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Did you know?
  • 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.



Everything posted by Mikeymatic

  1. Mikeymatic

    Audio help 2 sources

    My suggestion would be to pick up an inexpensive line level audio mixer with at least 2 input channels such as a Behringer micro mix mx400. This particular mixer has 4 inputs which leaves room for future expansion. I just looked and they are on sale at amazon for around 25 bucks. There are also many other similar mixers for sale. If you try putting the line level output of a second DVD player into a microphone level input you will most likely get a lot of distortion as the mic input is designed to operate at much lower voltage levels and also at a lower impedance. The mixer will combine the two (or more) line inputs into a single line level output enabling you to balance the audio levels of both projectors so they modulate your transmitter evenly. Here's what it looks like... Hope this helps.
  2. Mikeymatic

    Portable electric panel

    A 60 amp 120/240 volt spider box will give you up to 60 amps at 240 volts or 120 amps at 120 volts because it uses 2 "hots" (black and red) and a shared neutral. That's why a lot of the 60 amp spider boxes have six 20amp 120 volt outlets, three on one "hot" and three on the other. If it is rated for 100% service factor you can actually draw this much current from it on a continuous basis which would equate to almost 120,000 leds by your calculations. Unfortunately most domestic (house type breaker panels) are only rated for an 80% service factor which means if you have a 100 amp 120/240v house panel you can only draw up to 80 amps through it at 240 volts or 160 amps through it at 120 volts(balanced across the two hots) on a continuous basis, but can draw up to the full 100 amps at 240 volts on an intermittent basis. 160 amps at 120 volts is a LOT of power (19200 watts or 19.2 Kilowatts) Hope This Helps
  3. Mikeymatic

    DIY LOR Controller Stands

    Great idea! Your conduit frame could also be used for those pesky styrofoam Halloween tombstones that like to blow away with the addition of a piece of plywood cut out and glued to the back of the tombstone to mount the conduit to.
  4. Mikeymatic

    Portable electric panel

    Found a cheaper one at home depot. As a licensed electrician I REALLY suggest using ground fault receptacles or ground fault circuit breakers even though they may be a nuisance, especially if kids can come in contact with your display. All of the factory made power boxes are UL certified with individual ground fault protection for each 120 volt circuit https://www.homedepot.com/p/Southwire-X-Treme-Box-7-Outlet-Straight-Blade-Portable-Power-Distributor-19703R02/205751546 As an alternative you could build one yourself. Here is one that I Made out of an old 100-amp panel years ago. You wouldn't need the 30 amp twistlock receptacles and could add more GFCI receptacles and maybe even use 20-amp breakers and GFCI receptacles instead of the old 15-amp ones that are in my service. If used outdoors you would have to mount it in a weatherproof enclosure like the one Scott made.
  5. Mikeymatic

    Portable electric panel

    What you are looking for is commonly referred to as a "Spider Box" and is used mostly in the construction industry for temporary power on construction sites. These power distribution boxes are weatherproof and designed for use in outdoor environments. Typically the boxes are fed from a 60 amp circuit and provide a bunch of 20 amp GFCI receptacles that are protected by circuit breakers contained in the box. For home use you would be looking for a 120/240 volt single phase unit with standard blade type t-slot 20 amp 120 volt receptacles. Hubbell is one of the main manufacturers of these boxes but they are pricey. There are also less expensive ones available (see below) If you could buy a second hand unit at a construction equipment auction or somewhere online you would be much farther ahead than trying to buy all of the components to make your own which would add up fast especially when you factor in circuit breakers and GFCI receptacles into the equation. Here are a few links to explore for further information, hope this helps. https://www.hubbell.com/wiringdevice-kellems/en/Products/Electrical-Electronic/Wiring-Devices/Temporary-Power-Lighting/Temporary-Power-Boxes/TPDS/p/1646473 https://www.robsindustrial.com/50-amp-pagoda-jr-to-edisons-feed-thru-125-250v-heb201u/
  6. Mikeymatic

    How do you make your super strands?

