Jump to content

Do you run your light shows if you are out of town?


Recommended Posts

Do you folks still run your light shows even if you are out of town for the holidays?

 

This year there's a slight chance we'll be away from the house at some point during the season.  It came to me that I wasn't sure if I should actually run the show while I was away, in case something happened and I wasn't home to fix it.

 

What do you all do?

Edited by LORAdmin
Helping a member out ....
Link to post
Share on other sites

Jaynee Jaynee Jaynee,    Haven't you been told not to post your where abouts on the internet.  Go back and edit your post and just say you might not be home during the season. The time doesn't matter for input on the question. Don't tell everyone when.  More than likely nothing will happen, but don't tell the world you won't be home

 

With that said, I went to Disney a couple of years ago and just let my show run for the week. I asked a family member to drive by and check things out. Everything ran just fine. I run my show off of a computer and was concerned should we have a power outage and the computer need a restart.  Other than that things usually run pretty stable

 

Steve

Link to post
Share on other sites

If I'm going to be gone, even for a night, I have a neighbor I can trust, I give them my house keys and show them how the LOR software works and what to do if something goes amiss.  Fortunately never had any issues to date letting my show run on its own while I've been gone.  But always good to have someone that can be a backup plan just in case, a neighbor is best because they are right there and can see and fix it, whereas a relative that may live further away may not be as diligent to check on your show and display.   I even give my neighbor a box of spare bulbs/L.E.D.'s labeled for what they go to, just in case one needs to be replaced and puts a L.E.D. string, blow mold or wire frame out of commission!

 

Otherwise, if you don't have anyone you feel you can trust, then just allow the display to go dark for that time.  The reason I don't is because that alerts any person that you're not home, which could lead to vandalism and/or theft of items in your display or theft inside your home from a break in.  At least if the display is still in operation, that gives the appearance someone is possibly still inside the home!

 

Just the way I handle it if I have to away for any length of time while my display is supposed to be in operation!

 

Just make sure all auto updates for any software you use is turned off, especially windows, as that could also foul your show up!

 

I have my system set up that if I lose power, the show will be dark for a bit, but as soon as the power comes on, my system auto turns on and automatically loads the show software and everything just starts over from the beginning again.   Never had a problem with this set up.

Edited by Orville
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I do a number o things to run my show when away.  The first is set up a web cam looking out the window - if I don't see lights blinking at 5:05 I call a friend to take a run to my house and see why if I can't get to my show PC via Teamviewer (remote computer control software).  If one of my GFCI trips I might or might not see it, but then having 5 GFCI circuits the viewers may not notice it either.  If total disaster, I know another LOR guy in town and can ask him to meet my friend at my house to try and get things back up - but I've never needed this to happen in over 9 years.  Make sure you set your PC to auto boot upon power on - that is a switch you set in the BIOS.  I think LOR automatically sets itself to load upon boot - and if a show is scheduled per the clock, it will restart itself.  Viewers get vocal if they come a long way with kids and the show is not happening - mine starts at 5 daily and when they show up at 4:45 and no lights....  I even have a voice announcement that runs once per minute prior to the show at 5 saying just that - but it does not work if they don't tune in.  You want to be operational every night - especially Christmas eve and day.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Remembering that I run a light show every night year round, I obviously have it run whether I'm there or not.  No difference for the various holiday shows.

 

