Just a little bit about AussiePhil


Dedicated elf
Jun 20, 2009
Canberra, ACT, Australia
Hi to everyone who may read this. (and yes it's familiar to some as i borrowed it from my Megatree post at DIYC)

My History, I started with about 300 icicle lights strung along the front gutter of the last house we rented about 8 years ago. Added some silhouette lights the following year, did this for a couple of more years then moved to a house we bought in 2007. By xmas 2007 i had the original 300 icicle lights (still working) plus about 1200 i gradually bought in the last month of the year, all either static or running from their own 8 function controller.
Went for a drive to check out the christmas lights around town with the better half and whilst we seen many large, complex displays they were largely a disappointment due to all those little controllers running things that made it look completely silly. I came home and thought "i'm a computer nerd there must be a way to use a computer". think i found planet christmas first then DIYC, felt like a read every post and every wiki article and got excited and confused. I eventually decided that i would use DMX due to a history in DJ and stage lighting, picked the freestyle as the board and moved to DLA. Sorry to the Renard guys here, I found it to be to limited for the plans i had and honestly at the time too confusing.

2008: Planning proceeded on a grand scale with the icicles sliced and diced into sections and wired so there was around 120ch for them alone, home etched some 16ch SSR boards and got ready to test the new controller. Intensity ramped up to extreme levels, posted and chatted on both DIYC and DLA most days and nights, got 16ch SSR's designed and produced by pcb board house then BANG just ran out of interest due to some conflicts around August and just left. By this time i had one freestyle, a dongle and two 16ch ssr's built. Dropped it all, just couldn't face it. Middle of November and the workplace decorating began and i figure I should do something at home. Icicles were rewired, again, due to reduced channels available, a mix of 24v and 240v SSR's were built, luckily i had ordered all the parts back in june, Vixen was learnt and a display was built with around 80 channels of animation, certainly nothing like i planned but it was a start.

2009: What a year, decide to move to DC for all low voltage lights, designed my own DC DMX controllers for this, hand built one hundred RGB garden stakes with 6 LED stars on each and added quite a bit more lighting.
The RGB stakes involved LED's direct from china, 200 metres of heatshrink also direct from china. Days spent researching deals and more days agonizing over deliveries. The controller design went well till i built the final board and found the oscillator footprint was still wrong from the previous year and they had to be installed on the back of the board! Never really stopped all year.
I dreamed up this years Megatree in Jan of 2009 and discussed with some people the concept of a multi thousand channel RGB Megatree. There is a forum thread on the concept/requirements of a VHCCC (very high channel count controller).
Work progressed on the stakes, controllers actually got built, two DMX universes got assigned, 360 odd channels got used, six songs eventually got sequenced after commencing actual sequencing last day of November.
It's summer in Australia so sat on the front step of the house most evenings, waved to the people in cars, chatted to the ones that got out and drank many a friendly ale with the next door neighbour, evening of the 23rd was spent having a driveway social gathering of friends and anyone who wanted to stop and chat.
Proudest moment... watching 600 RGB leds dance to music using my own controllers.
Most touching moment... the smile on the face and clapping of hands of the autistic boy as he watched the changing colours.

Planning started whilst sitting drinking beers and watching the 2009 lights, maybe it was one to many beers that resulted in the decision to make the RGB Megatree idea come to life. Decisions had to be made, would it be 6m or 5m, settled on just over 5.4m due to some street power lines that run past the house and with only a single story house anything 6m and over is probably to tall anyway.
The RGB garden stakes will be re-arranged, extra LED strings will be used, the small megatree will move about 10 feet and the new RGB megateee will be at the other end of the yard near the driveway.

Numbers, we all like numbers.
RGB Megatree
LEDS - 4032 RGB Leds
Strings - 72 Strings
String Sections - 8 individual controllable sections per string
seven RGB Leds per section using 28v DC.
576 Controllable sections
1728 Channels
Strings will be paired for 864 Channels required
24,192 solder joints
24,192 tinned wire ends
4,500 metres of 3 wire ribbon cable
4,608 170mm cut length wire sections
576 metres of 24x0.20 power feed wire
400 metres heatshrink
8 x TigerDMX 120ch RGB Controllers
And LightShowPro
35A at 28v DC.

Hours to put it all together, do not want to think, roughly each string is about 5 hours at the moment, no doubt i will get faster.