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Long Lake Lights

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  1. Another source is Betty's Christmas House. http://www.bettyschristmashouse.com/index.htm
  2. Outstanding display therBig J! Due to health issues it has been 5 years now that I have not been able to do a display and had to sell my house last December as well. Hard to watch all this magic and not miss being able to do it for others myself though. I still have all my equipment but will probably have to sell it this year. But, have a Merry Christmas and keep that magic alive! Bill
  3. Sad indeed! I have accumulated around 170 or so molds over the years and this is another reason I want to hang onto mine longer now. I made a large display with them and have many of the same types such as drummers. angels, trumpet angels (have 25 of these in different colors) choir people! I want to replace all the C7 incandescent bulbs in them with dimmable C7 LED bulbs in some and pixels in some others but with my back problems I have not set up my display for the last couple of years. I was thinking of selling some stuff but still have the idea that maybe I can set up some things so I hold out hope on a display yet! Now I guess I will have to keep things just so they will not disappear entirely. Especially when I see some molds sitting on the side of the road for pickup by the trash collector! That is sad when many times the molds justs need some TLC and taking care of to bring it up to looking just fine. Times change as do all things I guess and certainly business is business but can be sad to see an era going away.
  4. I'm currently in the process of changing mine (160+) molds over to LEDs. With the pricing coming out of China on the C7 size dimmable bulbs, it just made sense to me to change. I am looking at using pixel nodes on some of the bigger ones to get better lighting in them in the head areas.
  5. Here is a shot of the big controller in my 2009 display.
  6. Yes 14 AWG stranded wire from the control boards to each outlet 12 AWG stranded from the power switches at the top to each control board 8 AWG stranded from the power connectors on the bottom up to the switches (each connector feeds 2 boards) I built the darn thing to be able to handle anything that I could think of for lights at the time. I think I could use it as a snow melt machine with enough bulbs plugged in - LOL. Also at the top right of the picture you can just see one of the two weatherproof Cat 5E connectors on the box as well. I did not have the interior Cat cables hooked up from them to the boards when I took the photo. The 4 slots at the bottom have plastic grommet edging around them for protection and is where I bring up all the wires from the tree to plug in. I have another of this size cabinet to use as well as one that is 24" x 24" than will fit 4 control boards but not the outlets. I have not figured how I will use them yet but looks more and more like they will house power supplies and some J1Sys controllers (P12R and P2R) for pixel stuff in the future. I also use a bunch of these single enclosures for controllers as well. I got a bunch of them off an eBay listing for a great deal and they work great. I mounted 12 - 20 amp GFI receptacles (each on its own circuit from a sub panel) under my front deck to get power for the display. I ran it all in conduit and weatherproof pvc boxes with covers that you can see under the single unit here.
  7. Sorry couldn't resist it. Here is my enclosure for the 4 LOR controllers for my mega tree. I am proud of it to say the least.
  8. Easiest thing is to go to a dollar or thrift store and buy some storage totes. Then you stick the controller on the cover of the tote, put the tote over the controller and put a weight on it so it won't blow off. Then after the season you use the tote to store lights, cords, and whatever in for the off season. Dual purpose usage and fairly inexpensive! That tote under the arch has 2 controllers under it! Been doing it for 3 years this way with no water or GFI trip problems at all.
  9. I think that most everybody has had some form of trouble in the last year or two it seems. I know that I have been pretty depressed over a lot of things as well as I have artithis, tendonitis, and a bad back that is really getting to be almost unbearable some times. Also the bad economy has taken most of the home building work out of the area I live in so finding jobs is a very tough prospect now. There are quite a few of us (at least those who have not moved away yet) that are fighting for the little jobs that come around not often enough. Seems like we barely make enough to pay even a few of the monthly bills and then a new month starts up and we are still behind. I have been giving more and more thuoght to selling my display to pay things but I really hate too. The people here have come to really enjoy the shows in December as a "winter break" and I like to do it for them as well. But it seems like things don't really improve much here even in the summer when this little town goes from just under 1000 full time residents to over 5000 summer people. Plus this area is the middle of a forever wild park that has a lot of restrictions on building anyway. Another thing is that my town is an hour and a half from a city of any size (ie - 30,000 or more people) and that does not help much. So you see, things may not be so bad for you after! There will always be someone who is worse off than you think you are (and I know because there are younger peopler here with a couple of kids that are worse off than me). I scrape by and make do without a lot to try and survive but I do believe that I am on a "lost cause" due to a lot of things as well as my health. Only time will tell. So hang in there and count your blessings. Things can always get worse but we can make them better if we try. Hey, I woke up and it does not look like a bad day outside so bonus - it's a winner so far !!!
  10. Make sure that you tell your wife to be careful when she puts in the driveway that she doesn't interfere with the display setup - LOL.
  11. Take care of yourself. Pneumonia is nothing to play around with. Glad you found out what it is and have it in control now. Feel better.
