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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.

vkjohnson

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Everything posted by vkjohnson

  1. I have always used the animator with great success. I think the reason it doesn't look in time is because at low intensities, about 30% or less, it is hard to see color on the screen, especially against a brighter background if you used a picture of your house as a screen image. This is why I darkened my photo before uploading it so when I use the "simulate night time" option it makes it almost black. This makes it easier to see the low intensities on the screen. When you plug the actual lights in too, 10 or 20% intensity looks fairly bright up close, but from the street your really can barely tell they are on, so IMO it is still a good representation. Keep in mind if you are using LEDs, the dimming curves are different compared to incans.
  2. I use 32 strings on 8 total channels per color. This gives me 4 strings per channel, 2 on opposite sides so I have 180 degree control. 72 strands sounds like entirely too many IMO. I have 96 total over 3 colors and it ends up being a lot of weight.
  3. That would be a time saver, but if using incandescent lights the sun can really do some damage over prolonged time. Colored lenses on the bulbs can fade quite a bit. Red turns to pink and green to pastel green over a few years. Blue turns to clear almost immediately. The first lights I put up (and last to take down) are on the north side of the house, because those areas don't see any sunlight and will avoid the fading. This last year the weather prevented me from taking down megas until late February, so I lowered the strands and threw a tarp over them to keep the sun away.
  4. My first year was 192 channels, no joke. I could probably write a book about the challenges, but it can be done as long as you do a lot of planning. Go for as many channels as you think it will take to control your display. Once you understand sequencing there really isn't any difference in it. It just adds a bit more time and effort. IMO, 32 is probably easier to sequence then 16 anyway. It gives you more options to be creative. Even 48 wouldn't be all that bad if you thought you needed that many. Best of luck, and no matter how many you go with...start early, there is always some sort of speed bump.
  5. My most complimented songs tend to be faster, remixed Christmas songs and flashy non-Christmas songs. Most traditional songs tend to be slower paced which usually lends itself to lots of fading from one element to another. If you want the big flashes go for the faster stuff. My big hits have been He's a Pirate (theme song from Pirates of the Caribbean) and techno Amazing Grace by Yule, made famous by Richard Holdman. I like to watch and sequence both tempos of music, so I still try to mix them together.
  6. never built one myself, but I'd opt for the guy wires. You could probably get away with pretty thin ones though like nylon cable or something like that. Two on each side maybe? If you had multiple arches then you could tie them together and maybe avoid the guys, but idk for sure.
  7. Strobes staked in the ground across that big slope your house is on would look pretty neat. IMO, strobes are best spread throughout a display, rather than one small location, but given you are starting with 20 I'm not sure how that would work. I started just by putting them in my tree line, then expanded from there as I purchased more. I think 4 or 5 strobes would be plenty in a 10 foot mega. Use spt wire with snap on sockets to spread them out. The rest can go to your bushes, maybe the ground, or even that tree you have wrapped to the left. You'll get many opinions, but do what you think is best. You can always move them if you want to change it. I use 120 strobes at the end of video. (took a while to collect that many)
  8. Hey Terry, So I'm guessing this is the new "ICE" this year? Is it going to be similar with most of the learning happening on Saturday with the meet n' greet Friday. Just figuring out when I need that hotel room. Looking forward to it. Thanks so much! Victor
  9. I got one in a trade last year, but never got around to hooking it up this year. I too would like to hear experiences in using it. positives/negatives. I can see one problem being changing the show on the fly. When traffic would get really bad, I'd take a song or two out to keep the busy street down the road from getting blocked. Can't really do it with the Mini Director.
  10. I wonder if it has to do with the posts-per-day rate. I've only been on for 1 1/2 years and I'm already "distinguished"...whatever that means. lol
  11. It would be a huge voltage drop if you pushed that 22 gauge wire to it's max load throughout the entire length, but you are not. Only the first string actually has 1.75 amps running through it, and even then it's not maxed out the 22 gauge wire. The last string on the line, 700 ft from the plug only has .08 amps running through the wire. Using this handy little calcualtor, you see you only have 1.8 voltage drop. It really, isn't anything at all. Take the middle string...350 feet from the wire with .875 amps running through it. At that point the line has a 10 volt drop, which I imagine is your max on the line. Also take the 2nd string in the line...just under 1.75 amps, but only 33 feet to the plug...that one only has 1.8 voltage drop too. Someone needs to do a graph of this science! lol. I be it would make a really cool parabola. Someone who is really sciency may discount everything i just said in favor of some other "electron flow theory" that is way too intense for me, but I'm interested in learning. Bottom line.... I'd say your light tag has to be right or else it wouldn't have been printed.
  12. Great sequencing! That was a good song choice too. Is that just 16 or 32 channels? You sure did a great job using all to their full potential. Good luck next year! It only gets better. btw...what's the name/artist of the song you used?
  13. Ha, so basically it's Joe consumer's own fault for having to purchase junk LEDs in the first place. Darn you Joe! I was out clearance shopping last weekend and it almost seams to me the LED prices are higher than they were last year. LEDs the only thing left in most stores. Incans sold out way earlier. Maybe Joe has realized it's not worth the money too.
  14. Thanks for watching the video. I hope to do another video this year, to talk about some other ideas I added. The electric bill last year went up $250 with 85,000 lights. Year before I had 25,000 static lights and it was up almost $400! Animation definitely cut it down. I'm expecting around $300-$350 increase this year for 120,000. The price to convert my C9s alone to LED is over $3,000. Hence, I'm sticking with incans for a few more years at least.
  15. You could always go with individual pixel strings instead of encased pixel strips like CCRs. Pixel strings would give the look of individual points of light, rather than a continuous line of light. Too expensive for my blood. I'll stick with incans, although the thought of choosing any color you want is a fun idea.
  16. Great video. I wonder if instead of cutting the wire at the beginning of each series and taping it, you could just pull it out of the socket, then fill the socket with silicone to protect the connection of the other 2 wires inside. Sometimes if you pull the bulb out, then push up on the wire you can dislodge the little brass contact from the socket that way too. I love the idea of recycling strands, not sure I have enough patience for it though. lol
  17. Welcome from central Illinois! I wish we could've had some of your snow. lol. We missed out on both of those storms.
  18. vkjohnson

