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  • 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.

Rich in Las Vegas

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Rich in Las Vegas last won the day on July 9

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About Rich in Las Vegas

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    Advanced Member

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  • My favorite Christmas story
    Our local HOA has an annual Christmas light contest and my neighbor wins it every year. I can't compete with the extent of his display but use some of the more unusual lights like IC controlled strips and waterfall lights. It gets a little more elaborate each year but I doubt I can keep up with his array of the more conventional prodicts.
  • Location
    Nevada
  • Biography
    Retired chemist who likes to dabble in LED conversions for home and auto. I didn't put up elaborate displays in the past but have begun to add to a simple set of Christmas lights recently after Goodwill opened an outlet store nearby and the selection for cheap displays got much better.
  • Interests
    Active in Scouting and cycling
  • Occupation
    retired
  • About my display
    Really just getting started but use LED lights almost exclusively. I convert old incandescent displays to12V LED before using them. This was mostly small stuff (candy canes) until this year. My favorite strip light is IC 6803 LED strip lights with 133 built in programs for use on eves.

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  1. Rich in Las Vegas

    Really Big Lights RGB easy conversion

    I was a little skeptical of the $2 conversion figure but if you buy 20 of them at one time, they are indeed less than $2 each. 40 mm, 24V, 20 pcs WS2811$34.64 postpaid https://www.ebay.com/itm/20PCS-WS2811-6LED-D40-Pixel-Waterproof-String-5050-Module-Strip-Light-40MM-24V/401519176455?hash=item5d7c686b07:g:u9wAAOSw44BYfF0W I see that they also sell the lights in a 12V version. The size for these is 50 mm and there is no wiring attached but the price for just 10 is $13.29 postpaid https://www.ebay.com/itm/10-PC-50mm-WS2811-LED-pixel-module-Full-Color-6LEDs-5050-DC-PCB-Board-12V-D38-6/371689145446?_trkparms=aid%3D555018%26algo%3DPL.SIM%26ao%3D2%26asc%3D52935%26meid%3D3945954f9ea54f359865ff0b66a1aae1%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D2%26sd%3D231553300099%26itm%3D371689145446&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851 By the way, you can buy diamond cutting discs for your Dremel tool. They are really great for cutting metal and plastic. Way faster than what you used. There are lots of eBay sources: 5pcs $1.08 postpaid https://www.ebay.com/itm/5PCS-22mm-Emery-Diamond-Coated-cutting-blades-Discs-1-Mandrel-Drill-Bit-Tool/391533344072?hash=item5b2934b548:g:uJoAAOSw6n5XsWe0or from a US seller 10 pcs $4.49 postpaid https://www.ebay.com/itm/10x-mini-Diamond-Cutting-Wheel-Disc-Saw-Blade-Dremel-Rotary-2-Mandrels-50mm/253733655028?hash=item3b13b451f4:g:FiUAAOSwZKRbPt1i
  2. Rich in Las Vegas

    Halloween blow mold devil, skull and jol 3 light string??

    Those look a lot like light strings I pulled out of the attic last fall. There were even some with fabric coated wire that would have been from the 1940s. I put out a box "free stuff" at a garage sale with all my remaining incandescent lights in it. Nobody took the larger lights so they went into the trash. I'm pretty sure I didn't include the fabric coated wire sets in the "free" box but when I checked the wiring, the fabric had not deteriorated in spite of being extremely hot in the summer. BTW, this was before I discovered this site and realized there were people who value this old stuff. I looked at the eBay listing this afternoon. There were 20 bids and it had reached $114 with shipping. Less than two days until it ends. These blow molds are 3" and 5" high. I can't imagine paying that much for three small blow molds. Maybe the addiction hasn't caught on as badly as I thought it had.
  3. Rich in Las Vegas

    Halloween blow mold devil, skull and jol 3 light string??

    I know nothing about the three blow molds shown above but is sure looks as though somebody has just taken three blow molds and electrified them given the placement of the wires. If the price is really outrageous, It would make a lot more sense to just buy similar blow molds around Halloween and light them yourself. It's pretty simple to do and still get a really good result. Last fall I spotted two blow molds at my local Goodwill outlet store, a skull and a hand. They were not lighted but were translucent so a good candidate for being lit. I used two red circular chip-on-board LEDs for the eyes. They were taken from red tail lights that cost me two for a dollar on eBay. I lit the body of both pieces with short sections of SMD 5370 LED strips. I powered them with a 12VDC wall converter from old electronics. The molds, lights and other parts can't have cost more than $2.50 total.
  4. Rich in Las Vegas

