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Pictures of setups


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Here's mine from 5 years ago.  Not to much has changed with the AC Controllers, but I've added quite a few DC since then.  I started making a new video last year, but haven't gotten very far on the editing yet.  I agree with others, a box of Cat5e is a whole lot cheaper than extension cords.  Plus my garage is on the other side of my yard which means all the cords would lay across the walk to the front door.  I try and hide the controllers the best I can in places that are a bit more difficult to get to.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5i2F72IyBY

 

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My husband and I have split up the responsibility for our show - I do software (mostly) and he does hardware (mostly).  Therefore, I don't necessarily know all the details of our setup, but I can give you a broad outline.  We have a wide lot (3 "city lots" in our suburban town) with the house in the middle.  Our lot is 180'x100'.  There is a stand alone garage to the West of the house. 

For years, we have run a "regular" AC only show.  All our original controllers are CTB16PC type.  There are 4 under the porch that feed the 4 faces (monsters or xmas trees) and other props near the front of the house and over to the east side.  There are 2 in the garage that handle lights on the garage and the west side. There is 1 in the gazebo behind our house which handles anything near the back of the lot.  

The computer is in the house and talks to the controllers with ELL (Easy Light Linker) so there are no cables between the computer and the controllers.

This year, we are adding pixels.  We have added 2 pixel trees that were up and running for Halloween.  We are using E1.31 for the pixels and AlphaPix controllers rather than LOR.  I'm finding the E1.31 easy to configure.  Pixels cannot really be run wireless - just too much data and WiFi protocols aren't really designed for this type of thing.  We have a small network switch by the computer.  We have Cat5 cables from there to each of the pixel trees.  Since the Pixel trees were a success, my husband has decided he wants to cover the gazebo in pixels also this year.  After days of researching and deliberating, he decided to get more AlphaPix controllers for that. 

The Pixel Trees each use an Alphapix16, but he is going with 3 Alphapix4 controllers for the gazebo.  1 will have a string of C9 bulbs (100 pixels) and 3 sets of snowflakes (108 pixels each).  The other 2 controllers will handle the Pixel Icicles.  There are 8 segments each with 100 pixels, so 4 will be on one controller and the other 4 will be on the other controller.  The switch from the house will connect to a switch in the gazebo.  That switch will connect to the 3 new controllers.  I believe he intends to get this setup this weekend, so we will find out then if it works as planned!

I guess our setup is semi-distributed?  We still run some pretty long extension cords from the controllers, but they are shorter than they would be if we tried to have them all in one place.

Based on our experience, I would suggest starting with a "simple" AC show with regular LED lights.  Once you have that down and are comfortable with it, then move on to pixels.  I would also echo the advise to start with the S5 version of the software - I started really working on our show this past year.  I jumped right into S5 without knowing much about how the earlier versions worked and I found it to be pretty straightforward and easy to learn.  Based on posts here on the boards, it is much more difficult to come from the earlier versions and have to change how you think about things.

PJD

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I built a storage box to hold all my USB-RSB485 adapters and made it so I can put the show laptop on top and plug the USB's into it. Other the 2 controllers visible in the pictures all other controllers are mounted on the props with the network cables all run back to the control box. Pictures in the thread below.

 

Alan...

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1 hour ago, default said:

I built a storage box to hold all my USB-RSB485 adapters and made it so I can put the show laptop on top and plug the USB's into it. Other the 2 controllers visible in the pictures all other controllers are mounted on the props with the network cables all run back to the control box. Pictures in the thread below.

 

Alan...

I remember that thread. Up to 13/14 nw's this year. The more I attempt to consolidate the more stuff I add to the show. Ive had roof lights on every night since HAlloween and didn't even know it. Forgot when I turned off the lightshow power panel that 8 controllers are in the attic on the house main panel.

JR

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have an old laptop computer that is dedicated to my light show.  It is located in our bedroom on the second floor, it faces the street and has a deck.  The speakers are on the deck.  My eleven controllers are down at street level located nearest the props they control.  I have them in three locations mounted on racks I built.  One is on the other side of the driveway.  I run the cat5 cable overhead wired to a braided wire strung from a deck rail to a tree on that side of the driveway.   What gets dicey for me is all the extension cords; there are hundreds of them.  I’ve created a couple of cord bundles for the windows that work pretty well but I’m thinking about building new ones from STP wire and vampire plugs/outlets.  I’m making a light tunnel this year with 96 strings of light on 48 circuits.  I decided to make cord bundles for it, they were easy to make and seem a little more organized than the massive pile of cords strung out around my other props.  Anyone have any ideas on this?  

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Bundles of wire from SPT and vampire plugs is the way to go.   I used to have the various sizes of extension cords 3 6 9 12 15 foot and organize and inventory them so I could find a 9 foot when I needed one.   The bundles are much better.  Be sure to label them.  A year in the shed makes it easy to forget which is for what.     Since going to pixels the need for these is going down.

