How I put my lights on the roof...

Discussion in 'How is my display put together...' started by nutz4lights, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. nutz4lights

    nutz4lights Full Time Elf

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    Hey all,

    So, these Technicolor RGB pixels arrived too late last year to get them up on the roof... I wanted the Technicolor pixels because of the screw-on C9 bulb cover (I am old-fashioned!). Little did I know of all the problems that the Technicolor bulbs would end up with, but that is a story for another post... So I decided that with our two-story house, and the length of ridges, gutter, etc, that I no longer wanted to get up on the roof like I used to and shingle and gutter clip the lights one by one. I had seen numerous posts from others around here and other forums that were in the same boat. I used some of their ideas and tried to come up with some of my own. I have four different kinds of mounting requirements:
    1. gutters
    2. flat ridges
    3. inclined ridges
    4. front gables
    I decided that I wanted to invest the time up front in securing these pixels to lengths of PVC pipe with zip ties so that an entire string of lights could be installed and removed as one piece instead of light by light. I measured all of the lengths required and made a nice drawing on my computer to keep it all straight. For the most part, I tried to keep everything to either a 25 pixel segment or a 50 pixel segment for data and power reasons. There were several places where that was not possible. I also used variable pixel spacing to stick to the 25 and 50 count strings as much as possible. If a section needed to be 6m, and was using 50 pixels, I obviously spaced the lights 12cm whereas if it was to be 5m and still 50 pixels the spacing would be 10cm. I ordered the Technicolor pixels with a 15cm pixel spacing, so none of the strings use a pixel spacing longer than 15cm. I believe the tightest spacing anywhere on the roof was around 7cm... from the street, you can't tell the difference between 7cm and 12cm amazingly... not with all the angles...


    Next it was a matter of figuring out how to attach the lengths of PVC pipe to the various elements. The gutters were easy. I used the vinyl J-hook that folks had already used. I cut sections of J-hook that were around 30cm in length and tried to space them every meter or so... worked wonderfully. For the front gables, I decided to use the square zip-tie base block things with a stainless steel screw going into the metal flashing/fascia on the house. That also had been done before and worked great. For the flat and inclined ridges, I decided to make legs based on snap-on PVC tees, which I'm sure someone has done, but I hadn't seen any pictures. For the inclined roof, I also had to attach the end of the string to something... and the back roof vent on the house seemed like the best thing... So I screwed a tiny eyehook into the edge of the metal and ran a steel cable to the end of the PVC pole.
    Ok, pictures... First, there are a ton of pictures at the following link: http://www.seek-up.net/2014 - Christmas Display/
    Here are some select pictures:[​IMG]

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    -Louie in Melbourne (Florida!)
     
  2. mborg10

    mborg10 Michael Borg

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    Looks great, very neat install. I like the look of the C9 covers although haven't invested in any yet. Combines the old and the new. A very classic christmas look. well done.
    Now scoot on over and do my place for me.
     
  3. Eastwood16G

    Eastwood16G Full Time Elf

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    Hey this looks great and has given me a few ideas. Thanks for sharing, Richard
     
  4. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    Looks good Louie. Hoping to see some nighttime pics to see how those covers look.
    FYI clear/natural cable ties aren't UV stabilised and here in Aus they can go from being a successful cable tie to a partially decomposed piece of nylon within weeks/months during summer. Fortunately for you it's winter at Xmas but I imagine you get a lot more sun than the northeners at that time of year.
     
  5. DanJ

    DanJ Full Time Elf

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    Thanks for the really great post. This is great info. I like your thinking process to do something different. One thought--are you planning to paint your PVC pipes going up to the horizontals? I think that would be a "wife requirement" for me!!!
     
  6. Bird

    Bird Proud LOR user

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    Really like you concept for the roof peak. No damage to the shingles etc. Very nice.
    Over all very neat and tidy element. Look forward to the show.
     
  7. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    Great Idea.

    Im just wondering what types of wind you get in your area as for many Australians we have to deal with some very strong cooling winds during summer.
     
  8. Jago

    Jago New Elf

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  9. OP
    OP
    nutz4lights

    nutz4lights Full Time Elf

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    Thanks for the good words everybody. I'm glad this post was found to be useful. I created another post over in the pixel sub-forum which includes a video, so if you're interested, check it out:

    http://auschristmaslighting.com/forums/index.php?topic=5678.0

    Overall I am very happy with how it all turned out, aside from the Technicolor issues...

    Ok, I'm going to work backwards in replying to some of the questions & comments.

    Eddy, our house is probably 3 miles to the Atlantic Ocean, so our winds are fairly high all year round. That being said, so far this setup has survived gusts to 45mph or so. My plan is to put these lights up in October so they're up for Halloween... and our hurricane season goes into November, so there may be a good test later this year, but hopefully not! The point of the long legs is to stabilize the PVC pipe on the ridge with its length. I also included a more aggressive plan, which would include filling the pipe (which is capped) with water or sand to really give the leg some weight, not just leverage. I'm pretty sure those ridge pipes would withstand pretty high winds if those legs were filled with almost a liter of sand (the internal volume of the pipe). I can always add more legs too.

    Dan, regarding the painting of the pipe... that was something that was "mentioned", but we didn't get to it before the lights went on (we were in a hurry to get these up). Now that the lights are on, they won't be painted. That being said, I will most likely be redoing the pipes when Ray Wu sends the replacement strings... and if there is time, I would definitely consider painting them to match the roof shingles.

    Alan, here in Florida, our UV is pretty high year-round, so I'm definitely worried about the zip ties. They've been up for going on 6 weeks now, so I'll see how they look when I go to take 'em down. I really didn't want to use the black ones, but will consider switching if it becomes a problem.

    I wanted to add some details about the legs. They are based around the use of a "snap" tee that can be used structurally to snap onto a given dimension of PVC pipe. The snap tee has a threaded PVC protruding from the tee after it is snapped in place. Into that threaded PVC opening, I screwed the leg. The leg is basically a ~ 2m length of 18mm PVC with a slip to thread coupling glued to the end.

    Any other questions, let me know... and go check out the other thread for the video!

    -Louie in Melbourne (Florida!)
     
  10. bjpc2716

    bjpc2716 need more lights to light up the world

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    it look cool i would like to see some photos at night
     
  11. OP
    OP
    nutz4lights

    nutz4lights Full Time Elf

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    Sorry, no pics. Only video in the link above...
     

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