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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.

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Lights@721

Newbie With So Many Questions

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Hey Everyone, New to PC, new to Christmas lighting. Before I swarm you with questions, heres a little background. I just purchased home prior to Christmas and due to lack of funds I couldn't start my show this year, but my soon to be wife loves Christmas lights as much as I do so I will be doing one next year. I have always wanted to do this so I have been doing research for years, but I am sure my plans will not go as smoothly as I envision. First question, any basic tips/tricks for a newbie?

 

Second question, I plan to purchase LOR 16 channel controller to start (hoping to get one during a sale, did I miss the spring one? any idea when the summer one starts?) Will this leave me enough to time to create the songs and displays? I have been seeing that 40hrs per song is a good estimate for time. We already went out and purchased LED lights (multi-color C9 and C7, blue C9s) at all the post holiday sales, plus people have already donated some lights to us (white icicles). I am going to start with some simple outlines of the house, garage, etc.. nothing crazy, yet. 

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LOR Spring Sale is end of March, first of April.  Join their mailing list if you want to get notified.  The summer sale is early July - last year it was right before the Expo.  You can download a trial version of the software and start playing with it now. You have plenty of time to do a show. There are so many websites that other light enthusiasts share their sequences and then you modify it to your needs. That is how I started out and then I program a few new ones on my own.  Great hobby to get into and these forums are really helpful.  Welcome aboard.

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Welcome

I would start out with a Starter Package from LOR. I don't believe they offer the Starter Packages on their sales. (I could be wrong). This way you can get everything to start, (Controller,Adapter,cat5 cable, and software) all bundled together. 

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Welcome to PC..........FYI you might want to download their software now and get a head start on sequencing cuz the spring sale goes really crazy and there limited items they have on sale goes fast .......they also have a summer sale sale and it lasts for at least a week and you have the opportunity to get picked and you order is free    (summer sale only). But as far as sequencing the trial software does everything that the purchased software does except do the show. and when you purchase it you ready to go.

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Thanks for the warm welcome everyone.... I did look for more information on the sales looks like indi was right, the software doesnt go on sale. I will have to just buy the starter pack when I get the funds.

 

Welcome

I would start out with a Starter Package from LOR. I don't believe they offer the Starter Packages on their sales. (I could be wrong). This way you can get everything to start, (Controller,Adapter,cat5 cable, and software) all bundled together. 

 

I plan to use an old laptop that I am going to clean out. Its an older dell that runs windows vista, anybody use something similar? Any problems? Once I get that cleaned out and ready to go then I will either buy the kit or start with the free trial of the software 

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I started out with the starter kit (one controller). After getting the kit, I ordered another one about a week after getting the kit. Then I upgraded to Advanced licence. This was before I even put on my first show. This hobby can be addictive. It's crazy. After taking down the props and putting everything in storage, I start to work on this years shows. I think most do. Now, I can't wait until the weather breaks so I can go to Lowe's and start buying items for my new props. It's nuts. I'm glad I have an understanding wife. I throw out new ideas (at least for me they are) and she says go for it. I just hope my billfold holds out. LOL. But, as old and broke down as I'm becoming, I just hope I'll be able physically to put up my display.

You'll have fun, it's great the see the kids enjoy it.

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Welcome to PC! This is a great place to ask questions and get any help you need. Best of luck with your show this year! And yea like someone already said, go get some sequences from some people on some sites to start, i have some if you want them just pm me.

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Thanks for the warm welcome everyone.... I did look for more information on the sales looks like indi was right, the software doesnt go on sale. I will have to just buy the starter pack when I get the funds.

 

 

I plan to use an old laptop that I am going to clean out. Its an older dell that runs windows vista, anybody use something similar? Any problems? Once I get that cleaned out and ready to go then I will either buy the kit or start with the free trial of the software 

I'm by no means an IT guy....But I remember hearing of people having issues with Vista and S2, I don't know if S3 would be any better on Vista 

but You may want to consider looking into XP for your operating system since your cleaning out your old laptop anyway.

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I have used a pc with vista for the past 3 years with S2 and now S3 and have not had any issues, just make sure you have enough memory, I recommend 4 gig of memory.

 

As an IT person let me recommend you verify any anti-virus you are using has LOR software white listed, insure any programs you have on the box don't autostart and that you run the defragmenting software on the drive to insure the best response time possible, also make sure the laptop is not set to go into hibernation or sleep mode.

 

That should do it - also if it helps, I started with single controller and 3,000 lights, if you want to see what some early displays can do, check out our site www.crazytechchristmas.com - the 2010 season was the first, and you can see what it looks like as I have grown it.