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I agree - distributed is the way to go.  I've got 39 total controllers (9 - CMB24D's and 30 CBT16's).  Show computer and transmitter live inside my garage.  

Here's a link to a time-lapse setup video I did back in 2017 that shows where I put my controllers in relation to their props.

8400 Lights - 2017 Time Lapse Setup Video

I might do a behind-the-scenes video this year if the weather cooperates.

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4 hours ago, ItsMeBobO said:

Bundles of wire from SPT and vampire plugs is the way to go.   I used to have the various sizes of extension cords 3 6 9 12 15 foot and organize and inventory them so I could find a 9 foot when I needed one.   The bundles are much better.  Be sure to label them.  A year in the shed makes it easy to forget which is for what.     Since going to pixels the need for these is going down.

Bundles are great until you start moving and or adding props.

Also I use zip ties and sliding those through my delicate hands is rough.

But I still bundle except for a few stragglers.

All of my props are getting closer to being pixels. All I have left non pixel - 30 singing faces. Mega tree and mini trees. The wife loves them but the mega tree is killing me.

JR

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Oh yeah     Those sharp edges on zip tie tails can really hurt you.     This year I planted some props further apart than before  and now several of the wire bundles are a few inches short.. I hate that

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On ‎11‎/‎23‎/‎2019 at 10:50 AM, ItsMeBobO said:

Be sure to label them.  A year in the shed makes it easy to forget which is for what. 

Labeling everything has drastically decreased the amount of time it takes to set things up.  When I don't label something and put it away, the biggest lie I tell myself is "I'll remember what that went to the next time I use it."  Most my cords are bundled in groups of 3 since I use Red, Green, and White strands.  I have put a piece of colored (red, green, or white) electrical tape near each end of each cord to make plugging the right color strand of lights to the correct output. 

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Am I the only one that is God awful at cable management?  There is a about 2 miles of spt 2 extention cords, cat 5, and such, ruinning through my yard.   If anyone were to randomly walk across my lawn, they would tangle up, rip things out, and end up on their a#$.    The only real way to organize it would be to spend hundreds more, on top of the hundreds I have already spent, to get more extention cords, and wire/cables, to make things long enough to route into a somewhat tidy snake, or at least a few snakes.   I was a professional musican for years, and always had the tidiest cable management in my racks, and boards, but this......I really admire those that keep things so neat, and buttoned up, but I just don't see me ever getting there.  

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26 minutes ago, Dcroc said:

Am I the only one that is God awful at cable management?  There is a about 2 miles of spt 2 extention cords, cat 5, and such, ruinning through my yard.   If anyone were to randomly walk across my lawn, they would tangle up, rip things out, and end up on their a#$.    The only real way to organize it would be to spend hundreds more, on top of the hundreds I have already spent, to get more extention cords, and wire/cables, to make things long enough to route into a somewhat tidy snake, or at least a few snakes.   I was a professional musican for years, and always had the tidiest cable management in my racks, and boards, but this......I really admire those that keep things so neat, and buttoned up, but I just don't see me ever getting there.  

Hahaha, I know the feeling. My front porch looks like a plate of spaghetti. And the extension cords are even orange. Next big sale I'm buying a ton of spt-1 and vampire plugs. 

My wife is going to be peeved. 

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33 minutes ago, Dcroc said:

Am I the only one that is God awful at cable management?  There is a about 2 miles of spt 2 extention cords, cat 5, and such, ruinning through my yard.   If anyone were to randomly walk across my lawn, they would tangle up, rip things out, and end up on their a#$.    The only real way to organize it would be to spend hundreds more, on top of the hundreds I have already spent, to get more extention cords, and wire/cables, to make things long enough to route into a somewhat tidy snake, or at least a few snakes.   I was a professional musican for years, and always had the tidiest cable management in my racks, and boards, but this......I really admire those that keep things so neat, and buttoned up, but I just don't see me ever getting there.  

I'm going to make you feel bad.  Here is a complete list of wires that are running across the front yard:

1 piece of cat-5 that plugs into a box along a wall, and crosses about 4 feet of lawn to my arches, then along the arches to the three CCP controllers.

1 piece of SPT-1 that plugs into an outlet on the front of the house and crosses 15 feet of lawn to the arches, then along the arches to the three CCP controllers.

1 16AWG green extension cord that crosses 45 feet of lawn from an outlet in the yard to a CTB16 behind my singing faces.

1 16AWG blue extension cord that crosses about 10 feet of lawn from an outlet on the front of the hose to my pixel tree.

There are two pieces of cat-5 to the pixel tree, but they are overhead (from the roof to the top of the tree.

That's it!  One huge advantage of being almost all pixels.  All the year round landscape lighting stuff is in underground conduit.

