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Everything posted by jeffostroff

  1. The triac waveforms don't matter, I saw chucks scope plots, the voltage is not outside any normal voltage operation from what I can tell. Besides, I just today found another string of blue LEDs dead, right out of the box before I even copnnected it. I also have Costco and Home DEpot LEDs that have been running fine for 4 years on my setup with no issues. There's nothing wrong with the triac voltage coming out of the LOR controllers. It might not be perfect sine waves, but that's not a problem. Besides, the light sets have a smoothing capacitor that should limit the ripple voltage and prevent damaging spikes. My guess is the failure is occurring in the rectifier circuit and that the LEDs themselves are fine, they are just not getting the voltage from the failure.
  2. I doubt there is a correlation, as these lights are already accustomed to seeing 60 cycles per seocnd anyway. My guess is flaws in the manufacturing process. At Motorola when I worked there, you had 2 basic types of flaws, these are flaws that you catch on the factory line if you test for them, and flaws that escape out the building and don't rear their ugly head until a consumer powers it up. Common flaws these days might inclode insufficient solder paste, so that when parts are place on the PCB by robots and passed dhtough solder ovens, the solder joint is not properly formed, even though it might pass a facotry floor test. The the vibrations from shipping and trucking can be enough to loosen the connection further to the point that it no longer makes enough contact to do its job. Other times, underrated capacitors or resistors are placed on the board in a pinch when they run out, and it's a matter of time until the product fails. I suspect this is more what the real issue is, and again six sigma manufacturing techiques would catch all this stuff.
  3. Not sure I agree with most of the previous couple of statements since I have lost 2 of 9 blue nets already this week from the 2009 replacement strings. I think the failure rate of these lights is much higher than that. Anytime there’s failures, it’s magnified on my display for some reason. Of my 9 blue net lights on both my palm trees, 2 have failed in just the first week of operation. That's a 22% failure rate, which is unacceptable. In my days at Motorola using 6 sigma failure rates in our designs and manufacturing, even the 3% failure rate you mentioned as “acceptable”, is unacceptable to Motorola or me or any company implementing 6-sigma manufacturing techniques. This is the problem with China, is their quality is so bad, and they don't use 6-sigma, we've often suggested it to them, and it falls on deaf ears. i once met with Malcolm Bricklin's wife to give some advice on quality control for a car that they were going to have manufactured in Japan and sold in the US really cheap. But I noticed that their failure rates which the Chinese foolishly thought were acceptable and ready for prime time, was about 15%, which would have placed it below Land Rover on JD Power's initial quality ratings. The whole mentality, and quality paradigm of what is deemed acceptable needs to change. I seem to get hit worse than anyone whenever quality takes a tumble. A 3% failure rate is just way too unacceptable to me, when I lose 2 net lights at the top of my palm tree after my $300 cherry picker rental has come and gone and I have no way to repair it. I don't see how the Chinese or anyone can call that acceptable. Deja Vue on 2008, now I get to spend the rest of this season agonizing over which lights are going to fail next, as I sit with a half lit palm tree, and a dozen 7 foot long PVC poles that I have already had to rebuild twice at a cost of hundreds of dollars. That’s the true damage left by the wake of a 3% failure rate.
  4. I feel like it's 2008 all over again. After spoending a few hundred renting the boom lift to wrap my palm trees with net lights all the way up, suddenly a week later they are beginning to fail now. One blue net went dim on me, the other simply stopped working alotgether, fuses are ok, I even swapped them out, but still no luck. Anyone else seeing th esame thing?
  5. Nothing to lose our heads over! I glued it and we'll see tomorrow whether the glue will hold, as it rained again tonight! 4 days in a row.
  6. My big engineering project for our display this year is the 6 ft tall custom made Ferris Wheel of lights, which I debuted in October for Halloween, and below is a few shots, and then you'll see how I modified it for Christmas, replacing the pumpkins with Blue sphere globes with LEDs inside them: And here's how it looks at Christmas:
  7. There's always the risk someone would "wheel it away". bBt is the risk any more if it did not have wheels? Besides we are outside quite a bit, and I empty it a few times during the 5 hours that it sits out there. There's always neighbors or myself outside, and there's usually other cars, so it's unlikely someone would try anything. May the Lord protect his offering plate.
  8. More reports from the battlefield... Wow, what a day of frustration and humiliation. First of all, yesterday marked 3 days in a row of rain and high winds, but we must have had some kind of microburst. I heard we had tornado warnings in our area. 5 PM last night, my 18 foot tall snowflake cascade between my palm trees collapsed from unusually high winds. We managed to get it back up and I bolted some of the PVC elbow joints. Then we go to church for our Christmas concert, and while I was gone, a gust of wind knocked over half the items in my display, and look at these photos below of what it did to the giant nutcracker on my Christmas arbor arch. It literally sucked the nutcracker off the arch, tearing it where both joints were screwed to the arch! That ads new meaning to nutcracker! Talk I glued it back together today with Gorilla glue. It's funny, the other nutcracker soldier stood his post, like a true marine! Also, one of my Bellagio fountain poles toppled over, and one of my driveway deer was decapitated. Talk about losing your head! This guy is really laying down on the job
  9. Snoop: Did those C& LEDs work out ok inside the inflatable? Were they bright enough? Did you use the whole string of C7s or did you just unswrew lamps and try them inthe original sockets inside the inflatable?
