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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.
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  • 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.

    New 24-Channel Dc Controller Project On Kickstarter (Preorder For Pcbs+Chips)

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    I just launched a Kickstarter campaign to make it possible to complete the testing and manufacture of my new design for DC SSR controllers. I'm including finished PCBs and programmed controller chips in the rewards for some of the backing levels, which is effectively a "preorder" deal if you want to construct one of these boards yourself (I'm also including an offer to build a limited number to ship fully-assembled as well). Or, of course, if you just want to help there to be more options available in the world of computerized light displays, you're welcome to drop by and back the project a little and get the t-shirt for it :)

    These are 24-channel DC relay boards, arranged as 3 blocks of 8 circuits (so you can have 3 different voltages if you need to, or spread the load between multiple power sources). Each block of 8 can be supplied by 5V or 8-24V DC, with a limit of 8 A per block (up to 5 A on each individual circuit). If you have an existing circuit which outputs 24 TTL-level signals (active low), you can build these boards as simple DC SSRs and send those logic signals out to the board from some other controller. Or, you can install a microcontroller directly on the board and use it as a stand-alone unit, which uses RS-485 (half- or full-duplex) or RS-232 serial to receive commands from the PC.

    The protocol should be fairly easy to implement as a Vixen plug-in (still on my future to-do list unless someone more familiar with Vixen wants to beat me to it), but my own Lumos sequencing software (currently still under development, but as of now it will import Vixen sequences and "play" them on the hardware) already comes with drivers for them. (This Kickstarter project includes a major firmware update which significantly improves the efficiency of the protocol, too.)

    If used with an ATX-compatible supply the stand-alone controller board will tell the power supply to wake up or sleep as needed, to save power.

    At any rate, I'd appreciate feedback on the project, and if you'd like to order a few boards or just pitch in to help make the whole effort successful, that would be great too! :)

    Here's the link to the project:


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    Based on feedback from some of the people who visited the Kickstarter campaign site, I have decided to add support for the DMX512 protocol into this ROM image, in addition to its own native protocol. In case that's interesting to anyone who is using DMX for their setup. The board hardware is RS-485 with RJ45 jacks, so at worst you may need to make a small adapter cable to plug it in, but with the ROM changes you can configure the Lumos board to respond to a block of DMX channels starting at an arbitrary channel number you choose (one per output channel plus a control channel).

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    • 3 weeks later...

    If anyone else wants to add their orders for the DC controllers in this batch (either fully-assembled or DIY PCB+chip sets), there are 9 days left before it's closed.

    In the mean time, I'm working on updates to the firmware to support DMX commands (as well as its own native set), and also support for pre-programming sequences into its memory which can be started or stopped on command or by sensor inputs attached to the controller directly (for stand-alone use without a computer attached).

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