Tis the Season

Labour day weekend is traditionally my kick off for working on the display. I usually lock in my layout and get my LOR order in the week before to take advantage of the Light-O-Rama Summer Sale, then I begin converting my sequences to the new layout. This year has been a little different.

I started thinking about my 2020 display sometime in May after surfing the Holiday Coro site one sleepless night. I made a couple of orders from Holiday Coro in May and June to work on some projects/experiments. This led to some early thoughts about my layout which led me to begin converting my sequences in June, finishing the last of them Labour day weekend. I do still have a couple of new ones to create and also a couple that I decided to redo rather than convert (legacy sequences from year one of using LOR that look tired). I also may revisit a couple of my favorite songs to improve them but I am way ahead of schedule on this side of the project.

DueComplete%Run Time
sequence conversion preogress
Finalized 2020 layout

The other piece of my annual kick off is ordering new lights in the Light-O-Rama Summer Sale. This seasons order was smaller than usual as I had already ordered some things from Holiday Coro. I did need to order more bulbs from LOR than I had expected. I had intended to use my Coro bulbs but due to the 4A capacity on LOR Pixie controller boards I needed the lower Amp LOR pixels. I also had to scale back my budget a little from what I initially anticipated so I removed the singing trees from my plan, I will look to add them next year.

Final LOR order

612V White Bullet Pixels 50 Count With End Connector
312V Green Bulbs 50 Count With End Connector
4RJ45 Waterproof Dangle
1RJ-45 to XLR 3-pin Female
4Extension – 12 Volt – 3 Pin – Green- 5ft
2Extension – 12 Volt – 3 Pin – Green – 15ft

The bullet pixels are for the Candy Canes and Stocking’s I ordered from Coro, Green bulbs are to get additional end connectors and free up 1/2 the channels on my spruce tree controller. I will switch the tree to be 8×100 vs. the 16×50 I have run in the past, with 3 folds per string vs. a single fold. This will free up channels to run the lights I added around my flowerbed and the arches on the right side of the driveway.

Flowerbed lights

I also ordered the globes for my North Poles, I couldn’t find the ones I was looking for locally so I had to order them out of the US too.

Finally I needed to address my network layout. Last season I had to add an additional network as I hit the channel limit on a single LOR network, this season I needed to add one additional DMX network for the DMX based controllers in the North poles I am building. I decided to do a little research into the capacity of a LOR network. Although I could find no hard answer, guidance seemed to be about 2,400 pixels was the recommended max. I was well over this with the props I added so I decided to add an additional LOR Network, I will have 4 discreet networks in this seasons design.

2020 Network and Controller layout

Hopefully this puts me in a good spot as the last two seasons networking issues have caused me the most stress in the build. Two seasons ago I had a RS485 burn out. Last season I hit the limit for the number of channels on a single network, luckily the scare from the year before had caused me to order additional RS485’s for redundancy. After changing out several networking cables with no resolution I realized the problem was signal capacity and added the second network.

Although I’ve made good progress on the sequences I am still a little concerned with my build schedule as I have a lot of new props and new mounting systems to build up; Candy Canes, Stockings, North Poles, Curtain Lights, Snowflake Projector, Front Door, Garage Door.

Items to build before putting beginning to put up lights

ArchesBuild Arches
Candy CanesAssemble Candy Canes
Curtain LightsSeal curtain Lights
Curtain LightsCreate Mounting
House RGBBuild Garage Outline Mounting
North PolesBuild Prototype
North PolesBuid Poles
StockingsAssemble stockings
StockingsCreate Mounting

I also want to finish the permeant networking I added to my yard by putting the last section of it in conduit to the PC in through the garage. I also ordered a new FM transmitter from EDM electronics that has RDS capabilities, so I also need to create the data files and modify the sequences to move them for each song. On top of that I haven’t even looked at incorporating the rotating spotlight I bought (that seems like a 2021 project).

Overall I am ahead of where I usually am at this time of year but I feel like I still have a lot to do before the official start of my build at Canadian Thanksgiving (Oct 12th).

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