How I setup my lights – Nativity Scene

This is the fourth post in my series on how I setup my christmas lights

Links to rest of series:

This post focuses on the Nativity scene at the side of the yard.

This is the finished nativity scene. The stable is made from two lengths of wood cut and painted accordingly. The cutouts (Angel, Mary, Joseph, Jesus and two dinosaurs) are all made from marine-ply painted white.
Here is a close-up of two of the cutouts – an Apatosaurus and a Triceratops (chosen by my five year old and three year old receptively. They were made by drawing out the shape on a piece of marine-ply, cutting out with a jigsaw and then painting white.
To light the nativity scene I bought a cheap worklight and replaced the innards with three 12V pixel modules.

How I setup my lights – Arches, candy canes, small spiral trees and large spiral tree

This is the third post in my series on how I setup my christmas lights

Links to rest of series:

This post focuses on the arches along the front, the five candy canes and the small spiral trees

First up at the spiral trees. I have four of these and they were made simply by wrapping a 5m strip around a tomato planet frame I bought from Bunnings. Quick to make and look quite nice when lit up.
Next up are the candy canes. These were originally cheap solar candy canes that I ripped out the lights from and threaded in ten pixels each. They all daisy chain together as if it was a single 50 pixel string.
Behind them you can see the arches along the front of our yard
The arches are made from 1m lengths of pixel strip which are cable tied to the arches. The arches themselves are made from either gas-pex pipe or hula hoops cut in half.
To anchor the arches down I have a small block of wood with two bolts poking up through it. The hula-hoop/gas pipe fits over the threaded part of the bolt. Then the block is pegged into the ground to keep it in place
This is my large spiral tree. It was originally a rope-light spiral but I pulled off the rope light and replaced it with 153 pixels individually cable tied to the spiral. Next to that is an inflatable Santa driving a ute.

How I setup my lights – The megatree

This is the second post in my series on how I setup my christmas lights

Links to rest of series:

This post focuses on the main megatree.

The megatree is made from 13 strings of 50 pixels each (configured in 6 pairs + one that then leads into the star at the top) At the top of the tree is a piece of wood screwed into the tree. Under this block of wood there are 13 eyelets which the strings are cable-tied to. At the bottom each string is pegged to the ground (with cable-tie providing tension)
Pixel strings are not strong enough to support themselves at tension (and they would twist around so not always face outwards) To fix this I bought a roll of packaging tape and drilled holes in it at regular intervals. I would drill 56 holes and then cut the tape. This allowed my to double-back the tape for 3 pixels at each end – making a nice strong loop to use for attaching to top/bottom of tree.
This is the little jig I made up so that the holes would be the same distance apart – with 13 strings of 56 holes each that meant 728 holes drilled by hand
This shows the result of pushing the pixels through a couple of the strips. Doesn’t look too neat here but looks good once hung up. By having all the pixels poking through the strip I can make sure they are all facing the same way.

How I setup my lights – The controllers

In the last few weeks I’ve had a number of people asking about how the light show is done so I thought it might be nice to document how my lights are setup during the day using photos.

To see the display in action and to download all of the xLights sequences see the 2016 Debenham Lights post.

I’m going to write a series of posts showing how the controllers are setup, how the megatree is setup etc

Links to rest of series:

First up is how my controllers are installed

Everything is controlled by a copy of FPP running on a single RaspberryPi (original model). This sits in my home office and is connected to the FM transmitter via USB-Audio dongle. It is also connected to a network switch outside via a wired network cable
Outside there are two controllers in front of house
Then there is a controller fixed to the wall of the carport
The carport box contains a Sandevices e682 which runs all the 12V pixel strips (such as carport, roof, arches and small christmas trees). Power for this controller comes from a 12V power supply in a separate box on the ground.
In this box is a E682 controller, 5V power supply and network switch.
This controller looks after the pixels in the main part of the yard – such as the megatree, candy canes and window surrounds
This box contains my old Renard 64XC controller. This has been converted to work via DMX and controls the two AC devices in my display (the tune-to sign and the inflatable santa)
This box contains a Pixlite4 and 5V power supply. It is used to control the singing tree, pixel items on the roof and the spiral tree

2016 Christmas Lights

All my sequences for this year are sitting at
If you wish to use them on your own display you will probably need my xlights_rgbeffect.xml to import them properly.

There are videos for them all now on Youtube and on facebook/

Everything is awesome:

xLights sequence download
Edited music download

Christmas parody mashup

xLights sequence download
Edited music download

Star Wars funk (thanks to loganc):

xLights sequence download
Edited music download

Carol of the Bells:

xLights sequence download
Edited music download

Let it Snow (thanks to loganc again):

xLights sequence download
Edited music download

Light of Christmas:

xLights sequence download
Edited music download

What does the Fox say:

xLights sequence download
Edited music download

Pokemon Theme song:

xLights sequence download
Edited music download

Pen Pineapple Apple Pen song:

xLights sequence and music download

Technical Details

For those that are interested this is all controlled by two Sandevices E682’s and an Advatek Pixlite4 sitting in large plastic tubs.

All the sequences were created in xLights running on Linux – and the show is controlled by FPP running on a Raspberry Pi