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Another noob question


LuckyDawg
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Hey guys. I have been watching this forum for over a year now. I started when I was deployed to Afghanistan last year. I got hooked right away. I finally was able to talk the wife into letting me start this awesome hobby. Thank you to everyone who posted videos on YouTube so that I was able to show her what it could look like. :). This year is going to be fairly basic for me since I am starting so late. I have already received my starter pack with 2 additional controllers. I also have the whole house transmitter which I feel I am starting to regret before I have even hooked it up. I guess it always works this way for me. After I ordered the transmitter I started reading the posts on the forums of how bad they were and that everyone uses the EDM transmitter. I don't know how I missed these posts earlier. Hopefully this transmitter can get me through this year at least and then maybe I can upgrade. Anyways, my newb question is this. I am having 4 small trees and 2 arches in the yard which are going to take up 2 of the controllers. The other controller is going to be used for different lights on the house. I am just going to use a couple of the ready made sequences from lor because I know there is no way I would be able to make a sequence for this year. With that said, I am wondering about controller placement. Do most people place all the controllers in a central location and run the ungodly amount of extension cord lengths or do they strategically place the controllers around the yard to make it easier on the cords? FYI, I have 1000ft of Spt2 wire with vampire plugs that I am using for my cords. Looks like I am going to need more. Ugh. It's great to be apart of this great hobby and I look forward to meeting everyone.

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Only the neurotic will put their controllers in a central location like their garage. Then run all kinds of extension cords. I like many others have our controllers out in the yard, close to the lights to minimize the length of our cords. Now I am paranoid enough to have some heavy duty stakes made out of 3" angle iron with a 12" X 12" plate welded to the angle iron. I then drilled and tapped 3 holes to mount the controller to the plate. Once driven into the ground, aint no one going to pull it up. I have to use an old bumper jack to haul it back up and out of the ground. If they try to pry the box off, I suspect they will bust the board too. I also use locking devices to keep the box closed and so it cant pop open in the middle of a storm.

BTW get another spool of the SPT wire, your going to need it before you know it. I usually make my own Cat5 cable, but ran out of the bulk stuff. One cord was about 5' to short due to moving my display items around. Had to break down and buy a pre made cable. 50' cost 30 bucks at wally world. That reminded me why I build my own. I feel sorry for you guys who dont know how to roll your own.

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Hi Dawg. Welcome!

I personally agree with those who worry more about their extension cords than their controllers. Except for another light junkie, the controllers have practically no value for a thief. The extension cords, however, are another story... there's a reason practically no one's web site shows the massive amount of wiring we all use.

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This is my first year out but located the controllers as close as feasible to the lights. Such as one controller in the middle of two 8-channel arches, two controllers at the megatree. The other three controllers are mounted in the middle of their respective connections then extension cords to the props/strings and so on. To help minimize cords, I used a spool of SPT1 wire with vampire plugs/sockets as needed too. So far, it all works!

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This will be my first year using Light-O-Rama. I just purchased the 16 channel controller. In years past I have used the store bought 6 channel controllers and was concerned about it walking off. My solution was to locate an area that was near the lights but still well hidden behind the bushes. This not only helped with it not walking off, but also did not distract from the display. I always try to hide all cords as much as I can. I also use landscaping staples to help secure the extension cords, and anything else I have from not only from walking away, but anyone who happens to walk across the yard from tripping on them.

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Thanks for the help guys. I feel better now with putting the controllers in the yard and saving my cords. I do have another question though. How are you guys plugging in the actual controllers to the house. Would it be feasible to plug my 6 power cords into a surge protector than into the house? I have a pretty hefty surge protector from my tvs that i was thinking of using. Thanks again for the help.

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A lot depends on if you are using LED's or Incandescents in your display. I'm running 6 controllers (96 channels) and about %90 is LED. All plugged into two different 20Amp house cuircuits. So far, no circuit breakers have popped. For a smaller display this year, you are probably fine but next year, you might have to plan your electrical load more carefully if you go to more controllers. If you are using a surge protector, environment is everything. If its going to be outside, protecting it from rain or snow would be the primary consideration. Common sense applies here....no need to get electrocuted therefore it should not be exposed to water.

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I did think about the weather for the surge protector. I would have it under my porch in a cabinet that I have there. I am probably going to try and plug them straight into the house at first. I have approx. 7000 lights with which only about 10% of them are LED. I am switching over to all LEDs over the next few years.

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I did think about the weather for the surge protector. I would have it under my porch in a cabinet that I have there. I am probably going to try and plug them straight into the house at first. I have approx. 7000 lights with which only about 10% of them are LED. I am switching over to all LEDs over the next few years.

You should get the adaptor to mesure how much power your drawing. I purchased one from HomeDepot for about $35. If your running that many Incans. its a must.

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Would I be able to plug both power cords from the controller into an adapter so I can only use 1 of the outlets from the house?

Yes, but your limited to 15A total. If you're using led's, shouldn't be a problem.

