Lawrence Drive Lights MegaTree Build

LawrenceDriveLights

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Just wondering where you recommend buying the pixels and mounting strips from thanks
Troy has the Boscoyo pixel mounting strips for sale locally (as per this thread, https://auschristmaslighting.com/threads/boscoyo-products.9674/)

Or alternatively you can purchase the pixel mounting strips direct from Boscoyo ( https://www.boscoyostudio.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_6&products_id=2)

There is a couple of options for purchasing the pixels
Locally Alan Hanson has them sale (Here is a listing for his 5 Volt pixels http://www.hansonelectronics.com.au/product/ws2811-5v-nodes-10cm/)

There is a couple of other Chinese sellers like Ray Wu from Aliexpress (for example https://www.aliexpress.com/item/100pcs-set-square-DC12V-addressable-WS2811-led-smart-pixel-node-RGB-full-color-all-BLACK-18AWG/32763622387.html?spm=2114.12010108.1000013.4.4f9d67db0WYNrX&gps-id=pcDetailBottomMoreThisSeller&scm=1007.13339.99734.0&scm_id=1007.13339.99734.0&scm-url=1007.13339.99734.0&pvid=b4d8ad6d-232d-4e1e-b1f3-183396d4f82b)

There is lots of options when it comes to for purchasing pixels and it is a little difficult to recommend one Chinese seller over another, however most people seem to purchase from Ray Wu. The AusChristmasLighting 101 manual also mentions about purchasing pixels.
 
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LawrenceDriveLights

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OK another update.

I have decided to change my controller set again for my Megatree.

Going to now use 4 x 12 V 350W power supply's rather than the 2 I was going to originally utilise.

I also had a spare Falcon expansion board sitting around so I also decided to utilise this as well.

So in summary now have a 180 degree tree with 30 x 85 nodes strands with one strand per string.

Using one output from the Falcon F16 and expansion board (32 outputs in total) per strand, i.e. only 85 nodes per string.

This is waste of available channels available to be controlled by this combination, but I did have the expansion board sitting around and I won't need to do any power injection etc.

The updated set up is going inside a ammo box like before with the controllers on the base and a small shelf for the Power Supplys.
The shelf is secured by 4 x screws for quick removal if required (Note fuses accessible without having to remove PSU).

I just made the shelf up out of some scrap timber.

Base Board with Falcon F16V3 & expansion board looks like this.
View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ggr24vjc81p649x/Photo%2015-10-18%2C%201%2038%2015%20pm%20%281%29.jpg?dl=0



PSU Shelf
View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/hj847umulqamobl/Photo%206-10-18%2C%2012%2057%2036%20pm.jpg?dl=0



and all inside ammo box with fan & vents etc.

View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/8q277rljrcy6b37/Photo%2015-10-18%2C%201%2056%2053%20pm.jpg?dl=0
 

LawrenceDriveLights

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With the build of the main components now complete and with December fast approaching I took advantage of a nice Sunday morning with no wind etc to install the MegaTree pole. (The pole is 50NB pipe)

I fitted the star on top first using the clamps, then below the star a tethering ring to attach the ratchet strap I am going to use as tethers.
Then the top winch pulley with winch cable and lastly the winch and tree header (tree header is winched up the pole with boscoyo pixel strips attached).

Here what the set up looks like before tilting pole into position
View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ll8qqor4vn71yl9/Photo%2011-11-18%2C%2010%2019%2030%20am.jpg?dl=0


After a bit of grunting etc the pole tilted up ok and I was able to secure the base into the previously fitted ground socket and fit the ratchet strap tethers.

i used a high lift jack i had to help support the weight of the pole prior to loosing the tilt clamp and lowering pole into ground socket using the jack. Ground socket is approx 1000mm deep.
View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mp4742tjdd688sx/Photo%2011-11-18%2C%2011%2037%2053%20am.jpg?dl=0


It looks something like this (I have since straightened the pole), it looks worse in the photo for some reason??

View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/2a3456tsbjj7iyf/Photo%2011-11-18%2C%2012%2003%2010%20pm.jpg?dl=0


Next will be fitting base ring, securing pixel strips etc hopefully next weekend.

I did test the star (couldn't help myself I wanted to see how it looked).
View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/hlkp8t7bmy0c58g/Photo%2011-11-18%2C%208%2039%2038%20pm.jpg?dl=0
 
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LawrenceDriveLights

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Jan 16, 2018
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2019 Update of Mega Tree Update

After my first year of doing a Light Display there was a couple of things I wanted to change / tweak to make setup easier etc.

One item I wanted to change was how I mounted the star on top of the Mega Tree, my original design had the Star clamped directly to the pole, I wanted to change this so if required I could make any repairs etc to the Stars Pixels etc.

I made some alterations to the topper used for the Boscoyo Pixel mount strips which is winched up the MegaTree pole.

I welded some extra brackets to the the topper so I can clamp a off cut of 40NB pipe with the Star to be attached to this pipe.

