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Christmas 2002 at the Hormanns

This is our second year for an animated Christmas display. This year a lot of time and money was spent on controller hardware. The switch over to the new 320 Circuit Controller was more timing consuming then planned, but this will give us the capacity to add a lot more lights in the future.

See the story about our display on AroundCinci.com

This year we added the "count down clock" as well as the snowmen. The clock has been more popular than expected (which is good because it is more complex then viewers probably realize.) I got the idea of the clock (which counts down the number of seconds until Christmas) from a co-worker. It works simular to a standard digital clock radio. Each of the 7 digits is made up of seven segments. By lighting up different subsets of segments, all 10 digits (0-9) can be produced. Sounds simple, but this means that 49 circuits had to be build as well as 49 strands of lights hung in the correct alignment to produce the effect.

The snowmen were a little easier to construct (though I wish I had done it differently because the wires that should be hidden tend to show.) The snow men only require 16 circuits and produces "animation" by lighting up different sets of lights (that represent different arm and snow ball positions) in specific orders. This is a modified version of Drew Heckman's design.


Clock (WMV) (Real) (1Mb)

Clock (WMV) (Real) (4Mb)

Snowmen (Youtube) (Real) (4Mb)


  • ~6000 lights
  • 84 Circuits
  • ~2000 ft Wire
  • P-75 Mhz PC

Our Favorite Light Displays


(Click image to enlarge)
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Behind the Scenes

(Click image to enlarge)
2002_board1.jpg 2002_board2.jpg 2002_board_3.jpg 2002_computer_1.jpg 2002_computer_2.jpg 2002_computer_3.jpg 2002_computer_4.jpg 2002_connector.jpg wire_connectors.jpg wires_2.jpg 2002_wires_1.jpg box_closed_1.jpg box_closed_2.jpg box_closed_3.jpg box_open_1.jpg box_open_2.jpg 2002_box_1.jpg 2002_box_2.jpg 2002_box_3.jpg

Source Code

The following source code controlled this year's display from a P-75 running the FreeBSD 4.7 OS.


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Greg & Mary Hormann
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