Installation and Results

A project log for LED Icicles

Hanging WS2812 strips from a tree like glowing icicles. A few modes for fun.

Bob BaddeleyBob Baddeley 10/21/2017 at 23:080 Comments

Installation was trickier than I expected. First, I was using a power supply that wasn't good enough. After plugging in a few some of them stopped working or would work erratically, or would flash improperly. Something was up. I upgraded the power supply and that fixed it. I suspect that there may still have been some voltage sag by the end of the strand because the blues weren't as bright at the end of the strand.

I also made the mistake of trying to put them up before plugging them in. Because of this, whey weren't synchronized, so I had to take them back down, turn them on, and leave them on and synchronized while I installed. It's a real pain to synchronize them once they are in the tree because you have to press the button on the top of the icicle.

Once I had the stupid stuff figured out, installation wasn't that bad. I made a tool with a hook at the end of a long handle and used that to help place the strands where I wanted on the tree. I also threw them up to get them where I wanted. If doing a really tall tree, it may be difficult to get the icicles up into the higher branches.

Anyway, we had the lights installed and everything looked great. We had a deadline for the Jewish celebration of Sukkot, and we had a big party in the back yard. The lights looked fantastic. We chose the "fire" mode, which makes the icicles look like they're on fire, and because they're so bright, it gives the area under the tree a flickering fire like glow as well. The party was fun and we forgot to get video of the icicles in action.

This doesn't really give a good impression of the motion of the icicles, which is a big part of the whole point, so here's a little video of the icicles doing one of the "drip" modes:

The feedback was great. Everybody loved them, and in fire mode they added to the actual flames from the fire pit that was started later. In the front yard they were in another tree and helped guide people to the party. The neighbors thought they were cool, too, and they've had bicyclists and drivers rubberneck as they go by.