Slow down...will be posting details on setup for Christmas, what I wish I could do over again
*If* you are following my blog...as soon as I slow down, I have a TON of stuff to update. Everything is up and running great (knock on wood). Just note to self...START EARLIER NEXT YEAR!!!! I really have to get more stuff up at Halloween...that's all there is too it. I also just need to remember to take the day off after Halloween. That did help in getting setup, but no where near enough time. If the setup changes much (which it might not change much...pretty good now) I really have to find more time to do my setups.
Slow down...will be posting details on setup for Christmas, what I wish I could do over again
I had seen a while back about using a relay and a wal-wart (big block wall transformer) for use on a fog machine...to use with a LOR controller. Completely forgot where I had seen it and spent about a hour looking for it. It took me longer to find the article, dig through my junk to find a Radio Shack reed relay than it did to put the thing together! Works great!!! Now I just have to go and put in a few "fog" moments into my sequences.
I decided to use 4 of the 20 watt dc powered red and green floods I picked up cheap at Home Depot last year. With all the flood lights coming out now by different companies and the fact that I already had these...just couldn't see spending the money for it. Now if I find some cheap BLUE 20 watt floods...I might jump on those. It seems like in my display I pretty much used either red, green or blue...and white for the floods, so color mixing shouldn't be a problem. I have found that THESE floods do not mix as well as the Rainbow RGB floods I have. I went ahead and ordered 3 Rainbow Spots. The spots are suppose to be brighter than the older style . Since these spots will go side by side with the Snow Flakes Spots, I guess I will have to really look and adjust the brightness on each. What a pain.
BOUGHT ANOTHER LOR CONTROLLER! What a deal at $155.00 and FREE shipping! On sale. They were blowing out the old models, which is what I was looking for. I still have to solder it up, but that is no biggie. I will probably now use this one to go with the arches. That way I don't have to double up on channels with my 4, 8 channel a piece...arches.
I think that I am going to use ONE full mega tree this year instead of 2 half mega trees or one sided ones. Think I am going to finish out the twig tree I started and painted (from green) and then also use the small twig tree I have (about 3 ft high) and have those on one side of the pine island. Mega tree on the other. Still not completely sold on it...but thinking in that direction.
I am also thinking about purchasing a new transmitter. I had toyed with the idea of a 5 watt version...but think I am really going to scale down to the low powered 30mw version. Cheaper and with a antenna, will cover what I need for it to.
So far behind on sequencing. Much further behind than last year. Might pair down some songs because of this...we will wait and see.
Have a bunch of red minis to go on the mini trees. Also thinking about doing a arch with the yard runners coming into one section. This will cut down on running extension cords or having to make half the strings "dead" as not to light up...on sections I don't want lit up!
Last but not least...
With the gutter lights, spots on tomb stones (for Halloween), I am going to put up all the flood lights, gutter lights and spots for Halloween. That will REALLY help me getting ahead in putting up lights for Christmas. I will just leave them up after Halloween! Gives me a few more weekends ...to sequence ;-)
What a good day to go yard selling! Found a really nice 7ft artificial tree for $5 !!! I had toyed with the idea of taking all the fake green stuff off of the tree to make a "Twig Tree" or "Holdman Tree". Not sure I am going to do that now. I might just keep the two I already have and leave it at that. Even though I am in the process of wrapping lights on the second one now. Also another really great find was 9 wreaths for $4.50. I think right now I am just going to use 3 channels to change colors on all the wreaths. That will add to the color washing of the house when I go with my floods and spots on red / green / white.
Ordered the singing pumpkin from Holidaycoro.com
Bit the bullet and got some 50 count minis from Big Lot's at $2.22 per. Now just going to see if I can wait on some pumpkins they have to go a little cheaper before I grab those. Then all I have to do is get two 2x4's, cut, screw together...and I am done! No work involved and I can keep on working with Christmas stuff. Oh yeah...picked up about 6 grave stones, 2 18ft "Halloween" icicle lights, some glow in the dark skeleton stuff, all for $6.00 while out yesterday.
