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Okay so I have been working with static Lights for Christmas for about 8 years now on a fairly large display (most years also including a large Halloween display (not as big as what I do for Christmas but I have yet to see a house in person with more), and a small thanksgiving display, basically I have been working with lights on a smaller scale since a kid.

So This was my first year working with LOR and making an animated display.

I had enough stuff laying around my house that I only had to buy a few more power cords and adapters, but I buy a few more every year, and spot lights were the only real expense for the LOR show. Well besides for my investment in LOR but I think thats a given.

I have seen information scattered around, so I hope you don't mind me asking. But what advice can you give about taking your display to the next level? (note I need to keep an eye on budgeting as much as possibly since I am a college student, with out much extra money, and this stuff get rather expensive quick. so any tips on saving money would be appreciated)

Some things that come to ming

I have scene post about using roles of wire and vampier plugs. would any one have some more information about them, and where to get them?

Where is the best place to get lights? The local stores or on line? Any web sites you suggest?

Also I plan to run out door speakers next year, right now I have speakers, but are not really meant for out doors. Any suggestions on what type to get?

Also has any one used this before ://store.lightorama.com/ctascpa.html

I am thinking this may be my best option for controllers for next year. I have done some electrical work before, and I build computers, so skill wise I don't see a problem. It's just I was very impressed with the quality of the mettle case ones, and just want to make sure I stile end up with a high quality controller, especially since the controllers will have to stay out side.

I know this year has not passed yet, but figure its never to early to start planing next year!

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Hello. Welcome. Merry Christmas.

Almost every question you asked has been discussed extensively here. Do yourself (and everyone else who's busy with their own display this time of year) a huge favor and use the search function of this forum to find those answers. After you've done that I'm sure there will be many people willing to answer whatever questions might still remain.

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Get on the planetchristmas board and sign up for the email updates from Paul at CDI.

He already has a teaser out for LED pricing for the coming season. He usually posts his entire preorder pricing in late Dec or early Jan and you have until about Feb 1 st to order. He gets the orders here in May to ship in June and you pay half up front and half on shipment. His LED pricing for this coming year is really good, about 8 or 9 bucks a set for 100 red or about 12 for greens. These are the good LED strings with sealed sockets, not the big box brand you pay about the same for that have rust issues. But you have to buy by the case. He also has the Zip cord and plugs. Last year the Zip was like $85 for 1000' and the plugs where about 5 or 6 bucks for 10.

The green zip is UV protected to a degree. He also has curtain strobes.

If you are looking for mini incandescents good luck this year. With slower economy they ended up giving away a lot of stock at season end last year. I bought 7500 each red, green, and clear from Walmart at about .50 per box last year. So they orederd less this year and most of the big boxes are out or close to it already.

Get your contollers either during the inventory reduction sale in Feb(limited qtys) or the summer sale in June/early July. I bought the PC completes for close to $200 each and the kits are much less, since you like to solder.


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Controllers: I have 6 of that same model - some assembly required - with the plastic housing, and all are outside in the elements without any problems. I live in Atlanta, and we have had more than 4.5" of rain just in December, and my lights have worked every night.

As far as assembly goes, I haven't built computers, and I didn't have any problems. I'm not in any electrical field (I'm a restaurant manager). Pretty much, if you can use Lego's, you can put this thing together.

Wires and Plugs: I wasted a lot of money my first year by NOT probing this forum for advice. I bought the wire and plugs that I could find at Home Depot, and bought 12/3 rubberized and 12/3 interior wiring, because I was afraid to have anything too thin. Stupid, right? It's like I never even looked at the wires on the lights. Anyway, after I started really reading this forum, bought a 1000' roll of SPT1 wire for $85 from ChristmasLightShow.com during a sale they had in early November. I also bought some vampire plugs - both male and female - each for $5/10 pack. When they sold out of plugs, I bought more from The Christmas Light Pros - both male and female - for $56/100 pack, which is a pretty good price (not on sale). They do feature sales from time to time on their eBay store ($28/100 pack), if you can find it at the right time (I believe they have some male SPT1 now).

Speakers: Although I know some folks use speakers outside, I believe most use the short range FM transmitters (as the repetitive music could result in gun play from neighbors). I use the Eclipse-4000 from Mobile Black Box, and I'm very happy with it. It was $134 and ready to go out of box, but there are other FM transmitters that people recommend as well.

LIGHTS!: The best place to get them depends a little on what you're looking for. If you're wanting to go all led, there are 2 sites that everyone seems to recommend very favorably. One is LED Holiday Lighting. The other is Creative Displays, usually referred to as CDI in the forum. I haven't used either, but those who have seem to like them. For incandescents, I think it's just about anywhere. Most everyone stocks up right after Christmas, with whatever they can. 2 years ago, I bought 36 boxes of 300 light icicle lights for $1/box. Before Christmas, they were $11/box. Occasionally the online stores have sales, but they don't usually match the post holiday sales that happen at Target, Home Depot, Lowes and Walmart.

That's about all I can think of...I supposed to be working!

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Thanks for the info I registered at Planet Christmas and Do it your Self Christmas.

How many sets of lights are in a case? Most likely I will be sticking to none LED. This is the first year I used a few LED items, but over all I like the look of none LED better.

I definitely want to buy the cable mwilliams I guess I have been doing the same thing for the last few years making sure all my new extension cords were heave duty. Its so true, every thing comes with thiner wires, yet they say don't use thin wires.

Does any one know of reputable places to by blow molds from (hope this is not one of those sites that hate them)?

As for speakers I agree I would not like music playing constantly all night long. But The show should only last abut 15 mins, I would only play it 3 times a night, and it will probably only last for 2 weeks at most. The neighbors area all really excited about this, they think the display was great with out animation, so as long as it not to loud I don't think they will mind.

Looks like I will be investing in PC controllers for more channels.

Thanks again for the information!

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No problem with thinner wire as most use zip cord (spt) for our extension cords.
It's rated for between 7 and 10 amps depending on what you buy. With regular mini lights using at most about 1/3 amp per string it coincidently works out to about what the max is you can put on one channel of a controller. 7 amps is about 2100 lights. The max you could go is 8 amps but then the other 7 on that side are wasted.
There are all kinds of tables and charts to figure this stuff out.
I just average out the max amount of regular minis a contoller could handle at 1/3 amp per string. 30 amp controller would be 9000 lights or 560 per channel. Of course I don't use that exact amount but as long as I average out to that it works. But this is just to show it's not a need to have all of these 12/3 cords. With 560 lights only pulling about 2 amps, its perfectly safe. Plus a lot of the ZIP the vendors aare going to sell have a UV addative so they last longer in the elements than justgoing to the hardware store. And on the presale you should be able to get a 1000 spool for about $90. 20 foot cord will only cost about $2.25 with the plugs.


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