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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.



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About jhoybs

  • Rank
    New Member

Profile Information

  • My favorite Christmas story
  • Location
    Muskego, WI
  • Biography
    I have been designing and constructing Christmas light displays since I was 12. There is nothing like firing up the Christmas music and hanging lights to put me in the Christmas spirit.
  • Interests
    Christmas Lighting
  • Occupation
    Electrical/Software Engineer
  • About my display

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  1. jhoybs

    First time using X lights

    There are tons of xLights videos and a lot of support available. The xLights site, specifically their Videos section, would be the first place I'd start (http://videos.xlights.org/). The video section can be a little overwhelming, but I'd recommend looking at the right column titled "Popular Videos". Not knowing what you know, I'd look at Introduction to xLights and/or xLights Beginner Seminar Jan 2018. The xLights application changes fast - their volunteer developers are VERY active! Hope this helps! Jim
  2. jhoybs

    My 2016 Display

    Really nice display, Merry Christmas!
  3. jhoybs

    Hi everyone1

    Welcome aboard! Merry Christmas!
  4. jhoybs


    The main issue I see with these lights are just that they are so dim. Some devices are better than others, but even the more expensive ones are too dim in my opinion.
  5. Stephen, Your display is way cool! Very unique too! Great job and perfect example for this topic.
  6. LOR is simply a computer-controlled dimmer switch. 16 channels mean you can control 16 outlets. It can control any 120V (ie: standard) light strings and, in some cases, floods (as long as they are dimable). You then use LOR software to create a script (program) to tell the LOR controllers what to do and when. RGB is a different animal - you can't plug them into a wall outlet (ie: 120V) to light them up, you need a power supply because they don't run on 120V - usually 5VDC or 12VDC. Where an LOR controller has a computer chip in it to control the light strings, RGB lights are powered on all the time and each bulb is controlled by its own computer chip. In the RGB world, controllers are generally still required to communicate with each bulb and to inject the 5 or 12 DC power. With RGB, you still need to create a script to tell the pixels to turn on/off/dim.
  7. jhoybs

    First time outdoor display

    Great job, it looks nice and clean!
  8. jhoybs

    My 2016 Display

    Mike, Looks really nice - great job!
  9. jhoybs

    Newbie Here, looking for advice

    SPT wire and vampire plugs are the way to go. I buy my lights. plugs and wire from http://www.holiday-light-express.com/. You can make any size extension cord and also make it custom (like in-line receptacles) essentially without tools.
  10. jhoybs


    When I moved into my current home, most of the GFCI's in the house are GFCI circuit breakers. For me, this works out well because with the outlets, you may have one feeding (coming first in) the circuit. It can be confusing which one tripped. I used to live in a house where the GFCI outlet was in the bathroom and that was in series with the outside standard outlet. When the outdoor outlet "tripped", I had to reset the indoor. The GFCI breaker is more expensive than an outlet, but it is way easier to reset/test.
  11. I bought a Light Keeper Pro (http://lightkeeperpro.com) to troubleshoot incandescent light strings - it really helps and makes things easier. I've seen these devices sold at local hardware stores and "big box" stores. That being said, trying to troubleshoot a prelit tree can be a pain! The light keeper can light individual bulbs (so you know that they are good) and it can also send a pulse thru the string to short any open shunts. There are videos on the website on how to use it. Your obvious problem is the replacement bulbs; either the tag on the lights is wrong or the replacements you bought wrong (most likely). I've gone all LED, but I see more incandescents stating they are "low power" or "power saving" - this might be another reason for your issues. That being said, (assuming the tags are correct) it does state the voltage (2.5 volt) and power (0.43 watt) so that should take in account any "power saving" design. Did you try finding replacement bulbs at Walmart? You'd think that they sell them there (or online).
  12. jhoybs


    I'd first unplug everything from the outlet(s) on the circuit, reset the GFCI and then plug in a single (dry) item like a string of lights or floodlight. If you are resetting the GFCI with your lights plugged in and you still have a path to ground, they'll just keep tripping. If that doesn't work, make sure your circuit breaker isn't tripped - you can try switching the breaker on and off to see if it helps. GFCI outlets do go bad periodically, you might have to replace it.
  13. jhoybs

    Built-To-Last weatherproofing?

    I agree with TexasKate, except I ended up using Hydrocote Polyshield Clear Superpoly instead of the Polycrylic. http://www.hoodfinishing.com/HYDROCOTE_finishes.html This sealer is also sold by Winfield Collection, but Hood's price is better. Because of limited space and a lot of cutouts, I needed to store my figures touching each other. Before I primed & painted only and the figures would end up sticking together. The Hydrocote is very thin going on but really seals and protects the cutouts. Last year I began redoing my cutouts from scratch using a layer of Hydrocote - none of them were sticking together this year! This stuff is a little expensive, but I'll never do another cutout without a layer of these sealer!
  14. jhoybs

    Replacing Lights

    Actually, if you are talking about screw-in bulbs (like C7 or C9), you can. If you are talking about mini-lights, no.