2020 - Time Flies When Your Having Fun!
This blog serves two purposes. I've been asked to post the details of setting up the show on a day to day basis. It also functions like the oganizer in my pocket. The organizer holds my brains, so when my brain is not working, I can reach in to my brain and recall what ever it is I'm trying to remember. This blog does nearly the same thing. It also lets me know how much time I spend making the smiles when the "Lignts are On". If you find anything interesting that you would like me to expand on, just send an email. Sorry I don't do facebook.
RS-485 cat5 cable from #2 to #7-8 needs new modular jack.
Change controller id from 32/33 to 42/43.
Bad pixel on felix (upper left corner of mouth),
Triacs #7 and #14(?) on green mega tree controller - consider replacing controller with new G3. After replacing use for 3rd color spiral tree. Rebuild spiral head hook for next year. Need another piece of 1/2" rebar cut for dancing trees that don't dance, update documentation for total lights. Less lights now with Mega tree after minis were replaced with c6 led's. Put some stake holders in ground where penguins go since we have some scrap pvc - need caps. Put cap on north pole post holder. Create the North Pole light/sign extension. Replace north pole rope light with ?? led's. Should I consider changing Felix frame such that wind load can be reduced (ie. swinging frame)? Need to build the new Bethleham Star. Old one has been rebuilt and needs to be added to spiral tree.
Need to finish conversion to S5. Replace Pine tree??? Remove and replace with smaller one? Singing trees wire harnesses for 2021. Need wire labels for missing wires. Snowflakes?
Short term todo's:
Forgot c6's on pine tree need to be removed and all controllers and ground wire / power cords and mega tree pole. Pulley arrangement for pulling mega tree pole up/down. Basement floor lights and misc need to be organized and put in storage.
3/7/21 & 3/8/31 - Now that it's warmed up and most of the snow is gone we can finish taking down the rest of the xmas lights and equipment. The mega tree came down today along with the oak tree tower lights. Controllers are in the garage awaiting to be put in the trailer tomorrow the last of our 3 day spell of 60+ temps. The idea of using the oak tree to act as an anchor for a pulley and lower the mega tree pole pulley was almost a complete success. The last 10' proved to be a little challenging. Had I remembered to put the saw horse out so as to act as a resting place, it would have allowed the pole to come to a rest slowly rather than a little abruptly. I think the angle from the tree had a bearing on that. I should weigh this pole as I'm guessing it's 60lbs or so. Over the two days I also completed more documention including dimensions of where everywhere needs to go. I will create some PDF's in the next day or two so I don't lose them. Last remaining task is to take everything out of the garage and move into the trailer tomorrow. Hopefully the rains won't stop that from happening. Still need to complete some of the organization of the remaining xmas lights on the basement floor.
3/5/21 - Cranked up the new singing tree - controller #11 just to make sure it was still working.
1/26/21 - Putting identification tags on varioius coils of wire. ie. Pine tree. Power cords to #7/8. Power cords to North Pole. Power cord #16ga to www.lvxmas sign. Coiled up the Rs-485 signal cat-5 for #2 to #7-8 and #7-8 to #42-32. Pulled 4x4 post used for www.lakevictorialight sign. Pulled north pole support post. (need to find pvc cap)
1/25/21 - Took down Pine tree miniture lights.
1/24/21 - removed the #7 & #8 & #32/33(42/43) controllers. Need to change controller ids for next year (and sequences).
1/21/21 - Coiled up the 4 16-wire mini tree harnesses.
1/10/21 - Nothing except football playoffs.
1/09/21 - Temp 23-26. Pulled the red and green candy canes harnesses out of the ground. Unplugged #13 and #14 wires. Border lights taken down. Stored everything on garage floor in garage attic/rafters and trailer. 5 hours total. Forgot a pair of spot lights still out.
1/08/21 - Temp cold 17-28. All roof eve boards C9's and Icicles have been taken down. All misc house lights, snowflakes, verticals have been taken down. The south walnut trees tower lights have been taken down. Spiral tree taken down. 5 hours total off and on.
1/07/21 - Temp was about 36 most of the afternoon. All roof eve boards C9's and Icicles have been taken down. All misc house lights, snowflakes, verticals have been taken down. The south walnut trees tower lights have been taken down. Spiral tree taken down. 5 hours total off and on.