    C9 Retro Bulbs

    Marketing schemes. lol I think it's CDI with the "sun warm white" name. It's all the same look, but if you want to test against your other warm white LEDs, you might ask Paul for a sample bulb if you are buying retro fits. Magic in the Sky group buy did offer what they called "Hill Country White" which was a warm white with more of a yellow-gold tint to simulate candlelight.
  19. White wire is awesome for anything that's already white. White trim around the windows, white gutters and facia, or use on the ground if you are guaranteed snow. I also have some wire trees that work well with white wire because the light reflects against the white and makes them look even brighter with colors. I would not use it on anything that's green or to wrap bushes, trees, or things like that. Arches would work, but if you lit something else up around them, they might show up pretty easy, even if not lit. Whether you use it or not...you have a rare commodity. Good for you!
  20. vkjohnson

    Led Keeper?

    My local Menards store has LED keepers half off right now with over a dozen in stock. It's a steal if there's a store near you with some in stock. They also had many Light Keeeper Pros for incan lights half off.
  21. depends on the wire gauge used. It should be listed on the insulation jacket in very fine print. 7-8 amps for 18 gauge, and about 10 amps for 16 gauge. Most 16-3 cords with grounding plugs can handle up to 13 amps because of the thicker insulation. Don't forget that long runs of any cord will also result in more resistance and voltage drop, lowering the number amps it can carry safely. I have some 100 ft runs of 18 gauge that I keep under 6 amps.
  22. too bad my Lowes sold out of lights before Dec.15th
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