I do have the show computer set to re-boot in the late afternoon every day and after it boots, it sends an E-Mail to my phone so I know that it has successfully re-booted.  When the show starts it sends another E-Mail.  When the evening show ends and the overnight show starts, it sends another E-Mail.  When the overnight show ends, it sends yet another E-Mail.  You seeing a pattern here?  Additionally, I can remote into the show computer from my laptop or even my phone, so as long as the computer boots and starts the remote software, I can do anything remotely that I could do sitting in front of it.  The remote control software runs as a Windows service and starts fairly early in the bootup process so even if it hangs in bootup, I can remote into it.  If it fails to boot, I can remote into a remotely controlled power switch and cycle the power to the computer which generally will take care of any boot up problems.  Of course the computer and networking stuff are running on a UPS with hours of battery.  That does not help the lights, but it does keep the computer running for anything but an extended outage.  The longest power outage we've had in 24 years in this house was about 2 1/2 hours when a drunk took out a power pole around the corner from our house (although some neighbors were out for 19 hours on that one).  I also have security cameras that record on a DVR that can be accessed remotely so I can watch the show live if there are any lingering doubts.  Lastly I have a commercial monitoring service (free for small use) that checks internet connectivity to my house and will alert me via E-Mail to my phone if that fails.

 

And I agree with Steve, don't advertise when you won't be there...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess the only issue in "something happening" would be a controller/wiring issue that would cause sparking/fire.

If some of the displays simple don't work, then you're no worse off than if you turn the show off completely while gone.
 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't. I either have someone run it for me, or the show will be off. I think it also depends on how much traffic your show brings in. I feel much more comfortable if I'm present to keep traffic moving, driveways clear, and irresponsible parents who let their kids run and grab everything in check :)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Man, y'all are paranoid!  It's not like I wrote down my address and the town I live in.  *lol*  I've been on the Internet since the early 1990s, and have yet to have any issues with oversharing.  I know when not to share certain types of info.  And besides, in my original post I said I MIGHT be doing it - not that I would. ;)

 

Anyhoo, thanks for the tips on settings to make so ensure it is seamless if I decide to run the program every single night of the season (which runs for 6-8  weeks minimum and so I may be home, I may not - you'll never know, will you, because I always make sure that I don't say stuff like "I'm going on vacation May 1-7 and my address is 123 American Way and I'm really worried about my light timers not going off to make it look like I'm at home.")

 

:D


And yes, by issues I meant a breaker tripping and turning off a section of lights, or the timer not tripping

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm running off a director and have everything set up on timers.  That way if I"m not home they will automatically come on/go off (as long as the power stays on).  Been lucky so far -- no issues (knock on wood).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Even if I'm or not at home  I set the computer bios to turn on the computer if it is off, so the bios is on schedule to turn pc on only, there is not way to turn it off the pc that I know, off course all controllers/devices are connected to a power timer all the time, so timers and pc bios are set to the same time to turn everything on, the only device that remain always on is the sound amp, it's a digital amp but not able to set a timer.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Man,..........."I'm going on vacation May 1-7 and my address is 123 American Way....

123 American Way ? - heck, we're practically neighbors. I'll watch your house & you watch mine...

To your post, my show comes on at 5:30 everyday from Thanksgiving weekend to Jan 2nd. I use timers and a miniDirector to control the show. I feel that people should smile whether I'm home or not. Additionally, when the show's on, they don't know if someone's home or not.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We run our show from Thanksgiving thru Christmas daily.  We don't usually go out of town, 'cause our family and friends want to come here.. : :D

If we do go out, I don't worry about it.  The only issues we ever had were weather related, so if I know that a bad storm is coming, I'll shut down the elements which seem to be less tolerant (e.g. the tomato cage trees).  Other than that the show goes on.  . 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Same here, I usually stay here. My show is set to start by itself, assuming I leave the computer on 24/7 so it should run. However, GFCI trips due to heavy rain and so on, I prefer to be here.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

I just tested my amp for the outside speakers and found that I had no choice but to be here if audio to the front yard was to run. I assumed my amp would remember the radio frequency when unplugged (timer) and turn on again. Wrong. So learned that the old remotes with timer functions are hard to come by these days. Found on one the auction site that hopefully will do this for me, just send an on/off command to the receiver therefore leaving it plugged in. This is all just in case, I needed to be out of town for any reason during the show season. Its a minor things but its something we don't think about till its time and something unexpected comes up.

 

Edit: Receiver is mounted inside the garage. Speakers are outdoor rock speakers and work very well

Edited by dgrant
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...