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pstigerfan

Putting Controllers in Yard

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I've been busy working on my display for this year, and even though this is my first year working with LOR, I have some big ambitions- want to do a total of 15 songs and a bunch of other stuff.

Anyway, where I live, we are currently an "undeveloped/developed subdivision". Pretty much what that means is that the area is currently an active development with a bunch of open land plots where houses will go eventually. We usually do not get police drive-bys or anything like that, since we are also the "dead-end" of the street.

What I am worried about is the neighborhood kids, mostly teenagers, who have nothing to do during the Christmas season. Last year, when we had a static display, I woke up one morning to find the yard vandalized. I did file a police report and also had video of them doing the damage. What I am afraid of is that I will put my controllers out in the yard and find them vandalized and somehow broken.

So, does anyone have any plans or ideas? I was thinking about just doing a locking box with a lid and put the controllers in those. Probably paint them a color to blend in with their surroundings. I've pumped almost $1,000 into this year's display, and that includes the controllers, lights (purchased around 10,000 new lights last year) and a bunch of other stuff. The last thing I want is vandals from the local neighbor children.

Any help would be appreciated.

Paul

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Is there no chance of putting the controllers inside the garage (locking the door) and running the cables out to the elements (mini/mega trees, arches, etc)? How about inside a front room, running the cables out a window, securing it from opening? Maybe controllers on the roof? Chain them to a tree? Drive a long fence post into the ground, bolting the controllers to it?

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See I thought about putting them in the garage, but the way it is laid out (plus the fact that we park cars in there, there is not enough space for me to mount them on a wall or anything like that.

The roof has a steep pitch, so I don't think putting them on the roof will work. I could possibly chain them to a tree or at least chain the box to something. I had never thought of that.

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Sad part is there is nothing we can do ageist any vandalism. the uglier we can make the controllers look, the less likely they would be stolen.

One idea that was mentioned was engraving you name on the board or get the serial number of the controller.

Theft has and always be a concern with the amount of money we all put into our display. even with the price of copper, extension cord is looked at as high dollars.

A square gift boxes was made and used by someone to hide their controller. sadly the gift box with the controller was stolen. there has been other story about neighbor keeping an eye on things to help us out, even while we slept. which is a good thing.
It's the price we pay, for what we love to do.

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I wouldn't suggest putting them in a garage, or distant from the display items. Assuming that the garage placement resulted in an extra 25' of extension cord x 16 channels, @$7 for a 25' cord, that would equate to an extra $112 just in cords. That goes a long way towards the purchase of a new controller. Don't forget you have 2 controllers and probably more in the future, so $224 in extra cords this year. In all reality, it most likely would require longer than 25' cords too. To be honest, over the past several years that I have been here, I don't recall any stories of anybody having a controller stolen, let alone vandalized. Display items, sure, but not controllers (which is why I think it is a bad idea to hide controllers in a box and or fake "gift" box. Majority of people (especially young punks) aren't going to even know what a controller is, or what it's worth.

I was concerned about this my first year but realized the above logic. To be safe though, I use U-shaped fence posts (2 per controller) to mount my controllers, and try to position them behind a bush (both for aesthetics and security) but still near the appropriate display items. Posts are shown below (can get at Home Depot/Lowes). I realized later that once the ground freezes, those posts weren't going anywhere. Very difficult to remove one at a time, but impossible to remove two side by side posts at the same time (since both will be attached to the controller, both would have to be removed. I am sure you would experience the same thing in Michigan as I do in Ohio. The other thing this accomplishes is that it keeps the plugs up off the ground. This route is cheap, easy, "small", and secure.

U-Post.jpg



Another cheap easy thing I have seen is to attach a printout of a high voltage sign to the cover of the controller in case anybody is getting "curious." Never bothered with this myself though.
danger-high-voltage.gif

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I advise against using high voltage signs.

In the event anyone is shocked or injured, you have, in fact, admitted to their attorney that you have created a dangerous environment in a residential area, without also installing high chain link fencing or another means of physically preventing them from entering your property.
Their atty would also want proof that you complied with all local codes and permits since you KNEW you had created a dangerous situation.

