At the beginning of the year, I had already started planning for this year’s Christmas lights. I had created a spreadsheet to help keep track of the lights and equipment that I would need in this year’s set up.
On top of that I have already pre-ordered my pixels, also known as PreSale, so that I could get the lights at a discount for purchasing them during the off season. For this month’s update I am working to get the rest of my set up planned out.
Making a Plan
Using a spreadsheet is a fantastic way to keep track of what lights I have available. To get started I wanted to first go through what I liked in last year’s setup and decided if I want to keep that in this year’s Christmas display.
A lot of what I am able to do this year will depend on what my budget will allow. There are a few things that I would like to differently for the lights. At this point, it is a great idea to know how many pixels you’ll have available to work with.
Using the program xLights, I am making my way through the set up to help calculate first how many pixels I need and then to make notes for any changes that I want to make for this year’s setup.
Controllers and Power Supply
Once I’ve went through and made adjustments to my plan for this year, it’s time to figure out what controllers I need and how I’m going to manage the power supply.
Using my spreadsheet I created separate columns from the pixels to make note of my controllers and the power needed.
As I’m working through each line I found a great tool to use, the Spiker lights calculator. Using this calculator I can input how many pixels I have, the wattage, and the intensity. Once I input this information it will tell me the info I need to see if I have enough power or not.
Using this tool you don’t have to be perfect but if you do guess try to guess high. When working with the power supply I try not to make one unit work too hard. If just having an extra unit help power the display will help your units last longer.
For the display last year I ran most of my pixels at only 50% and they looked great. You don’t have to run everything at 100% to look great.
For the power supply units first I need to know what I have available to work with this year. As I have my list I start grouping the lights and figuring out which pixels can go on which controller. It makes easier to break it down to sections.
That’s what I’ve been able to plan out for this year’s display so far. I like to keep it easy and clean. There still may be some changes for the power supply but I’ll have to see where I am this summer if I decide to to make another purchase.