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Everything posted by ExecLink

  1. The only info I have to support the use of GFCI's is that my son is still alive. He was helping plug in the lights for the display and put his fingers on plug hot lead. I heard the ZAP in one ear, and the GFCI trip out in the other ear. He jumped back and was shocked, but still breathing. That is enough for me. At that time we were on a 50 amp breaker at a campground and it takes a lot to trip those. I use a GFCI in every one of my controller boxes. It is very helpful at isolating where the problem is when one trips. It has almost always been at the far end of the electrical string and i
  2. I get all of my rebar and large stakes out by just giving them a few good hits with a hammer to drive them in deeper. They pull out just as easy as the vice grip method, and also works with lots of ice built up around them. - Michael
  3. I used an LED Spot and the only problems I had were that it seemed to be a little slower in reacting that a regular spot. I did not want to go back and change all my programming to turn it on eariler so after a while I replaced it. Also it did not generate enough heat to melt the snow and I had to keep shoveling it out, where the normal spots clear the snow. I moved the LED spot to my TUNE TO sign. - Michael
  4. I run 4 color super string on my roof and the way I tie them together is to zip tie the 4 bulbs just behind the socket creating one large bulb glob. Then I use a C9 gutter/shingle clip to hold the group. It does take a long time to create the strings, but everything is held in place. I did have one string go out on me, and I just added another string over the top while it was in place, and then waited until January when I took it down to replace the string. You could not even see the dead string up there. - Michael
  5. I cover mine with green outdoor carpeting. I got a 12'x12' roll at Menards and cut it to size. It works really good as a circle under the mega trees. During the 2-3 days they are not covered by snow, they disapear into the yard. It also makes it easy to access the boxes to test, or pull out at the end of the season, just dig out the snow, and lift the carpeting. The boxes are somewhat clean and dry. I also coil up all the extra power cords and hide them under the carpet. Simple and cheap. - Michael
  6. Madison, WI here. - Michael
  7. I have been using Ribbon lights for my trees and it works really good. They are not net lights, but about 1' wide and 6-8' long with very dense spacing. I tie them to the front of a tree with twine. Sometimes I need to ziptie 2-3 wide if it is a large tree. - Michael
  8. I switched to MOZY.com for online daily backup. I sleep better now. - Michael
  9. I do not notice any flickering of my lights, but I can go to my power meter and listen to it 'sing' to the music. I was worried at first, but last year those that know more than me about power, said it was ok, and even normal. - Michael
  10. I have made some premade sections of lights by zip tie'ing them to light weight plastic rollup fencing. This might also be usable for roof lights. You can make them on the ground and then just roll out a section and attach at top and bottom. I did this because I needed a complex pattern of many colors, and had to be able to setup and break down quickly for a road show. It is great, just roll it up when you are done. I put cheap plastic trash bags on top to keep the layers from getting tangled. Easy to store and transport. - Michael
  11. Instead of yelling at the cat, try a squirt gun or spray bottle on thin stream mode filled with water. They get hit by a spray and do not know where it came from. It has more of a lasting effect because when you are not in the room, they might think it will still get them. It got to a point that all we had to do was set the water bottle where they were not supose to go, and they would not ever jump there. - Michael
  12. Thank you! That just solved one of my storage problems. It seems like their antlers and ears always flop around and get stuck on everything. - Michael
  13. I run my cords inside a PVC pipe that runs in front of my door steps, and also put a rope inside. I use the rope to tie it in place using tent stakes. It survied the winter, shoveling and snow blower. - Michael
  14. I cover boxes with outdoor green carpeting chunks, and they blend in nicely. Route all of the cords together where possible and use wire stakes to hold them in the ground. - Michael
  15. I started in Dec 2006 looking into how to setup a display for 2007. I am glad I took the time to read everything, plan a display that fit my house, estimated costs, revised plans down to fit costs, revised plans down to fit time, revised plans down to fit frustration. I found lots of ways to cut corners on time by getting lots of premade items, and seeing how little I could do to get a good effect. One example is mini-trees. It came time to get them setup and I only had some lights sitting in the shed, no frames or anything. I went to Ace Hardware and picked up 10 Zig-Zag premade mini tre
