Holiday Lights 2008

Today, I took a break in the snow and finished the installation of the new light display. It's functional, except for one light that isn't working.  I've been extra busy this year, so while the main displays are up, there aren't as many additional lights as I would like to have.


Our recent snowstorm has changed the look quite a bit - normally you only get a little light from the streetlight on the left, but now there's a ton.

On the left, there are 8 strings of multipcolored LEDs in a circle around the light pole. To the right in front of the truck are some other lights. Hiding behind the truck is the first animated display, the "tree of lights". The big tree (about 40' tall) has red leds around the trunk, and features to animated displays. At the top is the second animated display, the "ring of fire", arrayed on the tree is the new display. To the right you can see the original animated display, santa in the sleigh and on the roof. Finally, outlining the house is a red/green/blue/white string, the last animated display.

Tree of Lights

16 channel sequenced controller, about 1500 lights total. From base of tree to top is about 14'.

The controller is 68HC11 based.














Ring of Fire

Ring of Fire is 16 high-output red LEDs driven by a custom 16 channel controller, supporting 16 dim levels per LED.

The controller is Atmel AVR based.

I wrote a fair bit about it last year.








The display that started it all. It animates as follows:

  1. Blue lights in foreground strobe towards santa.
  2. Reindeer, sleigh, and santa appear.
  3. Santa leaves sleight and hops up on the roof edge.
  4. Santa goes up to the peak near the chimney.
  5. Santa disappears, and then his hat disappears soon after.

Then the whole things reverses itself.

The display itself is painted plywood, with about 800 lights in total. After 12 years the lights had gotten a bit dim, so this year we replaced all of them. The santa at the top of the roof is usually a it more distinct, but he has a big snow beard this year.

The controller is based on the Motorola 68HC11, running 8 channels.

House Lights

The house lights are 4 individual strands in red, green, blue, and white, with a 4-channel controller that dims between the colors. So, the house changes between colors.

The controller is based on the Motorola 68HC11, with 4 channels, this time dimmable.

Tree Lights

The tree lights are the new display for this year.

These are jumbo lights lit up with C7 (7 watt) bulbs inside of of a colored plastic housing. They really don't show up that well in the picture because of all the light coming off the snow, but even so, I think I will likely need to upgrade the bulbs in them to something brighter (say, in the 25 watt range). And I think I will go with clear bulbs - having both colored bulbs and colored lenses works well for yellow and orange but the blues and greens are really dark.

The controller can support up to about 100 watts per channel, though I'm not sure my power budget can support it.

The controller is Atmel AVR based (my new platform of choice), and the code is written in C. There are 15 channels, and each of them has 32 dimming levels. 

You can find a lot more boring info here.

Comments (1)

  1. Josh Rountree says:

    When can we expect the video tour?

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