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  • 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.
Eric Adem

Need An Easy Way To Test All Your Units?

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I wanted an easy and quick way to test all my units (all 16 plugs on all of my 13 units) that wasn't terribly time consuming and didn't require going back and forth between the units and my computer.  So I put together a test sequence that can be used to test every channel on any unit number.  Actually it goes up to unit 16, but can easily be modified to accomodate more units with a little copy and paste.

 

Basically it works like this: Connect your unit to your computer or MP3 Director, whichever one you use, and start the sequence running.  Then plug a light into channel 1.  You will hear my voice saying "unit number 1, 2, 3, etc." and all 16 channels will turn on for a given unit number when that number is spoken, and then they turn off immediately as the next number is spoken.  So you can verify that your unit is set to the number that you expect it to be.  After I get through the unit numbers, I read off "channel number 1, 2, 3, etc." and the corresponding channel number will turn on for ALL unit numbers.  So during the first section, expect the light to turn on when the correct unit number is spoken, and during the second section, expect the light to turn on as its channel number is spoken.  And yes, I do count fairly fast so the whole process goes by quickly.  You have enough time after the channel number is spoken to unplug the light and plug it into the next channel number.

 

This saved me a lot of time, and honestly, I used to not even test my units at the start of each season because it was too much of a hassle.  I hope this can benefit somebody out there!

 

I've attached a zip file with the sequence and my annoying counting.  You may have to move the mp3 to wherever your default audio folder is.

test sequence.zip

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I rdp into my show PC with a laptop connected wirelessly.

When I am setting up I have a spread sheet that tells me channel x should turn on x.

After everything is hooked up I use the laptop to turn on each and every element to be sure the correct channel it lighting the correct one.

If channel x doesn't I can leave it on and troubleshoot (after a few choice words cause it is so cold out).

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I have a master spreadsheet that I think everyone should use. It is critical to my overall display and set up. I have to edit this first with any updates to the display, or later on connecting everything up, in set up.  Rick Williams did an outstanding job extending this out to 50 controllers a few years back:

 

http://www.quartzhillchristmas.com/12.html

 

I then take my laptop outside, using the Hardware Editor, referring to a printed out copy of the spreadsheet, I go controller by controller and run the test loop. The nice thing about that is that you can assign how fast it cycles through the channels. It allows you to watch it a few times to ensure it is lighting what you expect.  I can either run to an area of question to look at the plugs, or make notes on the spreadsheet.

 

I have 30 plus controllers to test in this fashion and it only takes me 90 minutes or so to test.

Edited by zman

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