 

Good luck and welcome aboard the Crazy Christmas Train of Animated LIght Madness.

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I have used a pc with vista for the past 3 years with S2 and now S3 and have not had any issues, just make sure you have enough memory, I recommend 4 gig of memory.

 

As an IT person let me recommend you verify any anti-virus you are using has LOR software white listed, insure any programs you have on the box don't autostart and that you run the defragmenting software on the drive to insure the best response time possible, also make sure the laptop is not set to go into hibernation or sleep mode.

 

That should do it - also if it helps, I started with single controller and 3,000 lights, if you want to see what some early displays can do, check out our site www.crazytechchristmas.com - the 2010 season was the first, and you can see what it looks like as I have grown it.

 

Good luck and welcome aboard the Crazy Christmas Train of Animated LIght Madness.

 

thanks crazy tech, very helpful. I have a background in engineering and thus have alot of IT buddies so I will have them helping me as well and will certainly let them know what has worked for you. 

The videos of your first year show are really helpful. I, of course, have such high expectations but know that I need to keep it realistic the first year. Anybody care to share their first year stories? What should I expect (I already anticipate long hours of frustration)? I want as many people to enjoy my show as possible, but I am apprehensive to tell people in fear of it 1. being awful 2. not working correctly. I know i have plenty of time to work on everything but can't help thinking that. Should I just let word of mouth spread the word this year? If i get enough visitors I would love to have a charity donation of some kind the following year.

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sounds like your on the right track... create your yard design on paper.. then calculate your lights etc... and use this as TEASERS for ppl you know... start spreading the word just enough to get people interested.. but no details.. "Ya. I think we are going to Do LED Lights this year..." or "Last year we had about 1000 lights, we are going to do it about 6 times larger this year.. " or " I think our display is gonna be over 6000 lights this year... " " how much do you think my electric bill is going to raise having 10,000 lights for next christmas show..." etc. think you get the idea.. 

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In addition to what sidetrack73 said, you can use google sketch up program for planing it out. Take measurements of your yard and make a rectangle or what ever shape your yard is in the program to scale, then as long as the scale of all other items are correct you can plan out perfectly. I even made a model of the house, and made everything like my mega tree's 3D. It's a free program. You ca even figure out how muh cord you will need if you are doing animated display. PM me if you want some more info on the program or how to use it. It really helps you visualize the final result.

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In addition to what sidetrack73 said, you can use google sketch up program for planing it out. Take measurements of your yard and make a rectangle or what ever shape your yard is in the program to scale, then as long as the scale of all other items are correct you can plan out perfectly. I even made a model of the house, and made everything like my mega tree's 3D. It's a free program. You ca even figure out how muh cord you will need if you are doing animated display. PM me if you want some more info on the program or how to use it. It really helps you visualize the final result.

Why exactly is it I did not know this program existed??? I am a google beta tester... lol.. 

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Welcome to the year long hobby and to PC. I just started to use LOR 2 years ago and its very user friendly. I had Animated Lighting for 5 years but sold it so I could fine tune my sequences. If you need any sequences once you get your software PM me. If you can attend the Expo in July in Biloxi, Mississippi or the Academy in Conroe(Houston), Texas you can get a lot of info to help you out. If you cant find something in the forums just ask. Again, welcome from Sunny Tampa Florida

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One more thing. Extension cords. The first year I bought 86 each 40' cords on sale at Menard's and paid about $1,032.00. Last year I expanded my display, but bought a roll 500 ft. of sp1 wire and 40 or so vampire plugs. I think I spent about $102.00 for that. Making your own extension cords are the only way to go. IMO.

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One more thing. Extension cords. The first year I bought 86 each 40' cords on sale at Menard's and paid about $1,032.00. Last year I expanded my display, but bought a roll 500 ft. of sp1 wire and 40 or so vampire plugs. I think I spent about $102.00 for that. Making your own extension cords are the only way to go. IMO.

extension cords.....I have barely even begun to think about this! I will have to look into making my own ( I am sure I can find it on here). I am planning to start small so it may not be much a of a problem this year, but I can see it escalating quickly. I am going to continue working on cleaning out the old laptop and then getting the software/controller (once the laptop is ready i will download the demo). I will also get an official count of my lights, keep everyone updated!

