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  • 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.
  • 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.



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About radioguy1007

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 06/25/1954

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Profile Information

  • My favorite Christmas story
    Not blank
  • Location
    Caledonia, Wisconsin, USA
  • Biography
    Been a fan of blinky lights for as long as I can remember.
  • Interests
    Music and electronics
  • Occupation
    Electronic Engineer
  • About my display
    My display has been computer controlled now for over 20 years. It was not until LOR came into my life for the music synchronization. I now have over 320 channels of LOR and 21,000 lights. When my wife and I were looking for a new house, I was looking for a stage area for the show. She was looking for a nice house. The favorite of the show is "Douglas Fir", a 10 foot tall talking tree.
  1. Wall Plugs For Fiber Optic Houses

    In February of 2016 the US Department of Energy began what is known as Level VI energy efficiency standards for wall transformers. This outlawed any iron core AC wall transformer from being made or sold in the US because of the amount of power they draw with no load connected to them. The 2 to 3 watts they use just plugged in the wall was way over the new "no load" mandate power draw and physics prevents this from being reached. You could always feel they were warm to the touch when plugged in. DC adapters sold today are switching power supplies - and they can get their no-load power consumption below the maximum level VI mandates. So if you have any AC transformers hang onto them - you can always change the plug on the low voltage side.
  2. The appliance modules have a small RC snubber network across the contacts, which is a good design practice for inductive loads. They are big enough (and LED's need so little current) that in OFF they will do exactly what you are seeing. See a typical schematic here: idobartana.com/hakb/index.htm (you will have to put the http in front....) This site has all kinds of X10 schematics.
  3. Is there anyone in WI with a display up this year?

    I'm in the Caledonia area (Northern Racine county). There are a few of us in the area, so if you make your way east here is the page from the Racine Journal Times showing where we are: http://journaltimes.com/html_44a4ebac-03c1-11e0-aefb-001cc4c03286.html There is also another PC member in Kenosha just north of the Aurora hospital that has a good display. Mike P.S. Check the Wisconsin forum here - you'll find more of us in the area.
  4. Hi guys: I just happened to stumble across this thread and was glad to see my idea being implemented by someone else. David, thank you for giving credit to me for the original idea. I have to admit that the sign has worked out well for my display - it is near impossible to miss. I've seen so many signs that although they are very nice looking, unless you are right up upon them you can't read them. I needed something that would be visible from a block away! I saw another display that had the snap-n-glow panels spelling out his FM frequency, and that got me thinking. I had two messages I wanted to spell out, so I made a block diagram of each one on that square lined paper. Make two identical sized pages - and "color" the blocks on each page with its message. I used a red hiliter for the one message, and blue for the other. When you overlay them on a light table, the red "lights" are message one only positions, blue are message 2 only, and the darker mix blocks are common between both messages. So to turn on message one, I turn on the red and common channels, and for message 2, the blue and common channels. Yes, it takes 3 channels to show two messages, but the effect is very eye catching. You will need a supply of black out caps to hide bulbs as there is a lot of jumping around when placing the lights in the panels. Again, I am still around and if there are questions I will try and answer them. Mike
  5. Awfully Q-U-I-E-T

    I've been waiting for the snow to start to melt. It seemed like we were starting to get rid of the stuff then bam - another foot! Actually I've been upgrading all my controllers to the latest firmware and packing things up, but first testing lights and replacing any bad bulbs. It was around 10 degrees on the day I took stuff in, so it just got carefully shoved into totes to thaw out inside. Just been sorting through everything. I've also had to redo my "tune to" sign because the end of analog TV last year freed up the channel I was using (88.5) for a high power FM station to now occupy. I checked the FCC site and there are like 6 applicants for "flame thrower" stations on that frequency right now in the Milwaukee area. One of the applications is within a few miles of my home. I can't take a chance that one won't be on by next season. So I found a new frequency for next season (99.7) and then had to redo 10 panels of my sign to reflect the new home. Still planning on coming up on May 22nd. Hopefully the snow will be gone by then! Mike
  6. Wisconsin displays

