Well, my adventures in Christmas lighting began when I was 9 years old and decided that our house needed something extra to show it off.
Flashback to the year 1963 when the only thing you found were static lights on everyone's house!
Well now being a very industrious 11 year old (I also built model rockets, so people where I lived knew me as "a little different") I was working for a gentleman who was the TV repairman in our town at his store. He would let me test tubes and cleanup the store for him. He was my inspiration as to getting into the electronics field as I grew up and taught me a great deal about things in those days. He had a pile of old TV antennas laying out back that were broken and I saw a possibility in the metal rods that were there. So he gave me some and I went home and spent a few nights after school and homework and made this star. The arms are 3-1/2 feet each and those are C7 lights on it. I laid the rods out and took a hammer and flattened the ends and points where they are fastened together and then used bolts and nuts to put it together. I still have this star and use it every year in memory of him and my mother who always seemed to encourage me to try new things, "just make sure you don't get hurt".
Well after I got the star made, I was looking around our house to find a place to put it that would make it stand out. My first attempt was to put it up in a 70 foot pine tree in our front yard, but unfortunately (or as luck would have it) my father came home from work as I was climbing a ladder up into the tree as I attempted to drag this thing up with me. That somewhat put a stop to that idea rather quickly!
After I pleaded my case, and lost, we agreed that it would look nice fastened up on the chimney on the side of the house. Anyone driving by on the street would be able to see it and it would shine brightly there. Now a few days later we had to go to another town shopping (we lived in a small town that was down in a valley) and when we came over the hill to start down into town there was this bright star shinning in town. Needless to say, I had to build many more of these stars for people after word got out about it. Of course for a 11 year old it was quite a treat and I must admit I made some good money for a kid in those days doing it.
After looking at all the amazing displays that people have been doing with animated lighting, I have decided that it is time I joined in on the fun. This is my house that I am going to use for the display. I will outline the windows, doors, deck, and roof with strings and I also want to build a mega tree, some arches, a few mini trees, and who knows what else in the front yard. I will still use the star, perhaps as a top to the mega tree since no display would be right to me without it. Though I guess it is time to update the star, so I think that maybe a couple of different color strings of LED's on it using a couple of channels of control will be fitting.
I decided to use Light_O_Rama controllers to run my displays. I initially purchased a 16 Channel starter kit and one CTB16PC kit (I still love to build things) to get me started with putting together an animated display. These are easy to use and the software is great for setting up a musical sequence to control lights. Well now that I am going with this I have 10 of these controllers and will be buying more this summer to do even more things. I have many ideas for 2009 to try such as the leaping arches that I ran out of time to do this year, many more lights on the mega tree, 4 colors of lights on the house, and animated figures in the yard.