Grotto Tree - The Controllable Christmas Grotto has now retierd!
Hello viewer from: Ann Arbor, United States - Your IP address is: 18.104.22.168. (Your latitude & longitude is: 42.2734, -83.7133.)
Circuit Layout & Electrical Analysis for Christmas 2015
Snowing Christmas Tree
Golden Candle Arch
Green Rope Light
Red Rope Light
Using This Site?
At the top of the page on the left, you will see a live cam of the Christmas Grotto and to the right of that; the X10 controls to control the items in the Christmas Grotto.
Simply click "On" or "Off" to control the respective device. (i.e. If you click "On" for the Swag Lights, you will see the Swag Lights turn on.)
There are eight devices that you can control what are listed above with detialed information about them.
In addition; below the cam and the controls, there is a form where you can leave a message for everyone else to see.
Lastly, it may take a few seconds until you see your actions on the webcam and responses to emails will come from: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Using the chat below the webcam/X10 controls, you can find out infomration about my site and it's setup such as my email address, the servers IP, etc...
To do so, enter in one of the variables listed below into the chat/message box.
What is new?
Returns recent changes/bug-fixes made to the site recently.
What is setup?
Returns the setup of what equipment I am using.
What is location?
Returns the country and location where the grotto is based.
What is server?
Returns what software the server is using.
What is server IP?
Returns the servers IP address.
What is X10?
Returns what X10 automation is.
What is email?
Returns my email address.
What is your name?
Returns my full name.
What is broken?
Returns anything that is known to be broken or not working on the site.
Cost To Run?
How much does it cost to light everything? The current draw of the grotto with all lights on is 1.05 Amps, what when multiplied by 240 Volts (Mains voltage in UK is officaly 230V, but measured voltage is 240V and most devices power rating is based at 240v) and then divide by 1,000; gives us the kW ratting of 0.251kW.
The electrical cost where I liveis about 15 pence per Kilowatt-Hour, so running the Christmas Grotto with all lights on continuously for an hour would cost 3.771 pence (0.2514kW x 15p per kWh = 3.57p per hour). Times that by 24 hours for a day, and then by 30 for the month, it would only cost £27.15 for the whole month if everything was left on 24/7!
In reality the lights won’t be on 24/7 throughout the holidays as people will be turning them On & Off. Say they're on for 25% of the time during the month (6 hrs a day), it would cost £6.79 – Still very reasonable. The Lights also turn of automatically every 15 minutes to save electricity, so in reality the cost will bea lot less than calculated above.
A typical 2kW fan heater would cost £1.80 to run for 6 hours (Typical usage per day). In just 4 days, the fan heater would exceed the running cost of the lights being on for 25% of the time during the month, costing £7.20
Q. How do I stop the background music playing?
A. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the pause/stop button on the music player.
Q. Why have all the lights just turned off?
A. All the lights are set to turn off automatically every 15 minutes to save electricity - Just turn them back on!
Q. I can't get anything to turn on or off, or see anything?
A. If you have tried restarting all your equipment at your end and you believe there is a genuine error or a problem with the site, then please contact me here.
In addition; please also provide me with the exact problem, the time it occured/noticed and, your IP address which is displayed at the top of the page as it may assist me in solving your problem. Please note, any known problems will be stated on the page if they arise. (I.e. UPS failure, Internet connection going down, etc.)
Q. What is X-10? (X10)
A. X10 is an international and an open industry standard for communication with electronic devices used for home automation. X10 also has its own protocol. Grotto Tree uses plug-in X10 modules to control the various lights and devices of the interactive Christmas grotto, which these modules are then controlled by the local automation server.
Q. What are X10 Address Codes?
A. All X10 enabled devices have a unique code consisting of a letter ranging from "A-P" and a number ranging "1-16", these form a unique code like, B8 or F11, etc... These codes are used to control the devices as they determine what device will be controlled. X10 supports up to 256 unique codes.
Q. How long will the Christmas Grotto last?
A. Grotto Tree will likley finish during the first week of January 2016.
Q. Is this all real?
A. Yes; It might be hard to believe, but you are seeing it live as you and other people around the world control it in a live capacity.
Q. How did this site come to be?
A. Several years ago, I discovered somone caled Alek doing a very intresting thing of allowing his users to control his Christmas Lights with his site called:
komar.org what i found out through one of Chris Pirillos/Lockergnomes videos.
Being in IT with a basic knoledge of HTML initialy as well as wanting to create a interactive site like his whilst also wanting to learn PHP;
I founded and built GrottoTree initaly back in 2011.
komar.org is a simmilar site in reagrds of site features, but features a more elaborate and complicated Christmas setup than mine. He also does a controllable Halloween setup as well for the month of October.
This is done awareness of celiac disease whilst offering the option to donate to fund research in celiac disease.
Q. What is your setup?
A. Linux based virtual server server with Apache/PHP/MySQL, 1500VA UPS for local server running cam and X10 automation software, 1000VA UPS for modem/router, VDSL modem, Router & Switchs, Foscam IP Webcam, CM11 & X10 modules.
Q. How do I know when you (Grotto Tree) are posting on the message form and not someone impersonating you?
A. All official posts from Grotto Tree will apear under the name "Admin"; the word "Admin" is replaced with the word "Guest" from all public posts.
Q. My question is not listed?
A. Please use the contact form or email me here. (Replies will come from: email@example.com)
1) Please respect the chat as family's and young children use this site.
2) Please don't spam or cause unwanted annoyance - Have fun with the site instead.
3) Please don't deliberately brake/crash the site; Doing so will get your IP address banned.
4) Please do not exploit any security issues found - Please report them directley to me instead.
5) Please report any problems if they arise.
Tip 1) Website not working predictably?
If you find the lights are not working how you would expect them to, try turning them ON and OFF slower or waiting a few minutes before trying again.
If this does not work, the webcam is frozen or you have other problem, then please contact me here with your issue.
Tip 2) Site running Slow?
First try restarting your computer and modem/router; if this does not work then try coming back later as the website could be heavily loaded or be encountering problems.
A minimum download speed of 2Mbps is reccomended for this site to work optimaly.
Tip 3) Comment/message not appearing?
Tip 4) Contacted me, but have received no reply?
If you have not received a reply after a few days, please try contacting me again on the contact form or by emailing me here.
Please spread this site around, includeing on social media sites so people are made aware of it.
About & Info
Grotto Tree - The interactive Christmas Grotto; first founded in 2011 with inspiration from Komar.org. Please follow GrottoTree on Facebook, Google + and Twitter for detailed information on updates and for further information about the site or GrottoTree in general.
Please also note; although it is unlikley under normal circumstances, it is still possible for technical problems to arise on this site what are out of GrottoTree's control. (E.g. UPS failure, Internet connection going down, etc...) GrottoTree will always try to resolve problems as quickly as possible and post updates on Twitter and Facebook where and when possible.
Replies to emails and submissions from the contact form will come from: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website designed and built by: Elliott Byron Veares