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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.


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About radioguy1007

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 06/25/1954

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  • My favorite Christmas story
    Not blank
  • Location
    Caledonia, Wisconsin, USA
  • Biography
    Been a fan of blinky lights for as long as I can remember.
  • Interests
    Music and electronics
  • Occupation
    Electronic Engineer
  • About my display
    My display has been computer controlled now for over 25 years. It was not until LOR came into my life for the music synchronization. I now have over 380 channels of LOR and 38,000 lights. When my wife and I were looking for a new house, I was looking for a stage area for the show. She was looking for a nice house. The favorite of the show is "Douglas Fir", a 10 foot tall talking tree. Neighbors have recently been joining the show. It is now a 5 home display, all facing water which provides a mirror image of the lights.

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  1. The appliance modules have a small RC snubber network across the contacts, which is a good design practice for inductive loads. They are big enough (and LED's need so little current) that in OFF they will do exactly what you are seeing. See a typical schematic here: idobartana.com/hakb/index.htm (you will have to put the http in front....) This site has all kinds of X10 schematics.
  2. I would not be expecting one this year. They shut down all the sites here in Wisconsin a couple months back as they were not making any money. Now the links give your a "Patch" page, but it is all generic national stuff and nothing local anymore. The local editors did a great job covering the local news in the community and they are missed.
  3. Hello fellow PC members: I am asking for your help in voting for my display in the Patch "Deck the House" contest. I submitted a photo of my lightshow to my local Patch online newsletter and won the local competition with 17 whopping votes. It was then submitted to the national competion, with 860 entries. 24 finalists were to be chosen, and somehow I was one of them (my wife and I did not think we had a chance seeing the other winning entries). Now the best part - the winner of the national competition will get a donation of $100,000 for their local schools! For those of you that don't live in Wisconsin, we have a govenor that balanced the budget for this coming year. It meant drastic reductions to school system aid - so this would be a big help to my local community should I get the most votes. So please spread the word for me and vote for my display - you can do so once a day through January 8th. Remember - we all do it for the kids. And now this is another way we can do it for the kids. Thanks, Mike Pikula http://deckthehouse.patch.com/entry/226018
  4. Bill: Did you get "the letter"?
  5. I'm in the Caledonia area (Northern Racine county). There are a few of us in the area, so if you make your way east here is the page from the Racine Journal Times showing where we are: http://journaltimes.com/html_44a4ebac-03c1-11e0-aefb-001cc4c03286.html There is also another PC member in Kenosha just north of the Aurora hospital that has a good display. Mike P.S. Check the Wisconsin forum here - you'll find more of us in the area.
  6. Hi guys: I just happened to stumble across this thread and was glad to see my idea being implemented by someone else. David, thank you for giving credit to me for the original idea. I have to admit that the sign has worked out well for my display - it is near impossible to miss. I've seen so many signs that although they are very nice looking, unless you are right up upon them you can't read them. I needed something that would be visible from a block away! I saw another display that had the snap-n-glow panels spelling out his FM frequency, and that got me thinking. I had two messages I wanted to spell out, so I made a block diagram of each one on that square lined paper. Make two identical sized pages - and "color" the blocks on each page with its message. I used a red hiliter for the one message, and blue for the other. When you overlay them on a light table, the red "lights" are message one only positions, blue are message 2 only, and the darker mix blocks are common between both messages. So to turn on message one, I turn on the red and common channels, and for message 2, the blue and common channels. Yes, it takes 3 channels to show two messages, but the effect is very eye catching. You will need a supply of black out caps to hide bulbs as there is a lot of jumping around when placing the lights in the panels. Again, I am still around and if there are questions I will try and answer them. Mike
  7. I've been waiting for the snow to start to melt. It seemed like we were starting to get rid of the stuff then bam - another foot! Actually I've been upgrading all my controllers to the latest firmware and packing things up, but first testing lights and replacing any bad bulbs. It was around 10 degrees on the day I took stuff in, so it just got carefully shoved into totes to thaw out inside. Just been sorting through everything. I've also had to redo my "tune to" sign because the end of analog TV last year freed up the channel I was using (88.5) for a high power FM station to now occupy. I checked the FCC site and there are like 6 applicants for "flame thrower" stations on that frequency right now in the Milwaukee area. One of the applications is within a few miles of my home. I can't take a chance that one won't be on by next season. So I found a new frequency for next season (99.7) and then had to redo 10 panels of my sign to reflect the new home. Still planning on coming up on May 22nd. Hopefully the snow will be gone by then! Mike
  8. Yes, there is another one in Wisconsin. It is in Northern Racine county, just south of Milwaukee. It's a big area with a lot of rural farms but new subdivisions near Lake Michigan.
  9. I moved to a new house this year from Franklin. The display will actually be in my back yard, but the viewing is perfect for visitors. I am in the Jamestown subdivision in Caledonia. Just enter off of Highway 38 just east of the highway K on Taurus. When you go between the ponds I'm on the left.
  10. All of my Targets in my area are 75% today. Picked up 40 foot outdoor extensions for $2, 15 foot ones for $1.25. Got there a little too late for any good lights.
  11. Shawn: Those covers look nice, but I still think water will wick it's way in there. I've used the automotive silicone grease for electrical connectors (the kind that will not harden) on my exposed plugs and it really does help tremendously. Yes, it is a little messy at take down time, but because it repels water so good, it is worth it. My weather has probably been much like yours this season, rain, ice and near record snow. And no GFCI trip (yet). It's too late for this year (the connectors MUST be dry when you apply the silicone grease), but keep it as an option next year. Mike
  12. J.D. I do what Gary said - distribute them around the display. I do not have a problem with theft in the area, a concern I have heard of some members. Since I am in Wisconsin, we get all kinds of frozen stuff this time of year, and the shorter the cable runs the better. In the picture, you will see 3 controllers, all covered in plasic bags. The bags do 2 things - hide the controllers, and keep water out of all the plugs coming out of the bottom (they are inside the bags). It's worked very well for me, with 9 controllers around my yard. I also ran underground power to all the areas of my display so I do not have to run extensions out from the house. Mike
  13. I also had a half string of green DOOTB (dead out of the box). So far those out in the display have weathered an ice storm and 7 inches of snow last night. I was still disappointed with the green. No problems with reds or blues though. It was my first purchase this year from Paul. Mike
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