    Looking for lights while in USA

    I've never been to Great Britain but a quick look at the electric standards for GB show: 230 Volts and 50 Hz Here in the US everything is 120V and has a different plug so the light strings you buy here probably will not work in your home country. Most countries around the world use 230 or 240V so if you buy things off Alibaba or any of the other Chinese sources (e.g., www.banggood.com) you will see lots of things that will work in GB. Verify the voltage requirements before you buy here.
  5. I picked up a set (3) of Hallmark Illuminations Snowflake Snowballs (2005) last Thursday at the Goodwill Outlet Store. They were in the original box. It says they require a Hallmark Power Box. Unlike virtually everyone else who produces Christmas lights, there is no power requirements information on the box or light cord. There was a set of instructions sent with the lights but it was not in the box. Of course I know there is nothing magical about the power box except the price. The lights are LED and RGB. Hallmark has a replacement available but the reviews by actual purchasers rate it rather poorly. I've tried it using 5V DC (USB) and the lights do work but I would like to know the exact output for the original power box. Anyone here have the older Hallmark Powerbox and could measure the output? The eBay price on this is nuts. They start out around $25 and most of the sellers don't include the power source.
  6. Rich in Las Vegas

    Where to get 20 light blue light strings

    You are looking for a half string which would be 25 lights, not 20. Here's one for commercial lights $10 for a string https://www.christmaslightsetc.com/p/Commercial-25-LED-Sapphire-Blue-Mini-Ice-M5-Christmas-Lights-Green-Wire-4-inch-Spacing--19137.htm# but you have to buy the adapter separately for $4 https://www.christmaslightsetc.com/p/Commercial-LED-Power-Adapter-FOR-NEW-LEDs-19526.htm I have not purchased anything from this company. Maybe someone else at this site has and can vouch for their reliability.
  7. Rich in Las Vegas

    Wall Plugs For Fiber Optic Houses

    I replied to this post via PM but will clarify things for the rest of you. Some displays with fiber optics have three colored LEDs to light the fiber optics and a small controller to produce a pattern of light. Most of them use a 12V DC adapter. Many older displays use a color wheel and a MR11 halogen light. The date codes on these displays shown above are 8 or more years old so I suspect they have a 12V AC motor and color wheel. You must use a 12V AC adapter, 1200 mA or larger. The new MR11 12V LEDs will work on a 12V DC adapter but that would probably burn up the AC motor. I know from having hunted for several weeks at my local outlet that 12V DC adapters are very common but the AC variety is very hard to find. I bought a fiber optic tree recently and left the 12V AC adapter at the store. When I got it home I found out that it did have the color wheel with a 12V AC motor. I replaced the MR11 light with an LED light that works on AC or DC but was still lacking a converter. I checked online and simply couldn't find an AC adapter. Luckily I came across another tree today with a color wheel in the base and scavenged the 12V AC adapter for my tree.
  8. Rich in Las Vegas

    How did I do?

    Here are the molds that came from Goodwill. Not too shabby for perhaps $20 total and I only check the place once a week. I wonder how many blow molds go through the outlet store in a season.
  9. Rich in Las Vegas

    How did I do?

    I only owned a small number of blow molds of the type that are on the end of a stake for driveway marking up until I found this site after Christmas. I can see that this can become a real addiction. Right after people started taking down decorations I acquired a 39" GFP penguin 078-130016 and a similar sized Union Products angel #7528 from my local Goodwill outlet store where they sell them for $1.89 per pound. I figured that would be it since the season was over. Wrong! In the past two weeks I bought 5 blow molds. I found two GFP 10" blow molds but they were marked "Made in China" - a snowman and a reindeer. No lights and stakes but I can deal with that. This week it was much better. The first thing I saw in the bins this morning was a 22" Santa by Carolina Enterprises and the date 1976. It also had 1358 and 024264 over the name. In the same bin was a double sided Santa head marked Caroline Enterprises 1974 and 024309, 2, and 1570. It also had what may be the Empire stamp - a crown over a capital E. The last one was a 13" Santa marked Empire Plastics Corp. 1968 and the numbers 1351-1379 and 023655. All three of this weeks buy had the original lighting which will allow me to experiment with ways of switching over to LEDs. I can live with 110V but much prefer to use 12V DC. I think I will try using LED vehicle bulbs. They are super cheap and give plenty of light. Since both of these companies have been gone quite a while I wondered just how old they might be. The 10" Chinese made molds were a buck for the two of them. The others were 60 cents, 70 cents, and $2.60 for the larger Santa. I had been looking at eBay for possible purchases but the cost of shipping makes that unlikely. Anything larger than about 12" gets really pricey to ship. I'll take some pictures and post them on postimages soon.
  10. Rich in Las Vegas

    Best blow mold light?

