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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.


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Everything posted by Mikeymatic

  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
  16. It seem that you may have a controller address issue. Have you set the addresses on your six controllers so controller 1 is unit 1, controller 2 is unit 2 etc? With the Planet Christmas style controllers this is done by plugging them in to your computer one at a time and using the LOR software to set the unique address for each of your 6 units which is stored in its memory. In the commercial style controllers this is done with miniature DIP switches on the actual circuit board near the RJ45 plug where your cat 5 cable plugs in. I then apply labels to the outside of my controller boxes to identify "Unit 1, Unit2 , etc so i know what they are set at and what they will control. Maybe this will help.
  17. Maybe you could salvage the top off an old patio table or round bar table to replace the warped base. As for the noisy motor you may have to remove it from the unit and carefully disassemble it in order to lubricate it. If the motor part has a sintered bronze sleeve bearing in the little round box at the end of the shaft I would soak the felt around the bearing with something like 3-in-1 SAE20 electric motor oil. Then if it isn't riveted together I would CAREFULLY remove the gear box cover (looks like the cover holds the reduction gear shafts in place -they all have to go back exactly as they came apart!!! and if the grease is soft, plentiful and still useable navigate it back from the corners of the box to the gears using a small screwdriver. If the grease in the gearbox is black and dried up hard i would clean it out and replace it with some quality high temperature wheel bearing grease or gear grease. If you aren't really keen on disassembling the motor maybe you could bring it to a place that specializes in fixing old clocks or a gunsmith shop for a "grease job". Hope this helps...
  18. Mikeymatic

