I was looking through Holidaycoro.com last night. I found this. Not sure how long the price of $24.95 will show...since it is a Pre-Season sale...but at that price I have to wait till March for this to come in. David said that it would be better than the one from Ray Wu mentioned would work. David has also brought back several of the dmx controllers that I had to go all the way to China last year to buy. Yeah!!!!
Well....it looks like they are hackable!!!! That is awesome. Either going to be using a SanDevice controller (there may be a group buy soon on these) or I found out today that I think...I might can use one from Ray Wu. With that one, I would have to daisy chain them and use the supply that came with the board. That might just be ok though. Still not sure what direction, but looks like I will be changing out my arches next year. Here is a video comparison I did. The Flextech is on the right using it's stock programming and the incans. are on the right.
What is FlexTech you ask? Here is the video from Gemmy.
....AND IT IS LESS THAN LAST YEAR!!!!
Let's see... I changed out the Christmas Trees up against the house with Green LED's. Honestly...I didn't think it was that much. The C9's last year were all LED's , but changed to strip LED lights...running on a DC power supply. Mmmmmm. I added more incan.s on the mega tree (2,400) and added the spiral tree. (6400) I kept them flashing.... but man.
This really happened back in the first of December. Interestingly enough, I saw this thread at Tacky Light Tour. I didn't email ABC up front. They emailed me and wanted me to give them a phone call. Interesting... They were very nice and seemed very excited to get all of our info. Still don't know yet if we have been chosen yet as of this date. (go back and click on the "thread" link to see what I am talking about) It would be REALLY neat if we do get on. This will definitely change a few things about the display if we do get chosen. I don't expect to win...but it would be neat to get on there. Fingers crossed. Below is the YouTube application we had to turn in. They told us to "Ham It Up" and don't be shy. Kind of made a fool out of myself I guess ;-)
Again as I have mentioned before, some of this blog is just notes for myself. Hopefully this will help others in similar situations.
Started taking parts of the display down on Jan. 3rd. *Thought* I was going to run the last show was going to be New Year's Eve. Watch the very last song, Disney's Believe In The Holiday Magic (which is my favorite and I will be keeping it forever ;-) Lots of different songs and just makes me think of DISNEY every time I see it.) "Made my tummy happy" (as my daughter says...) when I watched it, but was sad to see my "Show Closer" come up knowing almost a full year of work was about to come to an end. Always sad to see the show end, but you REALLY want to get everything down and away...once that process starts. Thinking...need a break...but more stuff comes your way to make the brain start thinking for next year. More on that in a moment.
I mentioned that *Thought* it was the last show...well...it rained later that night. So I waited since I didn't want to put stuff away wet. So, I ran the show on Jan.1st as well. Misting rain. Show ran fine. Started raining harder and harder. Finally a GFCI tripped. The one plug I took out (GFCI) didn't trip. I WILL BE TAKING OUT THOSE GFCI'S TO FIX THAT PROBLEM. I don't suggest it, but honestly...am tired of this happening.
Few Thoughts For Next Year
I may be going to some type of Coro Tree or some other types of trees. Another solution is also a totally re-imagined type of plexiglass type of tree. This last one REALLY has some neat stuff that is over the top. Fountains and all. Either way...it would be a huge undertaking which will require me to really start early on the display. I know these post go in reverse order...so I will mention if your reading this one...go back to the "ABC Emailed Us!" thread.
Be Patient On Christmas Sales...
This year and last year....seemed like there were NO lights after Christmas in the big box stores OR the Drug Stores. Last year I did score BIG on green LED's from Walgreens. (Those are great lights!) I think that most just didn't buy as many lights at the first of the season. Anyway, I found at 75% off several different Christmas trees. These were 4 foot white trees at $6.50 a piece. My thinking is that they would take the place of my "Twig" or "Holdman" trees. I could do something with the RGB modules and maybe some 3 channel controllers. Here is where I got the idea at over at Holidaycoro.com. I could use some "dumb pixels" and this controller and do basically the same thing with a lot less amp pull. So I have 5 of those trees and hope to get one or 2 of the 6 foot trees. I may grab one of the small 3 foot trees at $5.00...and see what white paint does for it ;-) If that works...I can find TONS of the green trees at yard sales. Really opens things up. Good deal though on the other trees.
