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Everything posted by jtomason

  1. This is the first year I had significant traffic, and Silent Night was a great traffic motivator. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. I did make it the most "boring" song sequence-wise for that reason, and also to offer some reverence for the song.
  2. I ran the show for 3 years in a rented place, no issues whatsoever. Everything I did was non-destructive.
  3. Long Island, NY to FL. The weather is certainly sucky this past week...
  4. Save $50: Yorkville C120P 5-inch Powered Install Speaker - New https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0069V653A/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_f9ChCb20B5PTE
  5. I run my show from 6-10pm, and an animation (well, reallly a slow repeating animation with a “show is over for the night” voiceover) from 10pm-1am. I have two components to the audio system: An amp and outdoor speakers, and an FM transmitter. The amp is controlled by my home automation system, which turns on power to the entire show (amp, controllers, etc) at 5:59pm. It also shuts off the amp at 10:05pm (enough time for a song that might start at 9:59pm to finish and the “goodnight” message to play). At 1am, the system cuts power to everything. You might want to consider something similar.
  6. Nah, nothing truly ugly. More rain today again caused a lot of ground leakage, so I cancelled the show tonight. Should be sunny for the next several days, so hopefully I can *really* waterproof it after it dries out a bit. Got a bunch of outlet protectors, plastic light stakes to raise stuff, and some dielectric grease.
  7. Had the end of a string in the gutter which trapped enough water to wet the entire bottom of the string. Used an indoor extension cord (I had no SPT-1, OK?!) and failed to secure the other outlets in it. I am ashamed.
  8. I found this great tool for finding and fixing the problems when they occur: A leakage current meter. Clamp around a strand and it will tell you how much AC current is leaking to ground. Helps narrow down which controller has the problem(s), and from there which light element(s), and from there if it's the element itself or an extension cord, or even the controller pigtail. I've already found one bad extension cord and a light strand that had water inside the pass-thru connector. Also found a few mistakes I'd rather not own up to. I snagged it for half price (sale or mistake, I don't know) from Amazon. It's currently $226. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072MLT7HH/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  9. I have two shows on my schedule: 1. The main show from 6-10pm 2. A lights-only animation show from 10pm until 1am. My home automation system turns on power to the controllers at 5:59pm and off at 1:01 am. It also turns off the outside stereo (but leave the FM transmitter on) at 10:05 pm. It sounded from your post like you wanted something similar?
  10. Yep, apparently it's helpful for keeping moisture from getting in the pass-through side of a light strand's plug. I plan to put some in and put a cover on, plus keeping them elevated. I don't mind a little over engineering to save my sanity.
  11. OK.. So... Yeah... I fixed it. It had nothing to do with the sequence, and everything to do with the one extension cord that was filled with water. So, today I went through everything again, elevated the connections I forgot, replaced that extension cord with an SPT-1 cord, and tested for 2 hours this afternoon. All went well, and the show has been running flawlessly all night. Whew! Dielectric grease, outlet plug covers, and a ground leakage detector have been ordered and will be here Thursday - just in time to see if anything is amiss after the rain we are expecting tomorrow night.
  12. I’ve had people this year asking: 1. How I got the radio station to allow me to rebroadcast their music. 2. How the lights know how to sync to the songs on the radio station. 3. If I work FOR the radio station.
  13. So, the GFCI outlet was replaced but didn't solve the issue - now it's tripping at different parts of the show. So, I'm running on two circuits for the time being. Anyone have any ideas?
  14. Granted, but it has been running in that configuration for weeks now - and all of last season. I’m going to replace the GFCI outlet with another and see if that helps - the outlet does look old, and has tripped a lot in the past.
  15. I did all three modes (steady/shimmer/twinkle). No issue. And those channels get exercised QUITE a bit; so if it was a fast switching problem, it'd be happening a LOT. Moreover, this particular part of the sequence is a few slow ramp downs (see the attachment). Happens right at about 2:18, which is "I stand, and" from the part "here I stand, and here I'll stay" - so right after "stand". The channels in question are House 1-16.
