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Did you know?
  • 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.



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About Analogvideo

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    Distinguished Member
  • Birthday 05/19/1957

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  • Location
    Campbell, California, USA
  • Interests
    Collecting: Radio Tubes/Valves; Broadcast TV gear. Electronics Hobbyist
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  1. csmith wrote: Chuck et al., I've been using those "red top bins" (The 12 Gallon Tuff Crates made by Contico) for some years. This topic is timely as yesterday I visited the local Home Despot for a few more crates. None to be found! To cut a long story short, the vendor, Contico a division of Katy Industries, stopped shipping these to Costco or to HD due tocancelled orders. The nice lady at Contico thought that HD would again order, and suggested I keep an eye out for them. The folks at HD HQ were unable (or unwilling) to answer my email beyond cut-n-paste appologetic fluff. Mostly, I think, because their customer care professionals are useless (or at least untrained). Does any one know of another retail supplier? Here's the info: Contico (pronouced Con-TEE-co) 12 Gallon Tuff Crate. Bar code: 20027 02424, SKU(?): 4039 2280. I've seen them in clear with red or blue barn doors for about $7.00 each. Comments Welcome! Peter
  2. nashbar wrote: Nashbar, Yes, a series string of ten car batteries. (Note that a fully charged twelve volt car battery produces 13.8V, or 138V for all ten, so you'll only needeight to get 110.4V). What energy level do you need (measured in watt-hours)? A smaller amount could be obtained from eighty-eight series connected NiCad AA batteries (88 * 1.25V = 110V) or thirty Lithium Ion cells (30 * 3.7V = 111V). What are you operating from this power source? Batteries only produce DC, so electric motors and "computer controlled" holiday lights will not work. Why is your question in an unrelated thread? Moderator: can we start a new thread from the last message onwards? Comments Welcome!
  3. Rachel Herron wrote: Rachel, I'm enjoying your project thread! Now that you've touched on electricity costs, perhaps you'd like to see this thread (if you haven't already found the data): http://planetchristmas.mywowbb.com/forum13/776-1.html I did a bit of digging to discover there's a wide range in electricity costs, and some of us are on a tier system that makes the 'last kilowatt-hour' twice the cost of the 'first kilowatt-hour' each month. Ouch! Comments Welcome!
  4. hmfic wrote: hnfic, This is not true. The European and US electric utility industries developed about the same time at the end of the 19th century, and independently. That is why Europe has 50 cycles per second (50Hz) AC power, the USA (and Canada) have 60Hz, and some areas (notably Japan) have both. (Western Japan was populated by US service personnel after WW-II and those areas are 60Hz). South America is also a mix of voltages and both 50 or 60Hz systems. Frequency: The 60Hz standard (USA/Canada) was invented by Nicola Tesla, who concluded it was the most efficient for AC generators and motors. The European 50Hz standard was established by German company AEG, becausethe number “60” does not fit the metric system of 2,5,10 sequencing. 50Hz causes a lot of problems to this day, and requires mush greater costfor electrical plant and operating expenses. History: 1882- Edison patents center-grounded, three-wire circuit [3 wire AC circuits are still called an "Edison 3 wire 1882- Edison began operation of the historic "Pearl St station" in Manhattan for centrally-distributed 120 volt DC. two-wire system 1883- Edison 3 wire systems made commercially available. 1886- Westinghouse and Brush market first commercial AC systems in Buffalo, New York . 1894 America's first major AC electrical transmission project was begun at Niagra Falls. (This was a GE/Steinmetz project). Nominal Voltage: Edison patented a 200V, 3-wire, DC system (+100V and -100V around a neutral wire). So the Pearl Street system in New York was indeed 100V. For many decades New York City had a 100V system, even after conversion to AC from Edison's original DC system. Europe had several local utilities that set their own voltage specs. Unlike the USA, Europe did not have abundant supplies of copper ore to make wiring so the cost of cable is much higher. Any given wire gauge can deliver more power at a higher voltage, so domestic electricity supplies in Europe were set to around 200V in the 1950s from around 100V before WW-II. Over time the demand for electricity everywhere in the world increased and old installations were operated at slightly higher voltage (to maximize the efficiency of the existing plant), and it was assumed that older appliances would be replaced by new ones that were designed for higher voltages. The older the appliance the lower the voltage will be on the nameplate! While the UK and other places had moved to 240V, the ECC (European Economic Community) standardized on 230V domestic power, and older systems were upgraded from 220V. Split Phase Three Wire System: The legacy of Edison’s 3-wire system is that domestic power in the US is delivered on three wires that produce 240V across the lines and 120V from either line to neutral. When the load