One neighborhood and picked up all that. Great yard
Sounds kind of strange doesn't it ;-) I have some boxwoods that are pretty bad off. They really need trimming back. My wife wants me to dig them up. Not sure if I am there yet, but still...even trimming them back will leave me with no place to put part of the display (lights that is). So, Christmas trees to the rescue! I had already pick up several from either donations, real cheap after Christmas...etc. Today though, I went to some yard sales and picked up 3. 1 6ft, 1 4.5ft and 1 7.5ft. That adds to the ones I already had (7.5ft, 6ft and 2 4.5ft). Probably will pick up a few more just to fill in nicely. Use these this year and see what the bushes look like next. Shoot...I might just dig them up after all :-) (The bus
Harbor Freight Tools is fast becoming my favorite place ;-) I was driving by the new store in Fayetteville today, had a little time...so stopped in to look. I originally went in to look at what their cost on winches were. I really wanted to do a taller tree than the two I had last year. However I didn't have a ladder tall enough to work on them. Found a great deal on a wench for $25.00. Ok on to look at some pond stuff for my wife. Right next to that area was a push up flag pole. Mmmmmm. 20ft at $59.95. Ok, putting all the pieces together for a heavy mega tree would run more than that. Might be a better deal. Other side of the display...a 16ft push up for $39.95. Even better! I really don't have the space for a 20ft, so this really might be better. Go around the corner to find the "Open Box" specials. Yeah! 16ft push up flag pole for $23.06. It is mine ;-) Yes. It is pretty thin. However if I guy it in 2 places (top and middle) put worm clamps where the twist clamps are...I think this might be pretty good! Now, if things would just quit tearing up around
I can't wait for Christmas! But on the other hand, I am soooo far behind getting this year's show together :-( It has really been a busy June in the Burton family, so I have not done ONE thing towards this year's show. I look at the forums (forums.planetchristmas.com) and so many people have already started. I have looked at a few songs (or at least thought about...), looked at what elements I am going to add to...and maybe a few other things.
I did buy 2 more LOR controllers. So I am up to 144 channels. I am thinking about buying another DC controller so I can add 12 more channels of Rainbow Spots to the 3 un-spotted floods. If you go look at the videos...you can see only 4 of the 7 snowflakes changed colors.
I would love to add a spiral tree to the collection, but not sure if I will be able to or not.
I will be adding RED to the gutter lights and hope to add RED to all 16 mini trees. Have to do inventory though to see what I have. I did a halfway job of writing down my inventory. Oh well.
After the season was over and taking the display down...I took a break and grabbed a bite for lunch. When I came back I found a plastic bag full of mini lights and a note attached. This makes it what makes it worth while!!!
Well it was truly a great season. Only had one or two nights right at Thanksgiving that gave me fits with the CGFI sockets. Otherwise things went very smoothly. I came back from visiting my folks in Alabama right after Christmas to find the controllers...well kind of "stupid". They were turning things on that shouldn't be, not turning other channels on, etc. I hope that didn't go on for more than what I saw! A reboot of the system cured it though. Have to remember to reboot every so often next year.
Turns out my power bill was just about $25.00 or so dollars more than last year. However, it literally doubles from what a normal month without the lights on. (Over $100.00 more) Even though I added LED lights in the bushes instead of white incandescent lights, I did add GREEN lights in the bushes...so I guess that might cancel out each other. I also added 2 more arches, added green to the 16 mini trees, split the mega tree in half (one sided mega trees) and I guess that in some ways (with the mega tree) kept half the tree still lit when before it wasn't. Also added the 7 snowflakes, Rainbow Floods,....so in all by really double the light count, it wasn't so bad. ;-)
LOOKING TOWARDS NEXT YEAR
I have to start earlier next year!!!!
Oh my gosh! That is a understatement! New Year's resolution;
1) You have to have your setup planned out earlier this year!
A) What was it...some 13 changes in the over all setup? That can't happen next year for sure! Find a date to finish setup design...and stick with it!
2) You have to have your sequences done earlier!
A) Of course you have to know what the setup is going to be before hand.
B) Do you really want to have a 45 minute show? Decide early on what your keeping from last year then go from there.
1) Possibly add a 15 second, "Here's what coming up next" and let people decide whether to move on or not. Traffic will be higher next year, so plan that out too.
2) Maybe have different "Shows" playing. Break it down in to "Kids Show", "Traditional Show", "Religious Show", etc. I know that Melanie wanted me to do different "Show Nights". Think about that. Maybe ask on the board.
3) You have to do some of the setup in the first week of Nov.!
A) Are you going to do a Halloween show? Something to consider. You could at least have up the gutter lights and Rainbow Floods / Spots.
MEGA TREES - I think one of the things I need to look at is using the separate controller for the OTHER mega tree. Will have to look at the amp count, but really think I could have gotten away with ONE controller for both trees. That would have freed up 16 channels!!! I really liked the trees on either side of the whole setup though. Maybe I should consider putting the tree in the center of the pine island again. The only thing there would be that I need to look at what on the house it will block! I know that we would have to move around the snowflakes if I do that. I saw "Big Bubba's" spiral tree in Newnan this year. Really like that design. However, really want to keep those vertical lines as well. If I go again with the one sided trees, the spiral design might be hard to do. I may look at some sort of custom (as if all of this is pre-canned!) design for the spirals.
I really want to make the trees taller. What..mine this year were something like 10ft? I really would like to go up another 5ft at least and make the base wider. I still think the one sided method for my yard would be best, but going up taller is a big issue since I don't have a ladder that would go that high. Over at Gordonlights.com, he used a steel structure you could climb! Me being chicken of heights doesn't help...but 15ft isn't so high. Guess we will see.
Need to maybe think about finding 2 sections of Rohn 25 tower. Maybe putting a concrete form in the pine island...maybe a tower plate. Turn the tower so that one leg is pointed at the street.(People reading this that has no idea what I am talking about...the tower is a triangle in shape. Point the top of the triangle towards the street is basically what I am saying here.) Use carbine clips to secure the light lines with at the top. The one leg pointing towards the street, You could attach the star there.