  10. Here's another close-up shot of how I painted the hardware
  11. Everytime someone on this forum recommends heat shrink tubing, they keep forgetting to also advise the person seeking help that they must also buy a special hot air gun to actually shrink the tubing. These cost between $20 and $40. Also, the heat shrink tubing cost is an absolute ripoff at Radio Shack, so best to find someone online selling it. Jeff
  12. My older cruddy box from previous years was modified to have a cable and it locked to my regular mailbox which is cemented into the ground. But the problem with having the donation box next to the mail box is clutter, and it gets lost in the mix. Also if you look at the pics below, you'll see my donation box last year did not look like it had a lot of credibility. This year's newer donation box looks a lot more professional, and has more credibility. As soon as we moved the donation box to the center of the driveway entrance by itself, there was an immediate improvement in giving, so we have our donation box there now, but there is nothing to lock it to. This is a locking donation box, so at least we can keep them from stealing money from it unless they take the whole thing. Besides either we or several neighbors are outside most of the evenings, and we empty it several times throughout the night. Here's how it used looked 2 years ago, lost in the mix: And here's how it looked last year in 2008, a big improvement in looks and results:
  13. After 3 years of attempts, my dream finally came true and I built a new donation box. This one is awesome. What I did was buy this fancy mailbox the other day, then painted it up to my liking. It
  14. Someone spammed one of my YouTube videos of my Christmas lights with this link to http://www.nolightmess.com. They have this reel up spool that comes with a small electronic driver. From their video it looks pretty useful, but I wanted to find out if any of you have used one and is it a good product, or not? Normally what I do is load strings of 300 lights onto my orange Home depot electrical cord reels, and they sit on the floor and I just pull out the amount of string I need, as the reel sits stationary on the floor and spins as I pull the string off. But the Storem does look more convenient if it is indeed a reliable product. Anyone got any first hand experience to report on?
  15. It has the same meaning as "Location, Location, Location", like the real estate agents tell you.
  16. I see this all the time too with LEDs. Often times I'll plug in a string and it won;t even register on the Watts Up meter. A Lot of tiems in the engineering world, they quote you maximum power ratings. Often times it comes in less than that.
  17. What does "Dip Your Headlights" mean? is that the same as dim your headlights?
  18. Here's a trick you can do to protect your flood light sockets. WARNING THIS TRICK ONLY APPLIES TO LED FLOODS, AS REGULAR FLOOD LAMPS WILL BURN THE TAPE! TRICK: I use LED flood lights, which are cool to the touch, they never get warm. So I often take blue tape used for painting, and just wrap around the base of the lamp where it meets your socket, sealing out the rain. There are also green colored sockets at Walmart that have the green rubber around the base of the socket, which fits snug against the lamp, and seals out water. I use these too. ALTERNATE TRICK, safe for all lighting: Also, to light up the huge mural on my garage, I built this enclosure below to house 3 LED flood lights, and it keeps them protected from the rain. You could build something similar for yours too. These 3 LED floods below are kept safe and dry inside this wood enclosure that sits on my driveway in front of the garage.
  19. That looks sweet! Did you use LED rope light? It will run cooler, and draw almost zero current. But 2 regular rope lights using incandescant bulbs will draw about 2 A or more.
  20. I finally got around to completing my high definition how to video that shows you how to retrofit a tater twister appliance to help you automatically wrap your Christmas lights into a leaping light arch, or a light pole, or any other type of fixture that might require wrapping strings of lights around. Here is the link to the video. If for some reason it does not appear in high def, then click the HD button on the video while it's playing: Here's a few photos I took last year to give you an idea of what I did.
  21. Here's a few shots to give you an idea of how we built the sign enclosure. We used the 2 25 foot coiled up LED rope lights for back light, and used refelctive window film from Home Depot to bounce the light all over inside:
  22. For those of you who might do a simple frame, here is what I was talking about from Home Depot. I used this in 2007 while I was building my own fancy wood frame sign (photo was shot on a rainy night):
  23. If you go to home depot, down the mail post aisle, they have this black metal frame with 2 legs and you jsut mount your sin in it and jam it into the soil. Real estate agents use to plant their signs in the ground. I think it's a 16x24 frame size.
  24. Josh, that is very very awesome! Ar eyou having it backlit? IF so don't forget to have them prin it on a amterial that can be backlit.
  25. Here's a couple of more high quality closeup shots that show how I protected the tops of my strings on the megatree. This picture was taken of my megatree while it was still collapsed, before we stretched it up into shape with the crane. Notice how I'm using double protection here, first the female ends all point back down after hanging over the hooks. Then the plexiglass sheet mounted on top of my megatree prevents ANY rain at all from ever touching the tops of my strings. My mega tree has NEVER tripped the ground fault. The best part, you cannot see the plexiglass sheet at night, it's completely transparent.
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