1/06/21 - Met with L. Culpepper so I could turn over the collected food bank proceeds. Updated the donor page as a result. Today I was able to get all the led strings down from the mega tree. The candy cane has been removed from the mail box post, the dancing trees have been taken down, the reindeer were removed, with all items sitting in the garage waiting to deice and melt. 2.5 hours spent.
1/05/21 - Once again time flie by in a hurry. Started tear down. Candy canes, Mini trees, Mr. Snowman, TuneTo signs, North Pole, Presents, Frosty, Candy Cane twiller all in garage drying. Took a shovel and blower to clean out under the Mega tree and mini trees. Modified website main page language as well. 2 hours spent.
12/20/20 - 2030 Lines have went down so I put the long program back in - about 35 minutes.
Changing website as well.
12/20/20 - 1900 Temps=35. Lines are pretty long so I have to shorten the program for a little while. Presently 7:00pm.
Changing website as well.
12/19/20- Temps=35. Sorry to those who might be reading this. 1st time I've had to shorten the program due to all of the traffic. About 1/2 the usual program. I will most likely put the full show into production about 9:00pm. Updating the main webpage to reflect this as well.
12/17/20- Still cold 28-30. Snowman has been up and running since the 5th. Spent the week fine tuning the timing on Frosty inflating and deflating in between songs. If been getting a lot of postive feedback. It's kinda of funny when I'm passing out candy canes and I hear laughing in the cars. Still trying to get back to syncing Bob Rivers song - Decorations. The RGB floods are also setup and functioning. Not sure I like the yellow rgb color. After trying to get Felix the singing tree going along with a support email to LOR which I will add was answered very poorly. Actually irritated me. The 1st time in 12 years I've actually asked them for some software support and I get what I deem to be a crappy response!!! In their defense, they've been really good when it comes to hardware issues. I'm sure they're getting bombarded with calls though. So I'm on about to start a major issue of upgrading software. A task that really scares me. I can't make a decision which release to move up to. V4 or V5. I've also decided I want to get Rudy up and going. I'll make him sync to the voice overs. Traffic has been pretty heavy on the weekends. Almost scary in fact. Really get nervous when I see a car that's not traveling at a speed that I deem cautious. Spent a couple of hours today trying to fix one of the twirling candy canes. I can't tell you how bad I hate mini lights now. Bulbs are holding up well. I only see 2 C-9's that are out.
12/05/20- Last few days been about 36-40. Quite a few visitors last night. 12 cars at one point. Frosty has been moved out to the yard and staked down. The Jenn-Air grill blower blows him up in no time. Need to finish sequencing. Been using a tarp to cover the air movers until some development of a method to keep water and snow from getting things wet. Also been working on the Felix singing tree sequence which is using Bob Rivers song Decorations. The sequence editor and visiualizer showed it being really great. Unfortunately when I moved it out to the yard, it wasn't even lighting. So after another 2 couple of hours of trying to find some documentation and reading forum postings I've been able to make some headway. It's very labor intensive using the old LOR version 2.x software. I really need to start using 3 or 4 or 5. The RGB floods are also needed because Mr. Frosty requires a yellow one.
11/30/20- Cold yesterday - 35ish. Few visitors last night. Curiosity is wondering if there is a way to count them. Frosty protype seems to be functioning. Going to set him up in the yard shortly. Also on the agenda is to hookup the Singing tree controller. The RGB floods are also on the priority list. Add a single c7 to south side roof eves since led's are glowing when off.
11/29/20- Got home at 5:32. Just in time to plug in the north side controllers one of which need fixing since it has a bad triac(s) thats preventing the tune to sign from turning off. Also had to unplug the #9 green mega tree strand as it was also staying on constantly. Worked on Frosty late yesterday. Also the South Tune to sign had broken off the stand. Put some new black nylon ties. Need to remember to take my mask with me when handing out candy canes.
11/28/20- Time to play catch up with the blog. Amazing how fast time flies. As expected it's cold out. But not as cold as it could be! Been running in the low to mid 40's.
Last night was show time! Pretty much went without a hitch.
Was scrambling at the very last minute, and was actually about a minute late. Had more cars than expected for the first night. Passed out some candy canes. Problems encountered were....right side garage door lights would not light due to broken wires and bulbs. Must have accidentally stepped on them last January when taking them down. Forgot to put out North tune to lights. Problems with mini tree GFCI's tripping. Changed power sources around to better isolate them. Forgot to notice if the green was working as expected. Will check tonight. A couple of C9's are out. Of course they're way up the trees where I can't reach them. Still need to get to new star (needs welding) up on the Spiral tree, Frosty, the new 5 pack of trees, singing tree, and arches. Oh. The antenna Bethleham star needs to be rebuilt. Entered the St Johns Christmas decorating contest today. Received the balloting/voting info for the Laingsburg Decorating Contest sponsored by the LBCA. SHould have had the donation candy cane up sooner. Noticed that someone still had problems winding out where to deposit contribution.
