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Perfect Mega Tree...Accidentially


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Like most of you, I've been spending my free time getting my 2013 show together. Going from 3,000 static lights last year to 48 channels and 12,000 animated lights this year has proven to be a big undertaking. I was particularly struggling with how I was going to build a mega tree. Out of the blue one day, my Mother In Law suggested I go take a look at an old TV antenna mast she had laying around.

 

It looked tall enough, sturdy enough and even came with a roof mount tripod. Got it back home...measured right at 10' tall and the mast is galvanized 1" pipe with threads at the top. The tripod base should eliminate the need for guy wires or any other method of support as well. It couldn't be more perfect, especially considering the price: free! I ordered all the necessary hardware and star from 3G Lighting and am ready to go for ~$60 bucks! Thought I'd throw out the idea of an antenna mast to anyone else looking for ideas on what to build a mega tree out of.

 

Incidentially, our mega tree will be build a little differently than normal and I think it's going to work out. I've dedicated one controller to it, but am splitting my channels out in a unique way. 12 channels will power the lights around in the traditional way. I'm running two strands per channel and will have 24 strings total on the outside. 3 channels will power lights wrapped around the mast and the final channel will power the star. I will be able to do sort of a firework effect on the inside ending with the star and other dancing sequences. Hadn't seen that setup before and wanted to throw that out there as well. Happy building!

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Incidentially, our mega tree will be build a little differently than normal and I think it's going to work out. I've dedicated one controller to it, but am splitting my channels out in a unique way. 12 channels will power the lights around in the traditional way. I'm running two strands per channel and will have 24 strings total on the outside. 3 channels will power lights wrapped around the mast and the final channel will power the star. I will be able to do sort of a firework effect on the inside ending with the star and other dancing sequences. Hadn't seen that setup before and wanted to throw that out there as well. Happy building!

 

I have done the same thing for several years now.

I have 64 channels for my R, W, B & G strands, 15 channels for my pole lights running the height of the mega tree tower and then one channel for the star.

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Like most of you, I've been spending my free time getting my 2013 show together. Going from 3,000 static lights last year to 48 channels and 12,000 animated lights this year has proven to be a big undertaking. I was particularly struggling with how I was going to build a mega tree. Out of the blue one day, my Mother In Law suggested I go take a look at an old TV antenna mast she had laying around.

 

It looked tall enough, sturdy enough and even came with a roof mount tripod. Got it back home...measured right at 10' tall and the mast is galvanized 1" pipe with threads at the top. The tripod base should eliminate the need for guy wires or any other method of support as well. It couldn't be more perfect, especially considering the price: free! I ordered all the necessary hardware and star from 3G Lighting and am ready to go for ~$60 bucks! Thought I'd throw out the idea of an antenna mast to anyone else looking for ideas on what to build a mega tree out of.

 

Incidentially, our mega tree will be build a little differently than normal and I think it's going to work out. I've dedicated one controller to it, but am splitting my channels out in a unique way. 12 channels will power the lights around in the traditional way. I'm running two strands per channel and will have 24 strings total on the outside. 3 channels will power lights wrapped around the mast and the final channel will power the star. I will be able to do sort of a firework effect on the inside ending with the star and other dancing sequences. Hadn't seen that setup before and wanted to throw that out there as well. Happy building!

I don't know, but I believe I would still put guides on. Those strands of lights can catch a lot of wind and act like a sail. I would think that the roof tripod would be a pretty small base for the tree and the lights.  This will be my second year and I found out last year what the wind could do. Course this is just my option.

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So, Tom,

 

What does that mast cost per foot. It looks like the lighting trusses they use in a concert stage setting. Just curious and maybe some info for other folks. I plan on this being my last year with LEDs. My display in 2014 will be all RGB.

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So, Tom,

 

What does that mast cost per foot. It looks like the lighting trusses they use in a concert stage setting. Just curious and maybe some info for other folks. I plan on this being my last year with LEDs. My display in 2014 will be all RGB.

 

  I bought a 40 foot CB tower, same thing, for $75.00.   Use part of it for my mega tree and the other part for my spiral tree.

Edited by shfr26
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So, Tom,

 

What does that mast cost per foot. It looks like the lighting trusses they use in a concert stage setting. Just curious and maybe some info for other folks. I plan on this being my last year with LEDs. My display in 2014 will be all RGB.

 

Ron,

What Shfr26 mentioned is correct.

It's a Rohn25 radio tower. They usually come in 10' sections with a cone piece for the top section.

I purchased some from craigslist at different times and the prices vary depending on the seller.

I probably paid around $15 to $20 per 10' section.

I purchased a swivle base plate which attaches to the bottom of the tower. Those run a little more on ebay since there wasn't any locally.

The base plate is mounted to a concrete pad I put in my front yard. Mount the base to the concrete pad, attach the tower to the base plate and then lift it up in place with a winch on the front of my brothers jeep. then anchor the 4 guy wires and there you have it.

You don't have to have a concrete pad but will need something solid to keep the bottom of the tower in place and maybe rebar stakes to keep it in place.

If you were close to Oklahoma City, I have some spare sections I could sell for cheap.

I like these towers because you can climb right up (with safety harness made for tower climbing) and attach lights or what ever.

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I would be very interested in watching someone erect a tower like that. I have been using a 4" pvc pipe just slipped over 3 3' steel spikes in the ground. It is time to upgrade!

 

Michael,

This coming weekend I will be erecting my tower if you want to come see. Saturday or Sunday.

It is much easier than it looks.

Then the next weekend, the lights will go up (if the weather is dry).

I also responded to your PM about some sections.

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Both of my towers were given to me from people who watched the show. I have pipe in the ground and concreted in just below ground level. Sticking the tower in them and use a level while drilling holes to use steel pins makes for quick setup. At 10 feet I have support cables and at 30 feet back guyed back 50 feet. The front guy lands behind the nativity scene. In 2 hours I can have the tower up and anchored.Then starts the pain staking task of 64 super string with four colors being applied. 

 

Took a different approach this year and use mule tape. I attached each string ran to top of tower where I have predrilled holes. Running the line through it and back down the tower. If I have a string out I let it down for repair. This is better than climbing the tower all the time. Mule tape was rated for 600 lbs.so works great for this install.

 

Mule tape can be found on projects where a contractor will pull cables or fiber in a conduit. They will give it to you !!!!

 

Jeff

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