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A Few Questions About Lights


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Ok, so I'm not that new at putting up lights. I have been in the game for about 5 years now (I'm only 19) and I have a few questions. You don't need to address every question, but feel free too if you want!:santasmileyitty:

1) I have a lot of lights, and not a lot of time to put them up before December. I live about 20-30 minutes from home and I will only be home October 10-13 and then for the typical thanksgiving break. I'm really just looking for advice, but when do you guys think I should start?

2) Is it better to order online or just go from the store? I live right down the road from stores like Target, Lowes, Home Depot, Rite Aide etc and have easy access to the lights. I have also been doing research online lately on prices and such. What is the better option, if there is one?

3) I need some advice, is having too many random colors too much? I have a large 20-30 ft pine I cover in all blue, three 15-20 ft pines (two are red, one is white), bushes lining my walkway and the front of the house that are multi color as well as a bush and two small trees that are also multi colored.

4) Every year I add another element to my lights, this year I'm looking into icicles and some wire frame snow flakes for above the garage. Does anyone else have any ideas?

5) Is there still time to learn to computerize my lights? This is my forum already started on programs with a few qeustions here. http://forums.planetchristmas.com/showthread.php?t=35052

Note: I am using LED lights and I am only looking to get LED's. Also, I understand I am new to this forum and I have a lot of questions, so please just keep it with constructive criticism and answering the questions. (I've had "unpleasant" experiences with other similar forums) Thanks for all the responses I hope to get tho guys!!

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Much better :)

1) I start around Halloween, putting up lights in trees, icicle lights, other stuff that isn't that noticeable. I work my way to the more and more obvious stuff until we go all out about a week before Thanksgiving and just start setting everything up. With your schedule (depending on your display size) you'll probably want to get going during your October break, but if it were me, I'd avoid putting up large displays like blowmolds that early...

2) Really depends on what you're talking about. LED's tend to be better priced online, or at least much better quality for the money. Mini's tend to be better in-stores, and especially after Christmas. Inflatables and other displays are usually best bought locally, if you can find them. Controllers and other specialty stuff has to be bought online.

3) I answered this in your initial post, but I like random blobs of color (as long as it isn't totally haphazard). It makes various display items 'pop' and look very colorful to me. Displays of all one color or all multi-color tend to wash out IMHO.

4) What you suggest sounds good. Read through the old posts here and you'll get lots of other ideas as well.

5) Truthfully, you're pushing it, but it can be done, especially if you use pre-canned sequences (which I don't like, but you have to do what you have to do, timewise). It will be a lot of work to pull of a first-time computerized display in essentially 2 months... But you can always try, and if it doesn't work out just go static for this year...

Thanks for reformatting this post. It really did help in answering all the questions. I hope I didn't bite too hard in your first attempt :)

Good luck,

-Tim

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I can give an opinion on two of the questions.

If you are going with LED's, I would stick with the on-line orders rather than the retail versions. Most of the on-line LED's will cost more but they seem much better quality (in my opinion). Watch after Christmas and early spring. I know two of the major suppliers that frequent this web site have sales around that time.

Secondly, (in my opinion) it is a little late to go with computerizing this year. That's assuming you want to go the Light-o-Rama/Animated Lighting/D-Light route. You could still go with one of the all in one packages from the retail outlets, but you will probably outgrow that quickly. I would start reading everything you can on the subject from any and all of these vendors plus what is available on this forum. They also have spring sales which is the best time to buy.

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I will try to answer some of you questions as best I can:

  1. Put them up when you can. There is no race to be the first with lights up and on. Having said that since you know the days that you will be home (including Thanksgiving break) get a calender and plan to setup a part of the display each day. For example one day maybe outlining the walkway,porch, and driveway. Next day maybe setting up mini trees and your snow flakes.
  2. I go to the big box stores Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, etc. I personaly think its up to you. There is a big thing on here about 1/2 wave vs. full wave leds. I can't complain about the products I have gotten from the big boxes.
  3. I don't think the colors are bad. You have to build Your display for You. What you like, and what makes you happy. Don't build or design it for other people, you won't have fun putting it up., and its supposed to be fun. If you want some opinions try your parents if they are near, or a best friend.
  4. If your going to do icicles why not some white up front with some blue behind them to help bring in your blue tree.

5. Yes, there is time to learn to "program" lights, but this is a loaded question: What software will you be using? And How many channels will you have are the big factors when it comes to programming. There are also a lot of people that will share there sequences with you, just need to download them. (Caution: some people only let you download there sequences for reference only. So if you decide to use there sequence make sure that it is o.k. first)I'm sorry its so long but I tried.:)

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Thanks for the help so far everyone! Tfischer, it's totally cool! Haha It's better now, and a lot easier for everyone! :)

So along with those questions, I'm totally open to suggestions. I kind of like the 1/2 blue 1/2 white icicle lights to accentuate my blue tree. But what about my multi colored lights? I think that is what is making me feel cluttered. I think the whole, blue and white icicle lights in front of each other will be a little too much. Any other suggestions? I like to hear new ideas!

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Paul with Christmas Displays (CDI) has had some good deals on lights if you order them around March. Keep your eye on threads here after the first of the year to see when, or if he will do it next year. Or you can pick lights up at Target, Lowes or Home Depot for 50% off after Christmas. Just make sure you get there early the day after Christmas. The good stuff goes fast.

As far as controllers. You are a little late for this year. But you can go to LOR and download a free demo software that can help you get ready for next year. LOR also has a limited sale around Febuary.

Hope this helps Greg

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I will not be able to help you with all of your questions but I can give you a few cents worth of advice.

1) As Snoop said you should use a calendar. What I suggest you do is pick the date that you want to light up and work backward from that day. That is the way I have been doing it for the past couple of days.

2) No idea

3) It is true up to you. It must look good to you. If you stop likeing your display you will not put it up.

4) What I have done with my house is I use icicles and C9s along the roof line. It all dpends on what you want.

5) I have never done any computerization other they a Mr Christmas. From what I have read however, I would suggest not to try and animate with any but a store bought unit because of the time left before the season.

Hope that helps.

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