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Newbie With Mega Tree Questions


WeissWelsh
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Hello everyone.

I have been reading endless messages in these forums trying to get 'up to speed' and I'm finally at the stage of asking some questions.

I will refrain from asking questions concerning electrical upgrades because everyone in these forums seems to suggest that newbies, like me, should figure out what they are going to do for their display prior to calling the electrician. So, I'll start with display questions. I know I want to do a mega tree, but I'm unsure exactly how I want to do it. Perhaps some insight from the experts will help me figure it out.

#1 -- The height/diameter ratio. What are some of your opinions concerning the height of the tree as it relates to the diameter of the base? Is there an aesthetically pleasing ratio that most people use? For example, if the tree were 20', what would be a good diameter for the base?

#2 -- Let's say you do a tree with 4 different colors; do you prefer to wrap all 4 of the strings together and place them as one big string, or do you place them close to each other, but still separate?

#3 -- Is there any rule of thumb for the spacing between each string at the base? In other words, does more strings (closer together) mean 'more attractive'.

#4 -- Other than price and amps, are there any problematic differences associated with using LED mini lights instead of incandescent mini lights on a tree. In other words, does all the sequencing effects work and look the same on the tree for both kinds of lights?

#5 -- I see some people use strobe lights within the tree. Where are they attaching those strobes? Are they just zipped tied to the already existing light strings?

#6 -- Is there anyone here who has made a mega tree where the top piece (where the lights attach) can somehow be pulled up to the top of the pole (like a pulley system) AFTER the lights are attached to it; making the use of a huge ladder unnecessary?

Thanks to everyone who posts such wonderful information. Even though I haven't started yet, it has been in an invaluable asset.

Bob

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WeissWelsh wrote:

Hello everyone.

I have been reading endless messages in these forums trying to get 'up to speed' and I'm finally at the stage of asking some questions.

I will refrain from asking questions concerning electrical upgrades because everyone in these forums seems to suggest that newbies, like me, should figure out what they are going to do for their display prior to calling the electrician. So, I'll start with display questions. I know I want to do a mega tree, but I'm unsure exactly how I want to do it. Perhaps some insight from the experts will help me figure it out.

#1 -- The height/diameter ratio. What are some of your opinions concerning the height of the tree as it relates to the diameter of the base? Is there an aesthetically pleasing ratio that most people use? For example, if the tree were 20', what would be a good diameter for the base? Typically, between 1.5:1 and 2:1

#2 -- Let's say you do a tree with 4 different colors; do you prefer to wrap all 4 of the strings together and place them as one big string, or do you place them close to each other, but still separate? Opinions vary. I create "super strings" of 1200 lights, 300 of each of 4 colors, and put them on as a single unit.

#3 -- Is there any rule of thumb for the spacing between each string at the base? In other words, does more strings (closer together) mean 'more attractive'. More lights give a higher light density and fuller look. My trees contain contain 3600 of each color light. You can see them at the link below.

#4 -- Other than price and amps, are there any problematic differences associated with using LED mini lights instead of incandescent mini lights on a tree. In other words, does all the sequencing effects work and look the same on the tree for both kinds of lights? Depends on the LEDs. Some LEDs seem to have trouble dimming.

#5 -- I see some people use strobe lights within the tree. Where are they attaching those strobes? Are they just zipped tied to the already existing light strings? I don't know the answer on that one...

#6 -- Is there anyone here who has made a mega tree where the top piece (where the lights attach) can somehow be pulled up to the top of the pole (like a pulley system) AFTER the lights are attached to it; making the use of a huge ladder unnecessary? My mega trees do not use a pole at all. I use a 1/4 inch wire strung between two trees as the attachment point for a pulley system, and I hoist up the lights after I have attached them all with both feet firmly on the ground.

Thanks to everyone who posts such wonderful information. Even though I haven't started yet, it has been in an invaluable asset. Lots of luck! :)

Bob
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As far as a pulley system goes...if you are a member of PlanetChristmas you can see the post about it here. It goes into great detail of how he made it.

http://talk.planetchristmas.com/showthread.php?t=23693

The person that made the mega tree with pulley system also posted his picture on line at the link below, but did not detail his work.

http://larrydrum.home.comcast.net/~larrydrum/photo/megatree2008/ThumbnailFrame.html

Hope this helps,

Brad

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WeissWelsh wrote:

Hello everyone.

