Jump to content
Did you know?
  • 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.


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by BMcGeeny

  1. Boy, I see and awfull lot of money, time and overkill go into megatree's. Keep it simple.

    First one is a 10' piece of 3" PVC ($9.99) I take three $4 T fence posts and drive them in the ground just close enough to the 3" PVC fits in the center. I use a plastic Pipe cap ($1.99) with holes drilled in it with S-Hooks (2 packs of 6 at $.79). I put 4 strings of 50 count lights (4 colors) zip tied together, put the tops in the hooks and tip the post up into the opening of the fence posts. I then use 3 6" plumber clamps ($1.29 each) at evenly spaced to tighten the postes to the PVC. I pull the light strings out evenly and hold them down with lawn staples.

    I can set this up by myself in less thn 15 minutes. I did have to go back two days later, after the wires had all evend out and tighten them up a little, but after that, never touched it through 50+ mph winds.

    I am doing a bigger one now made from 2 pieces of 4" PVC. We did not glue the coupler that might be the only weak spot. Did have to drive it together with a hammer so should be ok. This I do the same way, only I use 5' fence posts instead of 3'. I used a 4" toilet flange for the top, same S hooks and 100 count light strings. I did have to have help to hoist it up, but did not put guy wires on it. with 24 sets of 4 double light strings I don't think they will be needed.

    This took 2 of us about 1 1/2 to set up. Should go faster this fall when we set it up for good..

    I can't imagine spending $200 - $300 on a stick to hold up lights.

  2. I do have extra spaces in my panel which I will be putting in a couple breakers. I do not have any extra channels though to control static lights. I have been giving it more thought and trying to figure what will be used as far as appliances and stuff during the show. Also with the animated part of the display I will not be at full power.

    I first need to get a clamp meter to find out what I am using first. At that point I will see what I need to cut back on. It would still be nice to find something to run my static lights at 80%.

    There will be no cooking, no hot showers and no clothes drying during the show. Might as well make that clear to the Missus right now!

  3. I remember reading about that.

    Just a thought. I remember recently someone was trying to get a PA mini together. I don't know if that would help or not, but it could be a "working" mini at your house...

    That starts Labor Day and ends Halloween!

  4. one more little trick to squeeze a couple extra amps. If you are getting close, back all your 100% intensity down to 80%. It will not be noticeable in the display, but it rally does draw 20% less.

    I have plenty of power, but near the limit of the triac on some rope lights, my icicles on the eve's (actually had to split them) and some 100' strings that go in the trees.

  5. This is what happens when someone asks for my car keys. I come out and find these in the back seat.

    Not being a moldie, what are they and are they worth anything?

    The candles look like new, the paint on the snowman is pretty worn but the plastic is in very nice shape and this could easily be repainted. If it's worth it.

  6. So far this year I've:

    wrapped 9 artificial trees

    created 14 window outlines with peg-board (in 3 colors)

    wrapped 6 mini trees

    built 11 new LOR controllers

    created a bethlehem star

    ordered 6,000 ft. of spt-2

    ordered a dozen snowflakes

    added 2 50-amp range plugs

    added 2 new 'portable' sub panels / load centers with GFIs

    I still lack:

    wrapping new arches

    designing the mega-tree

    putting it all on the house

    How is your 2009 show progressing?

    I need to put up lights.

  7. 6. Everyone seems to have his or her own favorite way of building a winder and attaching it to the PVC. I used a old variable speed electric drill controlled by a footswitch. (See Pics 1 thru 5).I found a huge advantage to having a footswitch setup as the person doing the winding can control the turning of the PVC. I can’t imagine having one person doing the winding and another controlling the winder -- too much coordination. I built a very simple winding jig setup around the drill. I drilled a couple of holes in a cedar fence board and attached the drill to it with hose clamps. I then used another hose clamp around the drill trigger and tightened it to the create rotation speed I wanted when I pushed on the foot switch. I could then very easily adjust the height of the drill by sliding the board up and down in a Workmate. To attach the PVC to the drill I used a double female PVC coupler. I clamped a eye-bolt into the drill socket then ran a bolt through the PVC coupler and through the eye-bolt in the drill. Thus when the drill turned it would turn the bolt which turned the coupler which turned the PVC. All I had to do was pressure fit the PVC arch into the open end of the coupler attached to the drill and it was a tight enough fit to turn. I never had any slipping. This setup also has some “play” in it which is helpful in alignment and made it act a bit like a universal joint. I have seen some other postings that actually suggest building a universal joint for the winder to pipe connection but I found that much complexity unneeded.

    I see all this about motorizing the winding. You did a gread job, and looks like a great setup, but, here comes the but, it looks like it took you longer to build and set up the motor and winder than it did me to wind my arches by hand.

    I just set 10' PVC across two saw horses with a couple quick clamps to keep it from falling off, used a zip tie to secure the start of the first section. I twisted the PVC with my left hand and guided the wire with my right. I built 4 10' 8 section arches in about 90 minutes.

    As for wire. I cut the plug off the end and spliced in some 22 gauge hookup wire. (same stuff the lights are made of) Four solder joints and four shrink tubes and they are done. I put about 15 feet on longer than my arch tubes. Should be enough to reach the controller without extension cord.

    In fact this is what I am doing with most of my lights this year. Adding 22 gauge hookup wire and spliceing the factory plug with fuse back in. I figure on going from 380 extension cords last year to about 40 this year.

