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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.

NarJar

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About NarJar

  • Rank
    New Member

Profile Information

  • Location
    Missouri
  • Biography
    I love Christmas lights! I think they're one of the best parts of any holiday possible.
  • Interests
    Motorcycles (street cruiser and dirtbike).
  • Occupation
    Programmer/Analyst
  • About my display
    I love Christmas lights. I just bought a house last summer and it was the first winter I got to decorate. I bought lights, and continued to add new lights well through December almost every week or every other week. This year I wanted to animate a Santa on my roof to make him wave which led me to controllers. After watching many videos and carefully thinking it out, I just ordered my first controller, and am planning to animate my mega-tree in my front yard and my Santa on my roof.

    I am using this as an opportunity to get my feet wet and play with animation. If I enjoy it, I anticipate using more controllers next year and purchasing an FM transmitter.
  1. It can easily be run on the same show. Create a separate track, and you can animate them however you want (probably on the entire sequence). This is what I do for my flood lights which illuminate my "Tune To" sign. These lights stay on for the entirety of each sequence.
  2. I have to agree, I absolutely LOVE this! Never seen anything like it or even thought about anything like it. Awesome!!
  3. I know it's been a while since anyone has said anything, and most will probably frown upon my response and my tactics, but here is the information about my tree. My tree is approximately 25' tall. It consists of approximately 21' of conduit (2" diameter I believe) with a star on top that is approximately 4'-5' from point to point. The 21' tree is made of 2 pieces of conduit welded together. The star is made of rebar and is the heaviest part of the tree. It is welded on a piece of muffler connector which slides on top of the long piece of conduit. My father and I have been modifying our procedure for how to secure the tree in the ground, and it has more or less changed every year, but basically it consists of approximately 1' (12") of pipe driven into the ground, and then approximately 1' (12") - 1.5' (18") of pipe above the ground that the conduit slides over top of. This secures the base of the pipe. Then, I have 4 guide wires tied to some rebar mounts welded to the very top of the conduit just below the star. My guide wires are just simple rope I bought from wally world (clothesline to be exact). I am still using the same rope after 3 years. We had high gusts of wind last year on several days (above 70 mph), and I had absolutely no issues. For the lights, I have a 3' long piece of plastic PVC with a coupler at the top side (looks like a funnel) which is on the outside of the conduit. Then there are ropes tied to the PVC and draped over top of the star. I attach the lights to the top of the PVC while at the bottom of the tree and use the ropes to pull it to the top. Once at the top, I tie the ropes off so the lights stay at the top. For the base, I bought four 10' sections of thin PVC pipe, put them all together (40') and connect all of them into a circle pattern. I have 4 stakes underneath this circle every 90 degrees. The PVC circle allows me to quickly and easily zip-tie each light strand exactly where I want it and also allows me to keep my lights off the ground an inch or two. In the 3 years I have had my tree, I have had between 48-56 strands of lights connected. I know I was rambling and it was probably hard to follow, so I've made a quick image in Paint. The following are the items I mentioned above: - red section is where the 2 pieces of 10' conduit are welded together - yellow star is the rebar star (it is actually just the frame, it isn't filled in), it is approximately 4' - 5' from point to point - gray section directly below yellow star is the muffler connector that my star is welded to. This slips onto my conduit - green lines below the star and gray section are the pieces of rebar welded on that I tie my guide wires to (clothesline from wally world) - blue section at bottom is the PVC pipe with funnel piece at top. I connect the lights at the top of the funnel. - orange lines are the ropes connected to the blue PVC pipe. Then, it threads through the star and allows me to pull it up once all the lights are attached since I don't have a ladder tall enough.
  4. I'll be honest, I'm EXTREMELY jealous! I have been contemplating adding an animation laser to my show for at least a year or more. It would just be so cool to have Santa fly across my house or something animated happening along with all the lights dancing to music. However, I live in the midwest where weather is unpredictable. I don't know that much about lasers, but in the research I have done, I do not have enough cash for the quality I would like which doesn't bother me too much, even a cheaper model would still be extremely cool! Second, I haven't found a weatherproof laser yet, so I would have to build an enclosure (as I'm too lazy and never home in time to set the laser out in the yard each night). Finally, most I have come across have a minimum operating temperature above freezing (which most of the time it's below here), and I have seen a few which go into the 20s and possibly teens, but it can still easily get below that here. Anyways, enough of my woes! Very cool! Thanks for sharing the video! I'm assuming the animated laser with Pangolin was the one up in the tree? Did you make any of the animations yourself, or did you use preloaded sequences/animations?
  5. John: I have always enjoyed your displays. I have always thought that you do a great job. As someone else mentioned, I saw this video featured on a St. Louis news station's website. I watched the video and read the article and knew who you were (because of this site). I have to say, even with your move and all the additional work and stress, I think you really stepped it up a notch (or maybe a couple notches!) this year compared to previous years. You did a phenomenal job, keep it up! And after your last comment, I can't wait to see next year's display!