I have been reading endless messages in these forums trying to get 'up to speed' and I'm finally at the stage of asking some questions.

I will refrain from asking questions concerning electrical upgrades because everyone in these forums seems to suggest that newbies, like me, should figure out what they are going to do for their display prior to calling the electrician. So, I'll start with display questions. I know I want to do a mega tree, but I'm unsure exactly how I want to do it. Perhaps some insight from the experts will help me figure it out.

#1 -- The height/diameter ratio. What are some of your opinions concerning the height of the tree as it relates to the diameter of the base? Is there an aesthetically pleasing ratio that most people use? For example, if the tree were 20', what would be a good diameter for the base? Typically use 1.5 to 1 or 2 to 1. I use a 21' by 1-1/2" galv pipe that has 18' above ground and I used 60' of 1" gray electrical conduit for a "base ring". I think that it makes the tree look too "fat", but everybody else loved it. I am going to go down to 50' for the base ring next year and see how it looks.

#2 -- Let's say you do a tree with 4 different colors; do you prefer to wrap all 4 of the strings together and place them as one big string, or do you place them close to each other, but still separate? I used 4 colors and kept them seperate, but only had 56 strings this year. Next year I will triple that amount, but I still want to keep them seperate. One problem with a lot of strings is when you get to the top it gets very crowded to hook them, but I am sure that I could wind the strings at the top and then fasten them and still be able to seperate them.

#3 -- Is there any rule of thumb for the spacing between each string at the base? In other words, does more strings (closer together) mean 'more attractive'. This is basically dictated by how many strings you have and how big the base ring is. Personally I want more strings to get the fuller look as well as be able to make sweeps and single color runs around the tree look better.

#4 -- Other than price and amps, are there any problematic differences associated with using LED mini lights instead of incandescent mini lights on a tree. In other words, does all the sequencing effects work and look the same on the tree for both kinds of lights? I didn't have any problems with my LEDs at all last year, but there are a lot of brands out there that do have problems with fades and shimmers. I used the Holiday Creations brand that Travis at LedHolidayLighting.com carries. Excellent product.

#5 -- I see some people use strobe lights within the tree. Where are they attaching those strobes? Are they just zipped tied to the already existing light strings? I hooked my strobes up to the top ring and then ran them down on the inside of the tree to a ground attachment. Worked fine with no problems.

#6 -- Is there anyone here who has made a mega tree where the top piece (where the lights attach) can somehow be pulled up to the top of the pole (like a pulley system) AFTER the lights are attached to it; making the use of a huge ladder unnecessary? I used a mega tree kit from Darryl Brown over at
http://www.christmaslightshow.com/xcart/home.php?cat=25 and it worked great. It has a pulley on the top bracket and 4 guy wire attachments built in. The only thing I want to change on it would be the mega tree head because it only has 1 ring at the botom of it and tends to tip to one side. I am going to add another ring to it this summer for a second guide on the pole. You will also want to buy a hand winch to use. Even with only 56 strings, it was a heavy load to hoist but the winch made it simple. I hooked all my strings up to the head and cranked it up about halfway and then just checked to be sure my strings were staying somewhat seperate and then hoisted it the rest of the way. Worked fine for me and I did everything myself. You can see pictures of my tree on my site listed below.

Thanks to everyone who posts such wonderful information. Even though I haven't started yet, it has been in an invaluable asset.

Bob



The tree is definitely a big project to tackle, but it is fun and really provides a WOW factor to your display. I would recommend Darryl's mega tree kit to simplify building one if you are going to make a large tree.
Plus this was my first year doing animated lighting, so I am by no means a pro at this. I learned a lot by trial and error doing things, but had a ball building things up and making a display. Now that I know some tricks about things from reading the forums and by doing it, next year I hope to have a really good show for folks. And of course each year there will be things to add and help "fill out" the display.


Bill
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I can reply to this one with some photos of my pulley system, I used redneck's tree design and used a boat winch for hoisting the lights.

#6 -- Is there anyone here who has made a mega tree where the top piece (where the lights attach) can somehow be pulled up to the top of the pole (like a pulley system) AFTER the lights are attached to it; making the use of a huge ladder unnecessary?

I used a U bolt to attach it to the pole. It worked great. Very easy to raise and lower your lights.






Attached files 171499=9829-DSC02772.jpg

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Hi DownTown,

Thanks for the quick reply. I think I will go with the 2:1 ratio you suggested since my yard is kind of small. This will help reduce the "footprint" size.

