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Everything posted by djmille

  1. Mark, Kevin and Gang. Thanks soooo much ! That was the best CLAP to date. I really enjoyed getting re-energized after taking a year off. Sara, Thanks for the controller; you know it went to a great home. It was great seeing familiar faces as well as meeting new ones. -Darin
  2. Any metal display elements touching or stuck into the ground will act as a grouding rod and do the same thing as having lights laying on the ground. This goes especially for any wireframes and those tomato cage mini trees. Every connection should be elevated above the ground and you can simply let the water flow through with no issue. (use lot's of those little green plastic stakes) Removing GFIs is kind of a "don't ask, don't tell" type of thing and would probably need to be under the "Rogue Practices" and not the "Best Practices" forum.
  3. djmille

    Anybody here ?

    Hey Gang, Is everybody ready to flip the switch? I'm about 3 days behind because of the exciting weather and after last night, I will be re-installing a few items. The wind must have been well over 50 mph in the area west of Portland. -Darin
  4. Hey Washington friends; It's good to see some display setup progress. The Oregon message board was too quiet so I eves dropped on you guys. -Darin
  5. Nice press coverage ! Way to keep the bottom half of the state lit up.
  6. Anything you can do to insulate your mini-tree shaped grounding rod from the ground will help. I have a 4" rule on any type of light string in proximity to the ground. The cage trees are better when the bottom rung is left in place, but it's still metal and it touches the ground. I have used worn out sections of garden hosed split lengthways down the middle and pressed over the bottom metal ring. Then you can put stakes over the top of the ring without metal to metal contact. Mini trees, wire frames, and aluminum stakes are all nothing more than different shapes of grounding rods; th
  7. Anybody used the great weather in NW Oregon to test out their GFI's circuits? I have never had more problems than last night. Over 1/3 of my display was dark. I was outside until after midnight trying to troubleshoot. It turned out to be cumulative leakage by a multitude of channels causing GFIs to trip. Every connection is elevated from the ground and there's not much more I can do. I'm thinking the ultra wet tree bark is providing areas for current leakage to ground. Ahhhh;; Frustrating
  8. Dave, Too bad you're so far away! We'd like to come down and check out your display. Good Job on keeping Southern Oregon Lit UP !!! -darin
  9. Paul, Great work once again. I drove buy your display on the way home the other night. It looks like the Blue C9 LEDs were new? I usually tune in the radio on my way to work to catch daytime Zara radio stuff. It seems to work pretty good. -Darin
  10. Yeah, that's the Planet Christmas rule #2 "You can never have too many extension cords" Rule #1 is "You can never have too many lights" They kind of work together !
  11. Nothing special; I was just using a wireless laptop to connect to the house router which in turn is connected to the LOR show computer upstairs. It's the remote desktop program that comes with Microsoft XP, Vista, 7 running over the network (Local area ethernet type, not the LOR RS485 network) You basically see the same desktop as the computer you are connecting to. It worked better than I thought. Last night I had was troubleshooting a GFI trip issue. I was walking around with the laptop while turning individual channels on/off until I found the culprit. It was easy because I was r
  12. Yeah, I'm a little ahead of schedule, but I hate to brag about it. I got a wireless laptop to remote control the main show computer so I can sit out in the car and make adjustments this year. No more running to the window after clicking the mouse
  13. I usually test all new items right out of the box, then test them again right before they are hung, and then once again immediately after they are in place. Those same lights are sometimes tested when they are taken down, but this is only crititical to determine what needs repaired during the off season. Same for used lights; they are tested before heading outside, then once again right after they are in place. It's also good to run tests with computer when doing an animated display; I found two of my mini trees were backwards and 4 perimeter fence colors were plugged into the wrong
  14. How's it going? I'm at 85% complete and should have no problem going live on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The wind storms in the Portland area have been fun. Those spiral trees are more of a wind vane than a decoration. During a power up test, I found that a few mini trees were reversed. Does anybody work outside at night on the dry evenings? It's fun because you can live test portions of your display, but you also can't see what you are tripping over ! Hope everybody is doing well. -Darin in Forest Grove
  15. Are the Halloween displays going to make it through the week ? We are getting 40 mph winds just West of Portland. I'm still repairing the Christmas items in the shop so I haven't had to venture outside. -Darin
  16. It's getting closer !!!! Real close for those of you doing the Halloween displays. How's the progress ?
  17. Kevin, I just hope we can still be friends! -Darin
  18. I just had something come up so I won't be able to make it. I'm very bummed I had earlier signed up for the soldering class, so I hope my solder kit can be used by somebody else. Keep up the good work and I wish you all the best for the 2010 decorating year. Best Regards -Darin
  19. Count me IN for the solder class. Also, I have a few high torque servos that I could bring up for the servo demo. One other thing I thought was cool were all the "show and tell" items that were stacked on tables and benches. I think Z-man was planning on bringing one of those cool 1.5" pcv lighted candy canes; right? One other fantastic benefit of the Mini is it provides us with a support group friends and some motivation to complete the projects for the next season. -Darin
  20. djmille

    Anybody here ?

    Towerman, I'm on the west side, but it sounds like you have been told the correct schools to stay away from. Tualatin is pretty good, but I think you have to drive an Escalade as a 16 year old to fit in there. Oregon city is pretty good from what I hear, but I don't have first hand experience. It's funny you mentioned the Christmas ships. I have a friend at work who owns a boat (28 ft) and his wife wants to join the Christmas ship parade for the Columbia River. Now I'm trying to figure how to mount some arches on his boat! We have a couple Honda eu2000i generators for power. J
  21. djmille

    Anybody here ?

    Right ON !!! Now we can light up all sides of the Portland area! What part of town are you going to reside?
  22. From what I can tell, traditional curtain strobes are what I want, however, they don't seem to be available. The are 6.49 per unit. LED strobes seem to be available and they appear to be about 5.25 in quantities of 10. Is there anyone who has used both and can comment of performance? I really don't think LED strobes will be as visibly pleasing as the nice bright curtain strobes. I wanted to get some strobes in by April/May so I can rig up a 4th of July show. Thanks for any input -Darin
  23. I know we have covered these, but they are still very important due to the rapidly changing technology: 1- LEDs (replaceable, full wave/half wave, rusty sockets, fading/snubbers; smart buying guide) 2 - Strobes (LED vs, incadescent, colored lenses or not, do we still need conformal coating on the boards, hanging them in a mega-t, where to get them since daryl is out). -Darin
  24. OK, OK, never say never I think the bottom line is that not many local retailers will be offering LED strings good enough for Planet Christmas members. These things were close to $10 for a 50ct string. Even at 75% off, the were well double a standard mini string in cost. I'm trying to go "Green" while wasting more money and filling up the land fill quicker. Ohh, one other thing, I had typed that first message about 2 minutes after first discovering the rusty sockets and water filled diffuser caps. Maybe I wasn't in the best state of mind -Darin
  25. I'm finishing tear down for this year and have found many of my GE sockets wet and beginning to rust. The little plastic diffuser cap over the actual LED is also holding water in about 1 out of 10 lights. If I have to spend countless hours with dielectric grease after spending a premium for these, I will have to stick with incadescent minis. This really stinks after tie-wrapping several thousand of them into mini/midi trees. Never buy replaceable LED sockets ! -Darin
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