  12. I'm with Cory on this one. Welding Aluminum is not for the faint of heart or untrained. It takes skill and practice to do a good job, both of which I lack in this case. I have a MIG welder and do some steel work with it but I have used the Dura Fix to repair some aluminum things and it works very well. I would recommend it for this type of project for sure.
  13. I think that that statement is just a little wrong in my eyes. Each of these two (Jim - SandsDevices and Ed - J1Sys) are each working hard to give us all good products that will help with our lighting needs. I think that they are both pretty busy with getting the actual hardware and software running for us as well as the updates as new lthings come on the market. If you look at the two web sites you can see that Ed has quite a bit more to offer (as of right now) as far as hardware than Jim does. Does that make either of them less worthy of our repsect. Not at all. I know that if I was manufacturing a product, I would certainly be more worried about it performing as it should rather than if my web page has a spelling error or link concern. Though it is true that the sites need to have the correct information for us to make an informed decision for a purchase. I am one who goes by what a site tells me rather than sending countless emails or phone calls since no matter who you talk too, they are certainly going to try and sell you on their product and not the competitions. I would also think that both of these fine gentlemen are seeing the growing pains from the rapid advancement of RGB stuff in this hobby and are probably busy trying to keep up with it along with the rest of us. My hat is off to both of them personally and I would bet that they are going to "upgrade" their sites pretty soon along with all the new things that they are coming out with. Just need to give them a chance. Sorry for the rant. I'll stop there.
  14. Whew, Thank God. I was afraid for a minute that we would have to call the paramedics for you - LOL. It is like anything out there. You can always find something that will go against the norm. I know when I first started the tests it was more for the advent and use of hot melt by folks who swore that it was good to use for electrical connections and I just could not believe it. And as it turns out it is not good to use in the forms that can be bought over the counter by the average consumer. I did get my hands on some that could be used but since it is not a normal sale item why bother? And the only other way to use hot melt is in a factory setting so again, why bother. There are so many formulations of things that you can almost always find things that will work and others that will not. I agree on the Permatex stuff being good. It does not weep and is a great thing for many uses. This GE stuff I use came from an old job in electronics that I worked on for a few years in the early 80's so it has seen better days as well. And tomorrow someone will anounce a whole new product that will make all these obsolete so again, why bother - LOL. We all use whatever we find that works for us anyway and move on to the next project.
  15. Wow, take it easy. Take a breath! LOL I just said that SOME dielectrics can weep. not all. Here is one silicone dielectric compound that does weep! Now I am sure that there are many out there that do not, especially since this one is quite old and I would be certain that the newer ones are not even the same formula as this one. I just wanted to bring that point to the general attention of others who have not worked with things like this. Another MINOR point with the dielectric compounds is that since they effectively stay "wet", they can attrack a lot of dust and dirt if not covered in some way. I would think that anyone would want to cover it anyway just to keep the compound from getting on other things or their hands. Anyway, here is a picture of some dielectric compound that does indeed weep in the warmer months.
  16. While dielectric compound can be used as an insulator I would make a recommendation that you check the brand you use and test it first before spreading it all over things. Some brands can "weep" during the summer months much like a condensation effect on something, it will produce a mucus like substance that is runny. I would also test for any interaction with the materials that you use it on as some of it is silicone based and can lead to breakdown of certain resins or tubing. Not all but some might have reactions. That is the biggest problem with finding good things to use for this. We want it to be durable, insulate the electrical connections, protect things, and yet be able to remove it in case of repairs. Alwasy seems to be one part of that that can be a sticking point. Maybe dielectric with some heat shrink over it might be a good thing. I may try some out and see myself.
  17. Now this is what can only be called "True Artistry" ! Your work is absolutely outstanding and really breath taking to look at. I applaud your efforts. It is inspiring to say the least.
  18. Amen on the hard work on the farm !! I joined the Air Force to get away and then spent 2 years doing temporary duty over in Thailand and Guam working 12 hour days and wondering where my great idea went wrong. LOL We need to come up with something between the silicone and urethane that will flex and yet provide a good quality seal on things. Hot melt adhesive has some alternatives that could work but have to be applied in a controlled factory type setting to get the right outcome. I figure that in the next couple of years the sealant industry will catch up and have some things that will do the job nicely. There are actually some in the design and testing stages now but not for release yet. Or come up with a way to make pixel "cells" that can be changed out easily if a failure occurs without having to solder or use some strange sealants.
  19. That is interesting since I too grew up in a farming environment! Although I did not live on a farm, my relatives as well as all my friends did and I spent a lot of time baling hay and just helping out. My father was a carpenter and handyman for a fellow who owned a big motel complex. I worked there and did the sweeping of the parking lots and cleanup every morning. I too learned a lot of do it right the first time things and still live by them actually. And like you I try to find ways to make things easier and better for my own sake as well as it is just plain fun to tinker and see what I can produce or come up with - LOL. There are indeed many things out in the world that can help with this hobby but I have learned that I need to work more in the "real world" with things when I am attempting to find new or different ways to do things if I am going ot suggest it to people. It becomes a part of the research to consider the talents and capabilities ot others and what they really would consider reasonable to use for this "hobby". But it is also exciting when you come up with a new thing for your own display and people like it and use it too. And who knows, you might just come up with the next real money maker idea !!