    I use clothesline with a loop at either end just big enough to fit around your hand, and small carabiners to connect the ends to the top hooks and bottom hooks on my megatree as my hooks are closed loops. With open loop hooks you can omit the carabiners. I just stretch out the line and wrap the light strings around it securing the plugs by passing them through the loops in either end. I am using 70 count C6 led strings. the clothesline needs to be sized for whatever length your strings are. The clothesline takes all the strain of ice and snow and saves on the lights which are just wrapped around it. I generally will only use one cable tie at each end if the cluster of plugs gets unruly, so it is very easy to unwrap a dead string to replace it with a new one.
  7. When I was teaching electrical, one year I was lucky enough to have had a sales rep from GE lighting come to visit our class for a few hours and do a short presentation. He explained how the "eights of an inch" bulb sizes worked, They also apply to fluorescent Tubes, a T8 fluorescent tube is an inch in diameter and a T12 is 1-1/2 inches in diameter....
  8. Mikeymatic


    Maybe this will help. You need to obtain a 1/8" mini stereo phone plug to 2 male RCA connectors patch cable as shown below. Widely available in most stores that sell audio/computer stuff or dollar stores. The 1/8" mini plug plugs into the GREEN jack on the back of your desktop computer (line out) or the headphone jack on your laptop computer. The two RCA plugs go into the L and R aux or line inputs on your amp. If everything is working and turned on you should hear whatever is playing on your computer through the amp and speakers.
  9. Mikeymatic

    Menard's Christmas 2018

    Those Noel candles look like they were made from the same mold as the TPI ones except the flame part is made from more translucent plastic and the lettering and holly on the bottom are painted. I am really curious to see whats printed on the bottom of them... If you visit the store again could you snap another photo?
  10. Mikeymatic

    3-D Printed Decorations

    I am fascinated with what some people are creating with cutting edge 3-D printers. There are already web sites that offer both free and purchased 3-D printer files for making your own Christmas and Halloween decorations, it is worth your while if you have time to spare to browse the web and see what's actually out there! I was also wondering how easy it might be to bring some of the smaller old blowmolds back to life like the skull candle or devil head, etc, by scanning the originals and making the files available for people with 3d printers to reproduce copies. This is cutting edge tech just as synchronizing Christmas lights to music was 20 years ago, I would love to learn more about it, this may be a fascinating workshop idea for some future Christmas Expo. In the meantime has anyone here dabbled with 3D printers? Below are a few pictures of some of the neat stuff that people have made with them. I realize the size of these decorations is small but I'm sure it could be scaled up for larger size printers...
  11. Mikeymatic

    Made in Canada. TPI?

    Maybe this old posting of mine and Mel Fischer's reply may help a bit...
  12. Mikeymatic

    Help settle an arguement

    I really think this politically correctness stuff has gone a bit too far. We have rainbow colored crosswalks in our town and I think they are cool! Nobody says that when you walk over them you are stepping on LGBT people... Have your wife listen to this song with you... Enjoy!
  13. I believe the saying "go big or go home" applies here. In a world where people constantly squint at the tiny screens on their "smart" devices, nothing beats the sensory stimulation of the three dimensional depth and detail of a great outdoor Christmas display. Every time you watch it, you discover more subtle details. For impressionable kids it's an image that they'll remember and cherish for the rest of their lives. Just think about this, would you rather experience watching your favorite movie on a really small screen with crappy sound, or in a good movie theater with a big screen and surround sound?
  14. Mikeymatic

    1950's Miller Electric Santa Jet Plane

    Noma and Miller Electric bought out what was left of the Royal Christmas factories in Pawtucket R.I. after they burnt down in a major fire in 1955. Some of these real old decorations were made from Cellulose, a very inflammable type of plastic once also used to make movie and photographic films, which was eventually replaced by Kodak "safety film". Maybe this helped contribute to the factory fire. Royal plastics are evidently still in business but never rebuilt their Christmas decoration factory and don't manufacture Christmas decorations. Here is an interesting link to their history: https://oldchristmastreelights.com/bills_site/manufacturer's_histories,_continued.htm
  15. Mikeymatic

