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2017 shows.. how is everyone doing?

Discussion in 'The Family Room' started by marmalade, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. marmalade

    marmalade cats & pixels

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    ..a place to put your storys, vents, rants & happy things and nightly events.

    This year is my first with music and it was advertised a bit on local FB neighbour groups, was not expecting so many people to turn up every night! Seems trolls is still a favourite with kids and teenagers and it's great to hear them singing along with it. Neighbours have so far been supportive too.

    And plenty of people directed to ACL :)

    Gotchas..

    Just before turn on last night decided to tee off some power by cutting and soldering a cable run, bad idea. Don't underestimate how quickly the sun goes down and how many people turn up beforehand... a 10 min job turned into one of the most stressful moments of the whole week.

    The audio cable was unplugged during a monitor switch over and forgot to plug it back into the fm transmitter. Goof of the week. Found 15 mins into the show thankfully.

    When packing up for the night,wear shoes. Lest ye stub thy toe on a protruding ground peg (&@^#!)

    So, how y'all doing? Going to be a busy w/end if friday night is any indication.
     
  2. scamper

    scamper Senior Elf

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    I am almost at the point of CBF!
    I had all good intentions and was getting my props out early for testing. I even had my new matrix hung in October (it was stinking up the shed)
    November turned up, the first weekend was going well, just casually testing and then installing the props in the front yard, mega tree was up that weekend.
    Then came the problems. What I thought was going to be a great season of getting everything up and running early, turned into the usual rush. I had to spend the next 2 weekends in the city. and work picked up that much that I couldn't take any time off, so it all came down to the final weekend in November, which was also our first really hot weekend where temps went above 36c. So progress was very hard going. Throughout that week, I would get home from work and keep going till after dark, then attempt to diagnose software problems into the night.
    By the 1st, which was switch on date, I had a display running. Only 3/4 of the props are up and at least 4 of them that are up haven't been wired yet.That is this weekends task.
    But even with only half a display and IMO an ordinary one at that, and only 5 songs sequenced, I still have had many oohs and aahs.
    I went outside on the first night to see 4 girls sitting in the sleigh and giggle with glee and exclaim, "this is awesome Mr."
    So that is the encouragement to keep going.
     
    marmalade likes this.
  3. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    I'm passed your "almost to the CBF point" Scamper.
    I was running way behind and then we got the weather warning to say to expect between 100 and 200mm rain across 1st and 2nd. We ended up with 47 across 30th-2nd. As a result instead of connecting up stuff on 30th and 1st I was busy preparing the house and display for flooding. On top of that I've spent a HUGE amount of time on phone, teamviewer and in person helping out other people. On Thursday that was 4hrs on phone and 1.5hrs in person.
    As I now make a few boards that can control pixels I sold off my F16 and 2 P2's knowing I could run entirely off my own boards. I then ran out of time and currently I have all my pixels running off testers. Later today I hope to get the 1st of the pixel under Xlights control.
    Last night after finally powering up all my pixel props I was wandering around in semi darkness and tripped over a lead and yanked the ends off a pixel tester running my spinner so it was inside to fire up the soldering iron and fix it.
    After I then plonked myself down to have a rest and have a look at my lights (only the DC DMX ones) going while the kids handed out candy canes I noticed that close to half the DMX channels weren't doing their stuff. I was getting eaten by mossies so I went back inside and went into battle with Xlights. Finally at 12:15am I had all my issues sorted I hope. I had renamed and added a few props and in some cases went to universe/channel type numbering. I ended up with a lot of props that weren't assigned in my ALL, RGB and NON RGB groups so when effects were placed over those groups it was missing them. I also found a few numbering bugs with custom props. I'd made a mistake with 3 custom RGB props which had non contiguous numbers as they spanned multiple DMX controllers.
     
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  4. scamper

    scamper Senior Elf

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    Gotta love xmas hey Alan :thumbsup:
    Bad move changing all your boards without plenty of time, that is why half my display was stuffed, I had a board loose all data, so had to start again on that board, and after getting a dymo labeler and waterproof tape and labelling everything last year, I found all the labels in the bottom of each box! So as I was setting up this year, back to old school tape and textas!
     
  5. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    I had plenty of time to change the boards but didn't get around to it and then life happened. Losing about 3 months during the year when I broke collarbone and thumb wrecked me for the rest of the year. 7 puppies here atm so they are currently taking up an hr or so a day. Fridge died on Thursday so that has been screwing things up working around that (living out of the spare fridge on verandah until I get spare time). Lots of repairs from last year that were going to get done during the year but didn't get done until the end of November. Daughters 18th bday during November gobbling up several days setting up and pulling it down. 2 more phone calls and an attempt at Teamviewer this evening as well as another in person visit from a customer/local with a problem.
     
  6. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass! Generous Elf

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    I always have something up and running for the 1st of December, then add to it over the following weeks depending on my enthusiasm level.
     
  7. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    I did actually have something running on Dec 1. I had a 50m solar fairy light string around the border of my roof and carport and a solar santa in the middle of the front lawn. The 5th was the 1st time I ran computer controlled lights.
     
