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Bill V

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About Bill V

  • Rank
    Distinguished Member
  • Birthday 07/20/1955

Profile Information

  • My favorite Christmas story Each year brings a new favorite.
  • Location Alexandria, Virginia, USA
  • Biography A bachelor of fine arts degree many years ago led to a frustrated painter finally finding an outlet with lights.
  • Interests metal fabrication, woodworking and cabinet making
  • Occupation carpenter
  • About my display 400,000 lights controlled by 980 antiquated AL channels and 44 ssr's for some high amperage craziness.

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  1. Sorry for the lag in getting back with a critique, I received a sample string from Dan as promised and am happy with the product. Very bright, no flicker, non replaceable and appear to be full wave. I was sent a string of 5mm and the domes are slightly smaller than the 5mm I have from HLE but when lit, are as bright. The only concern I had was just how sealed the lights are at the point where the wires enter, sacrificing the set I cut open several and although the design is different at the point of wire entry than what I am used to, once the wires enter the socket the bottom third of the socket is molded solid and appears to eliminate any water intrusion. So, IMHO thumbs up for the price.
  2. For anyone interested I have been in touch with Dan and requested sample strings. I will critique the product and share here on PC. The sample was promptly shipped and is due today. If the product is as advertised, molded husk, sealed non replaceable bulbs then these are some really great prices.
  3. Although I've changed much of my display over to LED's I'm still stubbornly keeping incandescent lights in the display. If you like incandescent mini's, phase out the standard .32amp variety with the energy saving ones like Phillips brand energy savers. With .16amp. draw your getting twice the lighting power with hardly a discernible difference in brightness. There is a warmth in incandescent light that just cant be found in LED's and I don't ever see myself having a display without them.
  4. Thanks Scott. Very handy reference.
  5. I don't think any of these inexpensive meters are that accurate when reading really small loads. That being said, using the two meters I have I consistently get a reading of between .03 -.05 per 100 cnt. string of LED's and .32 -.36 per 100 cnt. string of incandescent mini lights. I calculate load based on the higher of the readings for safety sake. I also check the draw at the power source not at the point of use which will add to real use accuracy. Using the lower of the two readings, .03, you are still looking at 15.3 amps for 51,000 lights.
  6. I think you may be underestimating the amperage draw or, if your display is animated, the 51,000 led's are never all on at once. It's been my experience that the typical draw for a 100 cnt. string of full wave led's runs + - .05 amps. multiply that by 510 strings of 100 and you come up with around 25.5 amps. That 25.5 amp. draw would not include any drop that may be associated with any long extension cord runs in the display so using the 80% rule I would think it would require a min. of two fifteen amp. circuits.
  7. Question. Are these zips like the original Gilbert plugs (pliable composition) or the harder plastic ones like Home Depot carries?
  8. Back in the day before sealed led's, everyone had methods for trying to keep the corrosion problem down. It is virtually impossible to remove and grease every bulb in big displays so one of the methods we used was to soak strings in a product, cant remember its name, that was basically a highly refined vegetable oil. It could by bought by the gallon. put the oil in a five gallon bucket, throw a bunch of strings in, remove and let dry. Worked great but really, what a picture. Sealed strings are the only way to go. The replaceable strings are cheaper in the short term but after you factor in the amount of time consumed with maintenance combined with the aggravation of failed strings they are just not worth the investment. Just my two.
  9. Man I wish I had more storage room. https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?fa=Main.Item&itemid=1439&acctid=3604
  10. Anybody out there have a used buzz box that they want to sell. Mine bit the dust and I still do use quite a few incandescent lights. Please PM or you could email me at potomacbillv@gmail.com Thanks! Bill
  11. Absolutely! The leap from darkness to light is gigantic. The difference between 5,000 lights and 500,000 not so much.
  12. I've heard the same questions for years. How many lights? extension cords? how much is the electric bill and what must this cost? They are all just ways to convey the size and scale. It used to bother me, but what are people supposed to ask or say when they are taken aback by a big display?
  13. Congrats to Al! It is nice to know that over the top traditional displays are still appreciated. Their display brings me back in time when Christmas magic was created without all the "in" props used by most today. TV really did not do the display justice, and if anyone is in the Richmond VA area it is absolutely a must see.
  14. It is just the time frame. They want to shoot in mid to late October and that has me starting in August. With the popularity of the show you would think they could take a risk on renewal and shoot at Christmas time for the following year.
  15. I have been doing Christmas lights on a large scale for 25 years, most of those years of course were static. Eventually as happens to everyone I ran out of power. Led's were not available yet but animation was, so I took the leap. Now, after heavily investing in LED's I have been able to grow my display even bigger. I still like to think of my display as a Static display with music and animation. You don't have to go blinky blink. I have over 1000 conventional channels yet 85 to 90% of my display is on at nearly any one point in time. Animation is a devise to augment the static display with music and features that would not be possible otherwise. Leaping deer, twinkling stars, flowing streams, birds in flight and on and on. My point is an animated display can be what you want it to be. It can be blinky or it can be as traditional as any display you have ever seen. It is totally up to you.