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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 n1ist

  • Rank
    New Member
  • Birthday 05/01/1964

Profile Information

  • My favorite Christmas story
  • Location
    Malden MA
  • Biography
    I'm a hardware engineer interested in DMX controlled lighting
  • Interests
    Ham radio, blinking lights
  • Occupation
    hardware/software/embedded engineer
  • About my display
    Not much yet, but there's always next year
  1. According to the TI datasheet, the maximum emitter current (that's the sum of all the channels) is 2.5A worst case. They also spec maximum die temperature so that's the second limit on power dissipation. /mike
  2. Make sure you don't accidentally stick anything (a finger, a tool) in the open section of the breaker box where the breakers are missing. I'd even tape a cardboard or plastic cover over the big holes. It's way to easy to be killed or start a fire with what you have now. As for power, a 15A circuit can handle 1800W non-continuous or 1440W continuous load, so you are way under that with 800W per circuit. /mike
  3. The ratings on the AWC and Belden (CMX, CMR) are only for class-2 or class-3 current limited communications cables (as far as I can tell; I am not an electrician). So I guess if you have appropriate current limiting in place, you could use them for 125V. I'd only do that with cable from a reputable manufacturer (Belden, etc.) not generic cat5 cable. As for the RJ45, 125V is the MAXIMUM rating, and 125V RMS has a peak voltage of 170V . That doesn't even take into account pad-to-pad spacing. For 110V AC loads, I would use a suitable multi-conductor cable with a suitable connector. Can you get away with other options? Sure. Can you guarantee it will always be safe, no. Is it legal per NEC? No. Lighting powered by cat5 probably is using a 48V DC source (above 52V and you enter the world of electricians and chapter-3 wiring methods) or possibly a 24V source like Emerge. /mike
  4. Most of those are 14 or 16 volt bulbs, and are wired in series. Remember the old light strings - if one goes out, they all do. Unlike the modern dollar-store bulbs, the entire milk-glass envalope is the bulb. More modern ones are plastic shells that fit over a bulb. /mike
  5. NO! Cat5 cable is not rated for line voltage and RJ45 connectors do NOT have proper spacing between the pins. Neither is speaker cable, landscape cable, or thermostat cable. This comes up every year. As for low voltage DC, many people do that. Some have seen corrosion or electrolysis problems with RJ45s but a squirt of deoxit or even dielectric grease seems to prevent it. Cat5 cable has the proper impedance for RS485 so you can use one pair for DMX/Renard/LOR and the other three for power. /mike
  6. My guess is that you are pulling too much current with your strings. You would need to change the triac to one with a higher rating and may need to heat simk it. /mike
  7. If you hardwire together molds, you won't be able to separate them for storage or to use them in different places in the future. /mike
  8. n1ist

    Led Upside Down

    Do not make a double-male (suicide) cord. It's illegal and can be deadly. Why not run an extension cord up the tree from where the lights should plug in to where the plug is now? /mike
  9. PIR depends on a roughly body temperature thing moving in the field of view. Ultrasonic or beam-break may be better in this case. /mike
  10. For safety, you MUST have a transformer in your power supply to isolate the lights from the AC line. Omitting the transformer can leave you with a lethal situation. /mike
  11. I'd try orange or white with brown caps or tinting. Running at lower voltage may shift the orange enough. /mike
  12. It's a pushbutton (or more commonly two, one for each hand) that needs to be continuously pressed to allow the effect to be fired. A person with direct view of the entire area would hold down the buttons during the show; if at any time he thinks there's a safety issue (someone or something in the area, a malfunction, etc.), he would let go of the button and the effect would not fire. Name comes from the early days of trains; if the engineer was injured or died, he would stop holding the deadman and the train would stop. As for how it's wired, that depends on the unit. Ideally, it would be in series with the solenoid that releases the gas. /mike
  13. They have one of these in the discovery room at the Boston Museum of Science. I think they used fluorescent tubes rather than incandescents with a diffuser panel. You could also look at the white LED flex tapes on eBay. 1400W in an enclosed box with plastic sounds like something will end up melting. /mike I just did a quick Google search and found these plans
  14. The DMX specification states that DMX should NOT be used to control pyro or automation as it has no error-detection or error-correction in the protocol. I would not use it unless there is an additional deadman switch controlled by someone with a clear view of the area at all times. /mike
  15. It depends on what you are using them for. If they are for ethernet or RS485 (DMX, Renard, Pixelnet), then it does matter - at least that you get the twisted pairs in the right place (1&2, 3&6, 4&5, 1&8). For DC applications (controlling SSRs, spotlights, etc), then it doesn't matter as long as the pins are connected straight thru (1-1, 2-2, 3-3, etc) /mike
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