The most often asked question is how long does it take to set up followed by how does it work. We make our props and get ideas from other exhibitors and or hobbyist. The large nutcrackers were made from scratch and stand 10 ft. tall and weigh over a hundred pounds. The ginger bread trim was all cut out Coroplast, the figures and other items we have have taken years to build into what you see now. The arches for 2018 have a new translucent tubing we found and constructed. Counting the hours would be difficult to calculate because so much time goes into the preparation before the installation even begins. During the summer we make new items, and program our sequences. In October it’s time to get things out of storage which takes two days to just bring everything to the house and wash off the dust and dirt before we start checking bulbs and wiring. This includes required repairs by splicing in new sections of lights where necessary. We define rig up as putting things out in the yard and the install it’s a 4 week process, working long weekends and every evening possible. Inclement weather just makes things more stressful to complete the job. The weather for 2018 has not been a help. This year we used a hydraulic boom lift to aid in the installation of lights and decorative Gingerbread trim and in the assembly of the Mega Trees. Getting the 32 ft. pole up took some hard work and cleaver engineering last year, but the time involved in rigging really impacted our schedule. Previous years Rig Up Chronicles are still posted if you want to see some of the detail. We upgraded our software to LOR 4.3.34 Pro for those who program. The file sizes have gotten very large and you may notice a pause between the songs as each file loads. Below you can see that the smaller pole was used to raise the larger pole in 2015. Some poles have a winch and by use of a hinge at the base of the large pole we can pull it up by winching from the smaller pole which is stabbed in place. Both poles have a receiver base which goes down four feet in concrete. For 2016 the large Mega pole is added in sections using a lift, and the we have moved the smaller Mega Tree to the left side of our display. We added a new aluminum pole this year and will be changing all poles in 2019 to aluminum as they are much easier to handle and store. Should you be interested in more information, or consultation on synchronized Christmas lighting, reply to us and we will get back with you.
Our song list for 2018 follows:
- Carol of the Bells
- Christmas Canon
- Do You Hear What I Hear
- Little Drummer Boy
- Dueling Jingle Bells
- First Snow
- Story of My Lights
- Good King Joy
- Hallelujah Chorus
- Holy Night
- Rockin Round the Tree
- Thank God It’s Christmas
- Story of My Lights
- Wizards in Winter
- Wonderful Christmastime
2014 Rig Up Photos
Power Draw with everything on would be 37.53 AMPS
Light Count: 53,676 LED’s
RGB Dumb Modules: 128 with 3 LED’s each. These can be sequenced to one color at a time per channel. We are using a LOR CMB 24 channel board to drive these the globes on top of the posts. There are smaller controllers for the RGB Floods.
RGB Smart Lights: 8 Cosmic ribbons with 50 LED’s each, and a separate controller for each ribbon, from LOR
RGB Smart Lights: 6 Mini Arches with 18 LED’s each with a Pixlite 4 controller, which also handles the Bethlehem Star, and Top Hats of the Nutcrackers. A SanDevices E6804 Controller handles the left side Coro Candy Canes, and new RGB Snowflakes. We have also added a new AlphaPix 16 controller due to expansion of the Circular Arch, and RGB Snowflakes on left side, with RGB Coro Candy Canes there as well.
Total Networks in use: 4
Total Universes: 28
Total Tracks: 24
Cabling: over 11,500 feet
Total Channels: 6866
In 2012 we built two 10 feet tall Nutcrackers and they are back. We have 4 neighbors incorporated into the programming which extends program requirements. They get a wireless signal from our display which is then drives a 16 channel controller that each of them have to connect their lights. This is how we sync the shows together down the street.
In 2011 we added 6 more Cosmic Ribbons LED light strips and C-9 LED lights in red, green, blue, and white colors across the roof fascia. All of the frames around the windows have been built with the same C-9 LED lights. The “Marty Fan” was rebuilt into an aluminum frame due to weight and height placement. This year we added a hoist mechanism to raise the Marty Fan up. We use M5 LED multi color lights in the fan and one 16 channel controller is assigned to the fan. There are two arching Cosmic ribbons below it the fan on ground level and due to the size fo the fan it takes two additional Cosmic Ribbons to Arch the fan, each is 16 ft. long. The 8 large LED snow flakes are on the front wall of our house. There are 4 CCR Ribbons which run vertically down the four two story peppermint poles. Each LED which is termed “smart” has the ability to be programmed individually as to what color to produce from a color pallet of over 2 million along with the instructions on when to turn on and off. These take alot of time to program, but the results are just plain aweseome. The 8 CCR’s will amaze you. Our large 32 ft. Triple Mega Tree is very unique. The tree will has 3 different trees within it at different levels with different color schemes. The base of the tree is 24 ft. across on the outer most tree and will have white and blue C-6 LEDs. There are 12 channels for each color of white and blue, which have three strands. To make our strands long enough due to height of our tree we had to splice together two 70 count LED’s strings. These have soldered connections which are then shrink wrapped to insulate. Having connectors mid way up the tree looked bad and made installation a headache. These two collars have a separate collar at the tope of tree which is spaced 12 inches above one another The second tree is a 12 channel, 36 strand Multi color tree using M-5 LED’s. This tree begins 3 feet lower at the top, and lands to a separate ring on the ground which is 18 feet in diameter. The inside of this tree we have a red and green Tree. Spiral trees take a significant amount of work to weave and space out and after several years we have this pretty much figured out, but will take a year off and give it a new look. The Triple Mega tree has to 22,000 LED lights. There will be 64 channels in this tree not to mention the strobes and Mega Balls, or 4 sided star on top. The eight small trees that were along the sidewalk last year are across the front of display by the street this year. They will be spaced out by three mini RGB smart arches. On the left side of the yard the 15 Mini Trees will return with a terraced look. See if you can figure that out when you come to view. We have built candy canes which will be placed around the perimeter of the yard. These were made by heating up 1″ PVC pipe and bending it to form the candy cane and then painting and striping. There are 16 peppermint poles around the base of the Triple Mega Tree which have RGB dumb modules in each one. The tunnel of lights over the driveway will be absent this year. We still plan on using all the lights though so don’t worry.
