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Starting in 2008, we thought it would be
fun to be able to splash different colors of light on the front of the house and
garage in certain parts of the musical sequences. In the following years,
we have expanded and improved this effect by using various different types of
lights. Since all of these are LED fixtures, they take very
little power, and fit into our long-term plan of phasing more efficient LED
technology into the display, while being very bright.
The original LED wash fixtures we built in 2008 used LED MR-16 bulbs.
Tim ran across a deal on some of these LED spotlights, and with some guidance from some online friends, proceeded to create several banks of these. Each fixture contains a Red, Green, and Blue spot light and is controlled by a special low-voltage controller to sync them up with the rest of our lights and show. We designed our own weatherproof enclosures for the MR-16 bulbs, and created a detailed how-to on how we did it. As of the 2011 season we were still using two of these fixtures to help light the front of the garage, but had switched to other technologies for the rest of the wash effect.
In 2010 we switched to using a new kind of
flood, called the Rainbow Flood, on the front of the house. These floods
come as kits - basically bags of LED's and a bare circuit board, that Tim
soldered together and placed in a gutted halogen work light enclosures.
The Rainbow's are true RGB devices, meaning the color mixing is better than with
the MR-16 banks. In 2011, we once again changed the techology of the
lights on the front of the house (keep on reading below), and moved our three
Rainbow floods over to the garage - two on the roof, and a third on the garage
door (although the door is dark and doesn't lend itself to being
'washed'). The Rainbow floods run off of the same DC controller as the
Also in 2010 we picked up a new flood called the vFlood. The circuit board of the vFlood looks similar to the rainbow in that it's a board full of LED's. However, the vFlood uses a much brighter LED than the Rainbow did, and the colors are truly awesome. It's coupled with a "vDrive", a special controller that powers the LED's in a safe way, and speaks the DMX protocol. DMX is the lighting control standard used at concerts and theatrical events, and this single flood was our first use of it in our display. As such, it required a special LOR device called the iDMX to bridge between our standard Lightorama network and the DMX device.
We used this vFlood on the garage door in 2010,
and were so impressed with it that we purchased two additional ones for 2011 to
use on the front of the house. They provide for an even brighter and wider
color pattern than the Rainbows did in 2010. Like the Rainbow floods, we
used a gutted Halogen work light enclosure to hold the vFloods and vDrives.
Each pair of circuit boards goes inside a fixture. They take 12VDC power
input and a DMX signal, and are otherwise self contained. The rainbow
floods were repurposed for the garage door and garage roof in 2011. In
2012 we phased out the original MR16 spots completely. Their last duty was
to wash the front of the garage in the 2011 season. We replaced them with
two commercial units in 2012 which were brighter and run on the DMX protocol.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, December 18, 2013