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its like desavous! I think they should post this under the most asked question....however I am guilty! I asked it sorta... my husband is the paranoid one. We've had our stuff out now since the 12th of Octoberish? Havent had a lick of problems...knock on wood. now granted we have our controllers screwed to the house! but we have over 2000 feet of cord. (100 feet just from the star on the chimney) I pray no one comes and messes with it...cuz as much as I want media attention for the charity event I don't want it to be from Americas Most Wanted.

Also, as Scubado mentioned...thank you very much for your service. And I just noticed you were in Goldsboro! HI - (I'm waving from Concord)

I was concerned with power issues too. Thankfully my husband is a contractor...so... he rearranged our box, put 3 30 amp breakers... and ran 3 dedicated recepitcals. (this year...we have issues for next year he just doesn't know it yet. :P )

I dont have Wizards of Winter.... I am trying to stay away from the most common ones. However, I have TSO - Deck the Halls, O Holy Night, Carol of Bells, Siberian Sleighride. I have 48 channels but you can pick... I have an 8 wedge mega tree and small arches. I am also working on an after Christmas show with : let there be peace on earth - Kool and the Gang's Celebration - Rascal Flatts' Unstoppable... and I think Reba's What If. You are welcome to anyone I have completed

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There is a site with lots of free sequences there called "UltraShows". Wizards in Winter is in there lots of times. The song, you can download from Amazon or similar. Its a very fast song, so sequencing is extreme but well worth it when you are done.

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I didn't like UltraShows... However, you can go to www.highcountrylights.com he has a list of places that have free sequences. Some of the links don't work but there is alot...you just have to have time and patience to go through them. The High Country Lights is a guy up in Ennice, Nc... or somewhere up near Sparta I think. WBottomley. He is a veteran and helped me. I haven't seen him on alot lately but I am sure he is setting up. He has MASSIVE setup.

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THis is my first year as well. I have already started hanging my lights because of my work schedule, and want to test everything to make sure it is working properly. My first year is only a 16 channel light show, due to money issues. I have an oulet on the front of the house and it is connected to a 15amp GFI Breaker. I've tested the GFI and it works so I am good there. I have another 15 amp GFI around the back of the house if I need it. Once all my lights are up, I am going to plug them all in directly to the outlet on the front of the house and let them sit for about an hour. If it doesn't pop the breaker, then I figure I am safe.

Next year I plan on running a Second outlet from the front of the house because I hope to purchase a bunch more lights and a second countroller. I need to check with my electrician friend, but I intend to use one 2 plug outlet, and split it on two breakers. (Kinda like haveing a switched plug and an always on plug)

As far a a surge protector, If it has a procesor in it, it should be surged protected.

Thank you for your service and good luck with the show!!!

Eric G

Salisbury, NC

16 channels, and I have no clue how many LEDs

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THis is my first year as well. I have already started hanging my lights because of my work schedule, and want to test everything to make sure it is working properly. My first year is only a 16 channel light show, due to money issues. I have an oulet on the front of the house and it is connected to a 15amp GFI Breaker. I've tested the GFI and it works so I am good there. I have another 15 amp GFI around the back of the house if I need it. Once all my lights are up, I am going to plug them all in directly to the outlet on the front of the house and let them sit for about an hour. If it doesn't pop the breaker, then I figure I am safe.

Next year I plan on running a Second outlet from the front of the house because I hope to purchase a bunch more lights and a second countroller. I need to check with my electrician friend, but I intend to use one 2 plug outlet, and split it on two breakers. (Kinda like haveing a switched plug and an always on plug)

As far a a surge protector, If it has a procesor in it, it should be surged protected.

Thank you for your service and good luck with the show!!!

Eric G

Salisbury, NC

16 channels, and I have no clue how many LEDs

I started a new Topic "NC displays" make sure you add to it. this way we can go visit other people's displays. I'm in Concord

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Update

I had a pretty busy weekend. I finished my trees. I wound up buying enough LED's to build my arches. I decided to switch to them due to the possible power issues. My plan is to make the arches next weekend. I also have about half my house lights up(all LED's as well). So far everything is going smooth, with the exception of 1 set of lights that the wiring came apart. I can't wait to see everything all lit up. My hope is to have everything ready by the first week of December. Thanks to all who have given me advice.

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I was concerned with power issues too. Thankfully my husband is a contractor...so... he rearranged our box, put 3 30 amp breakers... and ran 3 dedicated recepitcals. (this year...we have issues for next year he just doesn't know it yet. :P )

Ummmm, back up here, I see a potential red flag! A controller uses two 15amp circuits for a total of 30 amps. An outlet on a 30 amp breaker is a no-no! Please elaborate on how you're wired, or get this fixed right away.

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Ummmm, back up here, I see a potential red flag! A controller uses two 15amp circuits for a total of 30 amps. An outlet on a 30 amp breaker is a no-no! Please elaborate on how you're wired, or get this fixed right away.

Outlets, have a tab on the sides of them that you can remove. Like in some homes, the top plug will be conected to the light switch, and the bottom plug always has power. Instead of switching one side, I am using a different circuit.

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