New in 2005, we built a LED Mega Tree which stands about 23 feet tall and is made up of 48 sets of LEDs. We choose 24 blue and 24 white strings so we could alternate the colour of the tree, etc. Here are the stats:
Base Diameter: 20'
Base Circumference: 62.8'
Base light spacing: 1.308' (15.7")
LED sets: 24 white, 24 blue (each set 25' long)
Power consumption: 230.4 watts
Total number of LEDs: 3360
Assembling the tree is similar to that of a flag pole, and the raising of a flag. We create a mast, and then a pulley system that allows us to pull the ends of the LEDS to the top of the mast.
The construction of the tree begins with hammering a fence post about 5' into the ground (the "main" post). The key while doing this is to keep the pole straight, which is why a level is used when doing so.
The fence posts are 10' in length and connect together end-to-end. After the main post is installed, another 2 posts are connected together and then inserted to the main post. This makes the final height of the mast to be 25'. However, these 2 posts don't get installed yet.
The top post has a 4"-6" bolt drilled through it with washers on each end of the bolt. A rope then wraps around the bolt which acts as the leverage point for pulling the LED sets up the post.
Before assembling the top 2 sections of the mast, a 3' long 3" diameter ABS pipe slides over the main post. The top section of this ABS pipe has 24 holes drilled around its perimeter which allows for zip ties to hold the LED strings to the pipe. The main pulley rope is also attached to the ABs pipe.
Now it's time to install the above 2 sections of pipe, making sure the pulley rope is looped around the bolt at the top of the past.
The LEDs strings are then evenly spaced around the base of the mast, alternating colours. The female ends are then zip tied to the ABS pipe.
The ABS pipe is then hoisted to the top by pulling the pulley rope. This is pretty difficult as the weight of 48 strings of lights is very heavy! As the ABS pipe is lifted, guy wires need to be placed to prevent the mast from bending in the middle. Ideally 3 or 4 people would be required to do this safely. Once the Lights are raised to the desired height, the pulley rope is tied to the mast with 3 pipe clamps.
Now some basic calculations come into play. We have a 20' diameter and need to space 48 strings of lights equally apart within this circumference. This means each set is spaced approx. 15.7 inches.
A rope is tied to the base of the mast and is exactly 10' long (the radius of our base). This is used to keep a consistent 10' from the centre of the mast. We then rotate this rope around the mast and mark out each 15.7" where the base of the LED strings should end up. 12" Galvanized nails are hammered 11" into the ground at each 15.7" point. The base of each LED string is then zip tied to each nail in the ground.
Voila....that's how our LED tree is made. All that's left to do is connect the light controllers and do some programming. The 1st channel starts at the very back, centre of the tree and goes up to channel 48 in a clockwise pattern.