11/21/20- Time to play catch up with the blog. Amazing how fast time flies. The last couple of days it's been about 60. While waiting for the winds to subside I cleaned up the garage, brought the mega tree lights over from the trailer, put the remaining halloween lights in the trailer. I was hoping to string the lights on the mega tree saturday but it was just too windy. Winds finally subsided yesterday about 3pm just in time for my daugher and grand kids to arrive. We managed to get all of the mini trees hooked up as well as stringing of the mega tree. After they left last night, I finished plugging in the 64 strands of led lights, and completed testing. I noticed when I went to bed a couple of strands were very dimly lit due to the old controller technology allowing enough leakage current to light them. Had a problem with #16 red on the mini tree not lighting and I ended up spending a half hour before I was finally able to fix that. Vampire plugs have their pros and cons. Ended up the one of the piercing prongs was partially bent over and making intermittent contact. Next issue was that of #7 controller. Forgot that I had changed the controller id for the Halloween show to #4. So I now see how of the past years controller id's. Also had to reprogram the mini tree and mega tree controller id's due to halloween. Next phase of making life easier is change the halloween sequences to make use of the christmas light controller ids' so I don't have to keep modifying the controller id's every year. Issues to remedy. When testing reindeer, lights and testing checked out initially but then lost them. Red nose was ok though. Plugged them into a differenct channel and they came on. So maybe #7-8 is a problem. Need to plug entryway snowman and snowflakes into controller. Possibility of having to move snowflakes to #5. Border lights have been untangled and laid out on the lawn waiting to hang.
✓Green candy cane (closest to road) not lighting.
✓Candy cane twiller might have a connection loose on the 3 oclock cane.
✓Reindeer white on #7-8 needs checking.
✓Entryway snowman and snowflakes need plugging in.
✓Tune to r/g lights need to be plugged in.
✓North border lights.
✓North border lights has a bad blue string - replace
✓ South border lights.
✓ Power cords for border lights.
✓Pine tree power cords to controller #14.
✓Pine tree lights need to be put up.
✓Blue penguin light needs to be placed and plugged in.
✓Blue penguin mountain lights needs to be placed and plugged in.
✓Mini tree controller pigtails need to be supported above ground.
✓Donation candy cane needs to be put out.
✓ Santa Mailbox cover.
Need to create the Spiral tree support loop.
✓Spiral tree light strobes and light strands need to be put up.
✓Donation signs need to be put out. (Idea - put a hanging spot light on cane
still getting feedback about hard to find slot)
North star needs to be rebuilt (held up pretty good for 10 years) Not lighting.
In process - Singing christmas tree?
In process - In process - Sequencing changes #4 to #5 and vice versa for red candy canes - entryway snowflakes? - snowman?
✓x-10 for north and south r/g eve lights.
Labeling of some wires such as #15-14,15white minis - do a label check on everything plugged in.
Reminder that I still need to update website with pics.
11/20/20- Laid out the border untangled and laid out the border lights. Put the penguins up. Put out the green candy canes.
11/19/20- Hung garage wreath. Put out red candy canes. Did inside decorating. Christmas tree. Lights. etc. Ordered some new bulbs for snowflakes since it appears about 20 or so might have failed.
11/18/20- Been hard working outside the last couple of days as it's been cold - low 40's. Extremely windy - like gusting to 45mph. Glad the mega tree lights were not up. They would have survived but I worry a bit about the stress on the strands.
11/xx/20- Somewhere in this data gap I hung the vertical lights.Laid out the border stakes. The last couple of fake facia boards were hung on the north and south sides. Had to temporarily pull the north #34 controller as I needed to make room for the tree guy to get the bucket down the hill for removing a tree ready to fall into the house. Hung the snow flakes. Icycle lights.
Put up the walnut/oak tree c9 towers.
