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Holiday horror stories


mgrant8163
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Even though I'm a Newbie I know that I can learn from my and the mistakes of others and....it's pretty darn entertaining at the same time.

What went wrong this holiday season! :shock: Storms with lightening, electrical fires, props ending up in the pool, pets caught in miles of Cat5 cable, arrests for disturbing the peace with a 50' santa, etc. You get the idea. :cool:

No bashing, just some fun and maybe a bit of learning going on. ;)

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Looks like I get to start. These stories are somewhere else on the forum too. A friend was over to see the lights and I notice an element coming on when it's not supposed to. Half way through the show my daughter and her boyfriend and his parents show up to see the lights. By that time I realize several things aren't working. So i rush to the control room and see the 12V power supply wasn't working. I power cycle it a couple times and can't get it go. After the show with almost half the lights not working they head home. I plug the power supply back in and it works. Apparently I didn't keep it off long enough to reset. This was after a couple wet days. The element being on when it wasn't supposed to was because I had an animation and a musical playing at the same time.

Another time I had a long time customer stop by with his family and i notice two channels not working and figured it was the darn rabbit again. After the show, I gather my tools and find that there's no chewed wires. I go over to the controller and realize I didn't plug the controller back in after making repairs from the rabbit.

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Went to put the star on the mega tree and the wire ties had dry rotten and the LED rope light kept falling apart. In the repair process we broke the end with the connector. was freaking out until I remembered having extra lights in one of bins from my office (had made up a mockup of the mega tree). 20mins and 50 wire ties later we were up and going. Also had a controller error that I thought was fuses or a fried controller but turned out being that the plug was not all the way in the receptacle. Discovered that after a trip to Lowe's in search of the correct fuse and replacing said fuses.

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Mine started with the thought "This isn't going to be good" as I falling towards the wifes car from 15 feet up.

Hit the car, then the ground. Needless to say it took two surgeries and some screws and anchors to put my leg and knee back together again. Thought the year was a loss.

In stepped the kids, their friends and the neighbors and even the wife whose car still has the dent from the impact. She will not get it fixed, says it is a reminder for me to get help when up on a ladder.

Started bad but ended good. The show went on as normal and was a success. Couldn't have done it without the help and for that I am forever grateful.

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Happily, just a few minor ones for me. When I lit everything up for the first time, quite a number of my minis weren't lighting. I hadn't bought enough SPT2, so dipped into my SPT1 stash, but had to use SPT2 vampires, so had to go back through and fix a bunch of connections. Then, about halfway through the season, my "tune to" sign channel started behaving weird. A power cycle on the PC and all was good. My final one came when I was out of town. I asked my neighbor to reset GFIs if it rained. Well, when we got home, I noticed 2 controllers out. Rain had happened the night before, so I don't think it was out more than a few hours total. But can't believe the neighbor didn't reset it. Damn neighbors. :)

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Mine started with Halloween, I asked the city to power off the lights to the city owned basketball-tennis court behind my house so my light show will look better, well after 4 years of complaining they did, I was happy to see my lights and not a florescent glare from across the alley, well I wanted to video the songs so I go get my 12 foot A-Frame ladder and put my camera on top started filming, and I needed to adjust a tombstone so I was descending the ladder and I thought I was near the bottom and I mis-stepped and there I go falling down this ladder onto a chain link fence sliding down that the camera falls off the ladder and I'm laying on the ground in pain from the back of my head to my legs saying.....if the court lights were on, this wouldn't have happened. I was in pain for months and on Dr. prescribed meds. not as bad as Jon's experience

And at Christmas it was a nice warm Saturday and in November so I decided to put up the inflatables and I got this 20ft snowman and he was 1/2 way inflated and this big gust of wind came, ripped his moorings out of the ground and there is this huge snowman blowing up the street with me chasing him as fast as I could go, still feeling the pain from Halloween

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I spent a lot of time this past year building a train for my display. It ran flawlessly for the first week or so then one day my dog jumps up and starts barking like crazy at the front door. Assuming a vandal was in the yard, I run out side to see a train wreck, literally. Somehow the caster assembly snapped and jackknifed the middle car, tore apart the entire undercariage......did the train stop then, of course not. It continued to drag the carnage around the track until it got tangled in the lights and drug the engine darn near completely off the track. It took me 1/2 the night to rebuild the train. The paint was still drying as it started around the track the next night.

