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  • Christmas 2017 countdown has begun. Most people reveal their displays the day after Thanksgiving. Will you be ready???
  • Why do we love Christmas? It's all about the traditions. In this chaotic world we can miss the "good old days." Christmas reminds us of that time.
  • The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on that day.
  • Santa Claus's sleigh is led by eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder (variously spelled Donder and Donner), and Blixem (variously spelled Blixen and Blitzen), with Rudolph being a 20th-century inclusion.
  • Outdoor Christmas lights on homes evolved from decorating the traditional Christmas tree and house with candles during the Christmas season. Lighting the tree with small candles dates back to the 17th century and originated in Germany before spreading to Eastern Europe.
  • That big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard didn’t always look that way. Prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. When Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, Santa was a small elflike figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, changing the color of his coat from tan to the red he’s known for today.

PlanetChristmas is getting a face lift.

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Dale P

How are you powering your display?

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Dale P    5

Hello, I'm putting together a small display this year of around 10,000 to 15,000 lights. 99% of the lights will be incandescent bulbs so I'm going to be pulling around 40 to 50 amps. I plan to run a few new circuits to the outside of the house as well as I install a timer to control the circuits. I would love to see some pictures of your power panels to get some inspiration from.

Right now I'm thinking of installing a timer next to my breaker box in the basement and running two 20 amp circuits through it to the side of the house. The display will turn off at 10pm during the week and 11pm on the weekend. 

Dale P.

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NH - Dave    21

Here's mine.  Its two dedicated 60a panels that i run off my garage panel, separate from the house panel.  I use 2 8ga cables that i run from the garage and disconnect when done.

Power.jpg

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jihans    26

You may want to look in to investing in LED.  Unless you do it yourself, what you may end up paying an electrician to add the power you need could almost pay for all your LED lights and you would GREATLY reduce your power needs. 

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Dale P    5

I will slowly up grade to LED, but unfortunately I won't be able to do much this year.  At $10 plus a string they add up really fast!   I do all my own wiring and have most of the parts already so it won't take too much to add two more circuits to the side of the house. As for the power bill, yes it will go up a bit ;)  I did the math and it looks like I will cost around $115.00 for the month that they will be on.  I'm going to have a timer set so it will only be on for 5 hours during the week and 6 on the weekends.  

 

Dave, that's a nice set up you have.  I already have a 50 amp panel in my garage for the welder, but unfortunately that is on the wrong side of the house and won't work to power my display.  Do you have a timer some where in your panels?

Dale P.

 

 

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NH - Dave    21

My power connections are 60a 4-wire dryer plugs.  Basically really heavy duty extension cords.  the ones that are on the outside panel, hidden behind the deck box are the males and the females are in the garage off the sub panel.  I run a little over 45k lights, mixture of LEDs and incans, I'd say about 10% LED at the moment.  Slowly switching over.  My bill this year was about $125.

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55cgas    21
3 hours ago, Big J Illinois said:

Me too...but the cords are 8 guage and the outlets are 30 amp twist locks...

Standard outdoor extension cords and 1, 15 amp and 1, 20 amp outlets, no issues. 

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Dale P    5

You guys running timers?  I'm looking at at using something like this. http://www.ebay.com/itm/201803340010?ssPageName=STRK:MESINDXX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1436.l2649

It can control two circuits up to 40 amps.  I figure I will keep it inside by my breaker box and run the two 20 amp circuits from it.  Hopefully they will be enough for this year until I can start switching to LED lights.  

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Big J Illinois    286

I have (4) 20 amp gfci quad outlets on each end of the house. We run Woods Brand remote units,and shut them on and off each night from the bedroom,kitchen,wherever we like. Have used these since'09 and never had a problem. Also, we use Woods indoor remote units for all the indoor stuff, tree,other stuff. A simple push of a button, and no problems

 The house is 2700 sq ft, 2 story and never a problem with range ect. I dI'd that the outdoor ones apart and used Deox brand, on the contacts. It's helps with oxidation from being outdoors and doesn't allow arcing on the contacts when it turns on. Dielectricgrease on all connections and never had ANY problems with rain, melting or wet snow. It also helped with false trips of the GFI. Didn't have a one ,after I put grease on the connections.

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Stephen Blue    12

Before 2009, I used photocells and mechanical timers. Talk about something you had to babysit!