  6. Well, I wanted to go ahead and post since I appear to be quite out of the norm. I have been computerized for 2 years now. My first year was 1 controller, last year was 5 controllers. Both years, the controllers have been inside the entire time (both Christmas and Halloween).
  7. I would be very interested in seeing a picture if you have any? I'm picturing 33 ft long and 22 foot wide, and in my mind, I picture it barely clearing the cars, and it only being tall enough to walk under at the very center point. Very interested (as my driveway is 2 cars wide as well)...
  8. I've haven't got around to adding strobes to my display yet, but have done a little research, and I've never heard this "preheating" that you speak of. Also, if I understand the method correctly, it would seem to contradict what people have told me that you should ALWAYS have strobes on at 100%. Am I missing something?
  9. Could you post a link? I have been following this thread hoping someone would post a link to see it (I haven't seen this display before). I just happened to refresh the window tonight and see your response.
  10. I'm glad to hear it has worked for you! I just bought one this year (sometime in October I believe), and I tried using it a handful of times, both the trigger, and the tracer. My success rate was 0%. I may not have given it enough time or attention, and will need to try again after I take down the display. However, I am glad to hear that it does work for some people (I was kind of curious after my experience).
  11. If you hover over the "Goodies" tab, it should give you a drop-down, and one of the options is "Forum Sig Generator".
  12. I would recommend checking the following items: 1. Make sure your items are plugged into the correct channel. 2. Check your channel assignments. You may have 2 outside items set to the same channel on accident (i.e. your doorway and the bushes are both set as Controller 1, Channel 11. However, the doorway should be Controller 1, Channel 11, and the bushes should be Controller 1, Channel 12). 3. Depending on which software you are running, it is possible to have multiple "tracks". If you are using multiple tracks, you can typically only see 1 track at a time. So, you may have a second track with those items added there and turning on from the second track. My suspicions would be drawn to either item 1 or item 2. You didn't mention what type of hardware and software you are using. I personally use LOR, and if you do too, you could use the following steps to try and troubleshoot items 1 and 2 above. To troubleshoot item 1, I would suggest what you already mentioned, the Hardware Utility. Using the hardware utility, you can choose which controller you want to test, and then turn 1 channel on at a time to see exactly what you have plugged into that channel. I would suggest keeping track of which item is plugged into which controller and which channel (I used a spreadsheet for this). Then, if you are using LOR, an easy way to troubleshoot item 2 is to open the sequence which you are having troubles with, and you can click the "Tools" menu, and then choose "Channel Property Grid" from the drop-down. The pop-up will list every line item from your sequence, it will show the color you have selected for that channel, and it will also tell you which controller and channel you have assigned as the item. Then, you can match up the items with your spreadsheet and make sure you don't have 2 items assigned to the same controller and channel. Good luck! Edit: What's wrong with rouge lights? I really like the color red, especially for Christmas displays and lights! Or did you mean rogue lights? Sorry, I couldn't help myself! Again, sorry for the trouble, and good luck! Let me know if the above doesn't work for you. My issues have always been one of those 3.
  13. I would definitely say you have a claim for home owner's insurance. First, the laptop was in the house. I would go for the controller also as you said this was your first year, so it was practically brand new, and they still bring premium prices if you were to sell it on E-Bay. New lights can be bought and hung, and new controllers can be bought/assembled/connected. I would say the biggest devastation is missing the remaining nights of the season and lighting up as well as the lost time put into the sequences which were on your laptop's hard drive. Hopefully, you have backed up your sequences to an external device, or another computer. If not, there is always a possibility that maybe the lightning did NOT destroy the hard drive, and you could recover your data from it. In the future, I would recommend backing up your sequences. I currently have all sequences backed up to multiple hard drives and multiple computers. A flash drive would be very smart as the sequences aren't too large unless you have a HUGE number of channels, and you can get them for cheap. I'm sorry for your loss, but as with anything in life: you live, you learn! I'm glad people got to see your display and during the time it was up and running, you got to bring cheer to people in your community! Again, I'm sorry for your loss, and I hope to hear of your plans to go bigger and better next year! Good luck! Edit: I'm not sure how badly the controller was hurt, but you may want to try and troubleshoot the controller and try contacting LOR. I'm not saying they can or will help, but I have heard of some people who have actually broken pieces or ruined their controller with soldering, and LOR was still willing to work with them and replace the ruined component. So, it wouldn't hurt to give them a call and see if they can do anything, or if they would be willing to do anything. They're great people and have amazing customer support (I can't speak from experience, but I have never heard a negative word and have heard plenty of positive)!
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