Jump to content
News Ticker
  • Christmas 2018 countdown has already begun. Will you be ready???
  • Why do we love Christmas? It's all about the traditions. In this chaotic world we can miss the "good old days." Christmas reminds us of that time.
  • The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on that day.
  • Santa Claus's sleigh is led by eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder (variously spelled Donder and Donner), and Blixem (variously spelled Blixen and Blitzen), with Rudolph being a 20th-century inclusion.
  • Outdoor Christmas lights on homes evolved from decorating the traditional Christmas tree and house with candles during the Christmas season. Lighting the tree with small candles dates back to the 17th century and originated in Germany before spreading to Eastern Europe.
  • That big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard didn’t always look that way. Prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. When Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, Santa was a small elflike figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, changing the color of his coat from tan to the red he’s known for today.


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

1 Neutral

1 Follower

About Stosh50

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • My favorite Christmas story
  • Location
    Lancaster, PA
  • Biography
  • Interests
    Astrophotography, palms, lights
  • Occupation
  • About my display
    Started RBG pixels in 2017
  1. Thinking about it

    I have experience only with Falcon controllers (excellent experience), but I did tons of reading before deciding on which brand to buy and from what I read, Falcons were the easiest to use, most versatile, powerful, supported, etc.
  2. New whole house outline

    I wanted to do a follow-up in case anyone else was looking for suggestions on how to physically attach pixels to their window and house outlines. After lots of reading and seeing how others did it, I decided to invent a new way to do it, or at least I haven't seen anyone do it yet. My goal was minimize setup and tear down time, and especially to minimize roof and ladder time. If this came at the cost of extra one-time custom manufacturing, I was OK with that. And that's exactly what I did. I started by purchasing vinyl J-channel (trim pieces for vinyl siding). I drilled holes every 4" on the finished side (which in hindsight I'm happy with the 4" spacing). I found that a hole saw worked the fastest. These are Ray Wu C-9 pixel strings. The C-9 cover is threaded to the pixel and removable. The pixels get inserted and then the C-9 covers are threaded back on. The excess wire gets tucked inside the J-channel which hides the square pixel and wire. The whole-house outline plus window, door, and garage outline ended up being just under 1000 pixels. This was more work than I expected. For long runs I kept the 50-pixel strings (17' long) intact by "folding" each string into two 8.5' lengths. These lengths of J-channel plus the weight of the pixels were nicely manageable. For gutters (pictured above), I made hangers out of small pieces of J-channel fastened with rivets. I used about about 4 hangers per 8.5' length. For roof edges I used binder clips to pinch the J-channel and the drip-edge. There are no permanent mounts of any type. If you're not familiar with binder clips, they're just springy, oversized paper clips available at any office supply store. For vertical lines I used the same binder clips to attach the J-channels to the vinyl siding corner trim pieces. Here's a 3-corner intersection. Everything is held in place with binder clips. We've had many days with wind advisories (including today). Nothing has moved. We even had 6" of snow a few weeks ago and everything held just fine. For my roof peaks I did the same thing. I have an older house and roof, so I have an aluminum cap that runs the length of the peaks. When my roof gets replaced I'll probably have to figure something else out like shingle clips because I don't think they use those caps anymore. The only places I physically altered my house were for door and window frames. I used wood screws to hang the J-channel from the pre-cut slits. With all the extra work this project required ahead of time, I'm hoping tear-down and subsequent set-up times will be minimal.
  3. 2017.7 released, new effect Liquid!

    Wow that liquid effect is very cool. Since this is my first year with smart pixels and I'm only planning on doing a house outline, unfortunately I probably won't be able to use this effect. But no matter. I just can't believe how incredibly detailed and powerful xLights is. So thank you in advance Sean for all the work you've done with this awesome program. I'm going to spend the next few months trying to get familiar with how it works. I won't even have a controller until May when the new Falcons ship.
  4. New whole house outline

    I've been static my whole life, so it's time to get moving. I just can't believe what technology has been doing while I've been busy working and playing with other hobbies. I just found out LEDs can be controlled individually! Imagine my excitement. Once I learned that you can control individual pixels, I dreamed of creating whole house (or entire display) effects. And guess what? I learned that's already supported too in xLights (Nutcracker). This is incredible! After watching some videos of mini trees and small decorations changing color on command, I thought I wanted dumb RGB pixels. But with further research, it's almost no increase in cost to go full individually addressable smart pixels. Seems like an obvious choice to me, especially starting from scratch. So I've been doing countless hours of reading and I think I'm finally getting a handle on how this stuff works. I've decided on a Falcon F16v3 controller and xLights. I want to start by doing a whole house outline. I'd like C9 pixels and I'm thinking of using the newest technology WS2818 pixels which use a 4th wire as backup data so if a pixel goes dead, it doesn't ruin the rest of the remaining string(s). It doesn't appear to cost must more than "standard" WS2811 C9s, so I'm leaning this direction. Does anyone have any experience with these? I've never done addressable pixels before so I have no idea how common it is for one to go bad and ruin the rest of the string. Actually my biggest concern is the physical part of the project. I've never used anything other than gutter clips and for my pixels I really want nice straight lines. I've seen how QBERG uses J-channel to hang lights on the outside of the gutter. This looks very fast and efficient, but I'm wondering if I should couple that along with Holiday Coro's pixel bulb mounting strips. These look very nice and precise. The problem with using this strip *and* J-channel is that the bulbs have a "base" that takes up thickness, so the strips wouldn't seat flush against the J-channel. Then I also have to figure out how to mount something to my vertical walls and also window outlines. And I have no idea how to mount a control board inside a weatherproof box, run wires through the box, etc. I guess that part will just start happening on its own. I have some electrical background, so I'm not afraid of soldering/splicing, I just feel pretty overwhelmed doing this whole thing myself with zero previous experience. It's a good thing I'm starting early. I didn't order anything yet. I wouldn't mind hearing a few opinions before I pull the trigger. I do realize I'll need wire and power supplies that I didn't mention, along with misc stuff like dielectric grease, pigtails, etc. thanks in advance, Stosh
  5. It appears as if my vision is already realized in xlights. It seems that its object oriented sequences are exactly what I want with way less work than I thought was going to be necessary.
  6. I'm new here. Other than several hundred strings of static LEDs, I have nothing. I'd like to dive into a computerized display this year. I'm pretty techy in general and I have a vision that I'd like to accomplish, but don't know how to do it, or which software might be the easiest way to do it. I'd like to start by outlining every line of the face of my house with RGB smart pixels. Then I'd like to define each pixel as a coordinate in space. Then I'd like to create objects (to start lets just say simple lines or circles) and move them across across the space. Whatever pixels these objects "touch" need to light up appropriately. I'm fine doing the programming and math to create the numbers (pixel positions and intensities for each color), but I don't know how to transfer this information into any sequencing software because I don't know how any of them work. If necessary, maybe the values could end up in an Excel spreadsheet and hopefully sequencing software could import this somehow? I think I'm in a good place because I'm starting from scratch (in regards to pixels and controllers), but of course I have a ton more questions. I'm reading tons and soaking in as much as I can. I need to decide on pixels, hardware controllers, and software too. Hopefully I'm starting early enough to figure out what I'm doing before Thanksgiving. Even though I'm techy and very capable of DIY, I have too many other hobbies that take way too much time, so I'm not looking to assemble boards from scratch or mount them in enclosures. I'd like to buy stuff plug and play. Making custom cords is enough! Loved reading tips like J-channel to mount pixels to gutters and vampire plugs for custom cords. That's the kind of stuff I'm absorbing right now too. Any help would be greatly appreciated.