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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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Everything posted by MrPhred

  1. Last year, I also had a problem with the cable jamming up when the lights had been winched about half-way up the pole. It took me a little while to figure out exactly what was happening. It turned out that the cable was slipping off the wheel of the pulley and jamming itself between the wheel and the housing of the pulley. So, it winched pretty easy until it was loaded. About half way up the pole, it wouldn't go up or down. The fix turned out to be easy. I just zip-tied the top of the pulley housing together so the cable couldn't travel anywhere but on the pulley wheel. I've never had a problem since then.
  2. djohnson1810, I was in your shoes just a couple of years ago. When I calculated how many amps the display I'd planned was going to draw, I quickly discovered I didn't have sufficient service at my house. So, I was left with the choice of either blowing $1000 on a electrician to upgrade my service, or spend the money on LED's and use my existing service. I opted for LED's, and I'm now glad I did. As for buying LED's, I'd follow ChuckHutchings' advice and go with one of the PC vendors.
  3. Wow! Now I really hate I missed the Mini. I had no idea there were so many Carolinian lighting freaks! Looks like a fun time.
  4. Thanks, Mike! That's the exact link I was trying to hunt down for pmcpa. It's one of the most helpful "how to's" I've encountered.
  5. For me, the cost of LOR controllers turned out to be nothing compared to the cost of everything else (lights, cords, etc.). Properly assembled (and, barring any unusual stuff like lightning strikes or water damage), I'd expect the components in a LOR unit to easily operate a decade or more before giving you any problems.
  6. I'm not aware of any female plugs designed that way. However, many folks around here (myself included) use nippers or wire cutters to cut away the shoulder on one side of the plug so that it can be used exactly as you described. Somewhere around here there's a link to a "how-to" with photos. I'll try to find it.
  7. Wow. I wouldn't have expected that!
  8. Brian, if you are using the inexpensive curtain strobes like most of us, I doubt you'll be able to get them to reliably flash just once on cue. The time it takes for the strobe to fire after power is applied seems to vary from strobe to strobe and also seems to vary with temperature. (I suppose it would be possible to modify the strobes to gain direct control over the triggering circuitry, but I've never seriously looked into it.)
  9. Water in the relay could produce enough (electrical) leakage to produce the symptoms you've described.
  10. Just keeping them off the ground and pointing down so they don't fill with water will go a long way towards preventing GFI trips.
  11. A "retrofit" LED is a screw-in lamp meant to replace a single incandescent bulb, like a C-9, etc.
  12. Hey Ted, wasn't that your display I saw on WFMY last night?
  13. MrPhred

    Fading LEDs

    I don't think so. The "noise" you've heard about probably only applies to LED strings employing voltage doubler circuits (2008 CDI 100 count strings, for example). This kind of noise causes channels - even on other controllers - to flicker when they should be off. I'm not sure adding a load to these string would make any differenct. As I understand it, applying a C9 load (or a resistor) to any other types of LED strings just helps to smooth the fades and makes them turn off faster.
  14. I'm glad they're helping that family out. Sounds like they have had more than their fair share of hard knocks. But, if you see that Pennington boy's megaphone, would you mind stealing his batteries for me?
  15. MrPhred

    Fading LEDs

    I can take an educated guess: As l long as the filiment of a C9 is hot, it presents a pretty constant load for the triac to drive. But, as you fade a string of LED's, the current they draw drops in a radically non-linear fashion. From the triac's point of view, the LED string looks as if it is being disconnected as the voltage is faded. The C9, on the other hand, behaves almost exactly opposite. As its filament cools, begins to look like a dead short to the triac. In short, a handfull of LED strings only looks like an 18 watt load at full voltage. As they are dimmed, the load appears to quickly disappear.
  16. I was too embarassed to post my display on DigTriad. But, if I can get some decent replacement LED's that actually work, I'll probably sign up next year.
  17. I've never found it necessary to use staples. I just zip tie the first and last wrap to itself.
  18. Great idea, DavBro. I'm in northwest Greensboro, and I'm pretty sure I've got the first animated display in Guilford County. (However, there are many fabulous static displays nearby.) This is my first year going animated, and I had big plans to invite folks over. But, a couple of things really messed up my plans. First, I got all 10,800 of my LED's in the now infamous 2008 CDI pre-season buy. So, about half my strings have died, forcing me to scrap hundreds of feet of my display. If that wasn't enough, the NCDOT is finishing off a massive road construction project near my house, and the route to my house has been changing almost daily. I've even gotten lost a couple of times trying to find my own house! I thought about not lighting up at all, but Chuck Hutchings (anyone remember Chuck?) gave me some great advice when my lights died. He told me that even if my display seemed awful to me, it would still impress folks who don't know any better. He was so right, and I'm glad I went ahead with my severly neutered display. It's really been fun, and like Chuck said, it has amazed my friends. So, my display is probably not worth the drive. But, you can check out three of my sequences at: http://DumbSoutherner.com/lights/ My wife and I are hoping to take a road trip to check out some of the displays you guys have put together. I'm looking forward to it!
  19. Mike B, every song in my show came from iTunes. I used iTunes to burn a normal music CD containing the songs I needed, then ripped that CD to .wav using Windows Media Player. It's a bit of a pain, but it's always worked for me.
  20. Looks like you made good use of your 16 channels. Nice display!
  21. I'm glad you explained that! I was about to holler, "No way that's 16 channels!" Dude, you got your money's worth out of 16 channels! Great job.
  22. I expected to see fewer displays this year due to the state of the economy. But in my area, it seems more people are stringing up lights than ever before. I can't explain it, but I'm sure happy to see it. I recently got laid off, but nothing's going to stop me from lighting up!
  23. YES! That's the best LED news I've heard in months.
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