is balanced there is little or no current flowing in the neutral, which is a shared return path for both lines. Heavy loads (A/C, Spa, hot water heater, electric range, clothes dryer) connect to the 240V lines, small electrical appliances and lighting connect to either line and neutral. A good installation has a balance between both lines, but the neutral is sized to carry the full load if one line is opened or lightly loaded. This is not a two-phase system, but often called as such. Modern USA Standards: 120V +/- 10% (108V to 132V) short term. 120V +/- 5% long term (114 to 126V). Electronic appliances are fussy and typically have internal power regulators. Modern equipment (particularly cell phone chargers, notebook computers, desktop computers, TV, radio, A/V stereo, etc.) will cover all world standards from 90V to 264V (240V + 10%) without damage or stress. Daily Variation: Expect the utility power to vary by time of day. This is because the load on the system is greatest during the workday (factories, offices, schools). Excessive loading may cause the frequency to drop (heavy loads slow the generators), and as much utilityplant is very frequency sensitive the equipment may drop out for protection. One way to ease this burden is to reduce the voltage (a brownout). Since the 1970s the US regional utility generators have been linked by a national grid, similar to the one in Europe, and they can power share more easily, reducing the number of brownouts and risk of blackouts compared with the 1950s and ‘60s. Power Factor: In the AC power system the current and voltage on any circuit may be out phase (out of step) due to mismatching at the load. This is called PF (Power Factor) and if not perfect (unity) it causes a lot of problems for the utility company. They employ automatic systems to correct the PF which is usually done with capacitors to counter the inductive loading of large electric motors. Capacitors can often be seen on US power poles, and most are automatically switched in as needed. The PF corrected voltage on the line will rise (about 5% or 6V in a 120V system). Comments Welcome!
  5. ErnieHorning wrote: Ernie, Thanks for the quick and detailed reply. From your observations I thinkwe cansay that mini-lights with a shunt can be safely used in parallel from low voltage, or in shorter strings (i.e. 12 or 24V), and when the filament fails (which it will eventually) the shunt does not activate unless the applied voltage is much higher. In the intended application the filaments are all in series with a couple of volts across each one. If one fails the open circuit voltage would be 120V (ish) RMS, (161V peak)and all bulbs would go off. With a shunt system the increasing voltage is intended to breakdown the oxide on the shunt wire in the open filament bulb and fuse it together, thusby-passing that open filament. I agree with you that doing this experiment without a vacuum in the bulb is poor technique and would likely give misleading results. As we all know, the system works but is not foolproof! After handling and storage it's quite likely that one or more bulbs have broken filaments and the shunt system may not activate when the string is energized again. Also, external connections (bulb sockets) seem to have poor reliability and often its one or more"loose bulbs" to blame. Had I done the testing I'd have wanted to simulate with the good bulbs as ballast. I think your method is very good and gave the expected results. As the filament changes resistance (quite a bit) when hot the action of the shunt needs to be reliable both at initial turn on (one bulb filament open, all cold) and when all bulbs are working correctly and one bulb fails (all bulbs hot). I did look at the cold and hot resistance of some sample bulbs, here's the data (attached). The four C7 5W bulbs are included as they were handy, they don't have shunts, and are intended for parallel operation at AC line voltage. Notice the calculated inrush current is about ten (7 to 13 ) times the steady burning current. This is calculated, but likely lasts for only one half-cycle for these small mass filaments. The inrush current would be applied to the shunt if it's filament failed while cold, and the steady current (or a fraction for sets with multiple strings in parallel) would be applied to the shunt if the filament fails while hot. What is CC? Can you post a link to this reference? Thanks In Advance!
  6. toozie21 wrote: Jason, This doesn't sound right either. What was the DC and ripple voltages after the bridge rectifier? What was the load current? A full-wave (bridge) with capacitor filter produces 1.4 times the RMS voltage of the AC input. The output voltage is maintained by the capacitors and recharged by the next AC half-cycle. The bridge rectifier and transformer see high peaks (1.8 times the DC output current) as it powers both the load and the capacitors. Comments Welcome!
  7. toozie21 wrote: Jason, This doesn't sound right either. What was the DC and ripple voltages after the bridge rectifier? What was the load current? A full-wave (bridge) with capacitor filter produces 1.4 times the RMS voltage of the AC input. The output voltage is maintained by the capacitors and recharged by the next AC half-cycle. The bridge rectifier and transformer see high peaks (1.8 times the DC output current) as it powers both the load and the capacitors. Comments Welcome!
