It's all about the blinking...
See a comparison of the hardware used to run the displays between 2007 and 2017.
Ordered a few items from Ray Wu to see how a fireworks item will look for this year. This will be one of 2 or 3 similar items with 10 meters of RGB strip, a single 27 channel controller, some sort of 12V DC power supply (probably 200 watts local to the items) all giving a rather unique item that will be placed on the roof in a few places, depending on how the test item looks.
A few additional items have also been included that will be trialled for both a ledtriks replacement as well as a new icicles as well, plus a few additional lights for a planned idea as a series of Mushrooms throughout the yard.
Below is a drawing of how I expect the fireworks to look. 27 channels, with 15 on the "arms" (5*3 chan), 3chan on the middle for a "blast effect" and 9 channels (3*3 chan) on the 2 meter pole up to the center. 10 meters of RGB strip, 1 controller and a 100 watt 12V power supply. Simple as...
Also tried an upgrade of the Silhouettes by replacing the 50 240V globes drawing a total of 32 watts with 50 RGB LED's drawing a total of 8 watts. The video below says it all....
Went for a trip up to Long Jetty to have a chat about a new item for the lights, and also meet the brains behind Lenrie's Christmas Lights. I saw her brilliant toadstool/mushroom lights and will be copying them, with a few modifications, for this years display, with credit of course :)
While we were there we had a chat about both our plans for the future light displays, and cant wait to see her 2012 lights display as it should be great.
Upgraded 2 more windows silhouettes to RGB tonight while watching TV. I need more RGB strings soon, as well as more 4 pin plugs and sockets - looks like another order from China soon...
Went to Sydney for a VERY long day. Caught up with the Spoonman at Triple M in Sydney. This was the first time Sue had the chance to meet him, as Jacob met him in mid 2010, Juanita met him during School Spectacular trip in November 2011. Strangely enough while we were there we saw David Hasselhoff (The Hoff!!!) leaving the studio. Alas Jacob was the only one quick enough to get a picture, and even then it was a pretty poor one, but its better than nothing.
Then a quick tour of the Triple M studio's, and we met the Grill Team, and had a chat to MG. It took Jacob a while to realise that MG is actually Mark Geyer, former Penrith and NSW State of Origin Player. One thing Sue mentioned, and I have noticed in my 3 visits to the Triple M studio's, is how happy everyone working there is. They all say hello, almost always smile and nod as they walk past, and the whole group of people seem to work as a happy and well-oiled team.
After the Triple M visit we hopped on a train to Redfern to deliver the cheques to Redkite. Like Triple M, the staff at Redkite are wonderful and a credit to the organisation. They are always happy, smiling and interested in our fundraising and show. We only raise a few thousand, a drop in the bucket for such a large organisation, but they still make us feel important, and this is why we have chosen to continue to support Redkite in 2012.
Keep an eye out for their new TV ad as well - we saw it while we were down there and it was hard to keep a dry eye. They certainly do help lighten the load for families, and we feel privileged to help in our own small way.
Here we are delivering the $3620 to Redkite on the 18th of January 2012. Pictured from Left to Right are: Jacob Rawsthorne, David Rawsthorne, Monique Keighery (General Manager Marketing & Relationships at Redkite), Suellen Rawsthorne, Juanita Rawsthorne.
A lot of minor changes to the website, mostly to keep the site looking relatively similar throughout the different pages. I will be uploading larger images for previous years when time permits, and maybe breaking up some of the pages to minimise the page size for people on slower connections.
The items from China arrived a few days ago, but I have yet to get time to play with them. I am still deciding on the type of frame to be used for the lights on the firework - simple conduit based arms which can be seperated into 8 individual arms (With wire connections between them) to make for easier storage and roof installation, or a one-piece welded or riveted aluminium frame. The Aluminium would be much more sturdy, but it would be very difficult to get onto the roof for installation.
One thing I really missed from my 2010 show was the icicles. There is no way I could use the old incandescents, so an upgrade to LED was the only real choice. A trial was done using 2801 pixles, and the result is a product I call Pixicles, part Pixle part Icicle.
The above 2 images show the way the pixels were mounted onto the black plastic framework. This was a rough proof of concept design, so the final item will have much more even light placement and more cableties to keep things straight.
Started building the Fireworks item this week. All 40 sections of the Blast section have been cut and had the wires added, and 1 section has been added inside the 16mm plastic tube.
I have also started Spraypainting the Conduit which will be used to hold the lights in place.
More work on the fireworks items, but I have decided, after seeing one of the 2 top secions complete, there is no way the lights can go on the roof as they are simply too big to carry up there safely.
