Category Archives: Behind the Lights

Matrix Creation

Category : 2018 Behind the Lights

The matrix material is cut to size. Since this matrix will be going in a window we cut it to the size of the window.
Each Pixel is individually pushed through the matrix material. The pixels come in strings of 100 so after 100 pixels the strings must be soldered together.


Matrix being tested once all the strings are connected to the controller board.


When on 100% white the matrix uses 1240W of power. About 1W per bulb.


Here is the inside view of the matrix installed in the window.


View of the Matrix from the outside

Franktronics has two of these matrices in the front and on the side of the building



Category : 2018 Behind the Lights

  60 Luminaries total

15 groups of 4

120 solder points

1,320 wires stripped

960 wires soldered

540 Modules


The luminaries come flat and must be assembled.

This is the base for the luminaries. The pixel base will be installed into this base.



The Luminaries have a translucent cover that is assembled with cable ties.

The Luminaries have 9 modules inside each one.

9 Modules are attached to a plastic base.
These plastic bases have been modified for use with the modules. They are originally intended for bullet pixels.
For each connection point, we have to make sure that the data is going in the correct direction. The modules have an arrow to help us connect them correctly.
Each connection is being soldered. the first step is separating the wires.




Then the wires are stripped and tinned with solder.
Strip the Ethernet cable and prepare to solder it to the luminary


These are the custom built power injectors used every 8 luminaries to ensure that the luminaries have enough power.

This is the wiring configuration on the power supply for the luminaries.

Testing Luminaries

Wreath Creation

Category : 2018 Behind the Lights

Here is an animation of the LED population of one of our Christmas wreaths

New Light Elements for 2018

Category : 2018 Behind the Lights

Here are some new light Elements that just came in for 2018

We hope to have these crosses ready for Easter 2018
These will be used for Valentine’s day 2019 since they come in too late for us to use in 2018
We have one of these already but we needed another one
These wreaths are completely new for Christmas 2018
Gravestones for Halloween 2018
Spiders for Halloween 2018
4 small presents before they get put together
This is a Super Snowflake before it’s assembled.
These are the same pieces as above but arranged how they should be to make a Super Flake.
New Spider Web for Halloween 2018
This is material that we use to make matrices. It will be cut to size.

Pixels in the show

Category : Behind the Lights

A pixel in our show is any LED or set of LED bulbs that can be programmed to change colors with the music.  The LED bulbs actually have 3 separate LEDs inside of them. Those LEDs are red, blue, and green in color. With these 3 colors, we can choose between 16,777,216 different colors. Each color can have a value from 0(Off) to 255(fully on). This gives us 256 x256 x 256 = 16,777,216 different color possibilities.


This LED is found in the bullet pixel, the square bullet pixel, and the C9 bulb.
Here are the insides of the C9 Bulb. The chips on the board tell the LED which color it should be.

The Bullet Pixel

This is the most common Pixel in the show. We used this in our snowflakes, stars, squiggly trees, bells, matrices,  and in our ribbon tree.

The C9 Bulb

This is the pixel that made up our original pixel tree design. This is also what is on the 7 white trees.

Pixel Module

This is one pixel which has three RGB LEDs. This is used in the bottom of the large present. We have some upcoming ideas for more light elements including these pixels.

The Square Bullet

These pixels are used in our Valentine hearts and our St. Patrick’s day Shamrocks.

Redesigning the Ribbon tree

For Christmas 2017 we received a batch of C9 bulbs that were defective. They were rated as waterproof, but as soon as it rained a lot of them had water on the inside of them which ruined them. So we had to improvise a solution.

The C9 bulbs come apart into three pieces: the bulb, the collar, and the pixel. 

We replaced the defective C9 Pixel with the bullet pixel and put it all together. Fortunately, the bullet pixel fits perfectly in the C9 bulb and holds itself in with no adhesives.

We had to do this to about 20 ribbons on the ribbon tree. Which means we had to unscrew 2,000 C9 bulbs and then reassemble 2,000 of these combo bullet pixels.

RGB Presents

Category : Behind the Lights

The small present has 42 pixels

The medium Present has 56 Pixels

The large present has 70 Pixels and 12 LED modules

RGB present in the snow
Large Medium and Small presents
10 Medium presents during assembly.
Small present almost assembled
The small present has been upgraded to have a different connection point to make it easier to connect and disconnect.

This is the bottom of the Large Present. The original design only had the bullet pixels in the middle but that wasn’t bright enough. So we added the outside LED modules to brighten up the box.

Lenovo Table

Category : Behind the Lights

The Lenovo table was built to give us a place to display Lenovo Thinkpad laptops and Thinkcentres in our retail section. 

The top has 180 pixels and the outer ring has 88 pixels.


Test sequence of the Lenovo Table


The table before all the pixels were installed. We had just decided where to place the pixels in each section
During the installation process.
All the lights are taped into place with masking tape. We used silicone to anchor them in place so they wouldn’t move


The first test with the top installed


Above is the Lenovo Table fully installed.

RGB Flag

Category : Behind the Lights

456 lights total

400Watts when all white


Video of test sequence for the flag

The flag was upgraded in 2017 to use RGB lights. Previously it had red, white and blue lights in the respective spaces. upgrading to RGB gave us a lot more options when doing show sequences.

Back of the flag with the lights all white on the other side.
The flag during the process of changing out the bulbs

Prepping an Ethernet Cable for use with light elements

Category : Behind the Lights

First: Strip the outer coating of the wire
Separate the wires


Twist the wires together. Matching green/white, orange/white, and orange for power. Brown, brown/white, and green for ground. Blue and blue/white for data