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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.

dlaird

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Everything posted by dlaird

  1. I setup five 20' trees using two pieces of 1 1/4" Black pipe connected with a 12" pin. I use four guy wires from the Pully Top head. In the last ten years I have had one pully head bend causing a guy wire to loosen. The tree swayed in the wend until the pipe bent. I also had the stabilization legs bend. To put up a 30'-35' tree I suggest you place four guy wires at each pipe connection and the top. That would be 12 guy wires in total.
  2. Yours looks really professional. I took a very inexpensive paint roller handle and reshaped it using a bench vise and a hammer.
  3. I have 200+ extension cords between 40 and 100 feet long in my display. Most are 40’ to 60’. I use the method described by Clyde Lindsey to loop my cables but I make smaller arch’s with my arms so that the final cable loop will fit inside a Rubbermaid box without bunching. I use a piece of wreath Velcro to secure the cable. That way when I pull them out of the box they do not tangle. One beneficial trick that I use is two walk the cable down the street until it is in a single straight line. Then as I wrap the cable I walk towards it. This does two things 1) gets most of the twist out of the cable so it wrap flat; 2) makes it easier to wrap because I am not pulling on the length of the cable in my arch’s. Next year I plan to put some of the controllers in the yard so they are closer to what they control…shorter extension cords.
  4. dlaird

    Led Failures

    I have had three kinds of LED string failures: 1) Strings purchased from SAMs have dissimilar metals between the LED bulb (steel) and the string socket (copper), after one season of wet weather here in Florida and months in the attic they all failed due to rust; 2) rectifier failures on strings purchased online from a vendor that no longer exists, it could have been rain but I suspect poor design, nearly all Blue and Green strings failed; 3) The best performance I have comes from strings purchased from Creative Displays; I had one rectifier fail, the string was replaced at no charge. I put strings in our trees using a commercial lift that I rent but I pull them down using a pool pole for leverage. About 5% of these strings get pulled apart before they release from the tree. The replacement cost for failed strings is lower than renting the lift a second time.
  5. I very happy to share that tonight I completed the repairs to last year’s display items. At the end of each season I test everything as I take it down. Anything that fails stays in the garage instead of being put in storage. As I have time I troubleshoot and repair each item. The last item to repair this year was a crystal wire frame deer with 20 defective mini lights. It took 30 minutes to locate and replace each bulb. As a bonus I switched the two bulbs closest to the eye sockets to blue.
  6. I keep mine outside. I have three that have spent 5 seasons out in the weather. Mine are mounted in modified exterior circuit breaker panel boxes.
  7. dlaird

    Lights Stay On ?

    I have found that 10 times out of 10 if I have a short on the output the TRIAC becomes damaged. However, I have had controller channels that were only partially on and would respond when told to go to 100% intensity. On these channels the Opto-Coupler that drives the TRIAC was the offending part.
  8. I found 70 count Multicolor LED Christmas Light Net lights at my local walmart for $2.50. The online store had them for $4.98.
  9. I use 100+ deer in my display. I put each deer in a 40 Gallon 3 Mil plastic trash bag (similar to the pillow case idea). It works very well. I have found Christmas is lot more fun when the deer are working when I unpack them. That is why I make sure every bulb is working before I store them in the rafters above the garage.
  10. Dear Charles, Thank you for the great DMX classes at Christmas Expo in Gatlinburg. I do have a follow-up question. I want to have smoke (fog) hover near the ground around a lake of rope lights to replicate a swamp scene in Louisiana. What do I need to make this happen?
  11. We will be at the Hilton Garden Inn.
  12. I sent back 54 defective strings on the Monday following receipt of the return instructions by UPS ground. Ten days later I received 54 brand new strings. I am a happy customer.
  13. Most 100 count strings are really made up of two 50 count strings linked together. If you look closely at the 50th light in the string you can see how the wires from the electrical plug swap between strings. Each 50 count section is designed to dissipate 120VAC of energy. Notice that all 50 bulbs are wired together in series. Each bulb requires 2.4VAC. Multiply 2.4VAC by 50 and you get 120VAC. If you were to cut this into 25 lights then each bulb would be required to dissipate 4.8VAC of electricity. This makes the lights look much brighter for a short period of time before they all burn out.
  14. dlaird

