1. New to Christmas lighting? Get started with the AusChristmasLighting 101 Manual:
    auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/AusChristmasLighting-101

Clueless

Discussion in 'New Members Say Hello' started by Jack4Sam, Oct 17, 2015.

  1. Jack4Sam

    Jack4Sam New Elf

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    Hey everybody! Great to be here.


    So I have recently been watching Christmas light shows on YouTube, and I would really like to do this next year. I need some time to save money to buy supplies, and also the front yard is not something I would enjoy drawing attention to right now, the lawn needs some serious mowing! :)


    The thing that really attracts me are the sequencing programs, which I found really interesting and I think is a hobby I would really enjoy. Everybody here is probably familiar with the dubstep shows, and the one I enjoyed most, the guy was using pixels only, most of the elements of which he built himself, including light arches and pixel light panels. I would have no clue about the technical wiring and rigging up of lights or what would be appropriate for usage in Australia, I also am not handy enough to build these things (translucent tubes to fit pixels into? Where does one even find that?! :) )Is there anywhere in Australia you can buy these things from? Is there an Australian equivalent to the LOR set ups? It's all so complicated and I really wish I had a tech background, but I'm clueless. I love the idea of having thousands of lights I can program. I have a limited budget, but I also have a small house and front yard, so there's not a lot of room for a big budget anyway. :)


    I'm looking to educate myself on what I need and the how to's, so if the passion is still alive next year I can accomplish what I want. Where do I begin?
     
  2. Habbosrus

    Habbosrus New house (again) 2017

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    G'day Jack, welcome to ACL mate. You've come to the right place for information and inspiration. The best starting point is the 101 manual http://auschristmaslighting.com/forums/index.php/topic,1889.0.html
    Read the manual and then jump into chat with your questions. Don't worry about not knowing the technical stuff, that's what you're here for, isn't it? To learn about all that stuff. And we're here to help one another ;)
     
  3. dale82

    dale82 Senior Elf

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    Welcome to ACL, I built all my display and I have no electrical background at all, Firstly I would download the 101 manual and also jump into chat.
     
  4. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    Welcome to ACL.

    You don't look clueless to me. I'm so pleased to see a new member with a big but achievable goal and who wants to thoroughly research before buying anything. IMO those of us who visualise what we want to do are the best at sequencing regardless of whether there's a technical background or not. On top of that, you're not limited by trying to include any existing static lights. You also seem to have a good perspective on the time frame too - it's not something that you can pull off in a month or two in time for this season. A year should be enough time to learn what you need to know but you'll need to take full advantage of that time so don't leave it until mid-year to start learning and planning. The more experienced members of this forum are generally active year-round and will be happy to help you. There is a LOT to learn and then you need to go about buying from a variety of sources, putting it all together and building display items and sitting at the computer sequencing. It's an adventure that will be very rewarding and the only thing that will make it harder is not starting ASAP.

    Questions are always welcome regardless of how silly they might sound to you. Jump into chat. I'm speaking as someone who didn't have a technical background either; I can't put it into words how much chat has helped me.

    A technique that worked well for me was to read every forum post as it appeared to gain the background knowledge - they didn't all make sense to me at the time but I still read every word until I'd read so many posts that I became familiar with their content.

    I suggest posting your first shopping list on the forums to get feedback before committing to spending large amounts.

    Answering your questions:
    1. Translucent tube is difficult to find in Australia but it is really only used for the look.

    2. Don't bother with LOR hardware even though they ship to Australia; it's an expensive option. There are pixel controllers available in Australia. See
    http://clap-supplies.com/
    https://www.advateklights.com/shop/
    Both of these online stores are run by ACL members.
    As you're aiming for next year, you have the option of waiting to see if another F16v2 group buy is run before then because it is very good value. Ray Wu sells pixel testers for US $2.50 which will verify that your display elements actually work. Don't leave controllers to the last minute though.
    The pixels themselves are typically ordered directly from sellers in china including Ray Wu and benbrown.
    The pixels are all low voltage.


    You mention that you're not handy enough to build the elements; the skill you'll need the most is soldering. A soldering station with a variable temperature makes a big difference. Other than soldering you can choose how you want to construct your display items. For example, I work better with wood than with metal so I work with that strength.
     
