2017 Implementation Details
2017 was a year of exceptional growth.
The most important achievement was the establishment a sound architectural
foundation on which to scale up capacity, snd to provide the flexibility to adapt
to future needs:
- A Master unit orchestrates the entire display, commanding numerous Slave units
distributed throughout the yard.
- Communication between units is wireless, simplifying and eliminating the stringing
of many electrical wires.
- The implementation was such that all units (master and slave) run the SAME software!
The personalization of each unit and the display items that it controls is established by
simple configuration settings.
- The software was implemented as a State Machine, key to keeping the design
logical, compact, and maintainable.
- A digital music player was added, connected to a FM radio transmitter.
Christmas music is played for viewers to listen on their car radios, synchronized
to the animated lights.
- A Playlist sets the music/light program, and is easily changed to update the program.
- A process was developed to facilitate programing the animated light commands.
The process creats efficient Light Command files that are executed in real-time with the music.
- A custom Printed Circuit Board (PCB) was created, making it easier to build units
on a larger scale.
The implementation proved to be rock solid, very adaptable to future functional needs,
avoiding having to spend time rearchitecting the design to overcome design capability
Six major new displays were implemented that add visual appeal.
The details for how to build several of the displays is shared on a community web site,
Do It Yourself Christmas Wiki:
In addition, several best practice for display construction are shared on the same web site: