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Thread: Newbie Guide to Do It Yourself Christmas (DIYC)

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Newbie Guide to Do It Yourself Christmas (DIYC)

    10 - What you will need

    This is a very basic list of the tools you will need to get started. The more you get into things, the more you will need/want. This list is targeted toward the entry-level person who is just getting started, not those who have been doing electronics projects for years.

    1 - The printed circuit board(s) (Also known as PCBs) for the controller(s) you are making. This are available through Group Buys (Coops) at various times throughtout the year (see next post). Some members also will stock some PCBs of various types, and others will overbuy and be willing to part with one or two boards. Trying to create your own PCB is not recommended for a first timer.

    2 - The components you need to make the controllers work (resistors, capacitors, jacks, PICs, etc). These are listed in the Bill of Materials (BOM) in the Wiki (see section 4) for each controller. Generally most of the BOM lists are provided in Mouser format. Mouser is an electronics shop on the web at www.mouser.com. Parts can be obtained from other stores too, but check to make sure parts are equivalent before you make a purchase. Another alternative is to get parts thru a Group Buy (Coops) as described in the next post.

    3 - A soldering iron and solder. The best information I have found on this is in the Wiki. Also, searching for soldering iron in the search will give you links to several threads were members have discussed their opinions on a variety of irons. The cost for soldering iron will vary with the quality and features. A cheap, lower quality one may be sufficient for a small project if you are seeing if you like this hobby, but the more time and money you spend on the hardware, the more adventageous it is to get a better quality iron.

    4 - A PIC (microcontroller) programmer or a DIYC member willing to program a PIC for you. With a few exceptions, the controllers here require a microcontroller which needs to be programmed. If you are just getting started, I suggest you order twice the PICs that are required for your controller, and then ask a kind DIYC member to program them for you. You can usually find someone to program a PIC for you for the cost of the postage to return it to you (provided you are purchasing them in the first place). The reason I suggest twice the number is so that you have a backup in case something goes wrong with the first one. The more you get into this, the more you will find the need/want to get your own PIC programmer, so that you can fix any problems without having to send chips back and forth between others.

    5 - Set of needle nose pliers, wire cutters, and wire strippers.
    6 - Extension cords
    7 - Control cables (CAT5 or CAT5e)
    8 - Lights, lights, and more lights!

    Again, this is a basic list to get started. The more you do, the more you will find you "need" just like any other hobby.
    Last edited by deplanche; 11-12-2008 at 01:16 AM.

  2. #12
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    Default Re: Newbie Guide to Do It Yourself Christmas (DIYC)

    11 - Group Buys (Coops)

    Group Buys, also known as Coops, are ways to try to save everyone some money buy making purchases in large quantities. If you buy a single resistor, for example, the per unit cost is much greater than if you buy 100 of the same resistor. This is true of many of the parts and even the PCBs. However, most people don't need the quantity required themselves to get the good discount. But if several members purchase in a group, they can achieve the quantities needed to save everyone some money. This is the purpose of the group buy.

    Of course, because money is exchanging hands between people who don't know each other in many cases, there are rules for who can start or run the grouo buys and information on participation in group buys.

    Also, keep in mind that group buys are NOT on a time schedule, but rather based on the desire of many to buy something, and someone to run it. Some group buys may run several times in a year, while others may not run at all if people are moving on to other projects. Also, the group buys tend to run more frequently in the early half of the year, so that people have time to assemble and test the controllers well before Christmas. It gets harder to find a group buy as it gets into Novemeber and Decemeber, as everyone is buys hanging their lights and then enjoying their hard work.
    Last edited by deplanche; 11-12-2008 at 01:30 AM.
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  3. #13
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    Default Re: Newbie Guide to Do It Yourself Christmas (DIYC)

    can u give me a price on 2 renard 24s 2 PCBS and 2 heatsinks to zipcode 08330

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Newbie Guide to Do It Yourself Christmas (DIYC)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryanm0085 View Post
    can u give me a price on 2 renard 24s 2 PCBS and 2 heatsinks to zipcode 08330
    There is actually a Co-Op going on now for these items. I believe there are still a couple slots open if you're looking to buy now. See the first post in this thread for the pricing and more info. http://doityourselfchristmas.com/for...ad.php?t=11446

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Newbie Guide to Do It Yourself Christmas (DIYC)

    Hi:

    Good Show, deplanche. Very interesting reading.