Less than a week later, the welds on the drive axle of the engine broke. That took me about 4 days to fix the axle and resulting damage.

I'm haply to say that I had no other problems after that.

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[align=center]WARNING: LONG WINDED STORY![/align]


[align=center]Don't say you weren't warned in advance! :P[/align]
My first time was also Halloween 2010, 1st show and I was still wet behind the ears with GFCi's, keeping plugs off the ground and power all 5 controllers from the same outlet.

Well the Circuit Breaker in the garage is a GFCI, which I didn't know that at the time, and after having the darn thing tripping a million times (sure felt like it), I went and bought another GFCI outlet and installed that in the outdoor receptacle replacing the one NON-GFCI that was there.

Finally I got it all working again, HOORAY!, shows running, then the darn sprinkler system kicked in, which is also plugged into this same outlet. So okay, so far so good, CLICK, goes the outside GFCI, SNAP goes the GFCI CB and everything shuts down again. WTF? I thought installing that outside GFCI outlet was going to do away with this. Well it didn't.

So I go and inspect everything, looks okay except everything is all wet now, flipped the CB, good, it's staying on, pressed the reset on the outside outlet GFCI, everything comes to life and I had FORGOT to turn off the sprinkler timer. One nice point blank shot up the bum with a blast of icy cold water, which I'm sure sent me about 10' skyward! ROFL And then CLICK, SNAP, there they go again.

Go in change to clothes and have to explain to my wife why my bum saturated and why I'm all wet, and it was rather cool out to, she laughs so hard I'd thought she was going to pass out.

Okay, clothes changed and myself dried off, go back out, OPEN sprinkler box and shut off sprinkler system. Reset the GFCI's again, show comes to life once again, but as soon as it hits this one area CLICK goes the outside GFCI outlet again, so I pull out the laptop, disconnect the DC-MP3 Showtime Director and connect the USB485B dongle and laptop to the controllers to find what's causing the problem.

Well even though I had my female ends pointing down it was internally soaked, then I saw where the sprinkler was, when the sprinklers came on it was shooting water directly into the female plug, created a nice glitch and CLICK, the GFCI was tripping. Found a couple others that I had on the ground after taking that one out of the show to check for addition issues that was causing the trips.

Found two plugs submerged in a mud puddle. *ugh*. After blowing them out and wiping them off, then blowing them out with a can of compressed air, they worked fine. Did the same with the other light strand, no problem.

After that I decided there had to be something I could use to BLOCK the female and male/female plugs, so I put my little mind to work and thought about the plastic child protective caps that cover outlet sockets, the ones used to keep small fingers and objects out of them.

Went and bought about 1,500 of them, didn't like the way they shone from the lights since they were a florescent white, painted them all flat black, which also made them fit more snugly in the female receptacles.

After that, I thought I was done with the GFCI trips, eeeeeent, wrong answer, I had to move 3 controllers off that power source and go to 2 other outlets inside the garage. Once I did that, Halloween 2010 was finally launched and ready to go. And I have never had another issue like that since.

BTW: I also only ran the sprinkler system manually after that, but only when I have display elements up, I'll put it back on it's timer when the yard is clear of the seasonal lights and decor. I also used those green ground light stakes to get my plugs off the ground and in the air, along with the child protective caps, no more issues since.

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We have a half mega tree. 64 strands of C7 LED, each 26 feet long. These are on 8 ropes, so each one lifts 8 strings, and every string is on aircraft cable. We have been using the same rope for 3 years, and this would have been the 4th. We has the first section up. The second one was being snugged up, and all of a sudden, it is falling down on me, the shrubs around me, and other stuff. Thankfully the top ring, and all the cable clamps missed my head by about 1 foot. Needless to say, all 8 ropes have been replaced. Kind of sad that only about 4 months of sun exposure and 3 years of storage degraded the rope that much.