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Making your own extension cords is the ONLY way to go.  You can soooo specialize each piece.  Really handy.  Vampire plugs are quite easy to use and work really well.  My opinion is that LOR is a good way to get started but my opinion also is that LOR is currently quite behind the curve with respect to RGB lighting.  Not throwing LOR under the bus, but....   I used their hardware & software last year and it worked really well; no problems with anything.  But...  when you get into RGB lighting your channel count will increase very rapidly.  You can look here and go to auschristmaslighting website and find numerous posts that document LOR slowing down really badly at high channel counts.  so I am moving away from LOR this year.  I am trying HLS (hinkle's lighting sequencer) this year because it reportedly does really well with high channel counts.  I have already found its learning curve a bit tough, but that is part of this game.  Except for xlights which is really super easy to use, I have read that most of the major software packages will have some pretty decent learning curve associated with them.   One more LOR negative (my opinion one more time)--I believe LOR is GREAT if you plan to use ALL LOR stuff (CCRs, etc) but is NOT great if you plan to use "other" hardware (e.g., RGBs from Ray Wu or DIYLEDEXPRESS, etc etc).  I hope this helps you!!  This is a really great hobby.

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Making your own extension cords is the ONLY way to go.  You can soooo specialize each piece.  Really handy.  Vampire plugs are quite easy to use and work really well.  My opinion is that LOR is a good way to get started but my opinion also is that LOR is currently quite behind the curve with respect to RGB lighting.  Not throwing LOR under the bus, but....   I used their hardware & software last year and it worked really well; no problems with anything.  But...  when you get into RGB lighting your channel count will increase very rapidly.  You can look here and go to auschristmaslighting website and find numerous posts that document LOR slowing down really badly at high channel counts.  so I am moving away from LOR this year.  I am trying HLS (hinkle's lighting sequencer) this year because it reportedly does really well with high channel counts.  I have already found its learning curve a bit tough, but that is part of this game.  Except for xlights which is really super easy to use, I have read that most of the major software packages will have some pretty decent learning curve associated with them.   One more LOR negative (my opinion one more time)--I believe LOR is GREAT if you plan to use ALL LOR stuff (CCRs, etc) but is NOT great if you plan to use "other" hardware (e.g., RGBs from Ray Wu or DIYLEDEXPRESS, etc etc).  I hope this helps you!!  This is a really great hobby.

May be you should have read Dans post on the LOR forums Today..........Also I don't know where you got the idea that LOR doesn't support other hard ware, It supports E 1.31, DMX ..Since LOR is the leader almost all mfg's say there product can be controlled with LOR

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That's not true about using hardware and lights from other vendors with lor if you use E1-31 or DMX dongle they work just fine

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Granted I am 100% new to the topic but I have been researching and looking to get started for years. From what I have seen LOR is most common and works with almost everything. I have played with the demo software and it seems to be pretty user friendly (at least the simple stuff). Right now I do not have plans to go RGB so super high channel counts aren't a concern yet. 

I did a count of what we purchased at the end of last year. Keep in mind I am starting small

14ft of C7 blue LEDs X 3 (each at 25 bulbs)

14ft of C7 multi LEDs X 4 (25bulbs each)

32.6ft of C9 multi LEDs X 4 (50bulbs each)

16.3ft of C5 multi LEDs X 2 (50 bulbs each)

Mr. Christmas, mini light santa face

475 light total + the santa face

 

I plan to run the C9s on the gutters (2 story home) and down the front pole, the C7s in various bushes out front, the C5 on two smaller bushes on the near side of the house, the C7 blue as an outline of the garage doors (2 car) and put the santa face in-between the garage doors. 

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Looks like 1 or 2 LOR controllers probably.. If you have questions feel free to ask.. If you need sequences to play around with many will help you.. let me know if needed and I can see what I have.. right now I am attempting to get my blasted timing down for Pentatonix Carol of the Bells.. It changes time like 15 times in the song.. really making it hard for me to get the beats, voices etc down.. I will worry about sequencing the lights once I get the tracks separated. Its how I do it anyway. This way I can reshape my sequences if I don't like the way I did it last year.. I have the initial separations.. makes it easier or at least I think so..  Not sure why I keep picking the HARDEST songs to sequence... am also working on doing Wish Lizt by TSO... also a nightmare

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Speaking of sequences....I am starting to play around on the demo software, I seem to be getting the hang of it but does everyone do it their own war or is there a generally accepted method? I have been watching listentoourlights tutorials on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mf9O-KiysA0&list=PL94FBx_kCT8wSt0osEZH6PkESKghHJ2XS&index=2). He breaks the song down into beats and then separates by instruments, vocals etc....seems like a good method. I have been doing something similar but with slight tweaks to make it easier for me. I am hoping to try some TSO songs once I get the hang of this, I have seen them live a few times.....talk about a light show lol. 

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