  8. ErnieHorning wrote: Ernie, Tell us more about your experiments. I've also played with shunted bulbs, and used them with parallel connected low voltage (and had no problem with unwanted shorting). How did you test the bulbs? Were they good bulbs (destroyed in the experiment) or burned-out bulbs (showing high impedance before the test)? How did you apply and control the rupture current? Was a current-limited supply or other ballast (more bulbs?) used withthe test bulb(s). Were you just curious or were you working on a failure mode or other problem with an existing holiday lights design? Thanks In Advance!
  9. toozie21 wrote: Jason, This doesn't sound right to me. If your transformer is rated to 24V AC, how did you end up with a 24V DC output (after the bridge and capacitor(s)? Comments Welcome!
  10. Mvipond wrote: Mvipond, I create PC Boards for some of my electronics projects and I'm familiar with the effort required to complete the design and the approximate cost of tooling prototype PCBs. The production boards are cheaper (more so as the quantity goes up), but a fair price amortizes the cost of development into the first production run. If you'd like to make your own PCBs contact me off list and I'll steer you to low cost fab houses, assuming that you have a way to create CAD files ("Gerbers"). If you’re not using CAD for design these aren’t much help. If you’d like to learn CAD I’ll be happy to set you started. I have no financial interest in LOR, D-light, or the vendors I use for my own projects. The PCB for "computer controlled" lights is well beyond the hobby level board construction, plus, most users need multiple boards. Hobby PCBs require about the same effort for the second and subsequent copy. The debate between LOR and D-light has appeared on PC, and my understanding is that if you want to have the system run (more or less) out of the box use LOR, if you like to build electronic boards from scratch go with D-light. There's a slight financial edge to home assembly of the PCB from D-light, but it assumes that your labour is free. Here's a thread including a very nice spreadsheet cost comparison (LOR vs. D-light): http://planetchristmas.mywowbb.com/forum38/2214-2.html Comments Welcome!
  11. toozie21 wrote: Jason, Data was lifted from the recent (post-Xmas sales) purchases. "Back in the day" there were more variety of string lengths and bulb specs, even amongst mini-lights. In those days it was important to select the right bulbs (2.5 to 12V IIRC) for a particular string. It's quite likely that you have seen bulbs that draw higher currents. Please post data if you have it. Comments Welcome!
  12. Roadrat wrote: Roadrat, Correct. You're describing a "state machine", and IC memory is a neat way to store the data. The hardware can exist without a uC (or uP), using a clock and counters for the ROM address. This technique was used back in the 1980s to generate complex analog waveforms from stored digital patterns held in ROM.An A2D and anti-aliasing filter provided the output(s). By far the best method for constructing any of these sequenced displays is the uC, it's cheap, reliable, easily changed (In Circuit Programming or Bootloader andcom port) and can be developed in a variety of languages (orAssemblerwhen event timing is critical). Comments Welcome!
  13. toozie21 wrote: Jason, Excellent job so far! I look forward to seeing a video (MOV, WAV, etc) when you havethe snow-fight animationup and running! Regarding operating current for mini-lights, check out this thread: http://planetchristmas.mywowbb.com/forum13/2617-1.html Here's the datathat Iposted there: I hope this helps! Comments Welcome!
  14. toozie21 wrote: Jason, Breaker, not fuse. Both breakers and normal fuses allow strong overloads to prevent nuisance tripping, fast-acting fuses do the opposite. The time-delay characteristics of typical breakers was quoted from a graph, which might make more sense to you. Image attached. Comments Welcome!
  15. toozie21 wrote: Jason, I think Roadrat has set you straight. A Triac can be triggered and will conduct until the holding current threshold has been reached - typically at the next zero-crossing of the AC power. Delaying the start does reduce the power in the load, and provides dimming, but it also creates a lot of EMI/RFI unless filter components are added. The high dv/dt can also destroy the Triac, and that's why there is a CR snubber across MT1 and MT2. My scheme skips half cycles to reduce the power to the load. If one of four half cycles are skipped the load is at 75%, skip two for 50% and three for 25%. It does not require any snubbers or filters! The Triacs fire close to the zero cross, and either stop at the next zero-cross or continue through the next half cycle(s). The downside is that the refresh rate is also reduced, potentially low enough that the lamps appear to flicker. In practice this was not a major concern, and loads with longer time constants (ie thicker filaments) show a smaller effect. (If you notice a standard car headlight being turned off it can take several seconds to go dim). I have found four steps (100, 75, 50, 25, and 0%) to useful, I'm not sure why anyone needs 100 (or more). Unless coloured lights are being mixed to render a particular colour temperature. Comments Welcome!
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