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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.

Mikeymatic

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Mikeymatic last won the day on January 10

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About Mikeymatic

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    Distinguished Member

Profile Information

  • My favorite Christmas story
    The reason for the season: The Birth of Christ.
  • Location
    Happy Valley-Goose Bay Labrador Newfoundland Canada
  • Biography
    Fascinated by both Christmas lights and electricity as a kid. Worked as a transmitter tech for Canadian Broadcasting Corp, A network services tech for Newfoundland Telephone, A terminals electrician for Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and an electrical instructor for College of the North Atlantic. Now retired but still plays with electricity!
  • Interests
    Electronics and Electricity, Fabrication and Welding, Antique Automobiles
  • Occupation
    Retired Industrial Electrician / Technician
  • About my display
    176 channels of LOR controlling approximately 14,000 lights. Everything built from scratch including Megatree, 30' Arch, Minitrees, Candle Rack, Animated Guitar Player and Drummers, Strobe lights, Wireframes, and many Illuminated Plywood Cutouts. Ramsay FM transmitter at 104.5

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  1. Eureka! I just remembered... https://www.actionlighting.com/c9-replacement-christmas-socket-pack-100pc-bag-100slac9skt/ Hope this helps!
  2. There used to be a "vendors list" here before planet Christmas was "renovated", I can't seem to find it anymore. I used it quite often and I remember one or two vendors that sold replacement c-9 sockets in both green and white. You will probably need the ones for the heavier SPT2 wire if the wire on the decoration is about the same physical size as household extension cord wire. Some new sockets and super bright retrofit C9 bulbs are probably the easiest way to go so you don't have to spend a lot of time tearing apart your decorations which look in nice condition.
  3. I've had time markers do strange things while I was programming an LOR sequence. The cause was that I was using a mp3 file with a variable bit rate (VBR) format. Lightorama does not get along with VBR mp3 files and recommends using 128Kbps constant bit rate (CBR) mp3 format files, although I have had no problem with a few 160 and 192 kbps CBR mp3 music files. If you indeed have a VBR mp3 file you can use a program like Audacity with the LAME plug-in to convert the file into a constant bit rate (CBR) 128kbps or larger file that should work fine with LOR. Hope this helps
  4. Now that's a neat idea, you might not even have to crack the case open if you could just drill a strategically placed hole or two and inject or pour in some sort of liquid silicone or epoxy potting compound in that would fill up the plastic box and set up and create a waterproof "brick".
  5. Ted is right... "One of the most important aspects of network cable is whether it is solid core or stranded core." The Belden 7923A that I am using is indeed solid conductor. It was the best stuff that I could find at the time and I haven't had any problems with it so far. I am always super careful not to put any sharp bends or kinks in it, just like I treat coax cable as I know what it does to bandwidth and VSWR (in coax). That being said, Belden does manufacture a stranded conductor version 7924A data tuff 5e. which should be better for portable use. FYI the installation temperature of both these cables is -25c to +75c and the operating temp range is -40c to +75c. (-40 degrees Fahrenheit to +167 degrees Fahrenheit) It does occasionally get almost this cold up here in the north where I live, and yes, we too have those squeaky squirrel wascal rodents that love to destroy stuff.
  6. There are actually two different types of GFCI's. A class "A" trips at 5mA and comes in circuit breaker, receptacle, or cord end type. A class "B" trips at 20mA and usually only comes in circuit breaker type. A Class "B" GFCI with a 20 milliamp trip level is to be used only for protection of underwater swimming pool lighting fixtures installed before adoption of the 1965 National Electrical Code (NEC). The circuit breakers you are using should have a label identifying if they are of the class "A" or class "B" type . Here is a link to a very interesting and informative electrical trade magazine article that explains GFCI's. It is well worth the read and also explains why ice machines and refrigerators often trip class "A" gfci's. It also includes a bunch of suggestions to mitigate false tripping of outdoor circuits. https://www.ecmweb.com/content/think-gfci
  7. Not all Cat5 is created equal, here is what I use for my outdoor display in a harsh northern environment. The whole key to this is "outdoor" and "sunlight resistant" which means that the cable jacket contains UV light inhibitors that prevent it from decomposing and getting crispy. Also this cable has a tougher jacket that performs much better in the cold. BTW It's the same thing for zip ties, the white nylon ones crumble after years in direct sunlight while the black UV resistant ones don't. Here's some of what's printed on the cable: 7923A Belden VERIFIED (UL) CAT5e 4PR24 E-108998-M CMR-CMX OUTDOOR OR C(UL) CMG---ISO/IEC 11801 CAT5e--P-07-KA060003---300V PATENTED OIL/SUN RES FT4 IEEE
  8. In a normal Windows installation the LOR sequence editor normally uses the directory C:/program files/light-o-rama/sequences to store your existing sequences. Using windows explorer you can go to this directory and either delete the unwanted sequences (warning they are gone forever when you empty your trash!!!) or make a new subdirectory called old sequences and move them there out of the way. The sequence files have .las or.lms file extensions and the sequence backup files (ones that you have worked on which show up under recent sequences) use .lms.bak file extensions.
