for 1 song.
    I stood out the front and went s**t , Arch 3 Section 4 blue is not working, Mini Arch 2 Section 2 Red is out , Eave lights has one blown red pixel . In the mean time all my neighbours and friends are going WOW that looks awesome.

    We all look at its not perfect but as said earlier we are the only ones that notice the flaws as we know what it should be doing
    2012 Plans
    1 J1Sys ECG-P12R Controller and 2 ECG-P2 Controllers
    1 [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve3WkB5TX5U&list=UUbcH2uH27u4rBn63opFisvQ&index=8&feature=plcp"]Pixel Megatree[/URL] (Finished)
    3 Pixel Arches replacing my 2011 clear arches (cant decide on design)
    20 x [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K3xghO4els&list=UUbcH2uH27u4rBn63opFisvQ&index=1&feature=plcp"]3D Mini Trees[/URL]
    40 x [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00WYHIu0s6E&list=UUbcH2uH27u4rBn63opFisvQ&index=1&feature=plcp"]Mini Roof Stars[/URL] (Finished)
    [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=475x10tQ4pI&list=UUbcH2uH27u4rBn63opFisvQ&index=10&feature=plcp"]Columns[/URL] (Qty to be decided)
    Pixels Pixels Pixels

    2011
    [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSAgi4SZxp8"]3 x RGB arches[/URL]
    6 x [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4dOhYaGhZM&feature=channel_video_title"]RGB Window Display Trees[/URL]
    2 x [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1ZWdmwvCAk&feature=channel_video_title"]RGB Window Display Bells[/URL]
    6 x [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTuSFFVHYHg"]RGb Window stars[/URL]
    5 X [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMOEEZUSY4s"]Mini arches RGB[/URL]
    [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WQYu6ylfhE&feature=related"]1 x RGB Bethlehem Star[/URL]
    14metres of [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNcPZfj1fWE&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL"]Eave Lights[/URL]

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Ocoee, FL
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    Post Re: My 2011 and how/why I failed

    I sweated the small stuff and was well on the path first year of being wayyy to hard on myself. A great man once said, "Just have fun! If you're not having fun,... What's the point? That was Mr. Holdman himself. From that moment on, that's what I did. That's all I did. Joel is so right about only you knowing the small stuff. In the end if I can see the enjoyment in the little ones eyes, its all worth it. ;)

    Leon
    [url]http://www.vixenlights.com/download/vixen_2(2)/banners/vixensig256.gif[/url]
    [url=http://sawmillchristmas.com]sawmillchristmas.com[/url]

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Seattle WA
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    Default Re: My 2011 and how/why I failed

    Agree with everyone, don't be hard on yourself. But, be sure you remember everything. This is the point in time where you can look back and identify what worked and what didn't. What took half the time you expected (is there such a thing?) and what took 5x the time.

    Every year, before I start to break down the display, I walk around with a video camera and look at the entire display. Is anything looking worn out? Was this light not working correctly? Are the cords laying here a problem? Then, I save the video file for review later in the summer. I've found it makes a huge difference as I strive for improvements to the display every year.

    The great thing about this hobby/obsession/unpaid-career, at least what I've found, is that we're all basically judged by our efforts and by our best moments. People forget that one section of your display failed, or something fell apart, or any other catastrophe. While we have our own standards by which we judge ourselves, the rest of the world is simply grateful for our efforts.
    [SIZE=3][FONT=Verdana][COLOR=#FF0000][/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][HR][/HR][COLOR=#990000][SIZE=3][FONT=Verdana]
    [/FONT][FONT=verdana] Seattle, WA | [url]www.greenlakechristmas.com[/url][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR]

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    SLC, UT
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    Default Re: My 2011 and how/why I failed

    I agree that you shouldn't be hard on yourself, that you should be having fun, and that you're the only one that knows what they display should look like. But on the other hand, we all need to learn from the "mistakes" from ourselves and others here at DIYC. A lot of the frustration and discouragement comes from not planing ahead having realistic expectations. You can't expect to have a great looking display if you don't start early enough to finish everything. I find myself every year thinking that I needed to start a little earlier so I have more time to actually sequence my songs. And every year, I have to leave out 1 or 2 songs because I don't have time. "Just start earlier" is something easy to say right now, but next season always comes sooner than you expect. And if you're going to be using Vixen 3.0, you will not be able to use any of the sequences that you've already make. All I can say is start earlier to avoid as much of the last minute rush as possible.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Boones Mill,VA
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    Default Re: My 2011 and how/why I failed

    Well, I don't think we have the software to do RGB yeah but, with vixen 3 on the way,it should make high light counts much easier to do. No pressure KC. (if it is not ready I may wait till 2013).
    2 (Renard 64) done
    3 (Renard 24 HV) done
    1 (Renard 48) done
    6 (Renard 16 SS) done
    1 (Renard 64) to build
    16 (SSR EZ) to build
    2 (mighty mini)done
    408 channels

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Placerville, CA
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    Default Re: My 2011 and how/why I failed

    Well I have the same sob story here. I only managed to get a RGBW mega-tree together (16 channels), two 20' arches (16 channels), 7 white mini-trees + RGB on one (10 channels), and one white yard light pole (1 channel) under Vixen control before I gave up trying to add more stuff. I did have other lights up (including a string of 50 GECE on the house and some other self animated items). I managed to get ZERO songs sequenced, but I did have the lights running a fixed sequence trying out different effects every night as I tried different things and if I liked it, it stayed in the sequence. I was happy with the results and the direction I am headed (and got the wife bought into the idea) but I have a long way to go to get to what I have in mind (double the mega tree channels, add another arch, add snowflakes, add the FAST tubes, add a Holdman star to the mega, get all the other elements under Vixen control, etc.). I had a BALL doing it and I got good comments from the neighbors so full steam ahead for next year!!
    [I][SIZE=2]"Beam me up Scotty, there are only limited pockets of intelligent life on this planet!!"[/SIZE][/I]
    Communicating humor in a text only medium is an art form subject to imprecise interpretation by the audience...

