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What I want to do is light up a 20 foot plum tree in my front yard with 4 colors 1,000 mini lights of each color for a total of 4,000. What I want the tree to do is change colors, blue fades to red that fades to green that fades to white. what is the least amount of channels I can do this on. I have 4 extra channels but I don't think That will be enough. if each sting is .33 amp then I can plug in 6 to a single channel with out going over 2 amps is this right ?

how do other people light up trees like this and is it better to start from the top or the bottom when doing real trees like this?


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Does your board have a heat sink on it? because if it does you can pull 8 amps per channel, up to your maximum board limit which would be 15 amps for the ctb-08 and 20 amps for the ctb-08d or 20 amps per side for the ctb-16d (jumpers removed and two power cords attached).

lighting trees is an art thus there is no right or wrong way to do it, but if you post a picture of the tree I give my two cents.

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yes it does have a heat-sink, but while the 4 channels for the tree are rotating colors the rest of the channels are used for the main show so i would easily go over 15 amps if 8 amps are used on one channel.


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you would only be pulling 3.3 amps per channel (if your lights are .33 amps a string and you had 10 100 bulb strings.) now you could cut down your number of colors to three (red, green, blue) which would put you at 10 amps for the entire tree. Now just keep one color on at a time and there you have it only 3.3 amps at one time.

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This is the big concern for many of our displays ... "being sure that one does not overload a board"

I suggest you figure out what you will be controlling with the rest of your board. Then work backwards. Some suggestions though:

Assuming you have a 40 AMP board, 20 on each side:

  • If you go with 4 colors ... put 2 on one side and 2 on the other ... i..e, channels 7 & 8; and Channels 9 & 10
  • Make up a wish list of what you want to control: Clearly this tree would be hight on the priority list
  • Once you have what you "want" you need to determine how much Amperage each item would require ... then start cutting

I try to do the following: (I work with 30 AMP Showtime boards) ...

  • I try to keep the power need to no more than 2 amps per channel,
  • But, more importantly, that the total if all channels are on FULL ... that this would not exceed 15 AMPS per side

    • WHY?

      • I like to be able to do FULL ON flashes in my sequencing once in awhile
      • I don't want to accidentally forget and overload and blow the fuse or the entire board

Recommendations for the Plum:

  • I have a 15 to 20 ft Maple in my front yard ...
  • I had 2 colors on it last year (well really three) ... 1 set of channels were all CLEAR minis, the other channels were RED/GREEN (same strand) minis
  • If you have limited channels this year, and following the above ideas:

    • You'll get approx. 600 lights per channel if you keep to 2 AMPs
    • My suggestion would be to go with 500 per channel, but have 2 channels per colors ... but use only 2 colors
    • That's going to put 2,000 lights in the tree
    • And, you'll have 4 channels which should provide you with some interesting sequencing possibilities ... depending upon how you load the lights into the tree

    [*]Loading the Tree:

    • Fill the canopy ... see. www.crazylightlady.us ... she puts her lights on top of the canopy of her trees, and does not wrap the branches

      • she will tell you, though, you will need to fiddle with the lights to make them look "just right" ... but this is true regardless of how you put lights up

      [*]Wrap individual branches ...

      • This is very time consuming, and you may find that you will end up cutting the lights out of the tree ... unless you just have endless patience ... particularly if you load the both colors, one over the other on the same branch

        • Tip here: Be sure you number/mark your light strands so that you know which is the last one on, and the first to take off.

Okay ... I rambled, but hope that helps ... or at least gives you a direction to go in.

Good Luck,


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