Jump to content
Light-O-Rama Forums

First Year at New House, PVC Frame System, Planning for Future Animation


Recommended Posts

My wife and I bought our first house earlier this year so I finally have my own canvas to decorate!  For the first 3 years or so I'm just going to go static while I build up my lights supply.  This year, I purchased a 500 foot long spool of C9 sockets with 250 cool white and 250 blue C9 replacement LED's.  So this year I will only have the roof lit up with alternating blue and white C9's.  


To hold the lights, I am constructing an extensive PVC system that I can zip-tie the lights to.  My roof is pitched fairly steep so I want to spend as little time as possible up there in the future.  I also didn't want to staple into my shingles nor pry them all up everywhere for clips.  Therefore, PVC system.


I spent the last couple days constructing the PVC lines and I am 95% done.  I just have a few spots left to do along eaves/gutters, but all the hips, valleys and ridges are complete.  Once I get those finished, I will take it all down, spray paint it black, and label all the different sections.  I will then spend the next couple of weeks zip-tying lights to them.  However, that part has to be planned out very carefully.  


First, it all has to be put together in a manner that makes it easy to take apart for storage.  I will probably end up having to use a ton of wire disconnects.


Second, I would like to go ahead and plan ahead for animation.  That's where I want some input from you guys.  How many channels do I plan on using on the roof?  The easiest solution, Option 1, is not to break it up at all and simply make it all come on or all go off.  Another, option 2, would be to put the entire eave line on one channel and everything else "behind" that on another.  The more complicated way, option 3, would be to break it all up into 4 channels; one over the garage, one on the really tall back ridge down to behind the cherry tree, the 3rd over the front door and big window to the left of front door, and the 4th to the far right.  And lastly, option 4, the most complicated, would be 8 channels.  It would basically be a combination of option 2 and 3.  Split it up into 4 zones like option 3, but separate the front eave line from the hips/valley's/ridges behind it.


These next two pictures show the 8 zones that I had in mind.  Red eave paired with Magenta behind it, Orange Eave with Yellow behind, Green eave with Lime Green behind it and blue with light blue behind it.










So what do you guys think?  Is splitting it up into 8 zones REALLY worth it?  Because I'll be honest, I don't want to do it that way lol!  I've never sequenced before.  I still consider myself a newbie.  So I'm looking to you guys for your experience.  Is breaking up the roof in this way a must?  How much do I need to break it down, if at all?


The entire future plan is still pretty open.  Next year I intend to light up the 3 main windows, the 3 small windows around the front door, and the garage door borders.  I'm not even sure what size those lights will be... I'm still debating between C6, C7 or C9...


Beyond that I really don't have any set plans.  I've considered a star of Bethlehem over the garage or a bunch of snowflakes.  Some could go over the entry way arch as well.  I could line the front sidewalk/flower gardens. I'm just not sure at this point.


The major thing to decide will be what to use to show the melody in songs.  A long line of mini trees?  or candy canes?


One thing is sure, by the time I go to animation, those stupid Bradford Pear trees will be GONE.  So the entire front yard will be open.


There's a fair amount of space to the left and right of the house.  The obvious idea is to put a mega tree on each side, but I'm just not sure about that.  I'm not really a big fan of mega trees.  And the cost that it takes with lights/controllers, I just don't feel it's the best bang for your buck.  I could put all sorts of things along the fence on both sides.


Here's a couple more pictures to show the PVC system without being PAINT'd on.








Edited by Dulahey
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Derek,

First, very nice to meet and visit with you today.

Second, after what you talked about earlier, I see your problem with those stupid Bradford pear trees (just kidding)

Third, I see a better idea of your PVC skeleton type frame for the lights. Very nice work and can see how that will save time in the future years of setup.


As for choice on channels for the roof when you do go animated, it's what you feel you want. All on or different areas at different times to create a chase effect.

Use your imagination while looking at the roof line with a song in mind and visualize what might be best. Maybe try the "all on" effect the first year and go from there. You can always go back with animation. 


