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Light display planning


sjmiller
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I have ordered my controllers from LOR, it's now time to start my light load planning.

I have notes written down about a watt meter that some use to measure the load of a given light set, and that someone put together a spreadsheet where the information can be entered to calculate channel & controller load.

I would appreciate the links!



Steve

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This spreadsheet was referenced a while ago:

http://www.quartzhillchristmas.com/resources/Light+Controller+Calculator+MASTER+25+vC2.2.xls

You will need to set up what you have in the way of lights on the "light types" sheet, complete with lamp ratings etc, then list what you have connected to what channel on the Controller sheets. You can add multiple sets of lights on each channel, and you can list them in any order you like.

Controller 1 has some entries already set up as an example, so you can see how it works.

Regards,

Alan.

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I have been looking for one of these, but the ones at Lowes or Home Depot are the ones that you simply clamp over the wire and it reads the amperage.

I noticed this one has a female plug on it. So how would you test the end of a cord that has a female end on it?

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nmonkman wrote:

I have been looking for one of these, but the ones at Lowes or Home Depot are the ones that you simply clamp over the wire and it reads the amperage.

I noticed this one has a female plug on it. So how would you test the end of a cord that has a female end on it?


Note that with the clamp on meters, you have to clip onto the hot or neutral separate from the other.. If you just clamp onto an extension cord you get a reading of +current + (- current), which should equal 0...

Usually I use a clamp meter in combination with a 10 turn adapter, and just remember to divide the resulting reading by 10.. This gives a little more precision to the reading..
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I'm sure you have read a lot of the boards so this might not be news to you. Part of your power plans should involve taking a photo of your house and start mapping out the layout of your lights so you can figure out how many extension cords you'll need and how many light strings can run end to end. It's funny (or not so funny at the time) how many snags come up after you actually start putting up the lights.

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that excact issue happened to me this past season. I was asked by the borough I live in to move the display to the rear of the house due to traffic issues, I didn't argue and moved it to the back yard. The good thing is that since we share a property line with a school the school agreed to allow the gate to be opened during the season... I had all the parking I needed and there were no traffic issues at all. The downfall is I needed to buy another 65 estension cords at the last minute. So yes I agree any planning you make something will come up, and most likely you will find yourself needing more cords

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I have a scale drawing of my lot and house in a Visio drawing, I will add my lighting and power distribution to the diagram. Once done I will be able to estimate the number and length of extension cords required.

My controllers are scheduled to be delivered this Friday:dude: I have also registered for the 2009 Calif. Christmas Lights Workshop.

I am glad I made the decision in December to go with LOR for 2009, here we are in March - and I started my 4th update to song sequences. I started at 8 channels, then to 16, then to 32 - bought 48....

I really see that it will take me another 5 or 6 months to have things ready for the 2009 Christmas season! I'll enjoy every minute of it!

Steve

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  • 4 weeks later...

Now that I’m fully immersed in “Project Christmas 2009”:

- First controller built and tested (two to go)

- Five song sequences programmed



I need to get to the implementation planning phase, and have a few newbie questions that will be stuff that most of you have already figured out.



I have three 16 channel controllers, and plan on having about 10,000 lights this year. I downloaded the Light & Controller calculator from QuartzHillChristmas.com (thanks Alan C, great job Rick) and from what it tells me I’ll be using about 21 amps.



Is it really as easy as going into the LOR sequence editor and moving channels to different controllers to balance the current (amp) load? Do I need to worry about introducing timing differences between controllers?



I’ve noticed over the years that some replacement bulbs burn bright or burn out when plugged into certain strings, while others are dim. I don’t think I can count on the .25 watt/bulb (mini’s) – should I use a kill-a-watt meter to measure the current draw of each string for load planning?



I plan on fabricating some mini-trees, 2 channels each and 100 lights per channel. They will be 3 foot tall by two foot at the base and I plan on spacing the light rings by 6 inches. Is it enough lights, is six inch spacing correct, does the two foot by three foot sound about right (looks good).



Thanks

Steve



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sjmiller wrote:

Is it really as easy as going into the LOR sequence editor and moving channels to different controllers to balance the current (amp) load? Do I need to worry about introducing timing differences between controllers?

Yes, pretty much that is all that it takes and there should not be any timing differences between controllers. My mega trees are 12 channels of clear and 12 channels of red/blue. There is no gaps or glitches in the sequence going from one controller to another.

I’ve noticed over the years that some replacement bulbs burn bright or burn out when plugged into certain strings, while others are dim. I don’t think I can count on the .25 watt/bulb (mini’s) – should I use a kill-a-watt meter to measure the current draw of each string for load planning?

There are different voltage bulbs. When that happens you usually have the wrong type in there. I organize my bulbs not only by color, but by brand and/or by item.

I plan on fabricating some mini-trees, 2 channels each and 100 lights per channel. They will be 3 foot tall by two foot at the base and I plan on spacing the light rings by 6 inches. Is it enough lights, is six inch spacing correct, does the two foot by three foot sound about right (looks good).

I would get some graph paper and scale out 3' high with a 2' base. I think you will find that they will look a little awkward. I use tomato cages and they are about 3' high with a 1' base. Looks a little more like a tree. When you say you are using 2 channels and 100 lights each that tells me that you are going to have 2 colors or multiple effects. I don't think 100 per channel will look very good on that size tree. Mine have 500 per channel and most people go with 300-500 on mini trees.

Thanks

Steve




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Yes it does. Just finished 8 mini trees. I even took them outside and put them in the yard last night. with two arches and it already started getting a crowd wondering what I was doing. kid's stopped and watched as I ran some sequences. I went 200 per color and it looked good. Might go to 300 per but will wait till everything is up this November

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friskybri wrote:

Menard's has the same ones but cheaper. Lowe's had the 32" for 1.58 Menard's had them for .88.

Get them now before planting season starts. They will surely go up in price. Almost double in my area.
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