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Did you know?
  • 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.

Mikeymatic

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Mikeymatic last won the day on July 5 2017

Mikeymatic had the most liked content!

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About Mikeymatic

  • Rank
    Distinguished Member

Profile Information

  • My favorite Christmas story
    The reason for the season: The Birth of Christ.
  • Location
    Happy Valley-Goose Bay Labrador Newfoundland Canada
  • Biography
    Fascinated by both Christmas lights and electricity as a kid. Worked as a transmitter tech for Canadian Broadcasting Corp, A network services tech for Newfoundland Telephone, A terminals electrician for Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and an electrical instructor for College of the North Atlantic. Now retired but still plays with electricity!
  • Interests
    Electronics and Electricity, Fabrication and Welding, Antique Automobiles
  • Occupation
    Retired Industrial Electrician / Technician
  • About my display
    176 channels of LOR controlling approximately 14,000 lights. Everything built from scratch including Megatree, 30' Arch, Minitrees, Candle Rack, Animated Guitar Player and Drummers, Strobe lights, Wireframes, and many Illuminated Plywood Cutouts. Ramsay FM transmitter at 104.5

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  1. 2017 Halloween display (I know, I know, it’s Febuary)

    Wow, that's quite a display! Especially like the blow-up dragons and insects and the tree with all the pumpkins in it...
  2. Plywood Santa

    I picked up an old overhead projector that was auctioned off from a school, fixed it up and bought a few quartz bulbs for it. I make lots of plywood cutouts and use transparencies printed off on my old HP laserjet printer as patterns and then trace them out on the plywood with one of those large lead pencils made for kids. You can take almost any good picture of a cut-out and print it off on a transparency to get a pattern. Use a pencil to mark the plywood, if you make a mistake while you are tracing, you can erase it. I learned the hard way about not using marking pens to trace out patterns as the ink comes back to haunt you when you start painting the plywood.
  3. Best blow mold light?

    For years I have been using 15 watt candelabra base incandescent emergency exit sign light bulbs instead of regular C7 bulbs in my blowmolds. Physically they are a little longer than the standard C7 bulb but are a bit smaller in diameter so they fit through the holes in most of the blowmolds with room to spare and light them up much better that the 5-watt C7 without the excessive heat like you would get from 25 watt chandelier bulbs. Especially good in candles and lanterns... You can pick up these bulbs from most commercial electrical suppliers.
  4. Options to fix snowman frame

    I have seen this "bulb dipping paint" advertised on the internet, they advertise a set of 6 colors in small bottles. It is specifically for painting glass light bulbs, i have no idea if the powerful solvents in it would dissolve the plastic in rope light or not. I haven't seen it for sale in any North American websites, here's the link: https://www.conrad.com/ce/en/product/723000/Bulb-Dipping-Paint-Red-Yellow-Green-Blue-Violet-Orange A simpler but time consuming solution may be to use colored permanent markers like jumbo sharpies to color the clear rope light. this wouldn't peel off but might look a bit sketchy close up.
  5. Wireless timers

    Just a thought, If all of your light circuits are supplied from the same electrical panel in your house you could have an electrician install the contactor box next to your panel which would only require a couple of extra feet of house wire. You could get him to install a light switch in another box next to it to bypass the photo control for daytime use of your outdoor receptacles.
  6. I can't figure it out!

    Both Santa and the GFCI receptacle were over 20 feet off the ground. According to our Canadian Electrical Code a GFCI protected receptacle is not required over 8 feet high (are there gfci breakers on your outdoor lights over your door...) Here's the actual code and i suspect the NEC in the U.S. reads the same... Receptacles for residential occupancies 26-710(n) except for automobile heater receptacles provided in conformance with Rule 8-400, all receptacles installed outdoors and within 2.5 m of finished grade shall be protected with a ground fault circuit interrupter of the Class A type
  7. Adapter no longer working

    Put the adapter on a hard surface such as a workbench and use the rounded end of a ball peen hammer to tap it all around the seam where the two halves are fused together cracking the glue joint apart. It will open up like a walnut exposing the switching dc power supply circuit board. Depending on the unit, you may have to go all around the seam several times applying generous force. If you get lucky and catch them early sometimes you can dry them out. I've even fixed a couple by soldering small jumpers where one of the circuit traces was corroded open, and yes, there are usually tiny little glass fuses usually mounted on the circuit board inside and are of the same variety that are used in the plugs of some of the newer strings of Christmas lights. Most of these adapters AREN'T waterproof as advertised and replacements are usually hard to find as they are decoration-specific. Good luck!
  8. Wireless timers

    I would suggest a 4 pole 120volt AC Coil Magnetic lighting contactor. I would suggest 30 amp contacts for heavy duty use. Various mfr's such as Square D, Cutler Hammer, Allen Bradley, etc make them and you can buy them at electrical wholesalers or on Ebay. This is how multiple circuits of outdoor lights on commercial buildings are turned on and off. Use one good quality120 volt photocontrol to turn the contactor on and off. Some contactors come in factory enclosures and some come loose which means you would have to get an electrical enclosure and mount it inside. You could use four short heavy duty 12 gauge extension cords cut in half and wired up to the contactor terminals for the input and output leads to control your four circuits. Here's what they look like:
  9. I can't figure it out!