In addition, by installing such signs, your homeowners insurance company could deny coverage for any liability coverage, since you created a dangerous environment on purpose.

Forget about those signs.

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Surfing4Dough wrote:

I wouldn't suggest putting them in a garage, or distant from the display items...  ...To be honest, over the past several years that I have been here, I don't recall any stories of anybody having a controller stolen, let alone vandalized...   ...Majority of people (especially young punks) aren't going to even know what a controller is, or what it's worth. 

I was concerned about this my first year but realized the above logic.  To be safe though, I use U-shaped fence posts (2 per controller) to mount my controllers, and try to position them behind a bush (both for aesthetics and security) but still near the appropriate display items.

U-Post.jpg


We mount our controllers to U stakes (as shown), and to brick. If you are planning on using the stakes, put the screw end of a bolt on the outside, and a double nut on the inside of the board, so that the bolts can't be removed from the outside.

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JBullard wrote:

I advise against using high voltage signs.

In the event anyone is shocked or injured, you have, in fact, admitted to their attorney that you have created a dangerous environment in a residential area, without also installing high chain link fencing or another means of physically preventing them from entering your property.
Their atty would also want proof that you complied with all local codes and permits since you KNEW you had created a dangerous situation.

In addition, by installing such signs, your homeowners insurance company could deny coverage for any liability coverage, since you created a dangerous environment on purpose.

Forget about those signs.


Ok.. how bout a sign that says "Danger 50,000 ohms!"

If it goes to court, hand them a resistor and say careful there.. you could get high impedance from that!
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Guest Don Gillespie

JBullard wrote:

I advise against using high voltage signs.

In the event anyone is shocked or injured, you have, in fact, admitted to their attorney that you have created a dangerous environment in a residential area, without also installing high chain link fencing or another means of physically preventing them from entering your property.
Their atty would also want proof that you complied with all local codes and permits since you KNEW you had created a dangerous situation.

In addition, by installing such signs, your homeowners insurance company could deny coverage for any liability coverage, since you created a dangerous environment on purpose.

Forget about those signs.
I agree with you on this John being a victom of vandalism my self I find a steel cable runs through my whole display I mount my controllers to my house with long deck screws screwed into my brick walls behind trees I think the more you can hide your controllers the better the young kids have no clue what a controller is and most won't have the cahunas to come right up to your house

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Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. I think I will probably end up using the u-shaped posts, which is the cheap option to go with. Considering I have some vigilant neighbors who will watch the house (along with my 4 security cameras), I think I should be fine.

Paul

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This is an annual topic and I am so glad that I haven't had any problems up to this point; maybe a few pulled bulbs on my fence next to the front sidewalk. I put all of my controllers in a lockable "deck-box" All of my extension cords terminate inside the box, which is situated right next to my dedicated sub-panel. This also serves to shorten my power cords to just a few feet. The deck-box itself is out of sight behind a 6 foot fence with a locked gate. I suppose it's possible that somebody could kick the hell out of the box and get it open, but the box sits right below my bedroom window and I am a light sleeper. I am also a crack shot with my Mini-14. Rounding out my system are two double flood motion detector lights on a timer from 12 midnight until 5 AM that cover all approaches to my yard. I've thought about low light or IR video, but seen some of the videos done with those systems and I wouldn't recognize my own kids creep across the yard.

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The past two years I have put my controllers in the yard. Two at the mid point of my 4 arches, two at the mid point between my 8 mini trees. The rest are either mounted to a 1x12 bungie corded to my porch column or in the bushes under the mega tree. I go with the opinion that ugly gets ignored, so I use 2 pieces of 1/2" conduit 4ft each driven in the ground, then use clamps on the back of the controllers to mount them to the contuit. Then I cover the whole thing in a black garbage bag and tied at the bottom. All you see is a bunch of electric cords running into a black bag a bout 1 1/2 ft off the ground. Don't have any pictures to post right now, but will in a few weeks :). No trouble so far, but I have worried about them each year. I guess it's not the prettiest thing during the day, but you can't see them at night.

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this is my first year,I am going to use bicycle anti theft cables to hold mine to the mega tree pole. and for my other controller it will be around my deck

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boborino wrote:

JBullard wrote:
I advise against using high voltage signs.