    To have a little more insight for the "newbies", see my article:

    http://doityourselfchristmas.com/for...zle+brilliance

    Have fun and ask questions.
    Last edited by IdunBenhad; 05-09-2010 at 02:21 PM.
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  6. #16
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    Default Re: Newbie Guide to Do It Yourself Christmas (DIYC)

    hello i would like some help this will be my frist year in using my pc i have 7 arches i have a 45 foot tree and lot of stuff i only have use mr christmas to run them i have 10 mr christmas boxes that how i been do it for the past 5 years so i would like to know where is a good place to started i lt least need 125 out u email rubio2realty@yahoo.com or just relplay here

  7. #17
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    Default Re: Newbie Guide to Do It Yourself Christmas (DIYC)

    Quote Originally Posted by acnrubio View Post
    hello i would like some help this will be my frist year in using my pc i have 7 arches i have a 45 foot tree and lot of stuff i only have use mr christmas to run them i have 10 mr christmas boxes that how i been do it for the past 5 years so i would like to know where is a good place to started i lt least need 125 out u email rubio2realty@yahoo.com or just relplay here
    There is currently a big push to try and reorganize the DIYC Wiki so that it is easier for New Members to get started. You'll want to begin there. This will get you started and will help you formulate some more specific questions for us.

    To give you a basic idea, most of us build our own controllers using Circuit Boards designed by the more experienced members of the group. There are a ton of options for Software and Controller combinations and it can get very complicated, but if you are willing to do some reading and a bit of work, you will have great success here.

    One of the other key components is software. While there are others, most of our members use Vixen or Lightshow Pro. With Vixen being the most popular because it is very good and its free. Lightshow Pro is around $80. You can get started with either of them today as they are both available and I believe LSP has a trial.

    Do you have any videos of your Mr. Christmas Driven setup? It might be the most advanced Mr. C. Display I have heard of?
    Last edited by kychristmas; 02-08-2011 at 10:49 AM.
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  8. #18
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    Default Re: Newbie Guide to Do It Yourself Christmas (DIYC)

    I wish I had this at my disposal a couple of years back. I have talked with a number of people who are interested in holiday lighting and having a newbie guide would have help.

    So kudos to everyone who has helped with this.

    Dean

  9. #19
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    Default Re: Newbie Guide to Do It Yourself Christmas (DIYC)

    You guys seem to focus a lot on Vixen, but other sites I've joined in the past all seem to focus on Light-O-Rama (LOR). As of right now, I am still fairly small, and primarily static (with the exception of a Mr Christmas). My biggest question to anyone who will listen is what would you recommend for a newbie who has NO computer/electrician/engineering skills? My "DIY" skills are limited...but I still want to grow my display. Feel free to move this post if it's in an inappropriate thread.
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  10. #20
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    Default Re: Newbie Guide to Do It Yourself Christmas (DIYC)

    Quote Originally Posted by MANOWAR View Post
    You guys seem to focus a lot on Vixen, but other sites I've joined in the past all seem to focus on Light-O-Rama (LOR). As of right now, I am still fairly small, and primarily static (with the exception of a Mr Christmas). My biggest question to anyone who will listen is what would you recommend for a newbie who has NO computer/electrician/engineering skills? My "DIY" skills are limited...but I still want to grow my display. Feel free to move this post if it's in an inappropriate thread.
    Well... it is a DIY site after all! LOR SW doesn't drive any DIY gear - unless of course you buy that ridiculously priced iDMX so that's pretty much why it's not discussed here much. There's literally been hundreds of folks that have come here with the same skill level (or more correctly lack of) as yourself and many have said the same thing but for the most part they manage to get through building their gear and get it going. As long as you read the instructions and take your time you can do this!
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