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PlanetChristmas Magazine July 2012

Light-O-Rama Ten years and still counting. By Robin Williams The editors gave me the task of writing a story about Light-O-Rama. My first reaction was this had the potential of being a really boring assignment. I jumped on a plane and headed for South Glens Falls, New York and the worldwide headquarters of Light-O-Rama. What an interesting company, but you be the judge. IThat first Christmas together they bought of X-10 modules. Dan was so proud that withIn the beginning the light animation consistedand four tiny reindeer. The decorating bug hadbitten the Baldwin family.n 1975 Dan Baldwin was a newly mintedcomputer science wizard and had justmarried his longtime sweetheart, Mary. a three foot tree upon Mary’s insistence and a the press of one button the entire display could family tradition was born. For the next 20 years be turned on or off. Soon he started playing that little tree, plus some accessories, was just with other light switching ideas as he merged about all the decorating the couple did for the his technical talents with the fun of decorating holiday season. for the holiday season. Something changed in 1995 when Mary took Over the years Dan and Mary’s home display it upon herself to go outside and string a few grew at an astonishing rate. To handle the power lights along the top of the fence. Dan looked at load they had to increase their service from the her work and said “we need more lights!” Soon local utility. They installed 36 dedicated 120 there were lights in the bushes, a new nativity volt 20 amp circuits for the regular lights and scene in the yard as well as the obligatory Santa two 240 volt 60 amp circuits for the megatrees. The Baldwin extended family of some 20 mem- bers would spend the long Thanksgiving week- end putting up the grand display. Mary admitted she thought it was “a little insane” but the project had become a family tra- dition everyone enjoyed. By 2002 Dan was using a computer stuffed with DIO (direct input/output) boards control- ling over 1100 electrical circuits. 25 conductor control cables were snaked from the nerve cen- ter in the basement all over the yard to what the family called R2D2’s that handled the power switching and distribution to the lights. Dan Baldwin of Light-O-Rama Music was MIDI (musical instrument digital 12 PlanetChristmas | July 2012


PlanetChristmas Magazine July 2012
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