Revenge of the MegaTree

Discussion in 'Pixel Nights or Christmas Lights' started by AA7BQ, Mar 25, 2021.

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  1. AA7BQ

    AA7BQ QRZ Founder Administrator QRZ Page

    Okay, so by now if you've been looking at all of the Maker's Corners forums here on QRZ, you've probably figured out what I did over the long COVID winter. Yep, I played with LEDs. Lots of them. At last count, about 5,000 of them or in other words, 15,000 LEDs. Sounds like a lot but there are a couple of things to consider: The LED's are packaged three at a time, one each for red, green, and blue. A 3-led package is called a Pixel. In this use, each pixel and its three LEDs can be individually addressed. Yes, that means that in a field of 5000 pixels, I can light up any specific one of them, with any 24-bit RGB color. 24 Bits is huge. It means that a pixel can potentially emit 16 million different colors. True, but you can't really tell the difference between color 15,999,999 and color 16,000,000, but trust me, there are 16 million of them and they're glorious.

    If you're searching this article for a tie-in to ham radio, then this is it. All of this was done by a ham, me. I'm not expecting to win any contests with this activity, but I can say that I'm having a great deal of fun building this stuff and I wanted to share.

    The MEGA-tree

    A mega-tree is, of course, a large Christmas tree made of pixels upon which you can play some really fun light shows. This winter, I built this example in my workshop.


    This isn't the best photo as things look skewed but the center pole stands perfectly vertical.
    The pixels are mounted on flat plastic strips running up and down the tree. Each strand has 100 pixels and there are 32 of them. The center pole is equipped with a winch to hoist the top plate up and down. In this design, the main mast is made mostly from aluminum tubing and the base was constructed from 3/4" electrical tubing (EMT).

    Please check out my other articles in this section where I'll go into some detail and eventually show you some pictures of the thing in action!

    73 -fred
    KJ5T, WZ7U, AA5BK and 1 other person like this.

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