In the event anyone is shocked or injured, you have, in fact, admitted to their attorney that you have created a dangerous environment in a residential area, without also installing high chain link fencing or another means of physically preventing them from entering your property.
Their atty would also want proof that you complied with all local codes and permits since you KNEW you had created a dangerous situation.

In addition, by installing such signs, your homeowners insurance company could deny coverage for any liability coverage, since you created a dangerous environment on purpose.

Forget about those signs.


Ok.. how bout a sign that says "Danger 50,000 ohms!"

If it goes to court, hand them a resistor and say careful there.. you could get high impedance from that!


I don't care who you are, that there is funny! :)

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The only thing I do, is screw all my boxes to either the walls of my house, or they are anchored in the ground using a sleeve in concrete, with a bolt threw the pipe and sleeve. Yes, all you need is either a screw driver or a wrench, and there yours, but at least it keeps "kids" from just grabbing. That's where my CCTV system comes in handle to watch them, so I can cry even more if they get them...

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jim6918 wrote:

I've thought about low light or IR video, but seen some of the videos done with those systems and I wouldn't recognize my own kids creep across the yard.

You haven't seen my camera's...:):D:D

Installing extra IR floods around house, looks like HD at night!

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My yard speakers are screwed into 20lb concrete pier blocks (used for floor foundations). Then chained to a nearby bust using dog-run chain (cheap). Not completely vandal proof, but try lugging 20 pounds of concrete back to your car in the middle of the night.

The controllers are the PC kind with the plastic enclosures that have a padlock hole on the right side. In goes a small padlock and several bicycle lock braided wire things. Controllers are screwed to the outside roof rafters with a custom-made adapter plate of 16 gage steel.

This year i'm making some steel enclosures that will hold three controller cards each and they will be chained closed and also chained to something solid.

My only worry is someone trying to pull these with a tow rope from a car. Maybe I worry too much.

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cenote wrote:

jim6918 wrote:
I've thought about low light or IR video, but seen some of the videos done with those systems and I wouldn't recognize my own kids creep across the yard.

You haven't seen my camera's...:D:D:D

Installing extra IR floods around house, looks like HD at night!

I would be interested in hearing what brand and model of cameras you have. Can you give details? I might be interested in buying seomthing quality.

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Last year I kept my controllers in the garage, but this year I'm considering putting them outside attached to 2 U Stakes each as shown above.

I am considering zip-tie-ing each cord to the pig tail. This would slow someone down or hopefully discourage them from attempting to mess with a controller since they would either have to cut each cord, or unwind it from all over the yard. Do you all think this would actually help, or would it just create more headaches for me?

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One of my channels for the mega tree is left available for a Heath Zenith 240 Degree Wireless Motion light, which is mounted on the mega tree pole. It came with 2 remote sensors and I added 2 more, along with a module that turns on my study light upstairs.

Heath Zenith 240 Degree Wireless Motion Sensor with Light Kit
http://www.homedepot.com/Lighting-Fans/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbvn5/R-202650707/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053
Heath Zenith 270-Degree Replacement Motion Sensor
http://www.homedepot.com/Lighting-Fans/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbvn5/R-100654980/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053
Heath Zenith Indoor Lamp Plug-in With Alert
http://www.homedepot.com/Lighting-Fans/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbvn5/R-100654949/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

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Guest guest

JBullard wrote:

I advise against using high voltage signs.

In the event anyone is shocked or injured, you have, in fact, admitted to their attorney that you have created a dangerous environment in a residential area, without also installing high chain link fencing or another means of physically preventing them from entering your property.
Their atty would also want proof that you complied with all local codes and permits since you KNEW you had created a dangerous situation.

In addition, by installing such signs, your homeowners insurance company could deny coverage for any liability coverage, since you created a dangerous environment on purpose.

Forget about those signs.


I live in an apartment complex and management stated I had to use them.

I also have a fence around the display as well as the signs posted inside near the controller stand and at the opposite end. So I had little choice, it was add the signs and fence off the area with a form of temporary fencing or they wouldn't approve of the display being put up.

Here's a photo of my display with the sign in front of the controller stand:




Attached files 267200=14803-Halloween2011_018_small.jpg

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