You explained how you were going to attach the C9s to the PVC (nice straight formation) and then how it will store once done. We talked on an idea or two so I'm curious as to what works best for you.


Either way, you have a nice house with a nice lay out. If that Bradford pear closest to the driveway dies soon, I don't think the other tree will be a factor. You know those trees have a short life span in the light decorating world, not sure why. ;)


I would for sure think about LED floods for that entry/arch way. Light colored rock shows very well with those. One at the bottom on each column and one on each eve shining over the entry way. I have a couple you couple play with since your static for this year.


Thank you for sharing and look forward to seeing progress pics.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

The PVC was exactly what I planned on doing!

A couple question.

How did you get the pvs to stay up there?


If you don't mind me asking how much did it cost for all the PVC ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The PVC is not attached to the roof in any way.  It just sits there.


I used 1/2" PVC.  It was $1.51 per 10'.  All of the connections probably cost almost as much as the PVC.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The PVC is not attached to the roof in any way.  It just sits there.


I used 1/2" PVC.  It was $1.51 per 10'.  All of the connections probably cost almost as much as the PVC.

might want to antisipate some wind, least your display becomes your neighbors display (the neighbor a block away not the one next door)?  PVC is great and I use it for a lot of things, down side is it is very light (also the upside).

Edited by jerrymac
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great house for lights.  I would run the eaves one channel, and then break up the rest of the roof line as you have drawn out.  The more channels you have, the better options you have at lights.  Don't be afraid of sequencing.  You can just as easily highlight eight channels as one to turn on, but having the ability to move things across the roof, skip sections, back and forths will actually make sequencing more fun.  I would also do the side and back rooflines on teh side you have colored blue.  It appears that will be a sightline when cars pull up, so adding it will really give the house dimensionality.  


I would then outline all the elements on the front of the house.  What a great layout.  You have 5 elements (two garage doors, two windows and the doorway).  That's awesome for sequencing lights across the front.  If you wanted to have the lights follow a beat, you would flash "little garage, big garage, Big window, doorway" to take up four beats, and then come back with "little window, doorway, Big window, big garage" for the next 4 beats, and your back to 1.  Does that make sense?


To outline those, you can use the 3m hooks onto the brick.  Believe it or not, they hold nicely.  One on each of the four corners, and run the lights up and over them.  We use it to outline our garage doors.  The hooks held all season long.  


If you have a 16 channel LOR, you still have 3 channels left to play with.  Maybe some stars, or something else.  


You have a great house for lights.  I can't wait to see what you do!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I built a framework out of conduit a few years ago.  My roof is farily simple, no peaks or valleys to deal with.  I bolted an L shaped bracket on each end of each section of conduit.  The bottom of the L sits on the roof and I use binder clips to clip it to the shingles.  There has never been any problem with wind.


I used four colors of lights on the framework White, Green, Red, and Blue.  Mine has each edge on a seperate set of four channels.  Four channels for the front edge, four channels for the left Edge, four channels for the ridge, and four for the right edge.


I bought a spool of C9 sockeets on 18" centers from CDI.


When I put the lights on, I put them in the same order w,g,r,b.   I went counter clockwise and made sure that it worked out so that each section started with white and ended with blue.  I just used vampire plugs to connect between the sections.  It did take a lot of them though.


No section is longer than 10 feet.  Most are shorter.   I tried to work it so the lengths were more or less equal where I could.


For stoage, I just bought a bunch of hooks that could screw into the wall studs in the garage.  I was able to get two sections on each hook.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

At the bottom, the PVC is supported by the gutters and everywhere else I just put some horizontal "cradles" to sit over the ridges.


Similar to this:  http://www.brownchristmaslightshow.com/roof-outline-lights.html


Hey,, your home looks really beautiful and I wish if you could have posted some evening photos then I'm sure that could have been a tremendous effect,,  :)

Even then I would say like you may try for either mood lights, laser lights etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • The topic was locked
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...