Found at LOWE'S som "FlexTech" strips for $15.00 a piece. Got 4 of them. Trying to find out if they are hackable. This would replace my arches. BTW, I have the solid white ones. The multi color ones will not change colors in individual pixels.
Also picked up a "Twig Tree" for $25.00 at Lowe's. Wouldn't have if I knew about the Walmart deal....but got it before going to Wally World. Will sell that one just to make money back if the RGB trees work out.
Be sure and look at after Christmas sales for GREEN EXTENSION CORDS. They always go on sale and do not get snatched up quickly. Have gotten several more. Never can have too many extension cords.
Take your display down slowly. Don't know about you, but with me...gives me more time to think things through for next year. Write things down. Label EVERYTHING. Take inventory of what you have and where you store it. Your lucky if you get to store everything in one place....that is not me :-(
Another thought on packing... I have taken all my extension cords that go with a certain prop and am storing it with that prop. Even though it is labeled, it will make for easier setup when everything is right there together. This will even include the lights that I took off my Christmas trees against the house.
There are tons of places and people who have put out tutorials on how to do a spiral tree. One video I found to be very helpful is this one from this website.
But a couple of thoughts that are petty, but you might not think about. First, I found it easier to work from the inside of the tree at first. My tree was only about 10ft tall. I used a step stool to reach the top.
It's not shown in this picture, is the top of the tree. You can see some of it towards the beginning of this video;
The way it wraps around, you have to zip tie it at the top. With the curve of the tree, you can't hardly reach it with a ladder. I just found this easier to do with a shorter 10ft spiral tree.
In this next picture, I show the stakes that like are used in the Brown Christmas video. Not sure if he shows it or not. I wrap mine around a couple of times (around the stake) and wrap it back up the line. Holds better.
I have seen this mentioned in a few places before. I just thought it was worth mentioning again. To get your stakes out evenly (stakes...huh?....Watch the first video in this post)...take a string, tie it around the pole, mark it on the string...the number of feet you want it out from the pole. You want a 8ft round base...measure out 4ft...etc.
I like the Rainbow Flood lights I have, but I think these are easier...and cheaper;
I took a piece of acrylic, measured it out over the gutted flood light (look to some much earlier post on gutting a flood light for my Rainbow Floods) and dropped this in. I know Holiday Coro sells these with several more RGB modules...but this is PLENTY bright.
In the next picture you will see one of the 3 channel dmx controllers;
I just hot glued this onto the back of the glass. Worked great and easy to work on, if you don't set the dmx address correctly ;-) (I should know :-)
Have several things that I added this year. The first was the strip RGB lights you might have seen in an earlier blog (if not...scroll down to see those). With those strip lights, I wanted to put these on the dormer windows as well. The only issue there was the fact, I am not fond of heights. Also, I don't have a ladder tall enough to reach the top roof of the dormer windows. So I devised a way of making a frame made of pvc along with a "holder" in the middle of the frame. I had several pipes that were made of aluminum and long enough to reach the top of the dormer. Take a look at this picture but notice the little pipe pointing down at the top of the triangle of the dormer roof.
What I did was to take the pipe (wish I had taken a picture of this...), balance the whole frame on the end of the pipe you see in the bottom of the picture and pick up the whole frame. Then I just plopped it down on the roof.
You can see it actually hangs off the window. So what. It looks fine straight on and from the street. Go back and watch the videos or look at the picture gallery. You can't even tell ;-) In this next picture you can also see the standoffs I used. You can also see a better picture of the pipe that I used to hoist it up onto the roof. Take a look at the pipes off on the side. Those are adjustable. Look at the 2nd picture and you can see they are just snapped into place and can even be moved from the ground.
Those couplings are available, I believe from Lowes. I just found those to be tighter fit than cutting them. Just what ever diameter you are using, go through the department and look for this type of fitting...and try to snap it on. Might be easier than cutting one yourself.
Below is a video in taking this off the roof with the pipe. Real easy put up and take down.
Click on the September archive and then click on comments to see all of the 2009 display blogs. I am going to start blogging with a "Title" and also put the post into the blog so it can be archived by month. Should have done that to begin with. If you are new to this world of "Animated Displays", I suggest you not only read mine, but other blogs. They will help you learn NOT to make the same mistakes others have.