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Fremont, CA
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    Default Re: My 2011 and how/why I failed

    My first year as well. Crazy how sequencing seems to always fall last in the to do list. I had aimed to do it in the middle of 2011 after getting in the GB for the Ren24SS from James. I remember thinking "Ok first year I only need 48 channels" Then Chris puts the ren64 up for a GB. "Oh I gotta get that too" went through my mind. DMX vs Ren Protocol, getting the dongle just as a backup. the DIYC flood lights GB later on. the strobes GB

    And I still don't have the most essential parts of the display, the Lights. The few lights I did have only went on the tree inside. Waiting till they were put on shelves to see how much I could buy. Having my wife buy some here and there every week or so. Going to the 24hr Walmart @ 2am, after work, to buy $25 worth off lights.

    It wasn't till almost thanksgiving did I start to sequence. I started to put up lights on the house the weekend after thanksgiving, without power. That's when I started to notice I need a lot more lights to just wrap a tree trunk. thinking 1 strand would be enough. almost $3 a pop for 100ct incans., started to really add up. I tried to get stuff to a second story window only to find out my "Little Giant" ladder only gets to the middle of the window. scratch that idea, move the lights to the trim decoration(fake deck) that is right under window.

    With no songs sequenced yet, I had some stuff connected and started with just having the lights blink on and off, fade and chase of one side of the house to the other. Add 2 arches, later on. Add some 3 color MiniTrees. All the while calling/texting my wife @ 5:30pm to ask her if the lights were on. Working nights while trying to do blinky flashy is tough. Luckily I read the thread about remote windows and TeamViewer. That saved a lot of the nights from just being a dark house on the street. I would find the dreaded COMport error sometimes. The lights were supposed to come on @ 5:30 and off @ 9pm. I'd come home at night @ 1-2am to find that the lights were frozen in a sequence because of the comport error.

    I had finally gone live the weekend before Christmas, put up "Tune To..." Banner... Later to find it was in a dark spot and couldn't be read. So put a string of LEDS around it. Something happened to 2 of the 4 DIYCfloods I have. Only half of the house colored.

    I was happy when my neighbor across the street asked if I wanted a trophy, because I outdid the whole street. My wife said she was proud of what I accomplished and the work I put into it.

    But in my mind still not satisfied with the end results. Only 63 of the 128 channels available to me. needs more color, needs some things to be static I think. If I wasn't afraid of heights I would want to add lights under the eaves of the roof. The highest peak I think is 30ft from the driveway that slopes down.

    Just needed more time and $$$. 2011 was also the year my baby twin girls got Baptized, a party of their 1st birthday, my oldest having her 5th birthday. My wife's brother getting married (my wife and I, made candle chandeliers for the reception, silkscreen place mats, making bouquets for the bridesmaids, boutonnieres for the groomsmen, invitations too)

    My wife just saw a spiral megatree on youtube and wants to add to the display... Guess I'll be adding that to my list next year. and she wants candy canes too...

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Savannah, GA
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    Default Re: My 2011 and how/why I failed

    Tory, just adding my "ditto" here to both your post and everyone's responses. I stand in front of my display and find every little fault, my wife just stands in amazement. I see the technical details and she sees the colors and the motion. We, the builders and creaters, can't see the forest because of all of the darn trees, but everyone else sees and enjoys the beauty.

    Yes, the sequencing of large numbers of RGB pixels is challenging and daunting, but the tools we need are coming. Vixen 3, maybe LSP, when it becomes more stable/usable, are just around the corner for us. I know that what we want is possible, look at Madrix, for example, we just need to get it down to our price range. Even xLights may get new features added to support sequencing, etc.

    You haven't failed! You have learned much from the other DIYCers and you have also shared with and helped others on here like me. So if having fun, becoming freinds with others, and bringing smiles and joy to strangers is "failing" - here's to me failing just like you next year!

  10. #20
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    Nov 2008
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    Kernersville, NC
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    Default Re: My 2011 and how/why I failed

    And I'll add one more "ditto" to both the comments and the experience.

    I've been doing animated for at least 4-5 years. Last year was the "go RGB" year, and I built several controllers (Ren48LSDs, E680). Also changed the frames I put on the house to outline areas, and added 4 segment RGB columns or verticals. Spent too much time building, and not enough time sequencing. Add to that some health related issues starting in September that sapped my energy and motivation, and you get lots of cool colors but little sequencing. But that's how it goes, and you move on.

    One good outcome of this is that my wife is back to wanting to help sequence. We've also decided on small changes to lock in the display components now, and not overbuild or change too much.

    So don't lose hope, Tory, and keep it fun!
    Mark
    Kernersville, NC
    www.christmasinapplegate.com

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