I'm just thankful that it failed at lift, not hours from opening night...

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I think last year was the only problem I had. Dec. 26/2010, light show finished I went to bed ( I am up at 3:45 AM every morning. I got up, made my way to kitchen and made coffee. While it was brewing I went outside to have a cig. I turned on the outside lights, which my star from my 30 foot megatree was hooked up to. I was standing there and looked up and noticed I couldn't see the star lit. I went around the corner to see the star "resting" in my windshield of my car. I guess during the night we had some 50 MPH winds, which I did not hear at all. The pipe cracked in the middle of the Coupler and came over.
All said and done I think after I cleaned up all 60 strings, I had 3 that I could not use again.

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Never had any problems to my display except on the 1st of January 2012. Happy new year to my display.
Watched in horror as this fell over in the wind. Funny thing is all the blue lights came on and shimmered as it went down. Didn't laugh as I watched it but after I can. A fellow LOR sent this message to me and made my day.

"what happened to the tree is after all that alcohol last night Brian was trying to poll dance. It all went good till he tried an inverted flip on the poll and the rest is in the picture, minus the drunk laying in the yard trying to untangle from the flashing lights."

Attached files 300018=16535-IMAG0492.jpg

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example 3 of 2012.

Marty fan 1/2 of it.

Attached files 300020=16537-IMAG0493.jpg

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Darryl Lambert

Well I've had a few this year.

From poorly made green LED's ( ordered direct from China I might add ) either failing or shorting out and blowing 6 fuses on various controllers.

To wet weather causing GFI,s to trip all over the place and wouldn't you know it that I had relatives visiting to see the lights, their first time, and half the lights were out. :)

My nextdoor neighbour who doesn't like the lights. She has let her displeaser known by taking the lights that are on some mutually owed trees and balling them up onto the top.

and then this! well the picture says it all.


Attached files 301214=16574-Copy of PC160506.JPG

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De Trommelslager
No bashing, just some fun...


What if is bashing myself? Or my family? And can't bashing be fun, too? LOL!!!



Well, my lighting faux pas isn’t so much of a disaster as much as it is amusing. Although at the time I could have throttled a couple of people.

I time putting up Christmas lights around the weather. Ideally a nice sunny day in the 60’s is where I shoot. Have been down the road of putting up lights in the cold rain before, and have retired from that scenario. And so, we had a nice day over Thanksgiving weekend to get lights up (which would have been static). The wife has the idea of making it a “family project”, and she and my son (7 YOA) come out and start pulling lights out and laying them out on the ground.

She is an accountant, and though I love her dearly, each year she goes on and on about the electric bill and how the lights “cost us $200 each year”, and “can we shorten the duration that they are on” and the like. When I have tried to get her to let me switch over the LEDs, I get the “well the regular ones are 80% less than the LEDs, we’ll stay with what we have”. Bless her heart, she just wants to stretch a dollar as far as it will go, but sometimes she’ll end up spending a dollar to save a dime.

As we are out there dragging lights out and getting things checked out, one in five strings was actually working 100%. My son was having the time of his life and couldn't contain his excitement for helping with the lights and the anticipation of lighting up the house, which is one of his favorite times of the year.

The wife and I would work on a string and then lay it out. I kept trying to tell my boy that he couldn’t be (wait for it!)… walking on the lights! We’d no sooner get a string checked, fixed and laid out, then mini bigfoot would be walking all over the lights breaking lamps and damaging more than we were fixing. Smiling the whole time, too!

After two hours of this and making absolutely no headway and hearing about electric bills and such, I told my wife that I was finished for the year. Yes, I am the mean one called Mr. Grinch. I grabbed a trash bag, and every incan sting of lights that he had went to the curb. She didn’t want to fork over the cash to buy new (LED) lights this year, but conceded that we could invest in the LEDs and a good timer (LOR perhaps? :)) for next year.