The music is broadcast of our low-powered FM transmitter at 89.9 FM. We have a Gingerbread theme, 53,676 LED lights and 13 different computer LOR controllers. Thirteen primary controllers with 16 channels each, and eight special controllers for the Cosmic Ribbons. Each Cosmic ribbon has 50 RGB ( red, green,blue ) LED lights which can be independently coded. Each light can change to any color imaginable, and be instructed when to turn on or off, and what color. These demand alot of work building into your sequence to get the full potential. If you take 50 lights, and look at them as three colors only that would be 150 channels and with two strings of ribbon that equates to 1200 channels of code. Their are four additional houses on our street who are networked up with us and each have one 16 channel controller to flash with the music.
One Primary PC runs the entire show by taking the sequence of instructions for all the lights and add the music to the show. There are three networks used to distribute the information out to all the other controllers. In addition we have a wireless network which will transmit to some of our neighbors. Our Primary PC computer sends the music to a Ramsey 30B Transmitter for broadcast which you can hear over your car radio when you drive by. The network commands go out over the network cables and wireless network to 13 LOR Controllers we have, and the four additional controllers the neighbors have added to give all the commands for the lights to come on and turn off. Each CCR (Cosmic Ribbon) has it’s own controller and requires a network connection as well. We only put a maximum of 3 CCR’s on any one network due the number of commands we send out and capacity of the networks. We have dedicated power capacity for 140 amps of power, which we only utilize 37.53 AMPS with the use of LED’s. When we started out six years ago we used nearly 114 amps, but with the change over to LED’s our power requirements have been reduced from 114 amps peak pull, down to 37 amps this year at maximum draw. LED’s are a wonderful thing when it comes to power consumption, truly amazing and I urge you all to move that direction. Our display increased our electric bill only $25 total in 2012. When you sequence your lights they are on only for milliseconds and the draw becomes even less than you might imagine. You can now get replacement LED C-9 light bulbs which enable you to keep using your existing C-9 wire strands and just change out your bulbs. C-9’s are the larger type bulbs, which you can normally only run 3 strings of 25 bulbs on a circuit before the start tripping. A C-9 LED bulb only draws .045 watts versus an incandescent bulb draws 7 watts!
More details on Triple Mega if you want to get into channel details. Each of the C-6 strands in the large mega tree is a double string of C-6 LED lights which are hard spliced to be 32 ft. long. There are three strands per slice, and 12 slices per color of blue and white lights for 24 channels. Each of the 12 circuits has six strings of lights with 70 bulbs per string. So, 2 strings per strand x 3 strands per slice = 6 strings per slice. Each string has 70 lights or 420 lights per slice x 12 slices per color = 5,040 lights x 2 colors or 10,080 lights. Inside of this we have 12 channels of M5 multi color LED’s which have three 100 count strings per slice, another 3,600 lights. Then inside this we will build a green and red tree with C-6 lights. Each color will have 12 slices, with two double strands of 70 count lights hard spliced or 3,360 lights x 2=6,720. That gives us a total of 20,400 lights and 40 strobe lights along with 12 mega Balls with 100 lights each and 8 new stars. The four axis star on top has 48 ft. of LED lighting.
Song List 2016
Little Drummer Boy – Josh Groban
Nutrocker – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Christmas Cannon – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Wish Liszt Toy Shop Madness – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Do You Hear What I Hear by Spiraling
Carol of the Bells by David Foster
Good King Joy by Trans Siberian Orchestra
Wonderful Christmas Time by Paul McCartney
O’ Holy Night – Michael Crawford with Trans Siberian Orchestra
Wizards in Winter – Trans Siberian Orchestra
First Snow – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Thank God It’s Christmas – Queen
Sarajevo 12-24 – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Dueling Jingle Bells – Air Force Band
Story of My Lights by Manhattan Jewish Experience
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee