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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.

Tom VanGundy

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About Tom VanGundy

  • Rank
    New Member
  • Birthday 02/07/1962

Profile Information

  • Location
    St. Charles, Illinois, USA
  • Occupation
    Realtor
  1. Thanks Dennis. That has been a big help
  2. One of the things I have had as an obstacle in my life is the fact that I'm color blind with colors that are not vibrant. I have run my meter across the resistors in the following photograph. I come to a range of 264 Ohms to 265 Ohms on the end of one of the boards and the middle resistors have a value ranging from 217 Ohms to 220 Ohms. The other board has 218 Ohms or 219 Ohms on the outside with the middle resistor being at 150 Ohms. I'm trying to attach the clearest photo of the boards here. Could someone with a good set of eyes take a look at the pictures and let me know the value that the resistors are suppose to be? Thanks, Tom
  3. I replaced the battery this year with the highest CCA I could find. I have a lot of electrical items on the bike and wanted a good reserve. Any possibility of the rechargeable batteries working?
  4. I am going to once again ask the most knowledgeable people I know to help me fix a problem with my motorcycle. Problem: When I start my motorcycle, more than half the time the memory in my stereo is reset. Details: I have a very cheap stereo. The power feed for the memory comes straight from the battery. When starting apparently the voltage drops below what is needed to keep the memory of radio station presets. Possible solution: Have a rechargeable 9v & 2 AA batteries with a diode to keep the 12v to the stereo. Problems: Not sure if this will work. Not sure where to put the diode. Not sure if it will overcharge the batteries and cause a possible fire sometime when riding. Correct solution: I have nothing to put in this area. That's why I'm posting here. I would like to thank you in advance for any help you can give me on this problem. Tom
  5. Hi Carrie, 1 newbie with a lot to learn will be there. Are there any handouts with the presentations or do I need to practice my note taking skills? Also... will anyone be there to talk about LED lights? AC or DC boards? Pros and cons of both? Thanks for putting this together, Tom
  6. Tom VanGundy St. Charles, Illinois... 34 miles west of Chicago. This will be my first year with an exterior display. I'm planning on a mega-tree and possibly some minis to start. I will build from there. I already have most of the lights (all LEDs) and will be using the DC boards from D-Light. I have to learn to walk before I can run.
  7. Daryl, you're awesome! Free is my favorite word! I have seen the batteries inside the enclosures and never gave it a thought. A great tip, Thank you.
  8. Daryl, you're awesome! Free is my favorite word! I have seen the batteries inside the enclosures and never gave it a thought. A great tip, Thank you.
  9. JBullard wrote: waaaaay over thinking this project... Is the way I do most projects. By over thinking I can usually bypass some big mistakes. But not always.I already have a inverter on the boat, plenty of batteries at my disposal. miles ofseveral different types of wire,and have plenty of time to find the solar panels at a discount. The panels and some more lights should be my only out of pocket money to start. Saving money on the electricity will just be a bonus if and when I accomplish it. Being able to build the display of my dreams while overcoming any domestic objections before they arise is my main objective. But... YES, I do plan to have it pay for itself within 3 years and then save me money after that. Don't worry about shooting down my idea, I have lots of people shooting at my ideas. I'm sure that more than a few members here, while designing their first display heard something like "What? Are you nuts? You can't do that!" from friends, family members, and total strangers. grump010 wrote: I've been looking around to try to get educated on the topic and I'm finding that I will need a special Grid-Tie Inverter to connect to the grid. The ones I've found have been really expensive. If anyone knows of somewhere to buy them cheap or even build one, I would love to know. To define expensive... The ones I've found are $1400 and up(to the stratosphere). I usually throw nickels around like they are manhole covers. And, Happy New Year right back to you! kamahilights wrote: As I see the basic design in my head, I'm currently planing to use the batteries in parallel using an inverter to go to 110vAC. The run from solar panel to the yard is 60' to 160' depending on where the fixture is and the path of the wire. If my memory is correct making a run that long with 12vDC I will lose most of the power within the wire itself. I think thats why ComEd uses AC. I've been told that low voltage DC doesn't travel well through long wires. For the mega trees I'm planning on using commercial LED sets using 110vAC. I don't want any problems on anything large. The lights around the windows will be home made strings on DC. Mini trees and smaller things in the yard are still in the air as to AC or DC. Ineed to test my abilities on custom making short strings first.The boards look like they will be split50-50 for AC & DC. The jury is still out on if I will proceed on this or not, but I think I will. I have the better part of a year to do it and I don't have to have the whole thing completed in 2008. I'm still planning on making this a 3 year build-up. I'll let you know next November if I did it. Happy New Year everyone, Tom
  10. JBullard wrote: waaaaay over thinking this project... Is the way I do most projects. By over thinking I can usually bypass some big mistakes. But not always.I already have a inverter on the boat, plenty of batteries at my disposal. miles ofseveral different types of wire,and have plenty of time to find the solar panels at a discount. The panels and some more lights should be my only out of pocket money to start. Saving money on the electricity will just be a bonus if and when I accomplish it. Being able to build the display of my dreams while overcoming any domestic objections before they arise is my main objective. But... YES, I do plan to have it pay for itself within 3 years and then save me money after that. Don't worry about shooting down my idea, I have lots of people shooting at my ideas. I'm sure that more than a few members here, while designing their first display heard something like "What? Are you nuts? You can't do that!" from friends, family members, and total strangers. grump010 wrote: I've been looking around to try to get educated on the topic and I'm finding that I will need a special Grid-Tie Inverter to connect to the grid. The ones I've found have been really expensive. If anyone knows of somewhere to buy them cheap or even build one, I would love to know. To define expensive... The ones I've found are $1400 and up(to the stratosphere). I usually throw nickels around like they are manhole covers. And, Happy New Year right back to you! kamahilights wrote: As I see the basic design in my head, I'm currently planing to use the batteries in parallel using an inverter to go to 110vAC. The run from solar panel to the yard is 60' to 160' depending on where the fixture is and the path of the wire. If my memory is correct making a run that long with 12vDC I will lose most of the power within the wire itself. I think thats why ComEd uses AC. I've been told that low voltage DC doesn't travel well through long wires. For the mega trees I'm planning on using commercial LED sets using 110vAC. I don't want any problems on anything large. The lights around the windows will be home made strings on DC. Mini trees and smaller things in the yard are still in the air as to AC or DC. Ineed to test my abilities on custom making short strings first.The boards look like they will be split50-50 for AC & DC. The jury is still out on if I will proceed on this or not, but I think I will. I have the better part of a year to do it and I don't have to have the whole thing completed in 2008. I'm still planning on making this a 3 year build-up. I'll let you know next November if I did it. Happy New Year everyone, Tom
  11. grump010 wrote: On the batteries I have a pontoon boat with 2 deep cell batteries and a John boat that has one. I also have friends that are willing to lend batteries during December as ling as I return them in spring fully charged. The reason for solar powered is I want a Christmas display that will change traffic patterns in my neighborhood. My wife is not as enthused about this as I would like. She would like landscaping lights for the house, trees, walkways, ect. She also is considered about the cost of the electricity for the Christmas display. Unfortunately her eyes glass over when I talk about watts, full wave or half wave, total amperage, and other things like that. When I estimate the cost on the electric bill it isn't based on anything I've done yet. Just an estimate. When we were Menards she noticed the 50 light C7solar LED sets and suggested I use those. But I'm not sure how much I would need to modify them to use on a computerized display. Also the idea of having 100 or so of those 3x5 solar collectors all over the yard is not the look I'm going for. So I asked her "what if I built a solar system that could handle the Christmas display as well as everything you want in a landscape display for the other 11 months, how about that?" The idea of purchasing hardware once and nothing for the electricity for both projects sounds great to her. If there is any way I can design and build the system, many of the lights I would buy would move in the yard depending on what display is currently in use. I could custom build many of the light fixtures to be used on both. But then again... If there is no way to economical build this I will go the easier way by having each one separate. Is this making any sense?
  12. Thinking about next year, also known as my first year with a computerized light show, I have many questions that I need to figure out before I start buying controllers and lights. My display will be built over a few years (the budget thing) and be over 300 channels when done. I know it sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t because most items will be 4 colors which will quadruple the required channels. The power requirement questions stem from the “Wacko” idea I have on designing a solar panel system to power it. It also has to make economical sense to build before I start. That’s why I have a few questions. Does anyone here have any idea how long 6 car batteries could power an average of 8000 to 10,000 LEDs continuously for? Also, any idea what size, in watts, solar panel would be needed to recharge the batteries to maintain the show? Thanks, Tom
  13. I get an email every time someone posts on this thread. Whomever is going to put this together should just place a post here directing all of us to the new thread. Tom
  14. Please add me to that list as well. Thanks, Tom Vangundy
  15. I live in a metropolitan area. Does anyone have a list of the frequencies that the unit transmits on? Tom
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