I also think I'm going to go with the superstring method you used this year. It seems by doing it this way, some of the work (combining strings) can be accomplished prior to putting the tree up.

I loved the idea of hanging your tree by a strong cable. Ingenious!! I'm unable to do that since my trees are relatively small, but I think it's a great way to avoid dealing with wind issues and getting the lights to the top. It's also a lot less hardware to deal with. Wish I could use that method.

Thanks so much for your help.

Bob



DownTown wrote:

WeissWelsh wrote:
Hello everyone.

I have been reading endless messages in these forums trying to get 'up to speed' and I'm finally at the stage of asking some questions.

I will refrain from asking questions concerning electrical upgrades because everyone in these forums seems to suggest that newbies, like me, should figure out what they are going to do for their display prior to calling the electrician. So, I'll start with display questions. I know I want to do a mega tree, but I'm unsure exactly how I want to do it. Perhaps some insight from the experts will help me figure it out.

#1 -- The height/diameter ratio. What are some of your opinions concerning the height of the tree as it relates to the diameter of the base? Is there an aesthetically pleasing ratio that most people use? For example, if the tree were 20', what would be a good diameter for the base? Typically, between 1.5:1 and 2:1

#2 -- Let's say you do a tree with 4 different colors; do you prefer to wrap all 4 of the strings together and place them as one big string, or do you place them close to each other, but still separate? Opinions vary. I create "super strings" of 1200 lights, 300 of each of 4 colors, and put them on as a single unit.

#3 -- Is there any rule of thumb for the spacing between each string at the base? In other words, does more strings (closer together) mean 'more attractive'. More lights give a higher light density and fuller look. My trees contain contain 3600 of each color light. You can see them at the link below.

#4 -- Other than price and amps, are there any problematic differences associated with using LED mini lights instead of incandescent mini lights on a tree. In other words, does all the sequencing effects work and look the same on the tree for both kinds of lights? Depends on the LEDs. Some LEDs seem to have trouble dimming.

#5 -- I see some people use strobe lights within the tree. Where are they attaching those strobes? Are they just zipped tied to the already existing light strings? I don't know the answer on that one...

#6 -- Is there anyone here who has made a mega tree where the top piece (where the lights attach) can somehow be pulled up to the top of the pole (like a pulley system) AFTER the lights are attached to it; making the use of a huge ladder unnecessary? My mega trees do not use a pole at all. I use a 1/4 inch wire strung between two trees as the attachment point for a pulley system, and I hoist up the lights after I have attached them all with both feet firmly on the ground.

Thanks to everyone who posts such wonderful information. Even though I haven't started yet, it has been in an invaluable asset. Lots of luck! ;)

Bob

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Brad,

That's EXACTLY what I was looking for. Excellent tutorial he has too. Now I feel like I can finally get started preparing the hardware for the tree. Thank you soooooo much!!!

Bob



Brad wrote:

As far as a pulley system goes...if you are a member of PlanetChristmas you can see the post about it here. It goes into great detail of how he made it.

http://talk.planetchristmas.com/showthread.php?t=23693

The person that made the mega tree with pulley system also posted his picture on line at the link below, but did not detail his work.

http://larrydrum.home.comcast.net/~larrydrum/photo/megatree2008/ThumbnailFrame.html

Hope this helps,

Brad






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Hi Bill,

Thanks for all your help.

You mentioned that you felt the tree you made was too "fat" looking. I agree that it's not necessarily typical, but it actually looked really good. I didn't see a video on your site, but the wide base made the strings look much cleaner. I suspect that sequences that rotate around the tree would be more emphasied with a wide base. I'm going to have to stick to the 2:1 ratio due to limited floorspace.

Thanks for your advice. Others seem to have the same viewpoint that more strings gives it that fuller look and makes rotations and such more pleasing to the eye.

I guess it's time for me to get off my butt and get started on this. I'm actually looking forward to the work. But something tells me that when it's time to put it all up, I may have a different view on the matter ;)

Thanks for all your help !!

Bob





beeiilll wrote:

WeissWelsh wrote:
Hello everyone.

I have been reading endless messages in these forums trying to get 'up to speed' and I'm finally at the stage of asking some questions.