Our outside Christmas display ended up being one inflatable this year after my boy pitched a fit that we didn't decorate and that Santa might pass us by. Pretty meager in comparison to previous years. Set up and tear down was a breeze, though!!


2012 will be drastically different. Going from 4000 static lights and three inflatables, to one inflatable, to 15,000-20,000 or so LED lights on 48-64 channels of LOR synced to music will be a slight upgrade. Not to mention loads of fun! My son was disappointed that we didn't light up the house for 2011, but he is super pumped about doing LOR. He is even working on a couple of sequences himself and doing pretty well with it.

My take away from this year... Next time my boy helps me with Christmas lights, he'll be barefoot. Just kidding. LOL!!! :P


Maybe him helping wasn't such a bad idea after all... :)
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friskybri wrote:

A fellow LOR sent this message to me and made my day.

"what happened to the tree is after all that alcohol last night Brian was trying to poll dance. It all went good till he tried an inverted flip on the poll and the rest is in the picture, minus the drunk laying in the yard trying to untangle from the flashing lights."

Your welcome on the good laugh! :cool:
Now that being said my past two seasons went well once started but both started off bad. 2010 while setting up went to get a roll of 10 guage wire out of the back seat of the truck needless to say reaching behind you to grab a wire is not smart choice. Three cortosone shots later thinking I had over stretched the tendon giving myself tenis elbow and a MRI later they realized I had torn the tendon in the elbow so one surgurey later 15 staples, a cast for 4 weeks, and six weeks of PT got that fixed. Then this year in a rush to get to much done at once I had the electric hedge trimmers kick back and nick the tip of my ring finger so three stitches later the lights come on this year. And for the record I will take getting cut by something sharp any day to the dull rip of hedge trimmers.
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We had a couple of big wind storms causing the cable to loosen, this year I will be rigging up some kind of crank.

After 12 years, last 3 LOR controlled we finally had GFI problems.
Came home to find 1/2 my display was out!!!!
Notice one of the GFIs were tripped.
So I reset it.
Click out again.
Errrrrr
Moved a the controllers one at a time until I found the one causing the problem and was going to unplug things one at a time. The first was my net light fence ..... no tripping!
Easy fix because the fence is more to keep the display safe so left it unplugged for the season.

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That's a nice looking sleigh being pulled by your reindeer!! :P

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Champion Sound Entertainment

rescue_653 wrote:

friskybri wrote:
A fellow LOR sent this message to me and made my day.

"what happened to the tree is after all that alcohol last night Brian was trying to poll dance. It all went good till he tried an inverted flip on the poll and the rest is in the picture, minus the drunk laying in the yard trying to untangle from the flashing lights."

Your welcome on the good laugh! :cool:
Now that being said my past two seasons went well once started but both started off bad. 2010 while setting up went to get a roll of 10 guage wire out of the back seat of the truck needless to say reaching behind you to grab a wire is not smart choice. Three cortosone shots later thinking I had over stretched the tendon giving myself tenis elbow and a MRI later they realized I had torn the tendon in the elbow so one surgurey later 15 staples, a cast for 4 weeks, and six weeks of PT got that fixed. Then this year in a rush to get to much done at once I had the electric hedge trimmers kick back and nick the tip of my ring finger so three stitches later the lights come on this year. And for the record I will take getting cut by something sharp any day to the dull rip of hedge trimmers.

Three stitches?? Let me teach you a lesson my father taught me ... crazy glue, crazy glue, crazy glue. I cant tell you how awsome that stuff really is, I was hunting when I was younger and when I was first learning how to skin I ended up slicing a 5" gash in my hand. My dad ripped the sleeve off my flannel wrapped it around my hand and told me to hold it there until it stopped bleeding so much, about 20 minutes (not sure if the bleeding had slowed down or if i was just running out....) he took a bottle of crazy glue out of this pack and sealed the wound. Ive had my finger cut off and my whole hand nearly split open and the crazy glue ended up working much better... go figure.
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That's a nice looking sleigh being pulled by your reindeer!! :P

Damn Non-Edit Button!!!!!


Attached files 301292=16579-sleigh.JPG

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