  9. When I figured out my megatree I used the pythagorean theorem which is: Where a would equal the height of the tree b would equal half the diameter of the trees base and c would be the length of your light string (23 feet) By lowering the height the base diameter would become larger and by increasing the height the base diameter would become smaller. I then used the "golden ratio" to determine a nice height versus base diameter for the tree. using the golden ratio your height would be 1.618 times the base diameter. You can find detailed information on wikipedia... Hope this helps.
  10. I have never worked as a marine electrician but i do have a copy of one of the US Navy training manuals. I have attached an excerpt from Electrician's Mate NAVEDTRA 14344 which may help answer Shawn's question. LEAKAGE CURRENTS The ungrounded electrical distribution system used aboard ship differs from the grounded system used in shore installations. Never touch one conductor of the ungrounded shipboard system, because each conductor and the electrical equipment connected to it have an effective capacitance to ground. If you touch the conductor, you will be the electrical current path between the conductor and the ship’s hull. The higher the capacitance, the greater the current flow will be for your fixed body resistance. This situation occurs when one conductor of the ungrounded system is touched while your body is in contact with the ship’s hull or other metal enclosures. If your hands are wet or sweaty, your body resistance is low. When your body resistance is low, the inherent capacitance is enough to cause a FATAL electrical current to pass through your body.
  11. Is that like the ones like you find on old computer monitor cords, the ferrite "tube" lump in the cord that is covered with heatshrink or molded plastic?
  12. -long runs of wire or the buildup effect of many multiple runs that acts as a capacitor leaking current to ground, especially if the wire is wrapped around grounded conductive metal. Quote: but with the GFCIs a lot of small leaks add up to trip em too. If you split the leakage across several separate GFCI receptacle circuits you may be able to eliminate the nuisance trips... It would be really neat if some smart electronics engineer could design a plug in meter something like those kill-a-watt meters that would actually give you a digital readout of the milliamps of leakage to ground of whatever is plugged into it for troubleshooting purposes. Maybe they could come up with a DIY circuit that would use the "guts" of a GFCI receptacle somehow coupled to a digital readout?
  13. Like Big J stated in his first reply you need to plug in one thing at a time to isolate the problem. GFCI's can sometimes be quirky, here are a few other things that may cause certain brands to nuisance trip. -switching power supplies (either small ones with moisture ingress or larger ones containing capacitive noise suppression that leaks to ground). -long runs of wire or the buildup effect of many multiple runs that acts as a capacitor leaking current to ground, especially if the wire is wrapped around grounded conductive metal. -the internal ballasts in some LED light bulbs ( I had a large santa blowmold with a 60 watt equivalent philips LED dimmable bulb in it that would nuisance trip one of my GFCI receptacles after a few minutes.) -heavy inductive loads such as larger size AC electric motors or transformers Hopes this helps solve the mystery.
  14. I share your feelings about those things. The problem is that they are not "transformers" anymore as both our governments have banned transformer type ac-dc power adapters as they are not energy efficient. Same as it is hard to find a 100 watt standard type incandescent light bulb anymore. I have seen these switching power supplies used with everything from pre-lit LED trees to little light-up villages and they are VERY prone to failure unlike the old transformer type "wall worts". They are definitely not 100% waterproof but are sealed just enough so that water gets inside them and won't dry up but instead shorts out the circuit board inside them, and corrodes the traces and the component leads causing premature failure. If the water ingress doesn't kill these little power supplies, they die of capacitor or semiconductor failure. It's really frustrating that you can pay good money for expensive inflatables or other lit up decorations and get such junky power supplies. Somebody should start selling replacements made with epoxy potted circuit boards and good quality components that will last more than one season and are actually waterproof.
  15. Try plugging them in only one in at a time to see if you can locate a single cage that is causing the problem. If you find a bad one take a real close look at where the wires go into each bulb looking for bare copper that may be leaking current to the wire cage. The powder coating of the wire cages might be conductive especially if it contains something like zinc for corrosion resistance. You can check this with a good ohmmeter or megger that will measure high resistance to about 10 megohms. Sometimes reversing the way a two-prong plug is plugged in may help solve the problem as most LED and mini light strings have non-polarized plugs that can be plugged in either way round. This could lower the potential to ground which would reduce the small current flow that is tripping your GFCI
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