Here are some pics

Here is the Star mount attached to the topper
View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/54ohylj0m67nye5/Photo%2026-5-19%2C%202%2051%2017%20pm.jpg?dl=0



This is how it looks all together
View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/t989ef9d635a05f/Photo%2026-5-19%2C%203%2021%2017%20pm.jpg?dl=0
 

LawrenceDriveLights

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Jan 16, 2018
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Not sure if this is the correct place to post, but I will included here as part of our MegaTree update.

I was looking around for a alternative way of securing the guide ropes for our MegaTree pole, last year I used star pickets or some people call them star droppers. These worked great but are a bit of a pain to get out of the ground during pack up (yes u can purchase a special removal tool, and I have a length of pipe with a chain etc attached to help remove them, but there still a pain).

I was looking on Ebay and noticed these Spiral Ground Anchors listed - Here is a link https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/4PCS-NEW-Quality-8-10-16-Outdoor-Folding-Ring-Spiral-Ground-Anchor-AU-FAST/113586384688?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&var=413732489174&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

Here is a pic of them when they arrived
View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/81r4koehivm677g/Photo%2017-6-19%2C%2011%2016%2012%20am.jpg?dl=0



View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7i71uv7d0qfyrv6/Photo%2017-6-19%2C%2011%2016%2030%20am.jpg?dl=0



They are approx. 400mm long and the construction looks ok for cheap made stakes and they have D ring attached on top.

I did a quick test and they seemed to hold the same amount of tension I used on my MegaTree guide ropes last year, so I may use them this year.

View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/385xiih1i446m1r/Photo%2017-6-19%2C%2011%2010%2048%20am.jpg?dl=0


I do like how they are flush with the ground so no end of star picket sticking out of the ground etc and screw out of the ground easily.

Now these might not suit everybody's application due to various ground conditions etc and different forces applied etc on them, but if you are looking for some alternatives to secure some items as part of you display that are a bit easy to install and remove compared to star droppers they may be worth having a look at.
 

andrewa

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Now these might not suit everybody's application due to various ground conditions etc and different forces applied etc on them, but if you are looking for some alternatives to secure some items as part of you display that are a bit easy to install and remove compared to star droppers they may be worth having a look at.
I think these are a great Idea.

One year I used mini star pickets, and punctured my main water line. A Great fountain ensued.
 

Giles1

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Ok another quick update on the tree header
Here it is, yes it is looking a bit messy and a weird contraption, but hopefully it should work ok

I have added some bracing to the top which will also be the lifting point
View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/qvtegxg3dgyf92v/Photo%2018-7-18%2C%201%2050%2054%20pm.jpg?dl=0



Here it is "mocked up" on a small section of pipe to give you a idea of how it will work (well hopefully work).
View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/zbxw99htbsho0bi/Photo%2018-7-18%2C%202%2005%2019%20pm.jpg?dl=0


Note; Piece of steel plate attached to end of small lengths of strip just to see how the strips would hang down.

Next thing to do is come up with somehow to mount the MegaTree Star topper I made up.
Star approx. 1300mm from top to bottom.
Going to need to add some bracing etc and mount to tree header?
Or may just attach to top of megatree pole via clamps yet, if I go down this path I think I will need to come up with a idea of being able to tilt up the megatree pole.

Not sure yet, any ideas??

View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kjtrjbf5j3cycj8/Photo%2018-7-18%2C%202%2022%2037%20pm.jpg?dl=0
Just looking at your winch arrangement and I was wondering if it would be better to have your attachment point closer to the pole? I just thought that having it out so far from the pole, might cause it to bind and make it harder to pull up? Still, I suppose that once you have all of your lights attached, that extra weight might even up the load. I'm keen to see how you go. :)
 

LawrenceDriveLights

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Just looking at your winch arrangement and I was wondering if it would be better to have your attachment point closer to the pole? I just thought that having it out so far from the pole, might cause it to bind and make it harder to pull up? Still, I suppose that once you have all of your lights attached, that extra weight might even up the load. I'm keen to see how you go. :)
Yep a good point
I did offset the winch cable mounting on the tree header as the tree is 180 degree and with the weight of the pixels and strips all on one side I was trying to get close to the COG (it was guess). It worked ok last year and didn’t bind / tilt when raising. Not sure how it will go this year with the extra weight of the star and mount.
 

Jarrad33

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Oct 8, 2019
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Hi LawrenceDrivelights

I have been searching for a little while looking for ideas to improve my display this year and by far yours is fantastic. Extremely well done mate.

If you dont mind I would like to follow a few aspects of your tree but I want to change a few things on your set up to suit what I need.

Im taking it if your still reading you are saying yes :p

First im very new to RGB lights so I have little to know idea on what im doing. Even with controllers /PSU's ect ect which im hoping you can help we out with.

