How to Set up Christmas Laser Lights
This is a great topic that will appeal to the creative ones among you. The guide hereunder is by no means definitive, nor is it binding; as Captain Barbossa might put it, this “is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.”
Here are a few things to consider when positioning your Christmas laser lights:
This first section might seem strange, but worthy of consideration – even though they’re called Christmas lights, this does not limit them to that one sole holiday.
Depending on the occasion, your crowd may be different, both in size and composition, and what works for some might not work for others.
For example, some teams (or even individual fans) use them for sporting events to show the allegiance and dedication to the team. This leads us to our next point of consideration.
Best place to set them up
This really depends on you and your household / backyard. There are a few things to factor in when indoors: the length of the cord and availability of the socket; the size of the room; if there is a carpet or no (whether you can tuck the cable underneath or pipe it some other way to avoid tripping); the size of the surface onto which you mean to project, and, probably most importantly, the purpose.
For example, if it’s a party with live music, you’d want the lights to complement (and compliment) the performers.
On the other hand, if you’re outdoors, the cabling problem remains, but there’s now the question of weather, the number of people, the availability of projecting surfaces, and the big one – power source.
As for the surface, the only issue is actually to avoid pointing the laser at the sky (due to the risk for pilots); some projectors might require a flat surface to show intricate shapes fully, others are happy with just tree branches.
And as for the power source, it really isn’t much of a problem – most projectors are engineered to use the standard 110V sockets, but also come with UL adapters, so the only real issue is keeping it close enough to one or having plenty of extension cords (though this somewhat defeats the purpose of a laser lighting, you still don’t have to climb up trees and shrubbery).
The fact of the matter is that in most occasions, the projector is not the problem, but people.
A great majority of laser lights projectors are perfectly capable of withstanding all sorts of weather, including snow, light rain, sun, wind, etc.
Heavy rain is still problematic for these projectors, but the issue will probably be resolved soon enough.
Now, when buying a laser light projector, always check its IP protection number, as this will indicate how well-sheltered the mechanism is.
Most will have IP65, meaning it’s fully protected against dust and fully protected against low-pressure water jets (and light rain), while some will have IP67 – full dust-protection and protection against being submersed.
Check these specs on your projectors and then decide where to place them.
The meaning is twofold. One, are they safe from the elements, mostly direct sunlight and/or rain, as well as from impact. No matter how rugged you think it is, it’s best to avoid shocks if possible.
Two, if they’re safe for others. As is well-known, lasers have the potential to damage the human eye permanently if looked at directly. For this reason, you should avoid placing it someplace where this could happen.
This ties in with the weather variables and IP protection. As noted before, most projectors will have IP65, but there are some products with IP67.
IP65 is capable of enduring some light rain and being sprinkled when you water the garden, while IP67 should be able to withstand being submersed (that is, if you dropped it in water) for an instant or two.
Most projectors are made of high-resistant plastic or metal (mostly aluminum), so they’re quite shock- and heat-resistant, though it goes without saying you should avoid the extremes.
How far to set them up
Most projectors will indicate the optimum distance for positioning either on the box or in the instruction manual.
The best thing about laser projectors, when compared to regular ones, is that they do not lose focus or distort the image if you move them too close or too far.
If your projector came without an instruction manual, or you can’t find the optimum recommended distance, try playing around with it and experimenting before inviting other for the festivities.
If you have any questions please let me know. Check out my section on Christmas laser lights to see my favorite systems and holiday snowflake projectors.