Enjoy The Music

Penguins Help Visitors Get Tuned In

  • The Winfield Collection
  • had this pattern with the penguins. I stretched the sign width a little and it made a nice way to let visitors know how to find the music.

    Megatree Light Strings

    The 2014 megatree has 32 strings of 65 RGB pixels. The vertical light spacing is 3 1/2 inches, creating an overall string length of just over 19 feet. I use the RGB pixels from Ray Wu at Ali Express, and have had good luck with these. They describe them as "DC12V input 12mm WS2811 pixel node,100pcs a string,IP68 rated."

    There are two issues that force me to support the individual pixels with something other than their wire. First, although the lights have a rated lamp spacing, the tolerance on this spacing moves around some. For use on the megatree, the spacing needs to be the same on every string so that, when you turn on the 17th pixel down each string, for example, you get a flat ring around the tree.

    Second, the input and output wires in the pixel go in through an opening in the base of the pixel and attach to the circuit card inside. The case is then filled with a sealing compound to make them weather resistant. If you hang this string by the top end, the first pixel will be holding all of the weight of the rest of the string in this joint, trying to pull the two wires in opposite directions. Not a good thing.

    So, here's what I did to deal with these issues. First, due to the lenght of my strings, I selected "Loos Galvanized Steel Wire Rope, Nylon Coated, 7x7 Strand Core, Red, 1/16" Bare OD, 1/8" Coated OD, 480 lbs Breaking Strength" from Amazon. This wire is plenty strong and the coating is soft enough that a wire tie 'bites' into it enough to create a joint that doesn't slip easily.

    I built a jig to hold the wire in place and I placed marks every 3 1/2 inches on the jig. I attached the lamps to the wire with a small wire tie with the 'lens' end of the pixel pointing up. This points the wire joint in the pixel downward so that water doesn't have a tendency to run in.

    When this step was complete, I placed everything inside a 3/4 inch Split Wire Loom from Cable Ties and More. The first reason I did this was to help disperse the light so you see it from 360 degrees. I learned the second reason when we had some 70+ MPH winds one evening. The lights don't tangle - it's just one relatively smooth tube against another similar tube. This is also handy when setting up and tearing down.

    Finally, I have seen several variations of these ideas published by others. After studying each of these, this method is what I have come up with to construct my megatree. I hope this contains information that will be helpful to you. Mikey