Hello from Glen Ellyn, IL

Adam Mufich

New elf
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
1
Hello everyone. Am completely new to this. I have zero experience. I have been watching videos for months. I just finished reading the 101 guide. I bought a few strands of smart pixels, a falcon controller, and a power supply (probably prematurely). I am a bit overwhelmed with the computer side of it. Like connecting and configuring a controller, raspberry pi, fm transmitter. The one thing I have going for me is I am strong at electrical and wiring. I did download the newest version of xlights.

Does anyone have any advice?

My goad is to do a simple house outline. Eventually I would like to do a mega tree, a matrix over the garage door, and two small windows, and maybe some leaping arches, or a wreath. I am not looking to go full out Clark Griswald quite yet but I have seen some seriously impressive shows with a house outline and a few other focal pieces.
 

uncledan

Full time elf
Generous elf
Joined
Dec 27, 2014
Messages
246
Location
Buellton California
Welcome to ACL Adam. I have a strong electrical background as well. Computers and networking... not so much... Lots of people willing to help out here. Drop by chat, if you have questions, someone usually lurking and willing to help. Watch lots of tutorials on Xlights and get familiar with it now. Xlights Zoom will be helpful as well. You have plenty of time, just dont drag your feet and wait until the last minute when people are busy setting up their displays and dont have time to help. House outline is a great place to start. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Its not fun... I know from experience.
 

OzAz

Senior elf
Generous elf
Joined
Dec 29, 2015
Messages
709
Location
Newcastle
Welcome Adam, some people manage to do the whole lot in their first year, but it takes a lot of time and dedication. Dan's tip is true, the other advantage of starting smaller, is you can add new elements each year, which gives repeat viewers something new to look at.

If you want to add a focal point, leaping arches are fairly simple and relatively cheap to make, look for "air seeder hose arches" or "htpe arches" instructions on this and other forums or youtube.
 

NTKing(Brad)

Senior elf
Joined
Dec 28, 2016
Messages
541
Location
Albany Creek
Hi Adam - welcome to ACL. You have started at the right time to be ready for December. Just remember chip away at it over the year. Ask lots of questions, and jump into chat - it all helps. In this hobby, you need to be a builder, electrician, musician, network guru, light sequencer amongst other things. But don't worry. Come December you will have a great display that will make them go ooh and aah. :D
 

Bill Ellick

Full time elf
Joined
Dec 31, 2011
Messages
282
Location
NY
Welcome, Adam,
I'm in upstate NY so a bit closer to you! Funny as my niece lives in Glen Ellyn!

You are going to want to read the Lighting Manual front to back a few times: https://auschristmaslighting.com/threads/auschristmaslighting-101-manual.1889/

It is a great source of the common things we all need to know. I would also recommend the DIY Christmas Lighting forum:
www.http://doityourselfchristmas.com as there are many near you who are in the same "boat" as you for doing this "hobby" and can offer much advice and help. A good source for low-cost props and hardware ideas for controlling lights.

The Xlights website has many videos on getting xLights set up and running. It is a very capable program and will seem overpowering for awhile till you get the hang of it (I have just started to jump into it and am converting from Light-O-Rama software myself). A lot of function and more being added almost daily to it so just keep plugging away at learning it and things will sink in and make sense.

The Falcon forum: www.http://falconchristmas.com/forum/index.php is a great place to learn about Pi computers and FPP (the Falcon Player software) for running pixels for a show or any use of pixels. This is when you want to run a show but it really goes hand in hand with the xLights software so a great source of information on Networking and using the Pi computer and other hardware to control things.

A good "start point" is to look at your house and figure out how much you want to do at a time. Take it in steps but it will give you a good idea of how many pixels you are going to need in the future as well so you can plan on which controllers you might want to buy (I see you got a Falcon so great start) as well as what kind of expansion you might want to do in a year or two. Doing a layout and looking forward can help you with power injection, routing of cables, whether you may want to use wireless controllers, and more.

Hope this helps and good luck
 

fasteddy

I have C.L.A.P
Global moderator
Joined
Apr 26, 2010
Messages
6,645
Location
Albion Park NSW
Welcome to ACL, as you are finding out that there is lots of great help and assistance here that will help you achieve you goals. Ensure you stick with it over the year as before you know it you will run out of time if you don't keep at it
 

kinglights

Full time elf
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
117
Location
Kingaroy
Welcome Adam to ACL. I also was very overwhelmed starting with RGB strips and pixels. What I found is to ask questions, no question is to silly. See if there is anyone near you who can give you a hand and show you a few pointers. And of cause this forum is the best place to learn. Plan out what you want to do and work on a bit at a time. Setup a test bench and practice with a couple of light strips or pixels getting a feel for how to program them. Then ad some more and practice a few patterns. What program and you going to run with? Xlights is worth looking at..
The main things is to have fun and enjoy your new challenge.
 
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