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2015 Kitman Lights

Discussion in 'How is my display put together...' started by Kitman, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. Kitman

    Kitman Full Time Elf

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    Well it would seem that after having some massive issues with some of my light's I may not get a display up this year at all.


    My sleigh is no longer working, and after inspecting the lights as best I can without totally destroying the acrylic cover I can't see any obvious signs that any of the lights are burnt out, so can't work out what I need to replace / fix to get it going. Thought about just putting some lights behind it to light it up but I really don't have anything suitable to stick on, would have to buy some cheap strings of lights just so I can see if it would work the way I want it to but a lot of the features would be lost thus making it look pretty average so No sleigh, and no sleigh means no reindeer, what's the point of having 9 reindeer on my roof and no sleigh would just look weird, so time to strip the sleigh and work out how to light it up for next year.


    Delays with getting my custom icicles lights and receiving 3 different configurations means I don't think I have enough to line the outside of the house I will end up short on one end, not exactly the look I was going for.


    Mega Tree is almost finished, all nodes have been put into the strips, controller box all wired up with pigtail leads and ready to go, got my PHP code sorted to display the temp inside the box, ordered some fans.... haven't shown up yet :(


    Trying to get my front yard all cleaned up and made look nice which has taken longer than planned booked a skid steer loader 2 weekends in a row and got told sorry we have no booking for you so it's been booked to someone else and then the following weekend sorry it's come back trashed so you can no have it meant doing the work by hand means I have had very little time to work on the sequencing of any of the elements.


    Looks like I may have to just put up all my old static stuff and try and get the tree done if my fans show up so I have something, but also going away for a week soon so very little time left.


    Guess I start planning next year and get everything build and done by August lol.
     
  2. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    That's a very sad post :(

    I have a few suggestions though. If you have a DC controller and a 12V supply handy, you can use them to point a cheap halogen downlight at the sleigh.

    You had icicle issues too. Can you modify a small length of the incorrect ones to have the right configuration and fill in the gap?

    I suggest having more of a near-enough-is-good enough approach. If the garden isn't completely tidied, the viewers won't know/care in the dark. If there aren't quite enough icicles for one end of the house, can you move everything along so there's a smaller unlit section at both ends? These aren't things that'll make or break your display.

    Another thing which is a personal preference for me; I don't aim to have my display up and running until about a week into December anyway. IMO it starts to look a bit old and sad if it has been up for the entire month.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Kitman

    Kitman Full Time Elf

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    No DC controller only brand new Sandevice's, however I believe they support DMX, but I have no light strings that have 3 wires to chop up and connect to a DMX bridge (Which I also don't have) to control from the spare sandevice.


    2 of the icicle strings have the wrong amount of lights in the drops, I ordered drops of 6 and 4 alternating and instead got 2 strings of drops of 3, 4 and 5 alternating so noticeable different and then between the 5 strings that have the correct amount of drops they have different spacing between the drops, the first 2 have double the amount of spacing as the last 3 strings so I am going to have to shorten the first 2 strings as it is so they kind of match, but I don't even know how short I will be until I try and put them up, which I don't want to do if they are too short and I just have to take them down again.


    Unfortunately a near enough is good enough approach doesn't work with me, all of my elements have to work together and have to match exactly what I want or else I am not happy with it, it's why I have 9 reindeer one with a red nose and a sleigh, no point having 2 or 3 reindeer with a sleigh as it takes 9 to pull a sleigh hahaha.


    Normally every year my display goes up on Pagent day, which is tomorrow so I aim to have it all up on that day, if I miss that pagent day I usually put them up on the weekend of local pagent day which is 2 weeks after, any closer into December and I don't bother doing it at all.


    I hope to have atleast the tree and maybe the icicles up but we will see how much time I get, yard will be almost done this weekend so lights are next.


    Fingers crossed. Good luck to everyone else with your display's hope they are coming along better than mine :)
     
  4. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    I don't know a lot about Sandevices controllers and I'm not quite clear what you do/don't have. I was just saying that you can use those common halogen downlight globes with pretty much any controller that can run dumb RGB or store-bought lights - check the channel current ratings though. You could point one of these at the sleigh or maybe inside it if it's not a fire hazard.

