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  • The original Rudolph did not have a red nose. In that day and age, red noses were seen as an indicator of chronic alcoholism and Montgomery Ward didn’t want him to look like a drunkard. To complete the original picture, he was almost named Reginald or Rollo.
  • The Christmas wreath was originally hung as a symbol of Jesus. The holly represents his crown of thorns and the red berries the blood he shed.
  • The three traditional colors of most Christmas decorations are red, green and gold. Red symbolizes the blood of Christ, green symbolized life and rebirth, and gold represents light, royalty and wealth.
  • Tinsel was invented in 1610 in Germany and was once made of real silver.
  • The oldest artificial Christmas trees date back to the late 1800s and were made of green raffia (think grass hula skirts) or dyed goose feathers. Next the Addis Brush Company used their machinery that wove toilet brushes to create pine-like branches for artificial Christmas trees that were less flammable and could hold heavier decorations.
  • ‘Jingle Bells’ – the popular Christmas song was composed by James Pierpont in Massachusetts, America. It was, however, written for thanksgiving and not Christmas.
  • Coca-Cola was the first company that used Santa Claus during the winter season for promotion.
  • Hallmark introduced their first Christmas cards in 1915.
  • 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.
  • Christmas 2018 countdown has already begun. 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.

Gary Martin

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About Gary Martin

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 05/17/1963

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    http://www.parksidechristmas.com

Profile Information

  • Location
    Lawrence, Kansas, USA
  • Biography
    Computer Admin and Robotics/Automation developer. I wrote the BBS game Trade Wars 2002 back in the late 80s, early 90s
  • Interests
    Well Christmas lights! ;) Boating and fabricating. (wood, steel, whatever)
  • Occupation
    Systems Developer, industrial automation and robotics
  • About my display
    LOR software but all D-Light hardware. Now up over 500 channels, DMX universe. We not only do Christmas but also a big Halloween show too.

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  1. Even buying from other Aliexpress vendors besides Ray Wu is a pretty big risk. I have tried three other vendors besides Ray and in two of those three cases I got screwed over. In one case, I ordered some LED strings clearly labled 6vdc, battery powered. The pictures showed the 6v controller on them, showed the battery pack, etc. What I received were strings designed to plug into 220v european power. The vendor refused to do anything about it, claiming he had sent the correct product. Second screwup was similar, product delivered not close to product advertised. Oddly enough, the third, non-Ray transaction actually turned out to be some very high quality "meteor" or "snowfall" tubes. I was really surprised that those were so much BETTER than expected. Moral of the stories here are simple. If you want to buy LED stuff from China, get it from Ray Wu. Ray has always stood behind what he sells. He's gone above and beyond to fix any issues if there are some. I've had a dozen orders with him and have been quite happy each time. (or eventually happy
  2. I use a 2" steel pole for a 25' megatree. It used to be three AC16 controllers so I got a 4" piece of heavy PVC pipe and then two of the rubber, reducer clamps that go from 4" on one end to 2" on the other. The boxes mount directly to the PVC, the rubber size adaptors are left tight on the PVC and the whole assembly slides onto the main pole when I set the tree up. You can see it at the base of the tree here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/perryddock/7900598418/in/set-72157631336988114/lightbox/
  3. You can get the non digital pixels from Ray Wu with any spacing you want. If you're willing to pay a premium, you can get solid green or solid white wire as well. NOTE: Be sure to specify that you want "epoxy filled" (sometimes listed as "resin filled") for the waterproofing. The IP67 stuff they do with silicone doesn't hold up under any kind of handling. On the megatree, it's 48 strings of pixels that have 42 pixels on each string. Spacing is 5.5" and the length of each one is a shade under 20' I also spliced in a 6 foot leader from the start of each pixel string to their controllers. When you're doing a twig tree, you could put all the four conductor splices in you want to make jumps between layers of branches. Granted, that's a lot of extra work but it's feasible.
  4. I think you really need to get some test strings of pixels and see what they look like next to those twig trees. As mentioned before, the pixels are about 3 to 4 times brighter than CDI LEDs which IMHO are about twice as bright as a conventional incandescent minilight. Here, my megatree has 2,016 pixels on it. Check out this video at the 1:00 mark and notice how it illuminates the neighbor's house. If you put 600 pixels on each twig tree, it would be blindingly bright! http://vimeo.com/33851508
  5. Please be aware, those GE Color Effects are 4 bit greyscale. That means only 16 brightness levels. If you avoid long, slow fades, they'll probably look just fine. But if you like slow fades, they make noticeable jumps in brightness as they're ramped up. CCRs are 5 bit scale, but they do some tricks with them to make it look like more than 32 brightness levels. WS2801 based stuff is 8 bit scale, 256 brightness levels which matches DMX control levels. TSL3001 is 12 bit scale, 4096 brightness levels but we don't have controllers or software to deal with that level. I will say, Jim StJohn's pixel matrix using TSL3001s has much better gamma and color mixing levels than my WS2801 stuff does.
  6. Here's hoping everyone has a wonderful New Year!
  7. If that's a typical series of LEDs, just one dead LED can cause that. Easiest test method is to unhook the flood from anything and apply battery voltage (1.5v) to the LED leads directly. You should get a faint glow out of each one. If not, swap out that LED with a replacement.
  8. We've been running strong since Thanksgiving. Only issue so far was a dang rabbit chewed through a Cat5 that was carrying 24vdc to an RGB flood. Killed a Mosfet on that controller but that was a five minute fix. Traffic's been heavy, too heavy for not even Christmas week yet.
  9. Here's a quick and dirty video of this year's display from the first week of December.
  10. Yep! My "one" is the mother of the family right next door to the south of us. She has lots of bad things to say to anyone that will listen about the display. Funny thing is, her husband and her kids really like the display. Gotta love that.
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