    I'd suggest you try using an LED corn bulb rather than the traditional shaped LED bulb commonly sold in dollar stores and home improvement stores. Corn bulbs cast the light to the side as well as from the top so don't require a milky globe to disperse the light in all directions. Much more efficient. I can't understand why few American sellers carry them. You can test drive one for less than two dollars if you are willing to buy from an overseas vendor on eBay and wait two weeks for it to arrive. You can get them in a variety of bases and different lumen counts. According to my search, the C7 socket is the same as the E12 socket and the medium base socket is E26 or E27. I bought bulbs with both designations and they fit our standard light sockets. The output for a 40W incandescent bulb is around 400 lumens so this seller's warm white (350 lumens) and cool white (420 lumens) would be the closest match. The diameter of the bulb is 30 mm (1.18") so it will fit through a hole made for E26/27 but maybe not for the E12 socket bulb which is 18 mm in diameter. Source for a test ride and I have purchased from this seller in the past: E27 E14 24 30 42 64 80 LED Light Bulb Smart IC Power 5730 SMD Corn Lamp 220V110V $ 1.98 postpaid https://www.ebay.com/itm/E27-E14-24-30-42-64-80-LED-Light-Bulb-Smart-IC-Power-5730-SMD-Corn-Lamp-220V110V/253293276421?hash=item3af974ad05:m:mf6WJ1doB74CxVfX9bM2E7Q There are also newer bulbs using the chip-on-board technology where the LEDs are embedded in a plastic substrate so you don't see discrete LEDs. They make an E12 4W and claim 80-100 lumens per watt but the dimension for the bulb is the same as for the corn bulb so if the corn bulb would not fit, neither would the COB LED bulb. E14 E12 Retro Light Lamp Edison Filament COB LED Bulb Candle/Flame AC 110V-220V $2.10 postpaid https://www.ebay.com/itm/E14-E12-Retro-Light-Lamp-Edison-Filament-COB-LED-Bulb-Candle-Flame-AC-110V-220V/263486481119?hash=item3d5904a2df:m:mKTjIODIGET4dtRlQziFwqw
  11. Rich in Las Vegas

    Hanging with My Peeps

    Check your private messages. I think I replied to your original post with a suggestion to use a 12V DC chip-on-board light powered from house current using a 12V DC converter. It allows you to use lighter wire and IMHO is safer than running 120V AC. If this isn't an option for you, just use the base that I mounted my COB LED for the blow mold penguin I bought a few weeks ago. It was missing the original lighting and the cover for the opening at the rear. I took a tin can cover (spaghetti sauce) that was the right size to fit over the opening and drilled two holes in it. One for the screw that attaches it to the back of the mold (exactly as it was originally done) and ran the wire through the other hole. You could do the same thing by finding a can with a lid the right diameter and gluing the GF lamp base to the lid with construction adhesive or epoxy glue. Drill one or two holes near the edge and mount the can lid to the back of your Peeps. I still prefer the LED. I bought four of them recently for $3.16 postpaid on eBay and they arrived in 17 days. The output is 480 lumens which is just right for my Christmas penguin. They come with a foam backing that sticks to the can lid. I did paint the lid black to make it look nicer. These pictures on postimage show what I did: Can lid with COB LED https://postimg.org/image/6d130i8tn/ Can lid mounted on penguin (before painting) https://postimg.org/image/e5rqsneuj/ Penguin with LED light - finished product (lit) https://postimg.org/image/f9gghuh0b/ I bought the chip-on-board LEDs from this eBay seller. 4pcs/set 48SMD COB LED T10 4W 12V Light Car Interior Panel Light Dome Lamp Bulb $.80 postpaid https://www.ebay.com/itm/4pcs-set-48SMD-COB-LED-T10-4W-12V-Light-Car-Interior-Panel-Light-Dome-Lamp-Bulb/192184796166?hash=item2cbf1b4406:g:1K8AAOSwax5YnCxK&vxp=mtr These were meant for use as dome lights in a vehicle. I could have just purchased the COB itself but this set is actually cheaper than buying just the chip. Just remove the existing connectors and add the ones you prefer. The converter is a 12V 1A (12W) power converter that was scavenged at my local Goodwill outlet store. It will power the lights for three blow molds with similar lighting.
  12. Rich in Las Vegas

    6803 strips and pixels

    Is there a reason for buying 5V DC? I ran two 5M lengths of the 30 LED/M off a 60W 12V driver purchased from Banggood for around $11. I paid $27.90 for the 10M back in May 2016. A quick look seems to show they aren't much more these days
  13. Rich in Las Vegas

    Anyone MOD'd these before?