In 2009, I went with LOR, but I run a hybrid animated/static display. While I have 13 standard 16-channel LOR controllers powering a 30'x30' show space, the rest of my 125' wide grass field is a walk-through static display of about 90,000 lights (about 25,000 of which are still incans). 

Of course, the LOR software schedules the controllers for the "show". But I also am able to use the software to schedule the switching for the static as well. For switching the static display I use an LOR DIO32 setup for switching my static display with the LOR computer. The top box contains the DIO32 motherboard. The bottom box contains 2x DIO8RLY high-amperage (16 rated amps per channel) relay cards. Each card has 8x relays/channels. Unlike regular LOR controllers, which run power in banks (so, say, 8 channels may be able to handle 8 amps each, but the bank of 8 is maxed out at 15 amps total), each of these channels is individually powered and fused. For every female plug, there is a corresponding male plug for feeding power to the switch, so large amounts of power from multiple circuits can be fed through this one box. 

Using this, all of my static elements come on with the LOR show, controlled by the LOR computer - I have a startup sequence that triggers the static to come on, and a shutdown sequence that turns them off at the end of the night. Generally, each of my 20-amp circuits is plugged in to by 2 of the 16-amp channels, and I try and max the total usage at about 18 amps - so, some channels may have 12 or 13 amps on them while their circuit counterpart only has 5 or 6 amps. I have 8x 20 amp circuits I pull from, which feed the 16x channel relays I have in this box. 

These relays don't do fades and effects, and shouldn't be used for rapid blinking, but for switching large numbers of static lights on a schedule, this has been an absolute joy. I've just completed my 8th season with it.

IMG_0548.thumb.JPG.76bc3bc5f5fa9a267d67af9a0fd08f8a.JPG

 

 

Edited by Stephen Blue

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Dale P    5

Stephen, Nice work on the relay box.  Sounds like you have a pretty big display, 8 twenty amp circuits!  Wow. 

Thanks for sharing your set up with me.  This is the kind of stuff I was hoping to see and get some ideas from.

Dale P.

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I have my dad add outdoor outlets , and I run timers then use vampire plugs and lamp wire and run all the blowmolds and lights I have , works good and is cheap 

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MEGA ARCH    2
On ‎2‎/‎4‎/‎2017 at 9:14 AM, Dale P said:

........I plan to run a few new circuits to the outside of the house as well as I install a timer to control the circuits.....

Exactly what I did when I was incandescent. However, it's perfect for all LED too. With your 15,000 lights, even if all LED at 15 amps, you still need to break the circuits up so you're hitting multiple GFCI receptacles. Less nuisance tripping. I have a 240volt 40amp time-clock feeding (9) 20amp 1-pole circuits that run to different areas under the eaves; front, sides & back. I also use it to power up year round landscape lighting.

Good luck.

TIMER_zpse4940242.jpg

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Dale the way i run my system is thru a 30 amp 120v coil 3 pole contactor controlled by a 120 v timer, and it runs a system of 50,000 lights incans and led combo . As you can see in the pictures it is on the bottom right  and the timer is on the front left side and also my system pulls approx 45 amps continuous which makes my bill approx 125.00 to 150.00 higher than normal. And the next to last picture is my system 2 years ago when the controller was built it has gotten bigger since then and the last picture is the finished controller in operation.

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xenon    22

looks kinda rough, but works well 200 amp main 2 7 day timers, 4 20 amp circuits each(inflatables), 1 24 hour timer with 2 20 amp circuits (lights).  usually pulls around 180 amps with Chirsitmas display.  was able to get meter on residential rate

100_3160.JPG

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slankard    50

I ran into the same problem 10 years ago.  I maxed out at 50,000 incan.  I switched to LEDs, and that did the trick.  As far as the price, I think it depends on your future plans.  If you're not going to eventually try LOR or some of the other light shows, I would recommend buying your LED's at good ole' Walmart.  Before Christmas they're $5 per 100 count, but after Christmas you can easily get them for half or even 75% off if you scout all the area Walmarts.  Mine have served me well, and especially at the after Christmas discounts, you can eventually pitch any that quit working and replace with new.  The key is to plan ahead and no what you're looking for at the after Christmas sales.

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I have a 400 amp load center. (don't know what the previous owner was thinking), a 100 amp Display panel that feeds several receptacles and 4 power pedestals placed for the display.

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