    Menard's Halloween 2018

    Just out of curiosity I zoomed in on the label of the cardboard box on the floor that contained the #56480 "Ghost With Pumpkins" , it came from CADO products, here is a link to their 4 page online catalog for 2018, it is showing a few Christmas blowmolds also... http://cadocompany.com/pdfs/Cado%20Holiday_Novelty%20MAR2018%20web.pdf
  16. Mikeymatic

    Dented blow mold what’s best way to fix

    I've fixed a few dented blowmolds using a wooden mop or broom handle with the rounded end inserted into either the hole where the light socket goes or in some cases, if available, a hole in the bottom. Use the rounded end of the broom handle moving it back and forth over the dent gently applying force to "massage" it out. If the plastic is really thick or stubborn you may have to put the blowmold in a laundry tub of hot water or use a heat gun or hair dryer to soften it. Don't hold the heat gun too close or keep it in the same spot -you definitely do not want to melt the plastic. If you can't get at the dent with a broom handle, you may have to improvise and make a curved poking tool out of something like heavy electrical service wire, rebar or steel rod. Make sure the end of it has no sharp edges or threads, tape a bit of rag around it if necessary. Hope this helps.
  17. Mikeymatic

    Painting a blow mold without a spray can

    I often use spray paint with a brush to paint small areas of my plywood cutouts, seems like you can't find gold or copper color paint in small cans, and there is no hobby store selling bottles of model paint here in our small town, so i just spray it into the cap that comes off the spray can. Those caps are made out of some sort of plastic that doesn't dissolve and will hold the paint. Also small glass baby food bottles work well for storing small amounts of paint for a few days. Here's an idea for painting the lollipops if you have a bunch and they are mostly flat: 1.take a photo of the best one you have 2. print out the photo on card or cover stock 3. cut out pattern to be painted with razor blade or exacto knife, now you have a re-useable stencil that you can use to spray paint your lollipops. just use painters or masking tape to hold it in place and use several "mistings" instead of heavy coats so the spray won't creep under the stencil. Maybe this will work for you. good luck!
  18. The Devils are in the details, you got me very curious... Here's what I could find: A company called Kokomold Plastics Co. made these in the 1950's and they were sold as plastic halloween candy containers that came full of candy according to a post on pinterest. There was also another company, Rosboro Plastic operating at the same time, not sure if they are related to Kokomold. I bet Mel Fischer might know something about these manufacturers as the trail of crumbs seems to dry up on the internet. Maybe they also sold some of them as wired lit up lanterns as the one in your last photo definitely looks like it is factory wired. Here's a few more pictures of the red satans:
  19. Some collectors will pay big bucks for those fabric coated wire sets, especially if they are still in the original boxes. My dad had a load of these when I was a kid, unfortunately they ended up in the trash years ago. The most sought after ones have the "red beads" on the wire to secure the lights to tree branches and contain the old swirl style GE or Westinghouse mazda bulbs which were a full 9 watts (instead of the 7 watts that you get now in an incandescent C9 bulb) and ran really hot to the touch. Its strange that the manufacturers of the new "ceramic style" LED retrofit bulbs haven't come up with this retro "swirl or flame" shape yet. I like the LED C9 retrofit bulbs, old school yet high tech. Here are a few pictures that I found of these old light sets...
  20. A little electrical forensics... These look like they may have been DIY wired many years ago with part of a 1950's-60's vintage NOMA 7-light C9 String. These strings came with a "potted" plug that couldn't be easily taken apart and re-used so someone had to cut it off and remove the C9 light sockets (easily done by twisting the metal tab that held the two halves together) to string the wire through the holes in the decorations, afterwards re-installing the sockets. Its too bad that the sockets aren't visible in the photos to confirm this hypothesis. Another note of interest is that the two sets in the two pictures are wired in a different order with different makes of old "live front" plugs. This does not seem consistent with something produced in a factory. These old live front replacement plugs typically used a cardboard insulator (which often fell off and got lost as in the case of one of the pictures you posted) to prevent loose strands of wire from arcing out on metal outlet plates. Live front plugs were banned for manufacture and sale by the national electrical code back in the 1970's I believe. I have included pictures of the red and black NOMA string and some of the old live front and the new dead front plugs and old outlet plates that were damaged by shorting. The C9 lampholders on this old NOMA string could be easily removed and re-used. Note these black bakelite lampholders were actually rated for up to 75 watts! Left To Right: live front round plug with paper insulator, modern dead front type plug, live front plug missing insulator, another modern dead front type plug. Below: damaged outlet plates out of a 1950's era school caused by live front plugs shorting out on the grounded plate.
  21. Mikeymatic