  20. Eric brings up a very good point about how the internet has changed our perceptions on things and our buying habits as well. Fast Eddy is also correct about his usage of both controllers (SansDevices and J1Sys) and the differences between them. I ended up choosing the J1Sys because of reading up on the forums and the differences between the two controllers. I like the ability of the J1Sys to adjust the speeds in case of problems with distance and more importantly quite a few people that I asked about these controllers all pointed to the web based interface of the J1Sys controller being so much easier to use than the SansDevice. It also "appears" that Ed has done a lot of thinking with his controllers as he has designed them for possible future options on the boards from the looks of them. I am sure that the SansDevice one is a fine controller and not that bad to setup once you know how. The fact that Bobby has somebody near him that uses the SansDevice controller makes that somewhat of a logical choice for him I would think as he can get some assistance pretty easily if he needs it. Since I live in the middle of nowhere, I need something that I can figure out myself easily! Although now days help is just an email or instant message away pretty much anymore. But I am one of those who can look at something and figure it out most of the time so I am pretty sure that I could do either controller with enough coffee and my trusty hammer !!
  21. Great link for the Natures NonScents there Darlene. I had not heard of them before and will give the site a good looking at and possibly order some things to try out.
  22. Thanks for the link to RH Products. They have a neoprene cement on there that I have been looking for. Yes the urethane is tough stuff to work with but I do use acetone as well as other things like MEK and alcohol for projects. Certainly can get some kind of buzz or headache if not careful around some of it. That is why I have to stop and consider the people that I am recommmending things too. Not many are up to using heavy duty adhesives and cements due to their nasty nature and stubborn properties (the adhesives, not the people). So one has to be careful to only recommend things which are available to the general public as well as reasonably safe for people to handle and work with. As far as RGB going bad, it is more of a crap shoot as to when not if. Whether it is water ingress or just plain failure it is going to happen. I'm with gmac on this one as I want to be able to do my repairs as easily as possible. If it is one of the pixels that is the connection one on the string, then I have ones with the wires already soldered on and sealed so that I can just splice in the pixel and splice the wires in and go. Then I will only have to heat shrink the wire connections and put a dap of silicone on the RGB splice area of tubing.
  23. The ex-grinch brings up a valid point. Urethane based caulk is a great item. I did not include one in my testing because first off I did not consider it for a couple of reasons at the time. Back when I started the testing, it was a relatively new form of caulk and had some limitations to its use, was fairly expensive (which in this hobby is a real killer), and foremost is pretty much impossible to remove and or cleanup. Those prolpted me to not consider it so it was not used. I still don't consider it very much as it can not be cleaned off whereas the silicone, plastic dip, and liquid electric tape can be peeled off a connection if repairs are needed. I think too that the connections on pixel trees should be done well and the wire folded back and attached to the strip so that the actual electrical joint can not move or flex and so that it is protected. Easy enough to fold the wire back and zip tie it to the strip or better to the strip and the underlying strap or backer item that the strip is attached too to support it. And the newer urethane caulks are becoming more "user friendly" for the average consumer to play with. I do use urethane caulk for windows, doors, roofing, and other items in the building trade myself so I am familiar with it. It can be very messy and sticks like crazy and very, very tough to remove. So I would caution people to use it with caution as well as gloves and good safety practices if you are going to use it. But it will give you a flexible seal that will hold up for a very long, long time if you do decide to try it.
  24. Well I have finally stopped my testing of the sealants. I have done a pdf file composed with pictures for anyone to see the results. RGBtestend.pdf
  25. You might also try seeing if any of the speciality companies have anything like desicator units or odor absorbers that could be put in the unit to start trying to absorb the odor and smell until you can get in and remove stuff or get in and actually get things moved and taken care of. Activated charcoal is an excellent odor absorber and you can get it from a nursery or large plant supplier. So you could try some of that. I have used it in homes where they have a wood stove to eliminate the smell of smoke so I know it works. It does take a bit of time to do its thing though and depending on the intensity of the smell you might have to do a few changings of it to be effective. Baking soda is also an excellent absorber but probably you would not be able to get a large amount to use for this - or else everybody would think that you were starting a bakery in there - LOL. Restoration companies have had a lot of experience with this sort of thing and can do some amazing things and at a not so unreasonable price. I have seen them come into buildings with fire and smoke damage and restore the place to original condition such that unless you knew about the problem, you would never know anythng had happened. Some of the companies are that good! Good luck and we hope it goes well with this for you.
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