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Thread: Megatree pixel pole

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Default Megatree pixel pole

    Those of you that know me also know I'm kind of a stick-in-the-mud traditionalist when it comes to Christmas lighting. But curmudgeonish that I am, I'm not averse to technology.

    Many of us put lights on the center poles of our megatrees, and I've been struggling with that for years because it's such a PITA to attach and align them. I've come up with what may be a better way, although it requires more channels. But these days, channels are cheap, aren't they?

    My megatrees use fiberglass military poles. If you're not familiar with these, they're almost 2" across, extremely strong, come in 4' sections and are generally used by the military for erecting tents and other temporary quarters. Another side benefit is that being fiberglass, they're non-conductive.

    I've recently discovered that they fit inside a 2" piece of PVC, too. Hmmmm.... I decided it would make for a nice sheath for the pole. I'd mount the lights on the sheath and then just slide it over the pole just before putting it up.

    I added a 3' section of PVC pipe to a normal 10' section of black, 2" PVC, and then I applied six 12vdc WS2811 pixel strips to it. The strips I purchased were not waterproof (more on that later). This covers nearly 1/2 of the pipe -- the side that will be visible to viewers. I'm sharing the power, ground and data connection to cut back on the total number of channels necessary to illuminate this thing, and it results in only 117 channels -- it can easily be controlled by a PX-1 or ESPixelstick, and I've tested both (wirelessly, of course). I plan to use it only in white mode instead of colors so that it simulates what I've had in the past -- 12 channels of either white incans or white LEDs.

    Today the shrink-tube arrived and I was able to finish it up. The entire pole is hermetically sealed inside shrink-tube so the strips are now waterproof, too. I don't know whether condensation will be an issue, but we'll have to wait and see on that. But the use of pixels should eliminate a lot of the hassle of animating the pole, even though it requires nearly ten times the number of channels.

    I've added a photo of a section of the finished pole, and a little video, too...

    https://vimeo.com/225705607
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by dirknerkle; 07-15-2017 at 10:24 PM.
    http://digwdf.com

  2. Likes angus40 liked this post
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Default Re: Megatree pixel pole

    Looks great Dave

    I ventured something similar with my mega tree pole several years ago and have since determined that encasing the strips in silicone is the best way to eliminate

    moisture .
    Last edited by angus40; 07-16-2017 at 02:40 AM.

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