  5. logandc99

    logandc99 Dedicated Elf

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    Welcome to ACL
    You don't need to have any electrical background to be able to create a great display. The main thing is to always keep safety in mind and read the manual as suggested. Even after reading everything it can still be a bit mind blowing at first but there are lots of clever people with electrical/ technical backgrounds who are extremely helpful when asking questions. This is my fourth year and I new absolutely diddly squat when I started but have learned heaps from the ACL community. I started out fairly small with only a few elements the first year but the hobby soon takes over and you can then let your creative side run wild as your display grows.
     
  6. scamper

    scamper Senior Elf

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    Long lengths of transparent hose etc is hard to find. But if you want 75mm diameter 1500mm long tube, duck into your local tintacar or similar. The tint film comes on plastic rolls and they throw it away.
    I often heard people talk about tint tube, and until I went into tintacar, had no idea what they were talking about.
    I asked, and they were only too happy to keep it for me. In 3 weeks they saved the rolls and I now have 12 tubes.
    That is 2 new elements this year done that I hadn't planned. Fire sticks and bollards.

    Anyway, welcome to ACL Jack4Sam.
    Yes, it is easy to make some elements, just search the internet, so many people post how toos on web sites (including here) Just pick some items you are comfortable with and go for it.
     
  7. mborg10

    mborg10 Michael Borg

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    Firstly welcome, secondly I too enjoyed the Johnson family Christmas show and was inspired to build with own translucent leaping arches. There are a couple of posts on hear which explain how much work money and heartache went into sourcing delivering and bending 50mm 3m long acrylic tube but it did work and I do have awesome arches.

    Best of luck with your display. It's loads of fun
     
  8. bjpc2716

    bjpc2716 need more lights to light up the world

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    welcome aboard other victorian great to see
     
  9. kel

    kel Dedicated Elf

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    [​IMG]
     
  10. Benschristmaslights

    Benschristmaslights Dedicated Elf Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    welcome to ACL
     
  11. gerry

    gerry Senior Elf

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    Welcome to ACL . Where abouts are you ? A number of people wills start to have their shows up and running in a short while and so , it would be most useful to go and see what has been done.


    Some folks also have Halloween displays and that is next weekend !




    For your place , what would you like to have next year - e.g = strip outline , a mega tree , arches ?


    Do you already have say store lights eg BigW etc from previous years ?


    You will need sequencer software - I am using xLights this year . You can run your whole show odd the Raspberry PI - but you can look at that later down the track.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Jack4Sam

    Jack4Sam New Elf

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    I'm in Bendigo.


    I would like to start with a strip outline along the gutter of my veranda awning.


    I don't really have any lights to incorporate. I did just buy some curtain lights and an LED tree, just because I wanted to have something this year, not really a display, just for my kids.


    If I post a rough photo plan of my ideas here, would people be able to tell me what's best to buy? I need advice on where to get power from, how many controllers I'd need and where to place them etc, then prioritise what I can afford. I am a pensioner (carer) so I don't have thousands to buy everything in one year, but I can build it up over a few.
     
  13. heathwithnoteeth

    heathwithnoteeth Full Time Elf Generous Elf

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    i have looked at getting some 50mm diameter HDPE tube from a supplier in china. i have had some delivered, but they chopped it up into 1m lengths and is completely useless... i had to resort to getting 25mm diameter stuff from the US, which i was lucky enough to find 100 feet of on ebay and delivery was not that expensive... next year i may be getting 200m sent by ship from china... Its a shame you are not in SA, as i would of sold you some of it. i suppose freight might be an option, will let you know if i go ahead with it. I also have some of the re-bar caps Matt Johnson uses on the bottom of his arches (waiting for them to be delivered).


    good luck
     
  14. OP
    OP
    Jack4Sam

    Jack4Sam New Elf

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    I think my local car tint place might have some. But I think that's well towards the bottom of the priority list, seeing as I need to know how to solder. :') Let's see if that creating an LED circuit lesson in high school actually taught me anything. Lol.
     
  15. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    If you're wanting to continue to include your lights that you recently bought then that is usually fine unless they have an 8-function controller AND only two wires going to the lights.

    If you post a picture then yes you can get advice. This advice is worth getting but you need to remember that there are so many different options that your individual needs are impossible to entirely take into account. It is always good to build up the background knowledge to understand the logic behind the advice and to know what the alternatives are.

    I'm not a moderator but I would suggest starting a thread in a different section where a larger number of knowledgeable long-term forum members reply.
     

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