It got bigger.

What happens when you plant a tree?            Well, usually it grows.

And that was true of our tree of lights, ( sometimes called a Megatree ), it grew from about 3 meters (10 feet) to about 4.5 meters (14 feet); the centre pole was also replaced with a piece of 20mm galvanized conduit so that it would be strong and weather proof.  Now that the tree is somewhat taller I had to devise a means of getting the strings of lights up to the top, ( and I wasn't climbing the pole ! )  The solution I came up with was a simple pulley system that hoisted a ring made from copper pipe fittings up the pole on some pvc pipe clips.  The light strings now total 16, yes we doubled the number of channels on the tree to give us a better animated display.  Oh, this also meant the opto isolation box for the tree had to be rebuilt,  -  into a rather novel container;  a wood preservative paint pot!  This has an air tight lid with a recessed top suitable for the connectors and a further plastic lid to keep the rain out.

Counting Down.

Many web sites dedicated to Christmas have a countdown timer showing how many days until December 25th.  This gave me an idea, a countdown timer showing how many days, hours, minutes and seconds until lights on.  The question was, - how?  I won't bore you with all the different ideas I had,  I'll only bore you, er show you the end result.


The basic module for each of the displays with the
LED's fitted, this is the hour module.

The finished module




The circuit board for the countdown timer showing the Parallel port input on the left, the 4 outputs for the Days, Hrs, Mins and Secs modules, and the power connector on the right.


. . . and the reverse side of the board showing
the solder joints, all 920 of them !  (approximately)



The four modules are housed
in a box with a perspex front





. . . and finally, what It's all about.

one last addition to this years display,  a half size Nativity set.

Now . . . .      What shall I do for 2010 ?  Hmmmm.


History Index

Messages from
     The Grinch (2011)
No Change
     (Dec. 2010)
Trees Grow !
     (Dec. 2009)
2008 Display
     (Dec. 2008)
Planning for 2008 !
     (Early 2008)
Here we go !
     (Nov. 2007)
The Big Change !!!
The Night Before
     Light-up (Dec. 2006)
The Tungsten Tree
     (Feb - Nov. 2006)
The Second move
     (Dec. 2005)
Who put that there ?
     (Aug. 2005)
Back in business
     (Dec. 2004)
Click Click Click
     (Dec. 2003)
Rope Lights
     (Dec. 2002)
The Move
     (Dec. 2001)
More Silicon Chips
     (Dec. 2000)
The Next Few Years
     & Chips
The Bug was biting
     (1993 on)
Early Married Life
     (1981 on)
A logical development
     (Dec. 1973 ish)
In the Beginning
     (Dec. 1962)