  8. the grinch

    the grinch I guess I could use a little social interaction

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    Oh not good too hear guys that you're having problems and am sure you will all work through the process and see the lights !
    Ourselves here haven't really got too much too whinge about ! As I was an early bird this year and much better prepared than usual.
    Have had too do a few repairs as per normal . Other than that my only little whinge hence my term little ! Randomly some nights I get flickering pixels on the mega tree ? Rebooting normally solves the problem . I separated data and power cords and network cables hoping would fix plus even added cooling fans too control box . But still persists every now and then ! dont feel is heat related as even in cooler weather as we have had still pops up . Possible is just a poor connection somewhere but unless gets worse really dont want too pull tree down too fix ! Hopefully will be ok till end of season !
    Other than that been lucky I feel weekends have been extremely busy and last night was for me a little overwhelming !
    My crazy light lady enjoys the commotion but I do concern when we are starting too block the street with traffic and pedestrians and obviously from now is going too get even busier ! Luckily so far the neighbors and community are ok with but I do concern !
    So goodluck and merry xmas to all !
     
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  9. tooms

    tooms Apprentice Elf

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    Mega tree topper broke during construction, but still holding, so my mega tree has this weird saggy top effect (at-least it's different to everyone else's megatree!)

    4 of my props have problems being daisy chained to other props, after much HoHoHo farting around with different pig tails, leads, power injectors, different order of props, etc etc a whole new enclosure (plastic box), controller and power supply and cat5 run was deployed which seems to have fixed it just running each prop from an individual port.

    1 of 3 controllers got wet this afternoon as I had left the enclosure open then it started to rain heavily and I had forgotten to close it, managed to dry it out with a hair dryer and has been ok since, it was running when it got wet and then it locked up with some strange things on the LCD display, glad I got away with that one otherwise half the display would have been done for the year.

    And many other random problems, plus decided to move from vixen to xlights this year which hasn't helped at all.
     
  10. scamper

    scamper Senior Elf

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    I would hit it with a good lick of crc, a blow with an air nozzle and hair dryer again. Water can be a bugger and hide under components and then start to corrode down the track.
     
  11. plasmadrive

    plasmadrive Full Time Elf

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    My story is a bit long.. LOL

    So far this year.. I was WAY behind getting everything to the point where the display was ready for prime time. I had the idea about the animatronic snowman orchestra two year ago, but could not figure out how to make the outer skin. (I'm not artistic in the fashion). Even flew to LA to talk to Mike Z. and he shared lots of tips and info.. still I just had no idea how I would even attempt it. I gave up on the idea for yet one more year. Then one day walking thru Costco in October, I saw they had what turned out to be the perfect fit for what I wanted to do. So I didn't even start on those until Oct and I had no idea how I was going to make them work. That put me under the gun for everything else. I started ordering parts and welding stuff up. Sent back the wrong valves and cylinders because I wasn't sure what I wanted or how I was going to make it work. Reordered the ones I finally figured out I needed. phew! This build was a long one but It turned out pretty well I think.. just a time issue.

    I already had modified all the RBLs, I already made the pixel Firesticks and the pixel arches earlier in the year. I welded up and finished making the 8' tall singing faces for the redwood trees. Now I had to figure out how to mount them so they were stable. (I do most things on the fly) I had Ray make the Plasma icicles 2.0 for me so I didn't have to spend the time (that is how they came about). I honestly had no idea what I was going to do with all the hardware because I had not planned a layout or had a show idea since I had all but given up on the snowmen. I ordered pieces and parts for the new Mega Tree (pixels this time) and put that all together for testing in my shop for functionality and power injection.

    OK.. now I had all this hardware, I figured out the songs I wanted to do. Made a mixdown for the Brian Setzer tunes. I started putting stuff up around mid Sept. LEDs in the 50' redwoods, Plasma Icicles on the house.. I ran into issues with the new Falcon controllers. Got those all worked out with David and it was good. Then the holders for the Plasma Icicles which were 3D printed started to relax and not grip the conduit enough to stand the wind. About 30% of them had swung out of position. Had to go back up on the bucket truck 4 times to add wire ties to those that would not stay in place. (Don't expect PLA to work under tension for any length of time. Lesson learned).

    In Nov I started putting up the rest of the lawn and front tree items.. then came the rain! I had decided to use the JST connectors with dielectric grease to make them waterproof. OH MAN!!!! I got lazy and didn't put the grease in the RBL connectors.. I thought it would be fine.. NOT!!! (actually I think I knew better) RBLs were flashing randomly all over the place. I had to clean every connector while on a ladder and put the dielectric grease in them. All good, right?... NOT! What I didn't do was put the grease on the back side of the connector where the wire goes in. a week later, Sulfation took over and the RBLs once again started random flashing... up on the ladder again and this time, cleaned them all and put the grease on the wire side as well. The inside of the connectors were fine. So far this has been working.

    Wife helped me pull and air line in the underground conduit from the garage to the yard for the snowmen.. that went pretty well actually. Now the compressor was so loud the wife was not real happy.. found a quiet one and that solved that problem.