    I haven't used LOR. What you can do with it looks fantastic but it also looks awfully complicated and expensive. The controllers I bought are simple, cheap, and plug-and-play. Nothing much over $10 and most less than $5. Anybody should be able to use them right out of the box. I have some pretty hefty commercial 12V LED drivers (60W) but generally use converters scavenged from electronics gear. A 5M 3528 RGB LED strip will work fine on a dirt cheap 12V 1A converter. I have to admit that until a couple of years ago my Christmas decorations were limited to odd but simple stuff like hanging Christmas balls every 6" apart from the eves on the first floor and lighting a few windows from the inside. All the while I had a neighbor two doors down (plumber by trade) who kept winning our HOA Christmas light contest and getting more and more elaborate. I countered by buying a few simple LED lights from China beginning three years ago. Hence the reference to 6803 IC and RGBW strips. He had nothing to match that. In 2016 it was adding waterfall lights which were very uncommon here. Then they opened a Goodwill outlet store nearby and I kept finding strings of LED lights for $1.89 a pound. I found a nice LED lit metal tree and added two strings of waterfall lights. Maybe odd but certainly different. Then I saw the store also was getting in a lot of small blow molds. I converted them over to 12V LED lights and put them out. I rather like using LED stuff because the DIY LEDs are 12V DC, not directly hooked to the house line voltage. Thanks to this site I just bought two larger blow molds that I would never have considered had I not read about them here. By this year I had hundreds of feet of lights but I am too darn old to climb to the second floor of the house so they were laid on the ground, wound around trees and shrubs, and hung from the first floor level. It's nothing like what I see in some of the pictures posted here but a good start. Since it doesn't rain much here (not at all this season) I can get away with using some indoor stuff outdoors. I do have a few battery operated EL wire lights but see you can get them in 5V and 12V DC as well. I haven't tried anything that involves cutting them to a particular length. I just bought them to play with. It looks as though you could light wire frames with them but the light intensity is far lower than using regular LEDs. If you want a real PIA try starting out with a bag of naked LEDs and a bunch of resistors. It is doable but pretty labor intensive. OOPS. My edit to my first post did not work quite as I expected. The diameter of the smaller tube is 10.7 mm not 1075. If a moderator could fix that, please do so. Thanks
  14. Rich in Las Vegas

    Anyone MOD'd these before?

    New to this site but an enthusiastic user of LED strip lights for a few years. Non-waterproof LED strip lights are much easier to work with than IP65 waterproof ones but I didn't think they would survive outside if they got wet in our very infrequent rains. Nice to know that they will not simply die. Something to think about is that winding the lights around a tube may break the printed circuit if the diameter wound around is too small. They worked perfectly spirally wound around a 18.5 mm (~3/4") hula hoop when used to form an arch for a semi-circular window but failed miserably when wound around a 1075 mm (~3/8") plastic tube. I think it was breaking the circuit at the tiny resistor that is part of each 3 LED group on a strip. I mounted SMD 3528 RGB led strips on furring strips and used them to outline windows in the house. Makes it a lot easier to put them up each year. Simple controllers that will change colors, flash, or fade the lights are a from a dollar each to a couple of bucks depending upon how many options you want. I buy all of the parts like strips, connectors, and controllers on eBay from Chinese vendors. I've also used 6830 IC strips, 2811 strips, and RGBW strips (waterproof) for lighting the eves. If you haven't progressed to using LOR these work fine with sub-$10 controllers with up to 133 pre-loaded programs. The SMD 3528 LED strips that I use have individual colors for each LED with three LEDs (red, blue, and green) making up a non-dividable unit of 3 LEDs. They are certainly bright enough for window lights. The SMD 5050 LEDs have all three colors in each LED and the same 3 LED cuttable unit. According to this site the white 3528 LEDs use 0.06W per LED while the 5050 use three times as much. https://www.12vmonster.com/blogs/product-questions/7698543-so-what-the-the-difference-between-a-3528-led-5050-led-and-5630-5730-led. The 5050 LEDs are three times as bright as 3528. I like the 3528 RGB LEDs for bicycle Christmas lights. You can light up a bike with 5 meters of RGB LEDs and still power it with an easily carried 12V CCTV power pack. You can also get them using 5V DC and power them with a lithium polymer phone charger battery. A 2 meter non-waterproof RGB strip with USB connector is $3.13 postpaid on eBay. The controllers will work on either voltage.
  15. Rich in Las Vegas

    Hula Hoop Arches?

    Hula hoops are a great idea for mounting LED lights and I think it would work fine for an arch as large as 4 feet across. Thanks to this question I used a hula hoop as the guide for lighting a 4' D semi-circular window with LED strips. It didn't turn out to be flimsy if anchored well. I opened the hoop at the joint rather than cut it in half because the window is wide. For a window you need a flat base so that was a 1"X 2" X 4' furring strip. I screwed the ends into the wood strip and spiraled the lights around the hoop and across the base. The advantage of using LED strips is that there are very inexpensive controllers (manual or RF remote) that let you program the lights without a computer or smart phone. Since the hula hoop was bought at my local Goodwill store and the strips and controllers were bought on eBay from international sellers, the total cost for the window display was under $10
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