1) Is the Falcon F16V3 still ok to use ? (Also I see your using a program call xlights does this come with the unit ?)
2) I see you have changed PSU's what ended up being the best option (Also where to get this from ?)
3) pixels which ones to get ? (where from these days ?)
 

videoman3857

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Hi Jarrad33.
I will chime in here for a couple of your questions.
Falcons are very popular controllers, but by no means the only one to use.
X-lights is a free to download, free to use sequencing program and it is very popular here.
Here are some links:
xLights is available for download from https://xlights.org/releases/
Issue tracker: https://github.com/smeighan/xLights/issues
Video tutorials: https://videos.xlights.org
xLights user manual: https://manual.xlights.org/xlights/xLights is available for download from https://xlights.org/releases/

There are 5 and 12 volt pixels and there is debate over which is the better to use and its a matter of choice. Some use pixels 5 volt pixels if their controller is close to their prop. Others use 12 volt because of power loss and less power injection needed for their run of lights. Some use 5 volt pixels because the 12 volts units reduce the voltage to 5 volts - being a waste in energy and an unnecessary cost of higher voltage/wattage PSU
Pixels and PSU can be obtained from the likes of Ray Wu in China. - there are other guys that get their equipment from other vendors

here is Rays store https://www.aliexpress.com/store/701799
You can also get equipment here in Oz from Allan - http://www.hansonelectronics.com.au



 

LawrenceDriveLights

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Continuing on with my 2019 update to my MegaTree Setup

The basic design for the pole and Topper didn't change for this year (except for the Star mount as mentioned above)

However I did make some changes to the base ring and how I mounted the base ring to the ground

I wanted to increase the diameter of the base ring for 2019
So I bent up a new ring to with a approx. diameter of 2.5 metres
I think it gave the MegaTree a better shape than last year

Excuse the wonky star I did sort this out after taking pic
View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/m3dt8o4phq95ouo/Photo%2024-11-19%2C%208%2046%2029%20pm.jpg?dl=0


Daytime pic
View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/i9o9ukxm6w6hrve/Photo%2024-11-19%2C%2012%2020%2048%20pm.jpg?dl=0


I also made the base ring out of two sections and joined in the middle with a piece of internal pipe for the connection to allow for easier storage.


Also another change to the MegaTree set up was the base ring mounting
Previously I used simple star dropper and bolted the base ring to the droppers, but I was looking for a alternative option for this year

I utilised some of the screw in type ground anchors and fabricated some adjustable stirrups out of some scrap RHS and angle and some threaded bar to allow some adjustment of the base ring as my yard slopes away a bit.

The below pic shows the spiral ground anchors, I welded some nuts on the underside of the tops of the ground anchors which allowed me to screw the adjustable stirrups into place.

View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/i6vwnvljvp5i6fw/Photo%2022-11-19%2C%203%2040%2033%20pm.jpg?dl=0



The end result was this
View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kg07bwpvaglyqya/Photo%2022-11-19%2C%204%2039%2009%20pm.jpg?dl=0


I just used some small U bolts to secure the base ring to the stirrups (I could have also just used a bolt).
View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/2ywr5f6369erosi/Photo%2022-11-19%2C%204%2039%2047%20pm.jpg?dl=0


Now the ground anchor did work well for me, however I do have a heavy clay based soil and I would suggest do some quick tests before using them to ensure they do hold in the ground and the use of the ground anchors did make it a little easier to setup and backup as I didn't have to remove star pickets and also the other advantage was I didn't have the tops of the star pickets extending past the base ring.

Was the extra time worth it for making the adjustable stirrups, not sure but unless you try something a little different you wont find out if it works or not.
 

franky_888

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Nice idea on the adjustable stirrups. I used L brackets on round posts, and u-bolted these around the ring, and tent pegs to hold my ring down for a first year attempt, but the first major wind we had pulled it out of the ground. I ended up using ratchet straps and more ground anchors but due to the ground's slope it ended up being off level by a little bit. Using the anchors with bolts would allow for adjustment without the ring being pulled off centre (providing you have installed them directly below).

Also looks like you've left yourself plenty of room for tensioning your strips too. Although now that I look closer and think about it more carefully it looks as though you'd have to disconnect the u-bolt to adjust?? what if you added some left and right handed threaded bar between the upper and lower sections with an elongated nut (kinda like how a turnbuckle works) that way you can adjust without needing to disassemble?

Please excuse my thinking out loud :)
 

LawrenceDriveLights

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Yes Franky a left and right threaded turnbuckle arrangement would have been better and I did think about doing something like that originally but ended up using what I had left over in the scraps offcut bin so to speak so that sorted of dictated the build brief a little.

The main reason was to just get the base level as once level and there is some room for minor adjustment with the hook bolts used for to join the strips to the base.

No probs about thinking out loud Franky, thats how ideas get shared and improved and thus also a reason for these posts of mine just sharing what I did which doesn't always mean its the best way to do anything just another possible option for others to think about,
 
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