  16. To me this idea is scarier than any Halloween display I have come across. This idea that it is my responsibility to ensure others are not offended. The line is where ever you draw it, but just be prepared to defend yourself and your ideas and take the heat, or cave in and be politically correct. Now having said that, I must say that my Halloween display is geared for 1-5 year olds because my wife runs a daycare out of the house. Even at that I had some one ask me to take down some of our smiling pumpkins and smiling black cats because they thought it was too scary. Ummm No. They have the
  17. I have been using Mozy for about 6 months now and I really like it. I went with the paid plan of $4.95/month for as much as I can backup. I have about 80gb backed up and it took about 15 days to do the initial backup. Now it just runs 2 times a day and keeps all of my files backed up. It has a nice web based recovery mode if you want just a few files, say to move to another computer. I have not tried a full recovery (and hope I never will). The automatic backup software works nicely, does not seem to get in the way of anything else, and almost always works. One time I had network connect
  18. Here is a post I made about how to wire a fog machine remote that includes pictures. I used it last weekend in my show and it worked great. The only problem I had was I had to add another single C9 light to have enough load for the triac to hold open, same as I have to do for LED's. http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4344 - Michael
  19. Live in Madison, WI. Last year we got over 100" of snow, but normally it is under 12-24" on the roof until after Christmas. I have a 1 story, easy to walk on roof, asphalt shingles. I use shingle clips hanging off the edge, and gutter clips on the front. I have to use a roof rake to clear the snow off the front gutter lights now that I have switched to LED's. It used to be that the C9's would clear the snow, and melt the ice in the gutter, and provide a landing pad for the helicopters. (Actually one of the light displays in town is used by the medflight pilots to locate the hospital. They a
  20. The problem I have with lights on my roof is the top ridge. I need to raise them about a foot or two off of the roof or they will be hidden under the snow. I use 3-4 different colored strands of LED's zip tied at each bulb to make super strands. They fit nicely in the C9 shingle clip holders for the sides that hang over the edge and do not collect snow, but I have not found a good solution for the ridge line yet. The best idea I have is some type of pvc or wood frame held in place with sand bags. - Michael
  21. It looks like they are closing out this product, so get one while they last. http://www.x10.com/promotions/hc60rx_vt_kit_v2.html - Michael
  22. I got some outdoor speakers from RadioShack for about $40 last year and set them on the ground behind bushes. I tried to mount them higher, but they sounded really bad. Not sure why, but sitting on the ground gave a much richer sound. I picked up a cheap amp from eBay for about $35 to drive it and the combination sounded really nice at my show last weekend, and I had plenty of power to rock the campground. I did find they were very directional and had to do a lot of testing to make sure the sound was good at most viewing areas. - Michael
  23. This is my first year using Vixen and I have to say it is great and does exactly what I need. The best part, there is no manual, because none is needed. I showed my wife how to use it for about 5 minutes and she was off and sequencing. My wife is not an experienced computer user, so that should tell you how easy it is to use. There are some advanced features that can be used. Search the menus or if you are really stumped, ask a question on http://www.christmasinshirley.com/forum/index.php and someone will answer it quickly. The author KC, check there often, usually daily and responds to fea
  24. I had a mega tree strand that had 4 bulbs burnt out. Must have gotten dropped during setup. The zapper got the string working and I easily found and replaced the burnt out bulbs. Using the standard replace with a known good bulb would not have worked in this case. The beeper feature has found about 10 strands so far. I have even been able to get it to work wrapped on garland with 5 other strands. When Im on a mission to find the burnt out bulb, I never leave my garage without it. Wish I would have gotten one of these 20 years ago. - Michael
  25. I would like to attach a string of lights on the peak of my roof and am looking for suggestions on what works best. I will be running 3-4 different colored strands of LED mini's together. I have a gable roof about 60' long, shingle, no peak vent. The pitch is not too bad, easy to walk on. I need to elevate them about a foot in case we get snow, which is very likely. I was thinking about some type of pvc or wooden frame that runs the length of the roof and has an angled leg off the back that I can weight down with sand bags or other types of weights. What is going to be the cheapest, a
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