I will refrain from asking questions concerning electrical upgrades because everyone in these forums seems to suggest that newbies, like me, should figure out what they are going to do for their display prior to calling the electrician. So, I'll start with display questions. I know I want to do a mega tree, but I'm unsure exactly how I want to do it. Perhaps some insight from the experts will help me figure it out.

#1 -- The height/diameter ratio. What are some of your opinions concerning the height of the tree as it relates to the diameter of the base? Is there an aesthetically pleasing ratio that most people use? For example, if the tree were 20', what would be a good diameter for the base? Typically use 1.5 to 1 or 2 to 1. I use a 21' by 1-1/2" galv pipe that has 18' above ground and I used 60' of 1" gray electrical conduit for a "base ring". I think that it makes the tree look too "fat", but everybody else loved it. I am going to go down to 50' for the base ring next year and see how it looks.

#2 -- Let's say you do a tree with 4 different colors; do you prefer to wrap all 4 of the strings together and place them as one big string, or do you place them close to each other, but still separate? I used 4 colors and kept them seperate, but only had 56 strings this year. Next year I will triple that amount, but I still want to keep them seperate. One problem with a lot of strings is when you get to the top it gets very crowded to hook them, but I am sure that I could wind the strings at the top and then fasten them and still be able to seperate them.

#3 -- Is there any rule of thumb for the spacing between each string at the base? In other words, does more strings (closer together) mean 'more attractive'. This is basically dictated by how many strings you have and how big the base ring is. Personally I want more strings to get the fuller look as well as be able to make sweeps and single color runs around the tree look better.

#4 -- Other than price and amps, are there any problematic differences associated with using LED mini lights instead of incandescent mini lights on a tree. In other words, does all the sequencing effects work and look the same on the tree for both kinds of lights? I didn't have any problems with my LEDs at all last year, but there are a lot of brands out there that do have problems with fades and shimmers. I used the Holiday Creations brand that Travis at LedHolidayLighting.com carries. Excellent product.

#5 -- I see some people use strobe lights within the tree. Where are they attaching those strobes? Are they just zipped tied to the already existing light strings? I hooked my strobes up to the top ring and then ran them down on the inside of the tree to a ground attachment. Worked fine with no problems.

#6 -- Is there anyone here who has made a mega tree where the top piece (where the lights attach) can somehow be pulled up to the top of the pole (like a pulley system) AFTER the lights are attached to it; making the use of a huge ladder unnecessary? I used a mega tree kit from Darryl Brown over at
http://www.christmaslightshow.com/xcart/home.php?cat=25 and it worked great. It has a pulley on the top bracket and 4 guy wire attachments built in. The only thing I want to change on it would be the mega tree head because it only has 1 ring at the botom of it and tends to tip to one side. I am going to add another ring to it this summer for a second guide on the pole. You will also want to buy a hand winch to use. Even with only 56 strings, it was a heavy load to hoist but the winch made it simple. I hooked all my strings up to the head and cranked it up about halfway and then just checked to be sure my strings were staying somewhat seperate and then hoisted it the rest of the way. Worked fine for me and I did everything myself. You can see pictures of my tree on my site listed below.

Thanks to everyone who posts such wonderful information. Even though I haven't started yet, it has been in an invaluable asset.

Bob



The tree is definitely a big project to tackle, but it is fun and really provides a WOW factor to your display. I would recommend Darryl's mega tree kit to simplify building one if you are going to make a large tree.
Plus this was my first year doing animated lighting, so I am by no means a pro at this. I learned a lot by trial and error doing things, but had a ball building things up and making a display. Now that I know some tricks about things from reading the forums and by doing it, next year I hope to have a really good show for folks. And of course each year there will be things to add and help "fill out" the display.


Bill

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YES!!!

That's it. That's exactly it. I was wondering how I was going to be able to pull up the lights once they were on redneck's design. I only weigh 130 pounds and I was sure I was going to have problems. This solves it. Thanks so much!!! Of course, now I have to find a boat winch. This is one expensive hobby ;)

Thanks so much

Bob

cotrill wrote:

I can reply to this one with some photos of my pulley system, I used redneck's tree design and used a boat winch for hoisting the lights.

#6 -- Is there anyone here who has made a mega tree where the top piece (where the lights attach) can somehow be pulled up to the top of the pole (like a pulley system) AFTER the lights are attached to it; making the use of a huge ladder unnecessary?

I used a U bolt to attach it to the pole. It worked great. Very easy to raise and lower your lights.




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