I have decided that there will likely be 2 fireworks items and they will be still located above the roof line, but will be mounted on the ground and lifted into position.
More work on the fireworks items yet again. Completed the top section of one, and, well it's BIG....
It's also Colorful:
A video in action:
Ordered a small selection of parts from Ray Wu once again. Just a few (50) connectors, a couple of power supplies and some different RGB items for something I have planned.
I completed the base of the Firework display and gave it a run with some updated sequences today. This 3 meter high item contains 318 LED's and draws 65 watts.
The Firework was run all day to ensure there were no failures, and so far there were no issues.
Worked on the second last RGB Ball today, with all the LED's in place, but I struck a small snag - I ran out of MEKP for the fibreglass needed to complete it. I'll order more if I cant find a small bit (5-10mls) locally.
Back in 2009 I built a Bethlehem star which lasted 2 years as a 3 channel 24V AC incandescent bulb item. Due to failures of a number of strings in 2010 it was decided to upgrade it to a RGB LED Item in 2011, and it actually became my favourite part of my display, drawing a massive 80 watts when fully illuminated.
Because some design changes were needed for 2012, I needed to remove some controllers from one box to free up space, so the decision was made to place them on the actual items they will be controlling, running power from a central point to the control boxes, and a single DMX line to each in a star pattern. The result was the use of some 90mm stormwater pipe to house the controllers on the Bethlehem Star, Megatree Star and the Fireworks items.
The above image is of the tube for the controller. 90mm tube has a cap on the top (sealed to stop weather ingress) and is taped black to avoid it being seen. The cabeling has only partly been tidied up, and the controller has yet to be put in the tube.
Here is the tube with the base roughly placed on for testing (It will be sealed later). The white cable is a temporary DMX input and the grey figure 8 cable will be replaced with a much heavier cable for power when I purchase some appropriate cable.
A few demos of the different colors:
And of course the usual video of the item in action:
By accident I was moving a few items around the workbench and sat one of the "Santa Pole" frosted tops on the top of an illuminated 12V RGB led and was suprised at the clarity of the light. The old JEC Pixel items were hard to put in place and gave an uneven, and often a blueish light. A single 3 LED RGB item using 5050's was tested against a brand new, unused JEC Pixel and the results are shown below. The ball on the left is the old JEC pixel, and the one on the right is a single 12V LED item from Ray Wu containing 3 RGB 5050 12V LED's. Well it looks like an upgrade is going to happen....
A couple of busy days upgrading & installing the 27 channel boards to the Firework item.
The above pic shows the length of 90mm pipe, taped black, holding the two Ray Wu 27 channel controllers in place. The top, on the left, is glued in place and silastic both inside and outside help keep the water out. Oh and the mat is on the floor in the shed, hence it's a mess lol
This is the two controllers held in place by being glued onto a thin strip of 5mm Coro with neutral cure silastic.
The above pic shows the controller housing on the back of the firework item.
Above shows the three 5050 LED upgrade item in the Santa Pole tops. 3 LED's in a 12V square item show a great spread of light that is perfect for this use.
This is the bottom of the base, showing the extension cable added to the LED module.
The 3 channel controller and 12V supply, will be mounted at the base of the pole, with a male and female 4 pin connection (DMX plus Power). The cable entry and exit will be at the bottom, and also has already been filled with a good dollop of silastic.
Well my new Aoyue 968 soldering station arrived today - it is absolutely cool, and makes soldering fun again, and the plus is that it does a lot more than the old one.
The item on the left is a hot air gun that can be used for small SMD items, and is adjustable 90c to about 480c. The iron on the right is a standard soldering iron as well as containing a small pipe which sucks air away from the tip, capturing most of the flux "smoke" while soldering.
Here are todays boards, 3 RGB's, 1 white repaired after water damage last year, and 2 more RGB's have the Blue LED's soldered in place. The white is the second one for Nigel, and he will also receive one of the RGB boards as well, plus one of the 24V power supplies in a case.
Over the last few days I have been cleaning the shed, and reorganising the storage and part availability in the shed. Often items were hard to find, or in boxes and cupboards that were hard to access, and not near the work area. This upgrade fixed almost all of that.
A quiet morning before heading to work. I completed the final 2 floodlight boards, tested them, and stuck the 2 for Nigel onto the glass, and all they need is a switch and power connections and they will be ready for delivery this week (I hope). I tested his 24V power supply and it works well, and will go in a box in the next couple of days, although with only about 40 watts of Lights, I think a 350W powersupply might be overkill, but it's all I have for him.
I have also uploaded my wiring sheet that I use to connect my items. Someone might get some use from it.