Many people ask how we do the light display. Here I will explain how we do the animation and set up.
An overview of the lights
I want to post this slight warning about LED lights. 2 years ago I spent several hundred dollars on Walmarts holiday time LED lights to replace the old ones on the tree in the front. The older lights lasted 10 years!!. Well this year 90% of the strings did not work and I spent hours fixing them and replacing many. It appears the LED C6 strings of 70 from Walmart all have replaceable bulbs. THIS IS NO GOOD!! Water gets to the wires and corrodes them making them useless! When you buy LED bulbs…C6 size ..make sure that they are permanent one piece construction. Home Hardware sells these!!. It will save you a lot of headaches and work. The LED lights on the house are C9 with the standard screw in base and they are not a problem with corrosion.
The lights on the main house are C9 LED Watt commercial Lights which each have 5 LEDs in them. LED lights are so energy efficient the entire house uses one circuit. Prior to us using LEDs it used 9 circuits!! I purchase these at noveltylights.com in the USA. They are great to deal with and best prices.
The figures are all welded by Doug Musson after designing them on paper. They are all hand made. The Rope light is attaches using wire ties. You can see details on how we made the motorcycle below. The Rope Light is incandecent. I do not use LED for a couple reasons. Firstly LED ropelight does not get warm so snow does not melt on it whereas with incandescent lights the snow melt. Secondly incandescent rope light can be cut and spliced every 18″/ LED Rope light can only be cut every 3-5 feet. This makes for a lot of waste. I only purchase my Rope light from Novelty Lights (Novetylights.com) ; They have everything I need and have been great to deal with. Also I have tried purchasing rope light in Canada and it can not be cut easily and it never lasts very long.
The sleigh and reindeers are wire sculptures. The sleigh has 1100 clear mini lights and each reindeer has 600 mini lights. It is a real pain when one light goes out.
The Santa on the from lawn has 1200 mini lights on him. He is also a wire sculpture.
The Dove in the tree is a wired sculpture with 400 mini lights on it.
One of the biggest jobs is wrapping the Catalpa tree and the tree on the boulevard. These have in excess of 5000 mini lights. All are C6 LlED lights. See my comment above. DO NOT USE WALMART LIGHTS if you want more than 1 year out of them.
The arches over the driveway have a total of 300 feet of rope lights and 2000 mini lights for a total of almost 6000 lights.
Where does all the power come from??
We presently have 18 devoted circuits with 15 Amps each running at capacity. We use 2 pony panels off the main panel. When we first started we had to have the service to the house increased from 100 to 200 Amps.
All of the circuits run through timers
The fading on and off of the scenes is controlled by a device called and Omni controller. For those of you familiar with DJ equipment, it uses DMX512 signals programmed in it to 8 dimmer packs with 4 circuits each. This allows for unlimited control of the scenes.
Harley Davidson Design
Below is a series of pictures showing how the Harley Davidson was developed.