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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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About pshort

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    Senior Member
  • Birthday 01/12/1955

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    Pasadena, California, USA
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  • About my display
  1. It also supports various DMX controllers.
  2. I think that this is one of the second batch of samples for the replacements...
  3. Check out last years threads regarding problems that people had with CDI LEDs...
  4. The capacitor may be another possible source of failure in a dimming application. In the static case the input AC voltage going to the string rises smoothly, and there isn't any discontinuity in the voltage on the capacitor. In the usual dimming circuit there may be a huge discontinuity in the voltage applied to the capacitor - either the result of the voltage on the cap decaying between successive AC cycles (if there is much voltage decay on the cap over the course of a cycle), or if the time of the triac firing varies as the result of computer command. The datasheets for electrolytic caps do show that there are limits on the ripple currents applied to caps, although I don't have a good handle on whether they come anywhere close to the limits when used this way. In any case there is the possibility of a huge jolt to both the rectifiers and the capacitors when the triac turns on in mid-cycle.
  5. http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/category/116/Cables-2-Cond.-Waterproof/1.html
  6. I think that the trailer connector is a good solution...that way there is almost no chance of anyone confusing 110VAC power with low voltage DC...
  7. Play around with the parallel port mode settings in the computer BIOS. Some have found that setting the parallel port to EPP helps with this problem, but ymmv. You will probably get better attention and help for this particular type of problem if you post over on DIYC.
  8. Are you talking about a scheme where you have a long string of lights, where lights 1,5,9,13 come on first, then they go off and lights 2,6,10,14,... come on next, then lights 3,7,11,15, then lights 4,8,12,16, then repeat the sequence? And what type of lights do you really want (C7/C9, mini-lights, etc)? I don't know of any commercial solution, although I think that they do exist. Being a DIY-type of person, I would pick four sets of strings with a relatively large spacing between the lamps (perhaps 24", and twist them together with a 6" offset between each string, so that the resulting spacing is 6". Then I would make my own controller, using either a PIC or a CD4017 (depending on my mood).
  9. Don't forget that you need SSRs as well, they will end up costing a lot more than the Grinch controller if you are going for 64 channels.
  10. I'm not sure that I've seen anyone recommending the use of 14V with the MR16 lights. If you have the MR16 lights on hand, try them without any resistors at first. The discussions about using 22 Ohm resistors in series with the lamps was in reference to the MR16 lights that were being imported in 2007. The 2008 lamps were supposed to be the same as the 2006 lamps, which apparently worked ok without series resistors, and so you might try the current ones without as well. This is all being written without having any of the later lights on hand, so you should take this is just a starting point.
  11. Another way to do it is to use small controllers that don't need much in the way of camouflage. Here is a photo of a prototype DIY controller for use with Vixen that I intend to build and use. It is fairly small (2" x 1.5"), so it can fit in either a small length of PVC pipe or a small project box, and can be potted or otherwise waterproofed. It's only good for about 0.8A per channel, but that is good enough for me. This is small enough that it can be easily hidden in the display (on the backside of a mini-tree, etc). As you can see, it isn't much bigger than the 8-function controller/lights that are out there. I don't know of any similar controllers that are commercially available, but maybe they are out there.
  12. This is something that is relatively easy to add to (almost) any of the DIY controller firmware that I've been working on. The limiting factor is that Vixen doesn't currently support this functionality (and I don't know when or if this would occur).
  13. One way to do it without micros is to modify the venerable 555/4017 chase circuit which you can find everywhere on the web. Instead of driving each LED from one output of the 4017, you drive it from two adjacent outputs, using diodes (e.g. 1N4148) between each LED and the two outputs that it's connected to.
  14. There are some simple, inexpensive chase schematics out on the web that use just a 555 oscillator and CD4017 decimel counter (plus p/s and maybe a transistor buffer). Do a google on chase and CD4017, that should turn up quite a few links.
  15. I tend to agree that the whole UL approval aspect of those light strings is very suspect. I think that Paul would be well advised to get the UL certification information for both the replacement strings and the 2009 coop buy strings, and check them out very carefully to make sure that the information is legitimate and applies to the strings in question.
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