Computer Controlled Christmas 2007/2008

Who doesn’t love Christmas? I know my family does and we especially enjoy driving around looking at all the houses and their light displays. I grew up helping dad put up his display each year, it was the best in the street. When I moved into my own place we had a little rivalry each year about who’s display was best. He’d sneakily drive past at night and see where I was at, if he thought I had a slight edge, he’d be off to bunnings the next day to purchase another 10 boxes of lights. I let him win that year, as I had big plans for the following year. Game OVER! It’s time to computerise my display!

 

Around July 2007 I started planning my display for December. I bought quite a few new sets of lights, I’m trying to switch them all over to LED’s, but they are more expensive so it will be a gradual upgrade. I’ve had to modify almost every set of lights I have, the reason for this is most light strings come with multifunction controllers that fade/shimmer/twinkle etc… I need to disable this functionality as the computer will be controlling this. Its time consuming work, carefully opening up each controller, soldering, testing, then resealing it.

 

I also had to extend the tail lead on every set of lights, as each set has to be plugged into its own circuit back at the pc. I think I used close to 400m+ of cable to achieve this, lots of solider and heat shrink were used!

 

 

Overall the whole process was great fun, and dad accepted defeat 😛
We were lucky enough to be a runner up in channel 7’s Christmas light competition, not bad for our first attempt! Although the real pleasure comes from watching the faces of people both young and old enjoying the show. Speaking to one lady, she brought her kids every other night to see the display.

 

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