Permanent Christmas Light Installation
When it comes to simple Christmas light installation, homeowners turn to EverLights. Our patented design means EverLights are the easiest permanent holiday lights to install. Whether you’re an experienced tradesman or a weekend warrior, we’ll walk you through the system and installation procedure with the following guide.
The 3 Must Follow Rules For A Proper Install
If all else fails, follow these rules and you will be OK.
Never cut any wires with the lights powered. The lights are powered anytime they are plugged into a power source, whether the lights are on or not. Always install with the lights unplugged from all power sources.
Connect like to like wires. The wire labeled “EverLights” only connects to other wires labeled “EverLights”. Same deal for the other two wires.
Keep the direction of the lights constant. Every light has an input and output. They must always connect in to out. The back of every light is labeled and includes an arrow. Ensure all arrows are pointing in the same direction.
Failure to follow these rules will result in an increased failure rate because of improper power flow.
The EverLights Network Bridge is the brains of the operation. Use the included ethernet cord to connect the Bridge to your wireless router, then plug in the micro USB power cable to light up the Bridge. If you do not have any ethernet ports available you will need to free one up or pick up a network switch from an electronics retailer.
When first plugging in the bridge, the EverLights wording on the front of the Bridge will glow red until it boots up, at which point it will turn blue. The boot process typically takes about a minute, but if an update is needed it can take upwards of ten minutes. Once the Bridge glows blue, open the EverLights app and navigate to Menu/Settings/Bridge and follow the instructions on the screen.
With the Bridge connected, you now need to pair any wireless receivers you have. Make sure to follow this step in close proximity to the Bridge to ensure a simple connection. Do not install the wireless receiver outside before pairing with the Bridge. To put the bridge in pairing mode, press the black button on the back of the bridge. This will put the bridge in pairing mode for two minutes.
To put the wireless receiver in pairing mode, use the included wire-nuts to attach a power supply and plug the wireless receiver into an outlet. Like pressing the pairing button on the Bridge, plugging the wireless receiver into power will put it into pairing mode for two minutes. It does not matter what order you do this in, it only matters that both units are in pairing mode at the same time. Now go into the EverLights app and navigate to Menu/Settings/Zones and click the plus icon in the bottom left corner. Follow the instructions on the screen to pair your zones.
The Wireless Receiver connects directly to the lights and tells them what to do by receiving a low frequency radio signal from the bridge at distances up to half a mile. It is always best to install the wireless receiver on one end of the house or another. If you install the wireless receiver with lights on both sides of it, any patterns and animations will not look their best as they will converge or diverge from that point.
In the ideal situation, an eave outlet or other power source will be available on one end of the house. If no power is readily available, the garage is typically the best location for the wireless receiver. Wherever you are able to install the wireless receiver, make sure it is connected directly to the power supply with two of the included pink butt splice connectors.
If power is not where you want the receiver to be, do not insert additional wire between the power supply and wireless receiver, otherwise it will run the risk of not working properly. Instead, connect the wireless receiver directly next to the power supply, attach a data buffer to the output wires of the wireless receiver, and run unlit wire to where your lights start.
A data buffer is important to send a strong data signal and will be discussed in depth below. If the length of wire between the wireless receiver and first light is less than five feet, there is no need for a data buffer. Make sure the wireless receiver is installed in a dry location as it is splash resistant but not waterproof. Also ensure the wire connecting the lights to the wireless receiver has a drip loop to prevent water from running down the line and directly into the wireless receiver.
Color Changing EverLights are directional and all arrows must be pointing in the same direction away from the wireless receiver. Each light has an arrow printed on the backside of the shell. Likewise, data buffers have an arrow label attached to the wiring.
EverLights utilize a 4-wire cable. Each wire is uniquely labeled to designate what it’s for:
- EverLights = +5v positive wire
- Solid White Line = Main data line
- Solid Black Wire = Backup data line
- GND = Ground wire
Wire designations can always be double checked with the labeling on the PCB. At connection points, always attach like to like wires.
Pro Tip: before crimping any wires together, always double check you are connecting the correct wires. Incorrect connections can be very frustrating to locate and fix later, it is much better to spend the extra time double checking wires before moving on than to come back later. For an extra layer of confidence, trace any cut wires back to the shell and verify the EverLights wire is connected to the +5v portion of the PCB.
EverLights can be cut and customized at any point, as long as the power is unplugged. Simply having the lights turned off in the app is not sufficient, they must be completely powered down. With power disconnected, cut and splice at any point to tailor the lights to your unique roofline.
