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Richard Hamilton

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Everything posted by Richard Hamilton

  1. Brad Bilger wrote: No worry Brad. There are enough idiots in the word to keep your job secure :? This reminds me of a neighbor many years ago that had an outdoor appliance blow up in his face and I had to take him to the emergency room. He replaced a 240 VAC outlet in the garage (intended for clothes dryer) with a 110 VAC plug and then used it on a 110 appliance! Duh..... the thinking was that he didn't need to 240, so he just converted it to 110 (still using both legs of the 220 lines). Fortunately, this man is not in control of our USA nuclear missle program!
  2. michael spencer wrote: Actually, I suggest backing up the whole LOR folder (program files, sequences, etc). Copy them off to practically anything you want. There's nothing special about that folder.
  3. Mike WIlliams wrote: Hopefully, you replaced the fuses with the correct type? There are "fast Acting" and "Slow Blow" Which did you use?
  4. donnyaz wrote: You caught me off guard with that one ;-) I thought we had a real ding bat here !
  5. Jeff Millard wrote: Condensation can and will get into a bag regardless. There is a similar thread on PC about this subject right now, and Glenn (GS) discussed just this issue. In the past I have tried all the suggestions about wrapping, including sandwich bags with rubber bands, and also with electrical tape. What I found after the bad weather was a bag full of water, with a bunch of dirt that was tracking and tripping. I'm sticking to guns on this one. Oklahoma's ice storm blew into New Jersey today as a heavy steady rain with blowing wind. I have 80 amps of lights playing in driving rain, and not a single connection is covered. There are two intermissions that turn on every light in the display for a half hour each. So if ever there was a chance to demonstrate how to do it, this is it... IMHO "Wrapping=Tripping" Jeff Hmmm, I guess I am a bit confused on why this works for me, so I'm going to stick with the technique. Maybe it is all the earthquakes that we have in California shakes all the water out of the bag ;-) (tongue in cheek comment) It's probably just that I tie the bags to to the trees or cutters so that they never get inverted. When I open them up on January 2 to put everything away, there is never any evidence that water was inside. I guess the message here for everyone is to just be careful about bagging or wrapping because it could cause problems if not done properly. Who knows, it might even be due to a difference in the climates. Thanks for the link I'm glad you are having good luck with your technique.
  6. That's a clever idea. Along those lines, I tried a new experiment this year that seems to work nicelessly. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, I run a special combination show whereas, I have a little script that goes to my web site, tallies the votes for the most popular sequences from the week from visitors, and then creates a custom LSS file for the weekend shows. Thus, people can vote for their favorite songs and the software takes the top 7 most highly voted songs to put in the weekend sequences. Ok, ok, so I am retired and have nothing better to do with my time ;-)
  7. Jeff Millard wrote: Great reply ! Very accurate and easily understandable.
  8. Sticking my 2 cents worth in here. When I read this post, it rang a bell in my mind from a couple of years ago, so I looked up my LOR notes. Here are some issues I had and how they were solved. I had this problem controlling lights wirelessly. Fortunately, I had access to an RF spectrum analyizer and discovered that my home cordless telephone was interferring with LOR. Yup that's right... .the home phone. My phones were older style that operated in the 900 MHz range which is the same range as the LOR wireless. I'm sure LOR personnel will correct me on this if I am wrong. I noticed that whenever my son got on the phone, LOR would raise hell with not controlling the lights properly. Changing the channel did not solve the problem because the crappy telephone was still interferring with a couple receivers. Once I put some physical distance between the receivers and the phone, and changed the channels, the problem went away. Finally, I just upgraded my phones to 5.7 GHz versions, and never had any issue again. I'm not saying that your problems are caused by interference with your cordless phone. I'm just saying to open up your mind to problems being elsewhere. In fact it could be due to most anything on the same band as the LOR receivers. As for wired issues of the same type, then obviously this is not an RF interference issue, but it could be a software one. For testing, be sure to stop ALL Windows services running on your computer (in the system tray) just to be sure you are not running something that is hogging up all of your CPU time. I observed back in July that something flaky was going on with an additional LOR unit that I ordered. It turned out to be that my security camera recording software (on the same computer) was occasionally locking up the computer for a few hundred milliseconds (a short time but enough to cause problems). Every time the camera software would save a file to disk, it sucked up all the CPU time and was apparently interferring with the LOR drivers. Again, keep your mind open to other reason why your LOR isn't working.
  9. pixeldigger wrote: Yup, another decent option for a "quick and dirty" solution. I did that a couple years ago, but it was too time consuming to do that for all my songs, with no real control over the process once it is started. I think that once you use any kind of "DJ" software like ZaraRadio or one of the others, you will forget all about LOR for this purpose and ask yourself why did you do it that way in the first place. At least I did. Let LOR do what is does best, and leave the non-show activities to much more powerful software that you can get for free or very little money.
  10. nmonkman wrote: Our announcements are very similar to the ones listed above. I guess Tim and I think a lot alike. We also flash the sign and donation box when talking about donations. We don't do "Voice Overs" on the songs as it distracts from the show... actually "Voice Tracking" is the more common industry term. We use simple sound recording and editing software (Roxio) to have my son make recorded annoucements. The only announcements between songs are to mention the name of the next song coming up. Other than that, we have an intro announcement at the beginning of the show as listed below, and then a shorter announcement about mid way through the show. Finally, there is a short ending announcement. The intro mentions... welcome, show length, show times, how and where to park, safety reminder to watch for kids and not touch display, turn off lights, keep noise down to not disturb neighbors End of show announces... thank you, next show coming up, donation box and the charity we give it to (there is also a lawn sign), We refer them to the web site for more detailed information. Then we have a two minute break for traffic to clear out. Lastly, I uses "Zara Radio" software to make announcements and play Christmas songs during non-show hours (day and night). It automatically stops playing music when the LOR show starts. One nice touch is that I have an RDS encoder tied to Zara Radio and timed to LOR. The result is that on the car radios, it shows the name of the song that is currently playing and an occasional other message like our web site name. Most all radios in the last year have RDS decoding and displays built into them. I would be as happy as a pig in mud if Dan ever got around to putting a tie-in to RDS encoders so that messages and song titles could be sent out on the radio broadcast without needs to do that outside of LOR. (Pretty simple stuff)
  11. basis21b wrote: That is a great list of options above. There are tons of choices available that you can "Google" for them. I saw one post where a person said they couldn't find anything and started programming his own. Clearly, no search was performed before starting that project. Also to comment, this is an area where you DON'T get what you pay for. I'm seen several programs for sale ranging from $20 to $50, and none of them are as powerful as a couple of free ones. I could not help but notice that the one I use is on the list... "ZARA Radio" For me, it was a slam dunk choice to go with it. That software is very powerful and easy to use. And best of all, it is FREE ! Actually, I use it all year long to transmit different sets of mp3, weather, time, and internet feeds throughout my property so I can hear it on various FM radios.
  12. Jeff Millard wrote: Well Jeff, I guess I'm going to disagree with this. I don't use Saran Wrap, but I use tiny sandwhich bags to put connections in the bag and then a rubber band to keep it closed. The trick is not to let the bag dangle so that water can get in the bag. The bag entrance should obviously face down. This is only my 3rd year using LOR, yet I'm been doing this with other equipment for 15 years. My first 2 years were nothing but trouble with GFCI trips and other issues of sockets rusting out. However, in the last 12 years of "bagging" connections, I can honestly say I've never had a single trip issue across the whole 80 channels. The difference might be plastic wrap. It's too easy for water to get trapped in there, which is probably what you are referring to
  13. michael spencer wrote: Your statement and question are not clear to me. When you say you "Downloaded Wizards of Winter"... what exactly did you download... the music, the sequence, or both? Hopefully you downloaded both. This is simple. Open the sequence editor, open the sequence, and go to the EDIT menu to add the audio file. Hopefully, you downloaded the correct version of the audio file that goes with the sequence that the original creator used. Otherwise, it won't sync properly. I suggest you spend some time going through the manual and the LOR Wiki sites first. It will save you a lot of time trying to figure these things out and getting replies from this board.
  14. I am posting message for husband. If you are expecting any answers to questions from him, please understand he will not be able to answer them for the next couple of weeks. We have had a death in the family and he had needed to travel out of state. I have a big list of places to post messages and didn't realize all this internet activity goes on. It was bad enough with all the time spent on doing lights. :shock: There is this stuff too ! Now, back to my own web sites. You know, interesting woman stuff... like decorating... not bits, bytes, and electric things.
  15. My number 1 tip for newbees is to consider wrapping your connections. I started doing this 10 years ago, and it is worth the time. You will probably blow fewer fuses, and prevent GFCI circuits from tripping. What I mean is that in each location where an extension cord plugs into a string of lights, or at the end of a light string where there is a recepticle, I fold back the connections, stuff them in a small plastic sandwich bag and wrap a rubber band around it. Then I position it vertically so that water does not drain into the bag. This usually means I rubber band it to a twig on the tree or bush, or whatever the lights are mounted on. We get a LOT of rain in Northern California that usually starts in December. Every since I started using this technique years ago, I've never had the show go out during a rainy night. It also keeps the connections from rusting out. At the box, I don't wrap anything. I just make sure that the box is mounted high enough that the cords hang naturally downward so rain water drains away from the controller recepticle plugs instead of into the plug (don't have the plugs laying on the ground).
  16. fire_paramedic wrote: Out of curiosity, isn't that only true with incandescent bulbs? As I recall, the current through a string of LEDs will not change much at all of an LED fails, so the other bulbs stay at about the same brightness. I forget the details about that.
  17. Kevin, your information makes a LOT of sense. Thanks for the post.
  18. Holy Smoke ! You better start taking out a home equity loan RIGHT NOW to pay off your electric bill when it arrives :shock: There sure is a lot of action going on there.
  19. I like the idea and I can't think of any reason why it would not work. I don't buy the comment from whoever told you that it would blow out the diodes if connected wrong. I agree with you that the stran simply won't work if connected wrong. They are already being subjected to a back biased 120 VAC during part of the AC waveform, so blowing them out isn't something that should happen. My only concern is that if you are experimenting, leave the LOR out of the experiment for risk of blowing out a channel if you build the full wave rectifier wrongly.
  20. rickharp wrote: I switched to LEDs last year on my mega-tree and I prefer them over incandescent lights for a lot of reasons, but the main two reasons for the switch to LED is that I wanted them to be more reliable, and better color. My tree is mounted on top of a shed and I don't want to be replacing bulbs during the season. I like the brilliant color of LEDs far better than incandescent bulbs.
  21. Here is a link to my Show songs and order... http://magiclightshow.com/2007_shows.htm From comments last year I learned that our attendees generally fall into one of two groups... "acid heads" and "old foggies".... well at least that is what my son calls them. some people don't like the rock music and think it is not appropriate for Christmas and other folks think that classic songs are too boring. Sooooo, this year (as you will see from my page) we have alternate nights of rock music and classic music, but on the weekend we run both shows. It is interesting to see from the crowd that I can determine which show is playing by looking at them. Parents with young kids and older people seem to come on the "classic" night, and teenagers come on the rock night. Shows have played only a few nights but the response to this layout has been better than I hoped. People like the split. Also, I only have about 30 minutes of songs on each night because I want to keep the traffic moving. Last year I had about a one hour show and that was much too long. We also have an intro to explain parking suggestions and a little information. Each song is announced before it starts, and at the end of the show is where we give the thank you and beg for charity donations ;-)
  22. johnny christmas wrote: Good idea to check the manual. Depending on the age of the camera, most all recent video cameras have a slide button or push button labelled "manual" or "auto" for the focus. Then turn the lens ring to put it in focus at infinite distance. I have seen some cameras that inconveniently place this feature in an on-screen menu.
  23. johnny christmas wrote: Nice job Johnny. I have a suggestion for the next time you make a video of your display... Set the video camera to manual focus mode and turn the focus ring to infinity. This will prevent the auto-focus control from trying to find the range during dark segments.... thus causing it to run in and out of focus. Cheers, Richard http://MagicLightShow.com
  24. Michael M wrote: Michael, my recommendation might be too much overkill for what you need, but I will mention below what I use for X10 control. There are many solutions and I am sure you will get a lot of good responses. This information below is copied from my web site and is more than you likely care to know about X10 technology. You probably know all this stuff already, yet I will mention some issues with old X10 for people not that familiar with it. X10 technology is over 20 years old and the designs of the circuitry have not changed much. I have found X10 to be very unreliable since they first came out. A few years ago, I ran across an upgraded X10 design that I purchased. For me, it has been extremely reliable in sending signals. It is a company called SmartHome and here is a link to their X10 stuff... http://www.smarthome.com/_/X10_Compatible/_/23X/land.aspx I've used their equipment all over the house to automate lighting. While on the subject, I should mention that it is worth looking into "Insteon", also found at SmartHome. The is a newer generation of device that is even more reliable. For replacement X10 devices and adding new one ones, I have been buying the Insteon devices. They also work with older X10 devices. The biggest problems with X10 over the years has been that signals sent from a control device to a receiving device has not been very reliable. It is a "simplex" communication, so signals are not sent back to the controlling device. Therefore the controller does not know if the receiving device really got the signal or not. As such, you can't poll the status of a device to know if it is really on or off. Some of the newer generation stuff (not the Radio Shack junk), uses a half duplex communication method where a controller can poll the status of a receiving device. All SmartHome equipment works this way and it improves reliablility. With X10, there are many forces at work which make them generally unreliable. Electrical lines tend to be very noisy because of heavy load devices like refrigerators, air conditioning, and heaters turning on and off. Many plasma TVs and other high tech devices will kick low and high frequency noise back into the electrical lines if not well regulated or filtered at the outlet. If that were not bad enough, there is also an issue of trying to send signals from one leg of the house current to a device on the other leg (your house as two 110 Volt legs to generate 220 where needed). The signal almost never gets to the intended device unless you use a "crossover" device at your electrical panel or at the clothes dryer. And lastly, as your house is bigger and the more devices you use, the problems get worse because of the longer electrical lines and loading from many devices. This is where Insteon helps. Those devices send control signals both wirelessly and over the house wiring. My long winded message can be summed up to say, don't buy the cheaper old X10 devices. They are not worth the hassle. And if you have a lot of devices, a big house, or need to send signals across different AC legs of your house, then you probably need to invest in signal boosters and a crossover device. Richard http://MagicLightShow.com
  25. Ah yes, thanks for that clarification for folks. I try not to buy those kind.
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