It takes about 4 full days over a few weekends to get everything set up. I have some great neighbors who help out by mocking me on the ladder!
The main computer is a Raspberry Pi single board computer running open-source software called Falcon Pi Player. The computer is only about the size of a credit card as shown in the picture below. We also have raspberry Pi computers running the projector in the window, the Tune-To TV that sits in the yard.
We designed our own mini-controller that has a WiFi chip onboard to connect to a distributed network down our street. The board can be seen below, and you can visit grovewoodlights.com to get more details on this effort.
Well, actual bulbs we have around 15,000, but each bulb has 3 LEDs inside, so we have approvimately 45,000 LEDs inside 15,000 bulbs throughout the display.
We use software called xLights that is open source and supported through donations. We build a model of our home in the software and tell it where each light will be. We can then program all kinds of effects on anything from an individual snowflake all the way up to everything.