    M5 Vs M6

    Most people would never notice the difference between an M6 and an M5 on a Mega Tree. Especially during the show...But, nearly anyone form this forum would notice immediately. The questions you need to answer are 1) Is the size difference going to bother you? 2) Can you afford to purchase all the strings at the same time so they are not only the same size but they have exactly the same color also?
  15. I can help you with the following: 8 - Walmart Holiday Time 60 ct LED Mini Light Set Red/Green Wire 10 - Walmart Holiday Time 60 ct LED Mini Light Set Blue/Green Wire 8 - Walmart Holiday Time 60 ct LED Mini Light Set Warm Wight/Green Wire I am willing to trade for Green LED or $6 per box if you can pick them up in Fort Walton Beach.
  16. When I have used bullet connectors in the past I always swapped the Males and Females so I would never get the phasing wrong. The picture show above has Males on one end of the cable and Females on the other end. If you put a Male and Female on each end you can keep the phasing correct and use the same color terminals. I usually wrap them in white electrical tape so they do not catch my eye. I am sure no one else would notice them in the display but I know I would see them.
  17. I have always purchased the high power heat sinks and mounted my LOR boards in repurposed exterior circuit breaker panel boxes. Mounting the heat sinks to the metal enclosure offers additional heat sink surface. When I first started out I investigated mounting the board in a simple plastic shoe box or a 3 gallon Rubbermaid container. You will need to think about how and where you are going to place these boxes to keep condensation and rain/snow out. I have seen other people make simple wood boxes painted like Christmas gifts to put their controllers in. They use a plastic sheet to redirect water from the circuit boards.
  18. Hi Tim, I see you are from Callahan. Small world I graduated from West Nassau HS in 1978. Lived down church road off of US1. How many mini light stakes do you want?
  19. Depending on date conflicts with work my wife and I would attend a mini in Birmingham. Please add us to the list of interested people.
  20. Well I guess I am one of the fortunate few. The 100 strings I bought from Travis in 2009 worked again this year. I may have had a total of two strings go bad. My 2010 order of another 100 strings has not been so fortunate. I had two strands delivered defective and I have another 10 that went bad during the season. So I intend to take advantage of his warranty offer. Additionally He or someone from his company have answered all of my emails promptly. Conversely, every single strand of LEDS I purchased from SAMs 2007-2009 is now defective. They cost more than Travis charged and they all failed. The warranty requires a copy of the sales slip, the bar code from the original box and the defective strand to be sent back and I have to pay for shipping. I have priced lights from other vendors that I know provide better communication but the lights from Travis cost less. When he offers his early order sale I will order again.
  21. Well I guess I am one of the fortunate few. The 100 strings I bought from Travis in 2009 worked again this year. I may have had a total of two strings go bad. My 2010 order of another 100 strings has not been so fortunate. I had two strands delivered defective and I have another 10 that went bad during the season. So I intend to take advantage of his warranty offer. Additionally He or someone from his company have answered all of my emails promptly. Conversely, every single strand of LEDS I purchased from SAMs 2007-2009 is now defective. They cost more than Travis charged and they all failed. The warranty requires a copy of the sales slip, the bar code from the original box and the defective strand to be sent back and I have to pay for shipping. I have priced lights from other vendors that I know provide better communication but the lights from Travis cost less. When he offers his early order sale I will order again.
  22. I store my extension cords in 10 Gallon Rubbermaid Roughneck totes. I would estimate that I have 50-75 totes. I use black permanent marker on 2
  23. I have one tall gumball right in front of the house. I put 2700 green mini's in mine.
  24. My home was built in 1976. I have a small breaker panel (16 position) on the outside of the house under the electric meter. The only breaker in this box was a 200 Amp breaker (takes up 8 breaker slots) that feeds the sub panel mounted in the garage for the house. I choose to install an exterior grade sub panel near my meter. It was simple to add an additional breaker inside the meter panel to feed the sub panel. When I designed my system I intentionally used 15 Amp breakers in the new sub panel. I use two dedicated circuits for each LOR box. I did all the work myself. The true cost was minimal in dollars but I invested hours in the design to ensure I was putting something together that would be safe. I wanted to make sure I did not put anyone at risk that would walk through the display and that I was not putting the house at risk. If you are not comfortable with this type of DIY project it is much better to hire someone.
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