    LED bulbs

    If the C9 Screw in bulbs you are buying have an intermediate E17 Screw base and are marked 120V they should work fine in an old C9 incandescent string. You can even mix up the LEDS with incandescents in different sockets. In the E17 or IES screw base "E" stands for Edison and 17 indicates the diameter in millimeters as measured across the peaks of the thread on the base. Here are a few pictures of C9 E17 LED retrofit bulbs showing different places where the voltage marking (120V) is located.
  19. Hi I just dug out my old textbook from when I used to teach electrical at our local college and did some calculations using your readings. First of all your NEC (national electrical code) Section 210.19 (A) states that the maximum voltage drop in a branch circuit should not exceed 3% at the furthest outlet of power, heating, and lighting loads, and the total voltage drop on your main feeders and branch circuits should not exceed 5%. -On the other circuits in your house you are measuring a voltage drop of 1 volt when your lights are on. This equates to 0.84% voltage drop on both your feeders and branch circuit which is well within NEC limits and appears to be normal. This tends to rule out any big problems with your service conductors, main breaker or meter base. -In circuit 1 that supplies your lights you are measuring a voltage drop of 8.5 volts which equates to a 7.14% voltage drop which exceeds NEC limits and indicates a problem with that branch circuit. Theoretically with 35 feet of 12 gauge copper wire and your measured load of 18.42 amps your voltage drop should ideally be around 2.05 volts. If we changed the wire type to 35 feet of #12 Aluminum wire, with the same amount of amps the voltage drop would increase to 3.36 volts and if we changed the wire type to 35 feet of #14 Copper the voltage drop would be 3.27 volts, both pushing the NEC limits for a branch circuit but still nowhere near what you measured. -Circuit 2 that also supplies your lights is showing a drop of 5.7 volts which equates to a 4.77% voltage drop which is also high. Just out of curiosity do circuits 1 and 2 share a common neutral (white wire)? If they do and the two 20 amp breakers are on the same "leg" or bus of your panel you would be running around 34 amps through that poor neutral wire which would explain the large voltage drop that you are measuring. The solution would be to move one of your breakers to the other "leg" or bus of the panel to balance the load or to run a second neutral wire for your second circuit. To troubleshoot the problem you need to start at the branch circuit breaker and measure the voltage drop there and then move on and measure the drop going into and out of your outlet, switch and any splices along the way. As soon as you notice a significant difference check the device , wire or connection that supplies power to your test point. I realize that this is a bit complicated but hopefully it will help you solve your problem
  20. Canadian Tire has been heavily promoting these noma "quick clips" for the past couple of years and I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with them, and are they good or junk? Looks like they won't fit the old school incandescent style C9 light sockets but they are supposed to fit the C9 LED strings. Here's a photo and a link... https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/noma-replacement-c9-led-christmas-light-quick-clips-green-50-pk-1513437p.html#srp
  21. A few of my friends use binder clips, available in stationary and dollar stores to attach their lights to vinyl siding trim and around windows. The clips come in various colors and sizes and you could even spray paint them white to make them less visible if you wish.
  22. Yes I bought some of those teal SMD C9 bulbs from HLE also and they really "pop" compared to the regular 5 LED blues, there seems to be a lot more light output in the visible spectrum. Like the picture you posted, cutting edge LED technology screwed into what looks like a 60+ year old string, and especially the teal looks almost like the original mazda bulbs.
  23. It almost seems that your problem may be either caused by a poor connection in your electrical service or an excessively long or too small a Gage drop wire between the transformer on your street and your house. If the problem seems to be getting progressively more noticeable it leans toward the poor connection theory. A good quality old school RMS analogue meter such as a Viz power line monitor or a Simpson or Triplett connected to your line should help you "see" how much the voltage is actually fluctuating. If you do have a bad service connection, any heavy inductive loads like a washing machine motor kicking in would also cause large voltage fluctuations. Besides the obvious bad or corroded connections in your meter base or breaker panel one frequent point of failure is where the main breaker in some panels mechanically and electrically connects to the panels bus bar assembly. In my career as an electrician I've had to replace a few main breakers and bus bar assemblies with burnt or corroded connection stabs including the one in my garage service panel that supplied the power to my LOR controllers and garage heat and lights several years ago! Not all main breakers are the "push on" stab type, some manufacturers use bolted connections to attach the main breaker to the panel bus bars which rarely give any problems as long as the bolts are torqued tight and the threads aren't stripped. Over the years I have also encountered a few bad outdoor crimp connections where the copper wires coming out of a service mast were joined to the aluminum utility drop wires. Usually the techs at your local power utility can come and hook up some monitoring equipment to check your service if the problem seems to be really serious. Hopefully this helps. Curious what is causing the problem...
  24. My suggestion would be to pick up an inexpensive line level audio mixer with at least 2 input channels such as a Behringer micro mix mx400. This particular mixer has 4 inputs which leaves room for future expansion. I just looked and they are on sale at amazon for around 25 bucks. There are also many other similar mixers for sale. If you try putting the line level output of a second DVD player into a microphone level input you will most likely get a lot of distortion as the mic input is designed to operate at much lower voltage levels and also at a lower impedance. The mixer will combine the two (or more) line inputs into a single line level output enabling you to balance the audio levels of both projectors so they modulate your transmitter evenly. Here's what it looks like... Hope this helps.
  25. A 60 amp 120/240 volt spider box will give you up to 60 amps at 240 volts or 120 amps at 120 volts because it uses 2 "hots" (black and red) and a shared neutral. That's why a lot of the 60 amp spider boxes have six 20amp 120 volt outlets, three on one "hot" and three on the other. If it is rated for 100% service factor you can actually draw this much current from it on a continuous basis which would equate to almost 120,000 leds by your calculations. Unfortunately most domestic (house type breaker panels) are only rated for an 80% service factor which means if you have a 100 amp 120/240v house panel you can only draw up to 80 amps through it at 240 volts or 160 amps through it at 120 volts(balanced across the two hots) on a continuous basis, but can draw up to the full 100 amps at 240 volts on an intermittent basis. 160 amps at 120 volts is a LOT of power (19200 watts or 19.2 Kilowatts) Hope This Helps
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