The Show Must Go On

It was brought to my attention that I haven’t posted any updates lately, and by lately, I mean SINCE JANUARY! I used to enjoy maintaining this blog, but I find it harder and harder to motivate myself to do so. Due to the lack of updates, there has been some concern that there may be no light show, however it will go on, perhaps just not as planned. I have been hard at work on the hardware side of things. As mentioned earlier in the year, I sold virtually all of my equipment and replaced it with Lynx Express controllers. Throughout the summer I soldered and assembled 15 new LE controllers, giving me 240 channels of DMX control. I needed 6 of them alone just to control the mega tree. I also purchased parts to build hardware that would control Smart Strings. These are strings of lights that each individual light can be any color at any time. I wasn’t sure I would be able to afford the strings themselves, but I bought the hardware anyhow. Towards the end of August I was able to sell enough stuff on eBay to pay for the Smart Strings, so I purchased 14 flexible strips to be used on the roof line of the house. I liked the flex strips because they could be cut every three lights and I could make custom lengths to fit the house exactly. Once I had them in my hand, however I found it wasn’t quite as easy as cutting them as planned. Long story short, the data signal is only passed out in certain places, not every three LEDs as I expected, so I had to do some creative thinking to make everything work, but by the end of October I had all the outline strips cut and ready to go. I also had all the Smart String controllers and hubs built and tested.

Once I had the hardware to play with, I started playing with sequences in Vixen. I quickly found that programming 5000+ channels was not Vixen’s forte. I broke down and bought Light Show Pro during their Halloween sale, thinking it would solve my problems, but it has a big learning curve, and while I still like it and plan to make use of it at some point, I just needed to get stuff done. So I decided to re-program the smart string controllers into hybrid mode, where I could just control the entire string, not necessarily the individual pixels, just so I could finish up the sequencing in Vixen. My hopes are to not add anything major to the display next year, and to spend time learning LSP and using it to the fullest to take advantage of the smart strings.

It was around the middle of October that we began putting a new roof on the house. It’s going to be nice when it’s done, but so far it doesn’t look like it will be done in time to use the house for any lights. So It’s very likely I won’t get to use my new Smart Strings, or anything that I had planned for the house. I have already began setup on the side yard and am beginning plans to move some of the house pieces into the yard.

So, there will be a 2011 Christmas in Brewster, it just may not be quite what I had planned.

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