On the spiral idea....maybe could still do the one sided thing...but just go ahead and wrap the strings on the back side too for that. You could actually wrap it tighter and save some string lengths.
Snowflakes - Had a lot of folks comment on those. Really liked how those turned out and they were so easy to make. I do know that I am going to "Spot" all of those next year. That means I may have to buy another DC board though :-( Or...change up some sequences to double up on some DC channels. Have to look at locations if you move that tree too!
Mini Trees - I REALLY liked having more than one color. Just have to make more use of it though. Using the "Grid" to act as extension cords? Neat idea, but really not visible because of the trees blocking them. Either do away with them or move those trees right up against the road. Not sure if I want to do that (move the trees). Like them better in the one line. Much easier to see and also much easier to sequence. Will have to add red to them though for sure! Will experiment with the RED LED's from Walmart to see if I can get away with few RED strings. Would be nice!
Arches - I think those are more noticeable now. Having 2 in 2009 just didn't cut it. Probably will keep the "doubled" channels on those (arch 1 did the same thing as arch 4,etc.). Unless I hit the Jackpot or win the lottery...won't change this (adding a controller to this element).
North Pole and Twig Tree - I pretty much doubled every thing on this each time. Something to look at...double up on this!!! Check amp counts and see if that will work. Frees up 3 channels!!! Of course, if you add to the North Pole (add little ones...) and also add to the Twig Tree (remember you have the one green one...you need to paint white and the very small one)...that might change.
Adding RED!!! - Have to do this! Need to buy some RED LED's from Vall at Christmas-leds.com (think that is the right address) and look for more RED LED's (Walmart Brand). You would only be adding to the bushes (9 to 12 strings), the gutter LED's (5 36 count strings) and then decide on how many for the mini trees.
Extension Cords! - or what not to do! One thing that has to change for next year is using...64 strings of lights as extension cords! Oh my gosh what a mess! I have to get some SPT1 cord and make up some custom cut extension cords! Need to check on prices. Maybe I can get this cheap from my sister who works for an electrical contractor.
I know there will be more changes later. Might be some time before I add more to the blog. As you can tell...this is really my "Notebook Online" for my Christmas Light Display. I am sure the above will change as the season goes on. Light O Rama is coming out with new products I might be looking at. Unfortunately though, it may be cost prohibitive. RGB is the new thing happening with light displays. In the DIY groups, many people are getting into this cheaply. However, the Light O Rama solutions are not cheap right now. This might be changing as they update software....hope so. Check back later for updates. Robert
Went to the Christmas Eve Church service...2 cars were out front. Came home to get the family all in one car to go look at Christmas lights...2 other cars were out front. Came home from looking at the lights...3 different cars were out front. Sat down for Christmas Eve fest (tradition in our family)...9 cars out front. Parked all over the place ;-) For folks reading this blog, keep in mind I am on a obscure cul-de-sac. We normally get only a few cars a night. Great to see the crowds. NOTE TO SELF...have to get one of those little "Better be careful not to touch anything or you will get fried with 110volts AC" sign (ha!). Saw several people out of cars walking around. Had a radio out there so they could hear. Need to hook up one of the waterproof speakers out there. Maybe put a volume control on it to "turn it down".
Added one song in VERY fast fashion. Had an old sequence of Linus and Lucy. Not the best sequence in the world...but will re-do for next year.
Snow and rain is in the forecast for CHRISTMAS! Neat, but not. Really don't want to shut it down for Chris
I guess everyone is not like me and thinks of Christmas stuff...a lot...more than normal ;-) We have 8 cars at one time tonight. One leaves, next one pulls up. Most we have ever had was about 3 or 4 cars at one time. Thankfully, no rain, actually not to cold and no one is blocking drive ways!
Interesting last night. We had company at the house for dinner. When they started to leave, we thought...just pull a car down to the end of the drive, open the windows and turn up the radio. Real warm night (60's) last night. Went out to see 4 cars in a row, 2 were nose to nose. One with the hood up! Oh no! Someones battery died! :-) Grabbed my jumper cables, jumped off and away they went. Too funny. Think it was one of my students. The Dad said "we hated to come knock on your door Mr. Burton". Too funny. No issues once they got jumped off.
Looking at the "Winfield Collection" (http://www.thewinfieldcollection.com/) of wood cut outs. Really neat! I could get a bunch of Rainbow Floods...or some MR16's and spot them. Put them all over the yard... Would really be a neat and inexpensive (except for the controller ;-) way of adding to the setup. Neat way to get the setup into all white, green or red too.
Click on the September archive and then click on comments to see all of the 2009 display blogs. I am going to start blogging with a "Title" and also put the post into the blog so it can be archived by month. Should have done that to begin with. If you are new to this world of "Animated Displays", I suggest you not only read mine, but other blogs. They will help you learn NOT to make the same mistakes others have.