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How it Works!

--------- Definitions ---------

Attraction: A single object that lights up in the show (hedge, olive tree trunks, arch)

Channel: One set of lights that are controlled together. All lights in a channel turn on, turn off, and dim together. An attraction may have more than 1 channel. Example: The Arch is covered in green and red lights that can be controlled independently, 2 channels, 1 attraction.

FPP: Falcon Pi Player or just Falcon Player, an operating system that runs on a Raspberry Pi computer to send the finished sequence data out to the various electronics in the yard. Falcon Player Wiki

Megatree: The big conical tree in the middle of the yard (term of the trade).

Mini Light: Traditional Christmas lights using tiny incandescent bulbs. The big traditional bulbs are called C9 bulbs.

Pixel: Individual lights on a string for which one can control the color and brightness. A string of 50 pixels is actually 50 individually controllable channels.

Raspberry Pi: A $35 computer the size of a baseball capable of running only simple operating systems like Linux, but powerful enough to run the show with no trouble

Sequence: A song synchronized to a series of actions (lights switching on, changing color, etc.) so that the lights appear to move with the music

Solid State Relays: Electric circuits with no moving parts that power the lights, allowing control of the brightness of each non-pixel channel in the show

Vixen: Software for programming the sequences that will be run by the FPP.

Web Interface: A webpage accessible from a local WiFi network that can manually control the show (play or stop sequences, adjust automatic schedule, adjust music volume, diagnose problems with the display)


The programming is done first on a PC with Vixen installed on it. Then the finished Vixen sequence is exported to the Falcon Player running on a Raspberry Pi. The Pi communicates with hardware such as Renard XC controller and Falcon F16v3 Pixel Controller to control the lights via solid state relays.

Show Operation

There are now 80 traditional Christmas light channels controlled with 80 solid-state relays. The pixel channels break down like this:

50: (x2) Each snowflake in front of the megatree

35: Star atop the megatree

60: Ring around the bottom of the megatree

40: Back eves

60: Front eves

20: Small present on the front roof

40: (x2) Bigger presents on the front roof

99: (x2) Candy Canes to the left of olive tree

7: Pixel floodlights that illuminate the walls and garage door

300: 6-legged tree on the back roof

Total: 900

Programming Luminoscity takes about 25 hours per song if no work has been done on that song before. There are now 15 songs.

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