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    Colorado Springs CO
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  • About my display
    just starting
  1. I thought I'd give a report on my LED Nativity Lightshow for 2012. Thanks for all the help here on the forum to get me going as this was my first year. I went with the Nativity Set from Christmas Done Bright and was very happy with it. I did have to use some 4' rebar to help keep the wireframe figures upright (especially with the deer that wandered thru!). I also used some blue rope light for a lightning bolt effect. I started with the Gemmy Lightshow controller but after a week I decided it was too random flashy and not enough sync'd. So I ordered a 16 channel LOR controller and three pre-sequenced songs from LOR (Go Tell It on the Mountain, Joy To the World, and Silent Night) which all fit well with the Nativity Scene. I got it up and running in a day. I also had some red/green star burst lasers which added a nice background although they quit working below 40 deg F which was most of December here in Colorado (I put them in a rubber maid tub with a hole cut in the lid and thermostat controlled heater pad and that solved the problem). Here is a look at Joy To the World I was happy with the final product and I had one neighbor tell me every time they came home his two young boys made him park in front of my house for a show!
  2. My Star Laser Projector arrived today and I gave it a quick outdoor test at 6pm and 35 deg F. The live view is much brighter than the video. You can see hundreds of green stars. Only the brightest show on the video. The Blue Cloud moves around like smoke and the the stars move slowly in semi-random patterns (some stars moving in one direction and other stars moving in other directions.). I sent the manufacturer an email asking about the official operating temps, but it seemed to work fine at 35 deg F. for one hour. The Blue Cloud can be turned on or off and dimmed. As a backdrop for my wireframe LED nativity scene I think it will work great providing a night sky effect.
  3. I discovered there are some industrial strength versions of the Star Laser Projector called the Bliss 15 ($399) and the Bliss 50 ($1,300) with more powerful laser beams and the BlissLight LS20G ($550) that uses the same green laser optics as the Bliss 15 (no blue cloud) but is rated to work down to -15 deg F. The specs look great but a little pricey for my budget. I'm going to try my luck with the Star Laser Projector in a temp. controlled enclosure. (The link provides a brief comparison of the various Bliss projectors with the Star Laser).
  4. I just found the Reke-07 Blue laser at YourLaser that Forte uses above for $85 plus 10% off with coupon code "yourlaser2012" and free shipping. So I had to add it to my collection. They carry a lot of Reke lasers at good prices. They also accept PayPal which I prefer for international orders. I'm closing in on you Forte with 5 lasers now. I also heard from my contact in the City that outdoor use of lasers on private property for a Christmas display is not prohibited in Colorado Springs (assuming you follow FAA and FDA guidance and don't shine in the air or scan neighbors or onlookers).
  5. I just ordered the Star Laser Projector at Spencer's ($129 + 4.99 shipping). There are a few cheaper offerings at Amazon but with $25 shipping about the same price. Some reviewers talk about early failure of the green laser, so I wanted to buy from a brick and mortar vendor I could take it back to if I have problems. (I ordered it online, but we have a local store in the mall--they did not stock it at the local store). The reviews all rave about it, some talk about using it outdoors (but no temp specs). I think its really the effect I'm looking for behind my wireframe LED nativity scene. Kinda of a deep space night sky. Check out this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io3S7Vs8wMs. I'll use my ADJ lasers on the bushes and trees and other areas of the house. I'll post some outdoor tests videos and do some temperature tests when it arrives. Forte has set the bar with 7 lasers. I'm up to 4 now
  6. I actually video'd mine with an iPhone4, so no high end camera here. I'll run my next test on my garage door which is dark green so the laser should show nice there. How far away from your house were your lasers set? How far off the ground? I know it depends on the projection angle and how big of an area you are trying to cover. (I had the star at 6' and the hypnotic at 8'). BTW there is a speed control on both. I had the hypnotic set pretty slow as I thought it was more interesting that way.
  7. I ran my first cold test on the ADJ lasers last night. Here is Test 1 with the Micro Galaxian and Micro Hypnotic running at 6:30pm, 39 deg F on the back of my house (window with blinds in the middle). If you watch carefully you can catch a glimse of Mitt giving his victory speech in Florida on the right side of the screen near the end! Here is Test 2 taken 2.5 hours later at 9pm, 35 deg F. There does not appear to be any fading or degrading in performance. I will have to do another test when it gets below 20 deg F. To protect my lasers from the moisture and temperature I'm planning to put them in a Rubbermaid Roughneck container on its side projecting the image out the open top and I will use some sort of heating pad. I'm thinking at this point since the ADJ projectors seems to run fine at 35 deg F, that wrapping the projector in a $20 17 watt root heating pad may do the trick even down to 10-20 deg F. If not, there are digital controlled thermostats and engine heating pads from 100 to 500 watts that should be able to keep the box at 68 deg F. The ADJ lasers seem bright enough for my needs, but I will not have any other lights on the house (except an angel and Bethlehem star from the nativity scene on the fascia) and I live on a dark street with no street lights. However, I will have my LED nativity scene synced to music on the lawn about 10-15' in front of the house (including five 10' vertical shafts of LED flex neon blue rope light), so I will have to wait and see if that impacts the visibility of the lasers. One thing that I did notice in my test was that projecting the Galaxian star burst on a bare stick bush gave it a 3D effect as the lights appeared to twinkle on every branch, so I might trying bringing some of my shrubs and trees into the act. I've sent an email to a friend in city planning to see if there are any restrictions on using lasers out doors on private property since I have read that some cities prohibit it. He didn't think it would be a problem, but he is going to research it some more. I pointed him to Forte's video above to give him an example of what I have in mind.