 

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12 hours ago, MichRX7 said:

Hahaha, I know the feeling. My front porch looks like a plate of spaghetti. And the extension cords are even orange. Next big sale I'm buying a ton of spt-1 and vampire plugs. 

My wife is going to be peeved. 

I didn't see any real savings in buying the wire, and plugs, over off the shelf extention cords.  Howevr, I am starting to understand how it could clean up some of the mess. "Spaghetti" is the perfect word!

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12 hours ago, k6ccc said:

I'm going to make you feel bad.  Here is a complete list of wires that are running across the front yard:

1 piece of cat-5 that plugs into a box along a wall, and crosses about 4 feet of lawn to my arches, then along the arches to the three CCP controllers.

1 piece of SPT-1 that plugs into an outlet on the front of the house and crosses 15 feet of lawn to the arches, then along the arches to the three CCP controllers.

1 16AWG green extension cord that crosses 45 feet of lawn from an outlet in the yard to a CTB16 behind my singing faces.

1 16AWG blue extension cord that crosses about 10 feet of lawn from an outlet on the front of the hose to my pixel tree.

There are two pieces of cat-5 to the pixel tree, but they are overhead (from the roof to the top of the tree.

That's it!  One huge advantage of being almost all pixels.  All the year round landscape lighting stuff is in underground conduit.

 

I actually have a lot of pixels.   I still end up using 8 AC controllers.   I would love to lose the blowmold,  LED mega tree,  and whatever other old school props I use, but the wife simply will not let go.  What I need to do is make her think I like the old school props,  and then she will not want them used anymore.😁

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6 minutes ago, Dcroc said:

I actually have a lot of pixels.   I still end up using 8 AC controllers.   I would love to lose the blowmold,  LED mega tree,  and whatever other old school props I use, but the wife simply will not let go.  What I need to do is make her think I like the old school props,  and then she will not want them used anymore.😁

This year, My megatree is mostly Dumb RGB. 1 string instead of many on each 'branch' (2 CMB24's to run most of the tree) There are still a couple of thing that are 120V left.

I converted many Candy Canes to use WW LED strips last year. Still, nothing beats SPT /120V for powering things that are spaced a bit apart

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So I actually managed to get my behind-the-scenes video done this year.  I split it into 2 parts as it got rather long (but it is a big display):

 

8400 Lights - 2019 Holiday Show Behind-the-Scenes Tour (Part 1)

8400 Lights - 2019 Holiday Show Behind-the-Scenes Tour (Part 2)

Enjoy!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/6/2019 at 7:41 AM, 51phiveoh said:

Hello...I'm a visual person and love looking at the completed videos to get ideas of how to set up my light show...

But, was wondering if you all had pics of how your setup looks in your garage (or wherever you set up your controls) so I can get an idea of space needed, what it looks like with all those extension cords running from the control panels...etc.

Thanks.

I have 2 16 ac channel controllers, the one under my eve, I use 10 channels for the roof, but I have electrical 3 way plugs to split (mirror that channel) to a net light, bush, spiral tree, or something else in my yard. The other 6 channels are for 6 sections of blue rope light in the grass, also mirrored to things around the yard. I need to get more controllers lol. Then I have a 4 channel pixie controller behind the bush for my 4 arches. Smart pixels. Not dumb. This is my first year for the arches. My 2nd controller for the east yard. It’s mounted to my garage wall for another 16 channels( 1 for Santa outline, I could plug him into a permanent outlet but I don’t ) 2 for his upper and lower mustache) then the red and white rope lights and some mirror other things as well. I ran a cat 5 into my attic along with some long rca cables( I have a soundbar under my eve using the headphone jack under my eve) through my ceiling ( my house has up ducts, I didn’t poke a hole in my ceiling, and I’m not worried about the heat or cooling loss) kinda tacky wiring in my front room to my little corner laptop. I intended for it to be in the garage this year, oops. The blue light on the edge of my wife’s Christmas village is my fm transmitter. The cat 5 goes from my red USB adapter on my laptop, out to my first controller under the eve. Then a cat 6 out to the controller in the yard, another cat 6 from the yard doubles back to the eve at the controller, used a Ethernet double female plug to connect 2 cables together, and ran an Ethernet cable under my eaves around to the 2nd 16 channel controller. 

My 3 controllers, I like others noting controllers near things I have extension cords everywhere lol  

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/o5n8101fydggboc/AAAPpKu196iATqDBoMz8pvBza?dl=0

pink tree and my ho ho ho, are mirrored to different main roof sections, since they can’t be seen at the same time. 
2 small clips of back and side and a minute from the front. 
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/krmgnb4sglfqsc0/AADo4n5LYcCh4-ELfnT4Qoq9a?dl=0

the tree on the far right In the yard Is a tree with 3 tree dazzlers on it

 

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