    This year I had a GFCI tripping problem caused by a 60-watt equivalent daylight dimmable Philips LED bulb installed in a large Santa blowmold that I have. I would plug it in and after an hour or so the GFCI would trip. Santa was the only decoration plugged in to this GFCI and when I would push the reset button on the GFCI he would light up again for another hour or so. Last year I had incandescent bulbs plugged into the same GFCI with no tripping problems. After doing some online research I found out that some brands of LED replacement bulbs cause a lot of electromagnetic interference which can actually trip some GFCI's. As an experiment I brought the Santa blowmold into my garage and plugged it in next to a FM radio. It immediately started interfering with the signal depending on how I moved it around. As the daylight LED looked so good in Santa and he was way up in the air where no one could reach him, I temporarily swapped out a decora duplex receptacle for the GFCI that was "crying wolf" and santa now glows bright with no more problems! BTW I never use electrical tape on my electrical plugs, it causes any moisture that sneaks in to stay around instead of draining out like the plug was designed for. Cover or shelter them to deflect the rain but let them drain and dry out...
  10. LED's that look like Incandescent

    I bought some ceramic C9 led bulbs from HLE this past year and was quite impressed with the quality. I found that the red ones were almost dead ringers for their incandescent counterparts screwed in sockets side by side you could hardly tell them apart. Also their blues and greens had a high light output comparable with incandescents, but I actually like the rich blue of the led bulb more than its incandescent counterpart. I did however find that the orange and yellow leds had a much lower light output than the incandescents and sort of a "milky" look to them. I am really curious how the new SMD ceramic led retrofits compare to these, I would love to see some pictures comparing these to conventional ceramic led retrofits and ceramic incandescents. Also most of my lighting uses C7 bulbs, and i am REALLY curious to see the ceramic C7 SMD LEDS lit up side by side with the C9 SMD LEDS as it appears from the specs that they both use the same .58Watt SMD chip so they should both produce the same light output... According to what little info I can scrape up on the new SMD LED retrofit bulbs they are 33% brighter and use roughly half the power of our present day led retrofits, is this true? I know our local hardware store has a big liquidation sale on their non-dimmable C7 and C9 "consumer grade" LED retrofit bulbs, almost as if they know there is something new coming down the pipeline (SMD bulbs) for next Christmas and don't want their obsolete tech hanging around... Can anyone "enlighten" me on this new tech?
  11. Looking for C9 LED bulbs

    After looking around online the cheapest C9 led retrofits i could find are here. These ones are 5 led non-dimmable clearance price of 13.88 for a 25 pack. They do also offer the 5 led super bright dimmable ones in both faceted and ceramic for under 25 bucks for a 25 pack. Dimmable is important if you are using them with L.O.R. Haven't shopped here yet so don't know what the service is like. https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/led-decorative/led-replacement-bulb-c9-w-5-leds-15w/450/
  12. Looking for C9 LED bulbs

    I love the LED retrofit bulbs, especially the nice dimmable 5-led ceramic style ones. Only problem is by the time i get them from the US to labrador they cost almost 2 dollars a bulb. I have boxes of good used empty C9 strings here but could never afford to fill them with LED's. They are probably the most environmentally green form of Christmas lighting available as you can recycle your old strings and the good retrofit bulbs are pretty hard to break, last a long long time, and don't suck kilowatts of power like the old incandesdcents.
  13. Maybe a heavy duty rotisserie motor from an old barbecue would do the trick. It turns slowly and is 120 volts, so no 12 volt adapter/battery/charger required.
  14. Mega tree assembly

    Like the neat "pocket anchors" you made with the concrete filled PVC pipe. What did you use to make the green covers? May I suggest you drill a few horizontal/45 degree angle drain holes through your PVC casing right at the top of the concrete in the pocket to prevent ice formation and anchor corrosion. My megatree uses 2", 1-1/2", and 1" pipe also. Two years ago we had a 100km wind storm and the 1" pipe twisted over like a pretzel. I had to replace the top section with 1" schedule 80 galvanized pipe and keep its extension to around 6 feet. so far so good. I am using (3) 1/4" steel aircraft cable anchors attached between the top of the 1-1/2" section and the lifting pockets in the top of the sea container that the tree sits on. I used the large snap hooks from condemned fall arrest lanyards on the ends of the steel cable to attach to the hooks on the 1-1/2" pipe collar to help with quick installation. I cannot emphasize how powerful the wind can be under stormy conditions. Also i am using clothesline as a core for each "strand" with a carabiner at the top to hook into the top ring and a snap hook at the bottom. each of my 12 strands contains 4 led strings plus a string with C9 sockets for strobes and some strands have an extra spt-2 extension cord for the star sections on the top. makes assembly easy and prevents strain on the led strings. I used a floating ring made of (4) 10' lengths of pvc conduit, I didn't Glue them together so i can pull apart the pieces for storage. I attach the bottom ring to two of the anchor cables with hose clamps after everything is up to prevent it from banging around in the wind. Instead of drilling holes through the conduit i used electrical ground clamps and replaced the 1/4" setscrews that clamp the wire with 1/4" threaded eyes.
  15. Wood cut outs

    I used glossy paint and C7 incandescent bulbs for the ball ornament. Most of the LED retrofit bulbs shoot their light straight ahead and won't properly backlight the colors on the plywood. so far the best success i could get with led retrofits was with the "ceramic style" ones. Here is a plywood cutout that i made for Canada 150. It is multi layered using 5/8" white plywood background with 1/4" colored plywood pieces attached with small galvanized finishing nails. I am using mostly LED C9 ceramic style bulbs in it, although because I didn't have enough i used a dozen or so incandescent C9 glow bulbs. If you look closely you'll see a mixture of red led's and incandescents. I am impressed with these LED retrofit bulbs they are rugged, and i have had the ornament lit up now every night for the past few months run off a dusk to dawn photocontrol and not had any led bulbs fail.
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