Christmas 1996

This was the very first year I got a computer involved in my display.  It is also the first year I really did a display.  Sure I did a display with my brother in college but it was just one angel flapping it's wings.  So I count 1996's display as my first "real" display.

The following are two videos.  You need Windows Media Player in order to view them properly.  If you try and stream them across the web and experience poor performance just right-click on the link and download the file to your computer.  Then view it from there:

Each letter in the display was made up of a 100 red mini-light set installed into clear plastic tubing and mounted to a metal electrical conduit frame.  There are some good pictures of the clear plastic tubing construction method on my display construction techniques page and you can see the frame I made on the Christmas 1997 page (I moved following Christmas 1996 and re-used this display for Christmas 1997, just in a different configuration).

Computer control was achieved via a DOS program I wrote in C++ that controlled up to 3 parallel ports.  I only used two parallel ports (8 control lines per port) and two parallel port control boxes.

For those interested, here is a listing of each circuit that I used in my display and what it was used for:

Channel #        Usage
    1                     First "S" in 'SEASONS'
    2                     "E" in 'SEASONS'
    3                     "A" in 'SEASONS'
    4                     Second "S" in 'SEASONS'
    5                     "O" in 'SEASONS'
    6                     "N" in 'SEASONS'
    7                     Third "S" in 'SEASONS'
    8                     First "G" in 'GREETINGS'
    9                     "R" in 'GREETINGS'
    10                   First "E" in 'GREETINGS'
    11                   Second "E" in 'GREETINGS' (third "E" in the whole display)
    12                   "T" in 'GREETINGS'
    13                   "I" in 'GREETINGS'
    14                   "N" in 'GREETINGS' (second "N" in the whole display)
    15                   Second "G" in 'GREETINGS' (second "G" in the whole display)
    16                   "S" in 'GREETINGS' (fourth "S" in the whole display)

Each control box has 8 switchable circuits or channels in it.  Therefore channels 1-8 are located in control box #1 and channels 9-16 are located in control box #2.   As you can see, I had to make four S's, three E's, two N's, two G's, and one each of A, O, R, T, & I.

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Last modified on 02/01/01