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Thread: 2016 - Mega Tree With Public Remote Control

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Default Re: 2016 - Mega Tree With Public Remote Control

    I found time to build the portable hole 2. Pretty simple little project and I think will work great. There is one glitch however, a few days after I had built it I was walking through Home Depot and walked past the concrete I had bought. I grabbed 2 60lb yellow bags of Quikrete concrete, at least I thought it was concrete. As I was walking past the bags I had purchased the other day I noticed they said "Mortar"!! Ugh, I didn't even think to read the bag since I had bought lots of quikrete concrete in the past and the bags were always yellow. So I went home and pulled out the empty bags from the trash to see if I did in fact by mortar and sure enough I did. The mortar is "N" and will end up giving 750lbs per square inch vs 4000lbs for concrete. Big difference but I think it should still work for what it's intended for. I contacted Walter, who designed the portable hole, over at magicchristmas.org . He thinks I should be OK but I will be giving it the "rope test" after it cures for a month to make sure. The pole test is wrapping a rope around the pole connected to the anchored portable hole 2 and then pulling like crazy. Worst case I end up building another portable hole, best case I am good to go.
    Anyway, here are some pics of my portalable hole 2 (mortar style )
    2016-05-26 11.25.33.jpg

    2016-05-26 13.19.26.jpg

    2016-05-26 14.58.03.jpg

    2016-06-01 17.19.09.jpg


    I've also completed all the wiring (controller, pigtails to controller and pigtails to strings). I have the "tree" setup on my basement floor and I'm able to control it with the "remote control". I have 9 sequences so far for testing. I'll post pics of all that soon! I am trying to figure out optimal spacing the strings. I am using 3" vertical pixel spacing which seems like it is going to work great for me. Now I'm trying to figure out optimal spacing between strings at the base. Right now I have them setup at 7" apart at the bottom. I am only able to get about 20 feet away from the lights (and that is at an angle) and the top half of the lights looks awesome as far as animations and text goes. The bottom half still looks good but a bit tougher to make out certain animations etc.. However, I imagine at 70-80 feet it will look better. So, I won't be going any more than 7" apart. I think I may decide to go 6" apart when all is said and done. Either way, I am going to setup the 1/2" EMT conduit half circle base in a way that will accommodate both spacings.

    Firing up the lights for the first time and playing a sequence with all strings hooked up blew me away. It was the first time I saw such a thing in person and it made me feel like all the time/$/effort spent thus far was well worth it! My wife said she felt like she was in Disney World (but that might partly be because I was playing the Electrical Parade...but still!)

  2. #22
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    Default Re: 2016 - Mega Tree With Public Remote Control

    Here are the pics of the setup I have going for testing and planning:

    15 strings connected, one more to go
    2016-06-03 22.47.32.jpg

    The enclosure all wired up:
    2016-06-03 22.47.38.jpg

    This is the laptop and FM transmitter that will be running the show. The laptop has a broken screen so I re-purposed it for running my show. Since there is no screen I remotely access it install/run software.
    2016-06-06 07.03.27.jpg

    This is the stereo I'm testing the FM transmitter with. Everything is working great:
    2016-06-06 07.03.36.jpg
    Last edited by barlav; 06-07-2016 at 12:29 PM.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: 2016 - Mega Tree With Public Remote Control

    Here are some pics of it fired up and the public interface I will be providing.

    This is the fully functional public webpage/application that I will provide for visitors to pick the song(s).
    Image2.jpg

    Here are some pics of the lights in action:
    2016-06-03 22.53.40.jpg

    2016-06-03 22.53.42.jpg

    2016-06-03 22.56.20.jpg

    2016-06-03 23.00.37.jpg

    I'm currently going though the strings one at a time pixel by pixel and adding the extra water proofing using clear silicone II caulk. Once that's done the electronics will be complete and then onto running a new outside power outlet and ethernet surge protector and the rest of the tree structure. Hoping to have everything setup in the backyard before the end of summer to give it a test run.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: 2016 - Mega Tree With Public Remote Control

    Found some time here and there to get the outside network connection with surge protector installed and continue with the base of the tree.

    This is the exterior network connection. It's grounded to a ground rod 8' in the ground. The inside connection will only be active during holiday season.
    03.jpg

    055.jpg

    T base rods and connections

    The angle grinder made pretty quick work of sharpening the bottoms of the rebar and chopping off the "ears" of the tees so they would easily fit around the ring.
    07.jpg

    06.jpg
    Last edited by barlav; 07-25-2016 at 01:18 PM.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: 2016 - Mega Tree With Public Remote Control

    Once I got everything cut I labeled, painted (black rustoleum) and installed it for a dry run. This may not be the easiest base to build/install but it will work well for my cold,snowy,windy winter climate. I will be installing the ring well before the holiday season so it's ready to go and when the ground isn't hard. I am figuring as soon as I'm done mowing lawn in the fall it will go in. And then I will pull out in the spring.

    The ground rods ready to go. The connectors will remain on the ring at all times so I labeled the rods and connectors so I know which ones go with which. The holes are not exact on each one so this makes for easy install.
    08.jpg

    Here is the installed base:
    01.jpg

    02.jpg

    This thing is really solid. I am happy with how it turned out. This was the part of the project that I was most anxious about. It is definitely the most involved but I am glad it's behind me. The rest should be easy!

    Next up is making the center pole and getting the lights up for a complete test before I put away until the holidays.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    Milwaukee
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    Default Re: 2016 - Mega Tree With Public Remote Control

    Might want to hang tight until Walter (Monkhouse) (actually his wife) gets the latest details of his ASAP design for the pole. Might alter how you make your pole (or not ).

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Default Re: 2016 - Mega Tree With Public Remote Control

    We have been working on the ASAP pole to simplify the winch clamp assembly . Hopefully will have pictures this week . ASAP Jr goes up to 18 ft . ASAP Sr goes up to 25 ft .

  8. #28
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    Default Re: 2016 - Mega Tree With Public Remote Control

    Will check out the ASAP pole for sure. Might be overkill for my small 16x50 pixel strand tree (less than 15 feet)...but I'm up for anything that makes for a simpler setup

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Default Re: 2016 - Mega Tree With Public Remote Control

    Great project.

    I am really interested how you handle the interactive control.

    Would be great if you can share the work and give us an "howto" guide about seting up such stuff.

    Thomas

  10. #30
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    Default Re: 2016 - Mega Tree With Public Remote Control

    Quote Originally Posted by galferiz View Post
    Great project.

    I am really interested how you handle the interactive control.

    Would be great if you can share the work and give us an "howto" guide about seting up such stuff.

    Thomas
    Will certainly share. PM me if you want to use what I have now and I can provide a guide as it is now? Currently you would need to provide your own front end (app, website, etc..) capable of sending xlights/nutcracker a file. When I have time I am going to add more configuration capabilities to the code. And, if there is enough interest, I will create and host a dynamic front end that everyone can use with the xlights queue system and authentication code system I developed. With that in place it would be pretty much plug and play and free.

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