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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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About richms

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    New Member
  • Birthday 07/19/1977

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  • Location
    Auckland, NZ
  • Biography
    In NZ, nothing made yet, looking for more of the diy controller aspect then buying off the shelf because they dont exist here.
  • Interests
    being a geek
  • Occupation
  • About my display
    Nothing yet.
  1. They can be dimmed, but the peak currents and resulting stress on the components will exceed what they are designed for. The capacitor in series as part of the voltage doubler is also a limiting device. Putting a step into that is just asking for it to fail since there is no current limiting to limit the inrush other then the resistor on the other leg of the input side of it. Yes, they get dimmer, but to do it properly needs either current or PWM control. Phase control into a non smoothed power supply gives a good approximation of it, but without a regulated current then there will be considerable shifts in brightness with small changes in line voltage . What they have there is trying to limit the charge into the capacitor with the delayed turn on. It will also suffer a small range of control but should give a wider range then a rectification only driven set and hopefully less flicker as well. Without knowing how much of the limiting is done by R1 in the PDF schematic and how much by R2 its impossible to estimate the inrush current, but whatever it is will need a good capacitor if its to survive on a chopped waveform. Has anyone even looked into how much EMF these radiate when running? Mis-specced componentry with a promise that the goods are suitable for something they clearly are not is common. Order a pallet full of weatherproof CCD cameras and end up with one of CMOS that are barely able to get damp without leaking, order 400 AC adapters that claim to meet the needed australian standard for them to be sold legally and get ones that dont even have the right pins on the plugs. Even when the samples are ok, my friend has had loads or cheap electronics where halfway down the pallet the design just changes to something well inferior. This is multiple suppliers. Eventually he found one that is good, but they are more expensive.
  2. If you want 2 25 lamp sets then you can just cut and extend the wires after the 25th one. If you dont want the trailing female you can remove that wire and use 2 conductor cable to extend it.
  3. I have only had a bit of a read of this thread since its so long. But I will add that to me, and the guy I know who does power supply repaid for a job the idea of saying that its ok to use phase control to dim something with a voltage doubler in it is totally insane. Whoever said these lights could be dimmed has no clue IMO. The transient from turnon of the triac/scr is a step function virtually. When at the peak of the AC that is going to have almost no impedance from the series cap which would normally be providing quite a deal of voltage drop when operating off a sine wave as is expected. I am surprised that people have not seen that design with a capacitor as a dropping element causing the channels of their controllers to have the triacs destroyed - I guess its a testomonial to the overengeneering that they have put into it. The modification with a rectifier is better, but there is no way you will get dimming if a smoothing cap is added, particually on the red leds which have a sharper knee to their V/I curve then the blue and white ones do. Its the only sane way to even try to get some control over a fixed current device by chopping up the AC supply. Even then you will have the problem with a very narrow range of control which may mean you have to run the dimmers between say 30% and 50% to get the whole range of brightnes available. IMO the person in china at the factory had to have known that these would fail when dimmed - or they have no clue and are just copying a design off another manufacturer without any idea of basic electronics. That happens all the time over there. If dealing with Chinese suppliers they will say yes to anything to close a sale even if they have no idea.
  4. I would be concerned about the damage to the capacitor in the encapsulation process - if they get too hot at all, they lose electolyte and then go up. Surrounded by molten plastic is definatly over their rated temperatures and it takes very little time at high temps to destroy them.
  5. Outdoor light transformers put out AC, you need DC for those fans. What I would do is go to an electronics shop with the mauled plug and get some solderable ones that are the same (inside and out diameters matter) - a lot of speaker cable and fit up the freecycle lists or the dump for an old PC power supply. They have 12v at massive current available. Get some speaker wire and solder the lot together and then you have them all running off the one more efficient PSU then those horrid outlet blockers. Plus 12v is safer so you can put them where you like without worrying about the cables to it.
  6. In NZ we have a word for doing things this way, its Hori. I think the equivalent over there would be ghetto? Anyway, if you get the video into your PC with a cheap capture card or USB device, then you can use the excellent processing environment to do it, but unfortunately it uses the less wonderful, infact almost totally crap quick time for acquisition. A friend used it to identify when people walked into a certain area of an installation to play sounds from different locations, and it was quite reliable on the cheap night vision cam he was using.
  7. Firefox wont help you from the pdf exploit that is doing the rounds. Had it popping up my virus scanner on loads of sites, I suspect its being sent via some advertising affiliate or similar since some of them were pretty legit sites. And there is AV solutions for the mac. With the userbases lax approch to security and the slowness of apple to patch its a userbase ripe for attacking, just a matter of time before someone gives some hackers some money to learn about macs.
  8. Any file can potentially contain a virus if the application that handles it fails when handed corrupt data in a way that ends up running it. Thats what the DEP stuff was supposed to help prevent. Even when it happens, things only get to run as the application, and the lack of sandboxing of apps to only what they need rather then the whole system is a major issue of all OS's still, except when you are running something in a VM. I set my friends up with a second install of vista 32 bit in a vmware machine for browsing. Gets trashed, restore it from the backup copy of it. No big deal.
  9. Blame for this one lies solely with adobe, all the virus writers had to do was send you to a malicious PDF file. I am suprised that this doesnt happen more, flash would be a better target since most people have those load automatically. But UAC should stop this from happening since the software cant do much without you approving it. If you turn it off because it annoys you then you really only have yourself to blame for it getting in as deep as it did.
  10. Thanks, will have a look into that sometime over the next couple of months. I am more looking for something that is a bit open so the LOR stuff is a little less appealing then something I can re-purpose for something else later on outside the xmas season.
  11. If its a continuous string of them then they can be quite large and far apart - I did a test with 5mm LEDs spaced end to end and even right by it they were fine. Saw a thing someone did on instructables I think it was where they used pingpong balls to act as a diffuser for some RGB leds, so separate ones would probably be ok in it.
  12. Not all ammeters are good on non sinusoidal waveforms, and in addition to that, the thermal loading on the triacs is worse when switching closer to the peak of the AC wave. If it gets too hot, then you have a problem, if not, then no problem
  13. CFL is a useless technology for this sort of thing, the desire for less mercury in them gives us these stupid long warmup times because the amalgams used in them have a higher operating temperature then older style fatty tubes like used in office lights etc. Putting a coloured gel/filter on them to get the colours you want just reduces the efficancy, whereas the LED PAR-38 and PAR-30 lights are much more efficiant because they are only making the desired wavelenght light rather then makeing the lot and then blocking most of it. If you are able to not dim them, they are great. Rapid flashing may cause problems depending on if the controller is smart enough to wait for a zero crossing for turnon.
  14. I have had a couple of LED PAR-38 lamps to have a play with from various vendors on ebay from hong-kong - most were quite unhappy to be dimmed because they just had a capacitor to limit current, and then a rectifier and a whole load of leds in series - the hard turn on from the dimmer being at half brightness appeared to make them burn out in no time. On the one with an actual power supply in it, the dimming was very non-linear compared to an incandesent on the same dimmer, still far from ideal. The idea that you can dim a light that is as complex as a LED on a proper power supply by chopping the supply waveform is a but too optimistic IMO, there are many DMX controlled ones that have a nice high frequency PWM dimming internal to them so there is no flicker like LEDs running on line frequency has.
  15. Considering that its the only way to even be able to use 4 gigs, let alone any more, and with ram being dirt cheap now its hardly extravagant. The thing is, when I will be getting something running the display will be running on a dinosaur computer, but I will be wanting to set it up on a proper computer. So far I have being playing with processing as a program to do lighting in, but not really had any progress yet.
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