Y-splits can be inserted at any point to carry the lights on in two directions. Any leg coming out of the Y-split with a section of unlit wire greater than 3 feet must have a data buffer inserted directly into the Y-split preceding the unlit wire to ensure a strong enough signal passes through.
Color Changing EverLights are a 5 volt system. As lights draw on the initial power supply, the system needs to receive additional power to keep consistent color and brightness across the lights. There’s no perfect calculation as every roofline is different, but as a general rule of thumb a power booster is required every 75 feet. However, power is not directional so if you have a power supply at the beginning and end of 125 foot run, the load on each supply would be less than 75 feet and the lights would look good.
Each Power Booster is only good for 75 total feet of lights though, so don’t expect to put a booster in the middle of a run of lights and get 75 feet in both directions. If a power source for a booster is not close to where the booster is tied in, you can extend the wire on the output end of the booster to get to the location power is needed. Avoid this strategy whenever possible as the unlit wire will provide resistance and result in a weaker boost where it ties in. For example, extending 50 feet of wire on the output end of the booster will effectively result in a negligible boost.
Every light receives the data signal, takes the information it needs, then sends a signal to the next light. While each light can send a reliable signal at short distances, a data buffer must be inserted before longer jumps of wire to send a strong signal. As a rule of thumb, any section of unlit wire greater than five feet needs a data buffer installed before the jump.
This data buffer will take the weak signal from the light before and send out a strong signal capable of going up to 50 feet. This rule applies to the data signal coming out of the wireless receiver as well. It’s very rare and should be avoided whenever possible, but if a jump of more than 50 feet is ever required, you must insert a data buffer before the long jump, as well as a second data buffer in the middle of that jump wire with neither end exceeding 50 feet.
In Gutters: EverLights are designed to fit into the top attachment lip of gutters. Simply roll out the included layout tape and drill through the bullseyes to position your lights perfectly. It’s a good idea to roll out as much tape as you can safely reach in each position to look for any obstacles ahead. If the gutters are attached with gutter hangers you can generally move the clips without too much difficulty using a ¼” hex bit whenever there’s a conflict. However, when gutters are attached with gutter nails you never want to come within an inch of a nail or try to move one. Instead, roll out as much tape as possible to plan ahead for obstacles. It’s OK to cheat the lights closer together, but never further apart.
Generally cheating the lights ½” closer together will not be noticeable, but you want to avoid ever cheating lights inches closer together (doing this will catch you eye when the lights are on). Also try and keep spacing consistent around any corners. Depending on the type of gutter, the return lip on the inside of the gutter may be too tight to fit the shell of the light into. In this scenario, take some pliers or sheet metal seamers to pinch that lip tight on the backside to allow the shell of the light to fit into the gutter lip. When pinching this lip be careful not to pull up and out, otherwise you may end up with visible waves in the top lip of the gutter around each light.
In Drip edge: Depending on geographical area and builder preference, you may already have a suitable installation material on your eaves in the drip edge flashing. If the drip edge is roughly an inch and a half tall or greater and pliable, you should be good to go. Otherwise, you will want to grab some channel to put the lights in. When suitable drip edge is present, use the layout tape just like on gutters, drill a hole, and insert the light through the backside.
For best results, start the layout from the top of the peak, 4 inches down on each side. This will make all peaks on the home match and give the most polished result. It is possible to put a light directly at each peak, though it is always much more work and typically does not look near as clean during the day. This is why we recommend consistently starting 4 inches down from the peak on each side.
In Channel: If gutters and drip edge are not present, or you simply prefer the channel approach, there are multiple mounting options available using the two profiles available in our shop. Installation concepts are very similar as explained above. For the smoothest installation process, install one piece at a time. Start by putting the lights into the channel with the exception of the last light in the segment.
The next channel piece will overlap at this light, so it works best to leave the overlapping light out initially. Mount the channel with a screw every few feet. Once the first channel piece is up, insert the lights into the second piece of channel with the exception of the first and last light. Next use the overlapping light to connect the two pieces of channel and secure to the building with a screw. When using channel at a peak, be sure to start the layout four inches down each side as with drip edge installation described above.
Wherever you decide to terminate a run of lights it is very important to properly protect the exposed wires. There are multiple methods to coat the end of the wires, but generally electrical tape, silicone, or liquid electrical tape work best. The purpose of coating the wires is to prevent the positive and wires from coming in contact through water, touching against a piece of metal, or any other conductive material.
A short in the lights will cause improper function and potential damage to the lights in the system. To further protect against a potential short, snip the positive wire an inch shorter than the other wires before coating.