    Yes, there is another one in Wisconsin. It is in Northern Racine county, just south of Milwaukee. It's a big area with a lot of rural farms but new subdivisions near Lake Michigan.
  7. Wisconsin displays

    I moved to a new house this year from Franklin. The display will actually be in my back yard, but the viewing is perfect for visitors. I am in the Jamestown subdivision in Caledonia. Just enter off of Highway 38 just east of the highway K on Taurus. When you go between the ponds I'm on the left.
  8. Why it sucks to tear-down in snow-country

    Like most of us "up nort", I too was dreading the tear down this year. After the second snowiest December on record for Milwaukee, most of my ground display elements were buried the week before Christmas. The mini's kind of melted their way out, but for the LED's, it was use the leaf blower to make them visible every night. Makes you really want to think twice about using LEDs here. Removing the 4 foot high drift from the roof to make the lights on the house visible. Then the 1 inch plus rain came with 50 plus degrees - the snow disappeared overnight. Back to the freezer outside a day later, everything now nicely held in place in a solid block of ice. Well, Saturday the weather got above freezing, but I had planned runing the show through the evening. My smart neighbors took down their displays during the day. The weather forecast was calling for freezing rain overnight (oh joy), so I was out taking down things and moving them into the garage to avoid the popsicle effect at night. To my delight, the ice did not materialize, and only a few power cables needed a little help with hot water. A couple hints that seemed to help me - I use 1/2 inch metallic conduit to anchor my things like mini trees and arches - just put a thin coat of grease on the outside part that will be in contact with the ground. The smooth surface is much easier to break free from the frozen ground than bumpy rebar. The grease keeps the water from bonding to the metal. And ELL's are your friends (no CAT5 wire needed)! 4 days to put up, 8 hours to put away. Mike
  9. my target 75% off

    All of my Targets in my area are 75% today. Picked up 40 foot outdoor extensions for $2, 15 foot ones for $1.25. Got there a little too late for any good lights.
  10. Shawn: Those covers look nice, but I still think water will wick it's way in there. I've used the automotive silicone grease for electrical connectors (the kind that will not harden) on my exposed plugs and it really does help tremendously. Yes, it is a little messy at take down time, but because it repels water so good, it is worth it. My weather has probably been much like yours this season, rain, ice and near record snow. And no GFCI trip (yet). It's too late for this year (the connectors MUST be dry when you apply the silicone grease), but keep it as an option next year. Mike
  11. Controller Placement

    J.D. I do what Gary said - distribute them around the display. I do not have a problem with theft in the area, a concern I have heard of some members. Since I am in Wisconsin, we get all kinds of frozen stuff this time of year, and the shorter the cable runs the better. In the picture, you will see 3 controllers, all covered in plasic bags. The bags do 2 things - hide the controllers, and keep water out of all the plugs coming out of the bottom (they are inside the bags). It's worked very well for me, with 9 controllers around my yard. I also ran underground power to all the areas of my display so I do not have to run extensions out from the house. Mike
  12. My neighbor called me

    Thanks Tim. It was my first bus - at least one that was seen by anyone. They did stay for over half the show - and he moved up to give the viewers a different angle of the display. They left after WIW. Since we were in the middle of an unexpected winter storm at the moment , there was very little traffic, so it was no problem. Question is how they learned of the display - as I have had no press this year so far. Mike
  13. My neighbor called me

    I got a call from my neighbor across the street last night and he told me to look out my window. I had heard a low rumbling sound, but made not much of it. I found out it was coming from a tour bus parked on the road across the street watching the light show! They were watching the show! There were about 50 people on the bus, and they stayed a good 20 minutes. Considering we were in the middle of another snowstorm, I thought that was pretty neat. Mike
  14. 2006 Creative Displays led problems

    I also had a half string of green DOOTB (dead out of the box). So far those out in the display have weathered an ice storm and 7 inches of snow last night. I was still disappointed with the green. No problems with reds or blues though. It was my first purchase this year from Paul. Mike
  15. I dida "short" version of it last year. The whole music bed is unfamiliar to the public, as they only use a short part of the theme for the actual broadcast. I did an edit to the song to make it like what is heard in the show opening. It does provide for a great show open. Here is the video from 2006: Mike