11/5/20- Todays temps were hovering around 60. Cloudy. A little windy but still beats 40 degrees. Just finished putting up the spiral tree and mega tree structures today. Just in time as it's starting to get dark. My neighbor Frank was walking by so I had him take a video of me pulling up the mega tree. I'll try to get it posted tonight. Didn't have a good angle on it this year so it took three tries before my weight could get it up. Rethinking putting C9 blue led strings on south and north fake facia boards. Vertical tree hoist project?? Snowman Inflatable??
11/4/20- Todays temps were nearly 70. Tested and put up most of the eve fake facia boards with the rgb c9 leds. Staked out the locations of the mini trees and mega tree anchors. Tomorrows todos. Spiral tree and mega tree towers. C9 blue led strings on south and north fake facia boards Vertical tree hoist project?? Snowman Inflatable??
11/3/20- Todays temps were in the low 60's. So much more enjoyable working outside when its warmer. Unplugged the 16 strand harness from the Halloween sunging pumpkin patch so I could mow the lawn and weedwhip areas that grass height would be a hinderance to setup tasks. Dug out the mega tree base ring from the weeds and placed that in it's approximate position. Likewise the mega tree center pole. Also located the swirling tree center pole that was in the weeds and placed that next to the base that I had left up from last year. I also changed out the orange / purple led c9 bulbs for the red / blue on the front eves. Done for today. Total time about 3.5 hours. Plus about an hour updating this blog and Lake Victoria Christmas Light website. Tomorrow Todo's. Place flag markers for mini trees and mega tree setup. Change controller ids on Mega tree controllers from Halloween to Christmas id's. Get out house eve lgiht boards. Add future blue c9 led strings so it's no longer a future project) to garage and south side?? Vertical tree hoist project?? Snowman Inflatable??
10/31/20- It's really amazing that I can take down the entire Halloween show in 40 minutes. The weather was great. Like fiftyish as I recall. There was some rain forecast overnight which in fact did produce about .06 inches. So I was glad. That way everything can be put away without waiting for it to dry out.
10/14/20- Phil (Ovid Iron and Metal) brought a bus load of kids from Ovid over to view the Halloween show this evening>
10/14/20- Put the orange bulbs in the front pathway lights. Put the ghosts back out this morning because I brought them in due to the high winds and storm last night.>
10/13/20- Weather has been great! 65-73 for over a week. Halloween show has been up and running since Thursday, a couple of issues with web lights and trapazoid indoor window lights still exist.
10/06/20- Grand kiddo's are here so todays todo's are putting up the pumpkin patch.
10/10/20- Lion duty calls. Install handicap ramp on Grandriver ave.
10/06/20- Finish boat lift modifications so docks and boat lift can be pulled
10/06/20- place anchor stakes and mount controllers
10/06/20- layout ghost stakes and mount ghosts
10/06/20- picked up hay bales and corn stalks from lee farms
10/05/20- pumpkins out of attic
10/05/20- layout pumpkin patch stakes for kiddos
10/05/20- put up scarecrow
10/05/20- Finish boat lift modifications are done but brainstorm needs some work
10/04/20- Now that garage is empty - Started removing controllers and misc halloween stuff from trailer
10/03/20- Put boat and car in storage
10/01/20- President infected with Covid-19
4/09/20- Governor Gretchen Executive Order 2020-42
4/03/20- Governor Gretchen Executive Order 2020-31
4/02/20- Thursday -Worked on putting the odds and ends away that have been laying around the garage since December. Just when I think I'm done I find a few more.
4/01/20- Wednesday -April Fools day. Coronovirus aka Covid-19 is no fool though. Just when I think I'm done I find a few more.
10/4/20 -Halloween Todo List for 2020
x Get Halloween containers down from attic
x Get hay bales and corn stalks from Larry
x unload and place
run power cords
run cat5 signal cable
document controllers with magic marker pens - currently outdated
x Clean/paint/hang Mr. Pumpkin face
x Nightmare purple tree
Green ghost lights
Tune to signs
FM transmitter hookup/test
Backup FM transmitter hookup/test
Hang spider web
x Put up trapazoid window lights
x Bring up Dracula and Witch from basement for loft
Tree Tower lights.
North Tune to light.
Fix reindeer lights and put out.
Blue spiral tree strobes.
#13 controller wiring to misc lights.
Mega tree star plugged in.
Repair controllers that have bad triacs. mega blue#4, green#6 and bedroom right vertical.
Garage door lights.
Garage vertical lights.
Candy Can to mailbox.
Front door window covering.
Bedroom wall snowflake light.
Front entryway snowflake light.
Red / Green pathway lights.