    Need advice

    I have no problem uploading pictures, I copy them from my camera to the hard drive on my desktop and use microsoft office picture manager to compress them into smaller size files. The program gives you several size options, I compress the pictures for "documents" which knocks down the size quite a lot but keeps the resolution good. You can also rotate those pesky sideways and upside down pictures and then either overwrite the original file or save the modified picture as a new file. My software isn't the latest and greatest, I am using office 2003 with windows XP and it works like a charm.
  22. Mikeymatic

    Mega tree power

    I use 12 lengths of clothesline with snap hooks on the bottom and carabiners on the top to make "master strands" each containing a 70 count string of of Red, Green, Blue, and White LED lights plus a string with 3 C9 randomly spaced sockets for strobe lights (not shown in this older picture) and three of the 12 strings also contain an extension cord to feed the three channels of the star on the top. The 3 LOR 16 channel controllers that make up the 48 channels that feed the LED's in the strands mount on the mast pipe with 12 multiconductor cables with 4 circuit outlet boxes on the ends to power the strands. The tree is almost 30 feet high and the bottom ring is made of 4 - 10 foot lengths of 3/4 PVC conduit fitted (not glued) together so it can be taken apart for storage. The stand itself is telescopic and collapsible. For the past few years I now have it mounted on top of the shipping container. Here's a few older photos of it. I now use a triple star made with led ropelight on a welded frame.
  23. Mikeymatic

    Newbie Seeking Help with LED Rope Light

    LED rope light unlike the old incandescent rope light needs to work on Direct Current (D.C.). The power cord for LED rope light contains something called a rectifier bridge (usually hidden in a plastic "lump" in the cord) which turns the Alternating Current (A.C.)from your wall plug into the Direct current to power the LED's in the rope. The LED's in the rope must be connected in the right polarity (plus and minus like a battery) to the D.C. Power cord in order to light up. if the two pins or barbs on the power cord are stuffed into the end of the rope light the wrong way around, it won't light. Try pulling out the power cord from the end of the rope light and reversing the position of the two pins (thus reversing the polarity of the connection) and see if the LED's light up. Also many power cords have small glass fuses hidden in the plugs, this is also something to check...
  24. Mikeymatic

    Singing Pumpkin Face Design

    Here is a link to one of my favorite Halloween singing pumpkin displays that I have seen on Youtube... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLcC7PS9CJI There are more videos of this display at http://www.creativelightingdisplays.com Hope this helps!
  25. Mikeymatic

    Just got these today and friday

    I wish my two angels were as nice as the ones in Mel's pictures! Mine were rescued from somebody's curbside spring cleanup pile years ago that was destined for the dump. I picked up the brass candle holders at a yard sale recently, I know they are far from the originals but with the addition of a section of brass rod will hopefully somewhat resemble a horn. The tops screwed right off the candle holders which are actually solid brass and had "Taiwan" cast into the underside of the bases in small letters. Hopefully when i come across some brass rod i can carefully thread the end to mate with the candle holder. Another option may be trying to find some brass tubing that would slip right over the stem and be soldered or glued in place. My angels also require some repainting and I might try and duplicate one of the nicer original color schemes in Mel's Photos.