  8. If you switch to DIY stuff it is endless. You can use Renard and put 6 moxi boards each with 8 Serial ports that can each handle 2080 so thats 6 X 8 X 2080 = 99840 and if that still isn't enough you can add some Heilix wireless controllers and add another 99840.

    This would however require several power transformers on you block to complete.

  9. i have built the wheel already out of pvc,with plywood center hubs that are 13 inch circles. my question is about the motor. would a power wheels engine and gear box be powerful to move it.

    Uhm, yes, in fact it wold be powerful enough to run it with 12 kids in it.

    A bit overkill. I know you probably already have it.

    I have built the like with a small barbeque spit motor. It also would be very easy to control the speed.

  10. There is no break even point with LED's. Never has never will. Static or animated you cannot save enough money to save buying $20 light strings.

    My electric bill with roughly 30,000 lights goes up about $30 for the main 30 day period. I am at the edge of the power curve without adding electrical upgrads, but I don't have much more room anyway.

    I guess I see people wanting to put 300 lights on a mini tree (I use 100) 100 lights per channel on an arch (I use 50) 200 per channel color on a mega tree (I use 50) and on and on. I have multiple stars and snowflakes that only use 50 per item. My big draws are wireframe deer, 5 color 100' strings in the trees, and the 150' rope light the borders the property to keep folks out.

    The point is, you really can do less with more. Unless you want to go Bob Cox's route and get your own transformer, you are never going to be the guy with the most. So instead do the best with what you got.

    Final thing, I hate the look of LED's plastic electronic glow. When that's all there is, I'll stop putting up lights.

  11. 10' tall sorta-mega tree. I cut 100 light strings in 1/2 and rewire. so each leg is 50 lights times 4 colors. Last year I used 12 section so 12 x 4 = 48 channels.

    I take the 4 seperate colors and stech them out and zip tie them together. This makes them pretty strong. Use a PVC cap with s hooks on the top and no guy wires. I drive 3 T fenceposts in the ground and set the PVC in the middle with 3 plumbers clamps to hold it in place

    It sounded kind of thin on lights at first, but the math is 48 X 50 = 2400 lights. Why put 10,000 lights on a tree and have them on 1/10th of a second. Just have them on more.

    I am doubleing the number of channels this year, but still 50 light strings.

    If you want to see some very poor video of it just search you-tube

    for son of a grinch lightshow.

  12. I have never paid for a blowmold. Usually friends have a grage sale and when they can't sell it, they ask me do I want it. Sure. I find some in the trash. Son in law works for Salvation Army, they just toss them in the dumpster. And I have a few garge sale buddies that will pick them up $.50 or $1 but then just give them to me.

    Now comes the catch, and this may just be the type of activity that drives up prices.

    I am wanting to put a choir up. A dozen or so little molds. I've not seen may at sales, so if I REALLY want to to that, then I start shopping. May find a couple for $3 each, now I want the ones that match or go with, so I become willing to spend $10, when I'm down to my lat 3 I'll pay $25. So somebody catches me buying just that one and says hmmm, my mold is worth that, I'll list it.

    I have not yet fallen into this trap, but I can see how it happens.

    For now blowmold investment $0 average price of blowmolds I own $0 I think there are about 2 dozen in there right now.

  13. I'm sure they had to take out the engine and the interior to make it lighter. Those cars are lighter than you think. My father use to have one and it would float in floods. But I sense a lot of beer was involved in this creation.:giggle:

    I love that thing. I'd be willing to donate 6 more deer to it.

  14. Having worked with city and county governments a great deal, if you can get them to look at this idea at all, they probably would ask you what you want to do and then tell you how to do it. They would start with a traffic engineer, a structural engineer, and electrical engineer, then move on to the impact process, anyone who is effected by this has a right to voice an opinion.

    If you get all these agency's to agree to do it, they will either require they do it themselves or that who hire an approved contractor to do it up to the municiple specs. You will also be required to serve a bond, probably several million dollars, to cover any liability you might cause.

    My guess would be if you are talking 2010 you better get moving. It took 4 years to get a strip mall permission to hang a 20' banner between two of their buildings, at a cost of $20,000. And thy owned the buildings. They finally had to get the city to vacate the street they wanted to hang over and accept full responsibility for snow removeal and street maint.

    Good luck

    But it is a really neat idea

  15. Is it just me or do postal employees have a major chip on their shoulders? .....they get all rude,like I've insulted their mother or something..............If they don't like the job,they can always go stand in line at the unemployment office. I know plenty of people that would love to take their jobs.

    Sorry for the ranting and raving,but I know SOMEONE on here must understand this aggravation. :mad:

    Yes skarah I do understand. Can you imagine being married to one. I am. That's all they talk about is how much their jobs stink. And to top it all off it is Walmarts fault that their jobs only pay $50k a year. (don't ask me how)

    I feel your pain. But it keeps me in lights.

  16. I haven't seen any talk about just doing this with lights and electronics. An arch is just 8 strings of lights sequence to "appear" to leap. Why not do the same thing with this. Looks like you want sixteen legs on the megatree. It would take a little drawing and a stout frame, but start out with 16 in the gega tree position and tranform into 16 in the windmill position. This takes 16 X 8 channels but that's only 128 channels or two grinches, 2 ren c's and 32 SSR's. Less than 500. Closet light strings at $1.27 = $162.50.

    A mechanical design would be neat but think of the things that could go wrong. I would just start with a double frame. One in the tree position, one in the windmill position and then just find 6 points in between for each channel.

  • Create New...