My lights are done…

delta a few miscellaneous strings that will go up in the next day or so, my holiday display is complete. I think I'm up to about 4000-5000 lights so far.

There are three main displays:

Santa and the Sleigh

An animated Santa, run by an 8-channel homebuilt animation controlling sporting a Motorola HC11 microcontroller. Santa has 6 blue landing lights that flash, then Santa, sled, and reindeer appear, and then Santa goes up on the roof.

Santa in the day

Sleigh and reindeer from behind

Rooftop Santas

Santa at night


Going up the roof

Up on the chimney

Tree O'lights

The tree of lights is just that, a tree made entirely of lights. The controller is the same system as before, but this time it's running a 16-channel system.

Tree in the daytime

Hooking up the lights

To see the tree in action, look at the whole-house view pictures at the bottom.

Multi-colored house lights

This grew out of my observation that having single-colored house lights was boring. So, the house is outline with a “light cable“ made of 4 different strings of lights - one each of red, green, blue, and white - hooked up to a special 4-channel controller (once again, based on the 68hc11) that supports dimming. The house is green one minute, blue the next, with a few chaser light effects thrown in. Here's what the controller looks like:

I took some AVIs of Santa and the tree, but they didn't come out too good and are too big to fit on my website, so you'll have to satisfy yourself with a view of the whole yard.

The balls of light in the foreground are 100-light balls that are hung on a 30' spruce in the front yard. The tree of lights is the huge blaze of light on the left side. Oh, and the large white light above the tree is the moon, which I ordered special for the night.

Here are directions if you're in the neighborhood.

Comments (12)

  1. Christie Nolf says:

    This looks great! I will try to drive by for sure:).

  2. Mark says:

    Looks great, but I think your loony for making your home address available…. I wouldn’t want a bunch of crackpots that I’ve never met dropping by my house. 🙂

  3. Tosh Meston says:

    The extent to which you have gone to illuminate your house is what some would call "scary". But make no mistake, programming the HC11 to control Santa in the yard and up on to the roof is a thing of beauty.

  4. Neat! This has been a project for "in all my spare time" the past couple years. I think I’ll stick with my Strand stage lighting gear until then. 🙂

    I hope the FAA has approved of Santa’s landing lights. <g>

  5. Eric says:

    Funny thing about these projects.

    The electronics is usually the easy part. Easier than drilling 700 holes in plywood and stuffing them with lights.

    WRT the landing lights: I had a friend a while back comment that blue was the color of taxiway lights, and that landing lights are flashing white. I stand by my choice for artistic reasons.

  6. Michiel Wories says:

    I live about 2 blocks away, and while we do our weekly hike around the block last Saturday(173rd, 24th, on the trail below your house and back) we already noticed some very stiff competition on the subject of x-mas light display walking back on 173rd. Little we knew that it all centered around one particular house in the back!

    We drove by yesterday (in case you were wondering what that car was hovering in front of your house). Very nice indeed!

  7. Color me shocked but I expected a palatial estate in Medinah :0

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