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To control the static portions of
our display (the portions of the display that don't 'react' to music), we rely on
Z-Wave technology. Z-Wave is a system that sends lighting commands over
the air, so you don't need special wiring. Z-Wave controllers send commands to
modules, which can be built-in lights switches or outlets, or plug-in modules,
and these devices actually switch the lights or appliances on and off.
Outside of the Christmas season we use the Z-Wave system to control landscape lighting, security lighting, some indoor convenience functions, as well as several fountains during the summer months. We've been very pleased with the system since starting to use it in Spring of 2014.
Prior to the 2014 season, we used a system called X-10. which sends control commands across the power line. Like Z-Wave, a controller sends commands to modules or special outlets which can control lights or other devices. The advantage of X-10 is that it's a relatively cheap system. The main disadvantage is it's a relatively old system, dating to the 1970s, and can be pretty unreliable. we first started using X-10 for the 2002 season, when we replaced our old "army" of standalone timers with an X-10 based system. The standalone timers worked well when the display was smaller, but as we grew, and needed to add more and more timers, they were very hard to keep in sync. We like the display to turn on and off at the same time, so that viewers can see the entire light show, and not just portions of it on at any given time.
Although this is a
behind-the-scenes display feature, it helps us to run the display more efficiently
and professionally, as well as allows us to automatically run the lights longer
on weekends than on weeknights (or any other combination we want). And we're glad to be rid of the old manual timers
which never stayed in sync.
This page was last updated on Monday, December 01, 2014