Seafood Cruise Mooloolaba Premier Floating Restaurant and Venue Sunshine Coast



WHEN: Saturday 15th December 2012!

START: From 12.30pm to 4.30pm - Afternoon Activities with Sunshine Coast Dragon Boats at Helen Penny Gardens. 6.30pm to 8.30pm Boat Parade - viewing locations recommeneded (see Viewing).



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So now that you have admitted that you have the lighting bug, and the neighbours call you Clarke Griswald at Christmas because you go all out with your display. It’s time to read on and take the next step with your hobby.

Imagine being able to control exactly when lights turn on and off in your yard.  It's actually pretty easy to do if you have a computer. Think what you could do if there were eight or more separate circuits that the computer could control. 

If you had eight reindeer across the front of your yard, each one could come on in sequence giving the illusion it is moving.  Then all the reindeer could flash at the same time. Imagine decorating one big tree with four stripes of vertical lights and four stripes of horizontal lights.  If you used the computer to start chasing the strings of lights, you could make that tree look like it was moving up and down or back and forth. 

seafood cruise mooloolaba christmas boat parade xmasThe really exciting thing is when it comes to computerizing your lights is your imagination is where it all starts.  You need some hardware to interface between the low voltage inside of the computer and the high voltage required for a string of Christmas lights. With the hardware in place, you need our software to make it do what you want.

Computer controlling your display with our products isn't’t as expensive as you might think.  The lighting controllers come packaged to handle eight channels and you can put as many lights as you want on a channel up to the current limit of the controller.  Computerizing your display is simple in concept but complicated in execution.  There's still the challenge of connecting everything to the computer and mastering how to tell the computer the way you want the lights to blink.

Synchronizing the lights to music isn't too hard to understand.  You can imagine a large grid where the x-axis (left to right) represents points in time and the y-axis (up and down) represents different lighting channels.  Each square in the grid represents a channel at a specific time.  In that square you tell the computer what you want the light channel to do. A typical song is three minutes long or 180 seconds.  If you wanted something to happen every ten seconds, there would be 18 points in time (180/10) to control. 

seafood cruise mooloolaba christmas boat paradeThe problem with computerized Christmas lights is once you get started with a few channels, you can't stop.  There are many hobbyists out there with over 500 lighting channels.  Using the above example of a three minute song, you end up with (18x500=) 9,000 different places to control the lights.  In some songs lights will be changing a lot more often than every 10 seconds, perhaps on each beat.  Soon you fall into a black hole of time.  I've been there.  Don't forget you need to synchronize multiple tunes so you have an entire show.

Are there any rules of thumb for the time required to synchronize lights to music?  Nope.  For eight light channels it might average an hour of your time for each minute of song length.  For 500 light channels it could average a couple of days for each minute of song length... or not.  It has a lot to do with how good you are with computers and if you have a musical background. So... to get back to the most important thing to know: a computer is still running your display.  The real trick is to order a small system from us right now... just 8-16 light control channels. 

Set up a dedicated workspace for your new project in the comfort of your home.  Hook the controllers to the computer and plug a set of mini-lights into each light controller channel.  Take the time to learn the fundamental concepts of our software.  When you can make those strings of lights dance, you're ready to create a display for outdoors.  You know what to do when something goes wrong and not go into a panic, just give us a call we will be more than happy to help you on your way. Best of all it’s all 100% Australian built and designed. Now that’s TRUE BLUE.

End Result shown below....



Attaching Connectors and Mounting Rope Light

What will I need to connect the rope light to a power source?

seafood cruise mooloolaba christmas boat paradeThe power source connector kit contains all the materials you need to connect a rope light to a standard electrical outlet including a two-prong electrical plug, a connector unit, and an end-cap.




How do I attach the connector kit to the rope light?

seafood cruise mooloolaba christmas boat paradeOur rope light, depending on the variety, can be cut in 1M and 2M increments. There is a silver line on the rope indicating where to cut.  Be very careful to cut cleanly and only where indicated. If you cut elsewhere, it will ruin that stretch of light and cause it to go dark. For standard rope light (2 wire, 240 volt, 13mm) these marks are every 1M. For chasing rope light (3 wire, 240 volt, 13mm) these marks are every 2M.

What do I cut rope light with?

seafood cruise mooloolaba christmas boat paradeBe sure to disconnect it from all power sources before cutting. You can cut it with sharp scissors, a PVC pipe cutter or a sharp utility knife. The cut needs to be straight and clean. If you plan on making lots of cuts, we suggest using the PVC pipe cutter, pictured at the left.  This will simplify your task greatly and can be purchased at any hardware or home depot store.  If you use scissors, it is best to use a variety with a pipe cutting slot in order to get a clean cut.

Don't forget to trim the copper wires from the cut ends

seafood cruise mooloolaba christmas boat paradeAfter you have cut the rope light, you will see two (three for chasing rope) wires inside. These wires must be trimmed in order for the connectors to correctly insert and set into the rope light. The connectors have two pointed prongs that need space inside the rope to make a good connection.

Cutting a small amount of the wire makes that possible. To do this, bend the tube sharply to the side about 2 inches from the end. This will cause one of the wires to be exposed. Trim off the protruding wire with scissors or a wire cutter. Bend the rope the other way and repeat the process to cut off the other wire. After cutting the rope light, you are ready to attach a connector kit.

Attaching a connector kit

seafood cruise mooloolaba christmas boat parade1. Place the plastic end-cap on the end of the rope farthest from where the power source will be. The end cap is necessary to prevent water from getting into the rope light wiring and creating an electrical short circuit. Place the end-cap on firmly

seafood cruise mooloolaba christmas boat parade sunshine coast2. Next, place the retaining ring on the rope light.  Then insert the sharp connector pins into the end of the rope light until they make contact with the wires inside. Use pliers to push the pins inside. Note that 1-2mm of the pins will not fit inside the rope. This is normal. FYI: This connector pin should have 3 pins for chasing rope light and 2 pins for 2 wire rope light.

seafood cruise mooloolaba christmas boat parade renee underhill3. Slide the housing over the connector pin unit and onto the rope light until pins are no longer visible  The split end should cover the rope light.


seafood cruise mooloolaba christmas boat parade lorne oaks4. Slide the power cord onto the blunt connector pins that are inside the housing.  Push together firmly to ensure a good connection.




seafood cruise mooloolaba christmas boat parade james thorogood5. Tighten down both retainer rings, starting with the ring on the rope light first.  Once you have begun tightening this retainer ring, twist both at the same time until snug

6. Rope light is water tight, but if it will be placed outdoors or come in contact with moisture, seal the joints with silicon glue.


How do I mount rope light?

You can use mounting clips or a mounting track. When using clips, simply use small screws to attach the clips in the desired location. Then push the rope light into the clips. Attach a mounting track with good adhesive or screws in the desired location and then insert the rope light. Do not use adhesive directly on the rope light as it may cause damage to the tubing.  Do not place rope lighting in a covered area, or place in a groove.  Rope lights must be able to dissipate heat.

How do I determine how many mounting clips to buy?

These are very inexpensive. We generally recommend one per 300mm (1 foot) of rope light, or more in sections that have a sharper bend.


Information Courtesy of Angel Xmas Lights


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