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About CarlD

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 11/18/1961

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  • Location
    El Dorado Hills, California, USA
  • Biography
  • Interests
    software, model railroading, christmas lights
  • Occupation
    professional software engineer
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  1. There's more video on Jason's site too - http://folsomlights.com Someone out there knows who these two miscreants are.
  2. Here's what you want for monitoring your Christmas light circuits: http://www.theenergydetective.com/limited-edition-ted-5000-christmas-special
  3. Try plugging your Mr Christmas into a surge-suppressor (typically built-into a heavy-duty multi-outlet box). I've long suspected that AFCIs will not react well to the crude dimming/switching circuits in light controllers - plugging your Mr Christmas into a surge suppressor may help keep noise originating in the Mr Christmas from making its way back into the house wiring.
  4. You can tell them apart by resistance - at least some of the time. One of my "to do some day" projects is to build up a table of typical filament resistance for various bulbs, but alas, I haven't gotten 'round to doing that.
  5. In common use there are 3 different mini-light bulbs: 2.5V ES, 2.5V,3.5V. Less commonly you might also find 6V and 12V bulbs. You MUST use the correct bulb - most combinations of mini-light string with an incorrect bulb result in a flash-bulb effect. Very pretty for a few milliseconds. LEDs, other than those specifically designed for retrofit, are utterly incompatible with incandescent lights and cannot be mixed in a string.
  6. I'd prefer to call these "ballast resistors" rather than "snubbers" - although I know the latter term has become common. Exact same thing? Just about - for all practical purposes, yes. Interrupt lights acting normally? No. Burn up the resistors quickly? No more than on the end of the string. Box too hot after 2 hour show? Maybe, but probably not. You'd be dissipating about 10.5W (average) if you put 47K resistors on all channels and they're all turned on all the time.
  7. The arrangement that wonko describes is not completely safe or legal - you can't put a 20A outlet on a 40A breaker without running the risk of an overload that overheats the outlet to the point of causing a fire but without tripping the breaker. If you're going to connect 15A or 20A outlets to a higher capacity circuit, you need a sub-panel with appropriately sized breakers to protect the outlets.
  8. If you're in an area that's prone to lighting storms in December, then it's not a bad idea. I haven't heard of a light controller being taken out by a surge, but it's certainly possible.
  9. I replied privately, but for the benefit of anyone else that comes across this thread: Cost - I don't have a detailed rundown, but I can get the highlights: - The box is some scrap 2x6 and plywood that I had lying around - The handle & wheels are a cheap hand truck - about $25 at Home Depot. - The panel is a GE 6/12 position, 125A panel from Lowes - about $30, IIRC - The circuit breakers are GE, also from Lowes, about $4/ea - The Big Cord is 6/4 SOOW that I bought on E-bay - there are numerous sellers. About $2/ft. - The 50 Amp twist-lock receptacle and inlet I also got on E-bay.
  10. w0000t! "Plenty of power"... "You'll never out-grow that".... ;-)
  11. Whew! We just made it back home after spending the night in Milpitas - about the 1/2 way point. It was great to see old friends and meet new ones who all share our love of Holiday decorating (Christmas in particular, but I gotta admit - Matt's Halloween stuff looked pretty cool too!)
  12. Hey Doc - Anyone interested in seeing a portable sub-panel? We're already bringing several things - I could throw the sub-panel in too, in case there are people with high-power aspirations in attendance!
  13. Reversing the polarity on a DC motor will reverse the direction of rotation, assuming it's an ordinary brush-type motor. If it's a high-tech brushless DC motor, then it actually contains (or is used with) a motor controller (chip) and connecting the power backwards will likely do no good. It's extremely likely that your DC motors are ordinary permanent magnet, brush-commutator type motors.
  14. There's always a way. Step one would be to get one, disasseble it and determine how the LED strings are wired. It's almosst certain that it'll take more than just a plug and a couple connections to make a steady-on string, but without knowing how the LEDs are wired there's no saying for sure.
  15. MrsD and I would likely drive down for such an event!
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