  16. OK, this is a weird one. I have 6 AC controllers, 1 AlphaPix, 1 Pixie 4, 1 50W flood, and a CMB24D in my show. It's been running flawlessly until yesterday. Two days ago we had a substantial rainfall. Starting last night, when ONE particular part of one particular sequence plays, the GFCI outlet controlling the outlets that all of the controllers are plugged into trips. Half the controllers are in one outlet, and the other half is in another outlet on that circuit. Total max amp draw is 5a, so that's not the issue. I've isolated it down to one unit (at the far end of the RS-485 chain) and down to a particular snippet of a sequence - specifically, 2:18 into "Let It Go". Every time I hit that section it trips. So far I've established that: 1. If the RJ-45 is unplugged, the sequence otherwise plays fine for the other controllers. 2. If I remove from 2:16 to 2:18 for those 16 channels in the SE and play it (with the RJ-45 inserted), it plays fine. 3. Every other sequence plays fine. 4. Using the HW utility and turning all channels on that unit on to steady 100% works fine. All of the outlets and plugs are dry. 5. Copying the same sequence data from other channels and pasting it over the existing channel data doesn't fix it. 6. If I plug that half of the controllers into another circuit, everything works fine. So this one is pretty weird. Anyone have any ideas as to why it might be happening?
  17. Then I think I am going to wrap them in a piece of black trash bag and electrical tape.
  18. Yep. I’m guessing these are really more “weatherproof” than “waterproof”.
  19. Me either - although I did make a decision I am sure I will regret and went with dumb RGB nodes for it due to having the capacity on a controller that's already serving the roof.
  20. So Friday we had a rather unusual rain event for Florida in December - training thunderstorms that dumped rain on us for a solid 2 hours. That cancelled the show that night. 2 hours prior to showtime last night I inspected the yard.. No standing water, everything electrical looked dry, etc, so I ran a quick test, and everything worked fine. At showtime, however, everything went wrong. A little background: I have one circuit that covers all the outside outlets, and it has a GFCI outlet right before the panel. I only draw 10a when the entire show is lit, max brightness - so no worries there, and no issues since we bought the house or, indeed, until last night. I use two outlets for the entire show. So the first issue was the GFCI outlet kept tripping. I would reset it, it would stay good for a few to several minutes and trip again. So, I figured I had an outlet that was wet that I missed - but where? So my first troubleshooting step was to pull one of the outlets and run an extension cord into the house. When I saw which outlet tripped, I'd know which half of the show to focus on. Problem was, it never tripped for the rest of the night. However, what did happen was that half the show stopped working intermittently. I figured (correctly) that there was an issue with the RS-485 wiring, and began tracing it. It was failing just before my LOR 50W floodlight - which ships with waterproof RJ-45 connectors. When I moved the wire on the front side of the spotlight, things would start working. However, it would stop working at a random point afterwards. Thinking that maybe the RJ-45 connector went bad, I cut it and crimped on a new one - and in doing so, I noticed a decent amount of water in the connector. Cleared that out, plugged the cable back in, and that fixed it for a short time before it began failing again. However, this time the floodlight was working, but everything after it was not. So, I checked the other connector, and it, too, was full of water. Rain hasn't been a real problem in December, so I haven't ever had to really think too much about water incursion. I have almost everything off the ground - except, of course, those connectors - which are pretty close to the floodlight, which itself is on the ground. So, my fix is going to be to simply zip-tie them to stakes and get them off the ground. Hopefully this helps someone else with similar problems.
  21. Yep, the show file contains the full pathnames to the sequence files (and the sequence files contain the full pathname to the audio files). If you move stuff around, you break things. If you double-click on the Control Panel lightbulb in the system tray, you'll get a log/status window that is very helpful to diagnose show problems. Had you opened it, you would have assuredly seen messages saying that it couldn't find the file (referencing the old pathname). If you want to move the files, you'll need to re-build the show.
  22. I've actually had good luck with Philips brand lights (from Target). They make up about 60% (or so) of my display. These are the drop strands I have across the face of the house and garage - never a day's worth of trouble with them: https://www.target.com/p/philips-60ct-christmas-led-faceted-sphere-string-lights-multicolored-gw/-/A-50839309
  23. Bad bulb maybe? Adding too much resistance to the line after that bulb? I'm no expert, but I'd replace the first dim bulb and/or inspect the strand between it and the last good bulb.
  24. Short term, I'm actually thinking that a 6" cable that is jacketless at the connector (and can do 90 degrees) and ending in a normal RJ-45 plug (going into a coupler) would be a better idea. Can you fit that in the enclosure, and just plug in a regular cable of whatever length would suit? Maybe a picture of what you're working with would help.
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