    If you have spare pixels then that's all you'd need to make whatever icicles you want if you cut and join them. I don't know what shape house you have but I'd just group the ones with different spacings into different areas so they're not side-by-side. Even then your viewers won't notice/care if there's a small section with different numbers of lights. This house has multiple A frames which each have different icicles and I also change them from year to year. I prefer to have variety. I use the extra length to extend around the sides of the house where gaps don't matter.

    In future it is always a good idea to order a few more pixels than you think you'll need in case the spacing is slightly close and the strings are too short.

    I'm a perfectionist myself but I would rather have a computer controlled display with a few altered details than an old static display or nothing at all. The first year of computer control is the most difficult but it is also the most satisfying; I didn't get my display running until the 13th of December in my first year but it was by far the biggest leap my display has ever taken from one year to the next and I haven't looked back.

    I agree you have a worse case than most but no-one's displays go perfectly to plan so we're all problem solvers.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Kitman

    Kitman Full Time Elf

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    Unfortunately the front of my house is 1 continuous line so having any different spacing is going to be noticeable especially with where the strings will fit.


    I did order 1 string more than I needed if thee spacing was going to be the same as the other set, however now that the spacing is different I would need 1 more set plus another set spare, the totally wrong strings were going to be used as spare parts incase any pixels die on my other set's I could simply cut out the broken pixel and replace with the other strings, having to spend 2 hours or more making up 1 string from the 2 strings isn't really going to help me as that is time I need to spend on other stuff, and working and looking after my son takes up all of my time during the week so my weekends are planned out.


    If you were a perfectionist then having different set's of icicle lights would not be an option, in the past I have replaced all of my icicles because I couldn't find the exact ones from the previous year so they all got replaced, that is perfection. Having my display up on the 13th of December is like not doing it at all what's the point of spending an entire weekend just to have them up for 2 weeks and then take them down.


    Still don't have my fans so still can't finish my controller box, another weekend wasted not being able to do much.
     
  6. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    I do have another solution that I had to use because I had a set length of roofline and my icicles were too long. I shortened an icicle set, bringing the icicle drops closer together without even needing to solder. I worked out what spacing I would need and tied loops in a piece of string at this spacing. The next step was to thread the icicle drops into these loops. I now put this icicle set up treating the string as if it were the main cable and it looks perfect. In Vixen 3 it is easy to alter the number of icicle drops in the pixicles if you need to.

    The front of this house is split up into sections that are different sizes and heights so having different icicle sets looks (and is) deliberate. The different icicle sets are not end-to-end. I'm still a perfectionist but I have a different set of preferences and I decorate a house that is a different shape.

    My display would take over a week of solid effort to put up. Yes it was a lot of work for a relatively short time with the display up and yes I was a week behind schedule but I don't consider that a big problem. My thinking has always been that if the lights are up for more than three or four weeks then it's less worthwhile; they become something that gets shrugged off and not noticed because they are there for a long time every year. It was NOT like it didn't happen; I showed a video of my first computer controlled display at the Adelaide mini this year and you probably saw it.

    Don't worry about those fans either. You can manage without them for a few nights if you prop the boxes slightly open. I don't know what type of box you have but is there a way you could securely have them opened slightly? That way you could still run the show in good weather (likely this time of year) and just close them for when the lights are off. This weekend there are still things you can do such as getting the sleigh lit up, altering the icicles or setting out the reindeer. You mention replacing all of your icicles previously. Do you still have the old ones? Maybe they could be used for the sleigh.

    I sense your stress but while I'm a perfectionist, I try to stay positive, put the problems into perspective and find solutions. It is my single most useful skill with Christmas lights and it's saved my display from similar fates.

    No pressure BTW. I see a thread where you're stressing about problems that have come up so my response is to try to help thinking of solutions to them. I just want you to have a display for you and the community to enjoy and I want your efforts to pay off; sorry if this has come across as an argument.
     

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