  8. Greg, The sound sensor on my ADJ Micro Galaxian does not work very well (confirmed by reviews I've read) and most of us are doing FM transmitters and don't want external music anyway to sync the lasers to music. I read on one forum that someone broke open their laser and and replace the sound sensor with a mini audio jack to connect the music directly like you do to a FM transmitter. That might be one solution. You can find low end lasers with DMX interface, so that may be the way to go if you already have an LOR system. Animation lasers have an ILDA interface which I believe you can sync to music. By the way Greg, your display this year is what motivated me to do a lightshow for 2012. I live in Colorado Springs but my son lives a block or two from you on Woodrose Ln. However at 58, with a bad hip and with no sons still living at home I did not want to spend a lot of time on ladders hanging lights. So I'm doing a wireframe nativity scene on the lawn synced to music with a Gemmy Controller and using 3 lasers to provide some additional WOW on the side of the house. In addition to my ADJ mini Galaxian and ADJ mini Hypnotic I just ordered a 7 color mini anime laser ($147) and am excited about the possibility of customizing my show a little more with scrolling text or animation. Check out this video of the animation laser by Rodman1369 at the LOR forum showing some of the canned animations that come with the laser on the back of his house. So thanks for the great work and inspiration in Highlands Ranch CO! I may graduate to an LOR system some day, but I think I have enough on my plate for 2012 to keep me busy. One challenge with using lasers in Colorado is that most are built for indoor use and start fading below 40 deg F. I will do some outdoor testing soon with my three lasers and post my finding here. I am also working on a little temperature controlled environment to house my lasers, just in case.
  9. Chauvet also makes a Hurricane 1300 ($150) and 1800 ($310) if you are willing to spend a little more money for more fog. But I think the 1100 will do the job from the reviews I read. Everyone says to get the timer remote so you aren't babysitting it all night. I also just ordered an American DJ Micro Hypnotic laser for $119. Check out this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6d_7pXF0CA. I'm also looking at this Mini Animation laser for $147. It comes with software for creating your own animations. I talked to one guy over at the LOR forum who loves it. He says there are thousands of free images on the internet that you can load on the SD card. If you really get into animation lasers then you must get the amazing ($595) and an ILDA-compatible laser, but now you are getting into big bucks. $147 sound like a good starting point to me for laser animation.
  10. I am headed in the same direction for 2012. I just purchased an American DJ mini Galaxian Red/Green star laser for $99 on Amazon (received in two days with Amazon Prime) and a Chauvet Hurricane 1100 Fog machine which has great reviews ($77 CarAudioCloseout) with Timer Remote ($25 Amazon). I wanted these to compliment my main display which is a wire frame LED nativity scene synced to a Gemmy 6/12 channel Light Controller. But I really like the "lightning bolt" effect of the blue laser (Reke-07). Is that its default pattern did or did you manually select that pattern? Dennis
  11. After testing my FM Whole House Transmitter and reading some more about transmitters in the forums, I ordered a an EDM-LCD-RDS-EP transmitter. I liked all the cables that came with the WHT (probably cost me $50 if tried to buy them at Radio Shack). So I'll probably reuse the cables with the EDM transmitter and use the WHT in my 2006 car that does not have an ipod jack. I wish they would add links to the PC link page for the EDM and Ramsey transmitters which many folks here prefer to use. Since WHT was the only link under FM transmitters I just assumed it was the one to get. Dennis
  12. I'm working on my first display for 2012. Got inspired by a show I saw near my son's house in Denver. I've learned a lot from hanging around PC the past couple of weeks. Thanks for all your great ideas and inspiration. I'm starting off slow with a synchronized wireframe nativity scene using a Gemmy Holiday Lightshow controller I purchased on ebay and a FM Whole House Transmitter. I also purchased some 16' LED lightstrips (single color and RGB) from China on ebay for $10-$25 to spice up my show. I don't understand how those guys can offer free shipping! I bought several different variations to just play with and learn. Obviously I can't program the RGBs with the Gemmy, but they come with little remote controls for programming, so I can play with that, even during the show providing a little human-in-the-loop action:-). My background is software engineering, so I'm sure it won't be long before I'm into an LOR system, but don't have the time right now to jump into that. I ordered a radio station sign from HolidayCoro but was also looking for a way to display other information such as "please dim your lights", playlist, Christmas greetings from our family, etc. I decided to try a florescent LED writing board. I picked up a 24"x32" lightweight one (11 lbs) on ebay for around $100 that I plan to hang from our scrub oak tree near the street. For an example see: http://www.flashingledboard.com/ The one I bought is rated for -10 deg, so it should work outside even in Colorado, but the vendor said it is not rated to work in moisture, so I'll have to figure out a clear plastic covering or take it down during snow storms. Has any one used one of these with their show? Dennis
  13. I'm thinking of using a 32"x24" LED writable sign for Tune To and Playlist info. Has any one tried this? The temperature specs on this one is certainly suitable for outdoors, but I don't know how they hold up to moisture (dew, rain, snow). I guess I could away put a clear plastic covering over it. Dennis
  14. I actually like that idea. It seems like an efficient way to get multicolor on a single frame without having to cut and splice or stock a bunch of different colored bulbs.
  15. Bill, What lights do you use to clip to your wireframes? I'm new to this and a little confused by all the options: E5, C7, C9, full-wave, half-wave, commercial grade, sealed, replaceable, etc, etc. For those folks who buy frames I'd like to hear what lights you use and why (and where you buy them if you have a good source). Your example got me thinking about multi-channel options on a single frame when you wire it yourself, although I don't think I'm going to get that elaborate the first year. Dennis
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