    NOW comes the hard part. I had not kept up with xlights. I hadn't really opened it for about two years since I was dark last year. I had never programmed everything in xlights before, I was a LOR guy.... I was in a panic.... it was mid Nov and I had not even started with models.. I figured out that this year, instead of being ready two weeks early, I would be a week at least.. late. Hired out the singing faces for Rudolph.. I programmed the rest. I also hired out the sequence for Carol of the Bells. (Thanks Richard Renn). I finished programming the Rudolph sequence and programed the entire Brian Setzer mix by Dec 1st. (scheduled opening was to be on Dec 2nd). Issues with the xscheduler all day on Dec 1st and the 2nd. Was not working as I thought it should. Keith was awesome at helping me figure out it would not do what I needed it to do.. so I added some regular timers for my show signs.. ha ha.. 10 mins before the opening, I had to delete the scheduler file because the test run thru was all messed up. Lights locked up and it wouldn't let go of control, reboot and remake the schedule.. That worked and the show ran. Woo Hoo. I have had some issues with xscheduler off an on but it has run my show to this point.. but I make a new schedule every night.

    There is more, but this is way too long.. sorry.. but so far, knock wood, everything is weathering well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
    Richie4540 and marmalade like this.
  12. OP
    OP
    marmalade

    marmalade cats & pixels

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    Scheduler has also caused me a fair amount of grief over the past few nights,I can attribute most of the probs to being unfamiliar with it.However I -still- can't get the master to play video on a remote pi without lag, which was to be a big feature of my display. Disappointed.

    I'm also running a few wifi esp controllers, have found 2 logged attempts to get into the network and last night appeared to have a ddos style attack. Stupidly left ssid broadcast on with a giveaway network name, so my fault for making it so obvious!

    Far more traffic than expected. Only have 10 min loop but people happy to watch the whole thing, sometimes twice. Neighbours may be getting a bit tired of it already.

    But, on the upside, many positive comments & seeing the kids/teens/adults dancing to the Trolls music is a crackup!
    .
     
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  13. lytnin

    lytnin Apprentice Elf

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    Thankfully, my controllers and Pi's are playing nice. I've even added two Matrix's running from BBB's. 1st is a 5x5 of 32x16 P6's. Second is a pair of 32x32 P6's as a 'SHOW TIME / TUNE TO" sign.

    The only issues I've had have been with pixel strips failing.
    I added 8 more strips to my mega-tree taking it up to 24, configured as 12 pairs going up and back down.
    Tree was erected a week before opening night. After hoisting it into position and running some tests, 2 older strips failed on the downward side of the pairs. So down with the tree and rearrange to now have 22 strips. A day or two later, another one goes, this time on the upward side, so it's neighbour also went dark. So now down to 20. I had some strips set aside for the roof ridge line, but now starting to look like that isn't going to happen.
    I hadn't reprogrammed any sequences at this stage for the increase on the tree, but still had a few days to go before opening night. Testing for two nights before opening, and wouldn't you know it, two more go. Too dark to replace it then, so had to wait for opening day. Got a couple of guests to play apprentice and help cable tie new strips to spare conduit while I was cooking the BBQ. They are keen to do shows next year so I roped them in for this. After feeding the guests, my brother and I replaced the faulty strips and reinstalled the two I'd rearranged before. tested them and stood the tree back up. So now back to 24 on the tree, but still only using 16.

    Everything has been running well, until two nights ago. A minitree with 50 bullet pixels dies about 1/2 way up, with 2 others daisy chained after it. A quick rearrangement putting the bad one last in the line, and good to go.

    Then yesterday's heat ... GOOD NEWS - The minitree is working again ... BAD NEWS - more strips on the tree are dead on the upward side, and they happen to be next to each other, so 4 adjacent strips are black, and another is half stuck on full white. Didn't have the manpower to pull it down, so rearranged cables to use just the left 16 strips of the 24. Checked the faulty ones at the end of the night to mark where the fault was, and they were working again.

    Then todays heat, same strips faulty again, plus half an arch.

    So I've decided to put all the strips going up (no more pairs). At least then it'd only be a single strip going out and not 2 (hopefully), plus I can swap pigtails to fill the gaps if needed. Still hoping to get to update sequences to 24 wide, but will need to modify my box to take the expansion board and an extra PSU first.

    This hobby is supposed to be fun isn't it?

    Like marmalade, I've still had heaps of positive comments, and yes Trolls is popular here too.
     
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  14. OP
    OP
    marmalade

    marmalade cats & pixels

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    have you found why the strips/nodes are failing? To date i've only had one node go out and one pixelstick explode, counting myself lucky after reading that! Someone had a go at taking one of the arches last night, got as far as the end of the stainless steel rope would let them lol.
     
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  15. swb

    swb Full Time Elf

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    Wow, I got lucky... I have a set of four candy canes that lock up. I have to unplug them and plug them back in and they are fine for the evening. Other than that, I start my display manually each night because I didn't give myself enough time to truly figure out the scheduler in FPP. Knock on wood that is the woes I face...
     

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