Christmas Presents

Well it finally happened, my RGB lights from Light-O-Rama arrived.Theses lights had been on backorder since I purchased them in August. I have been very eager for them to arrive as I needed to get them on the roof before the snow came (I missed that window). Because these were the first RGBs I have added to my display I needed to figure out if they would work as I expected, how they would measure up (spacing between bulbs), how to configure the RGB controllers and how much power each string would draw. So when I got the message from LOR that they were ready to ship I was super excited, seeing the boxes the next day felt like Christmas to me.

20171104_050338984_iOSOnce I got into these I could not wait to get the lights out and start testing them. I was worried that they may not work the way I anticipated or expected when sequencing. I also expected that they may be overly complex to get set up.

I also wanted to confirm the spacing on the bulbs, I had already mounted some parapet clips to my upper roof so I wanted to ensure I had spaced them appropriately. LOR list the bulb spacing to be 6 inches, but in my experience whatever the manufacturer spacing is on light strings you usually loose 1/2′ to 1′ due to wiring twists, manufacturing etc.  I had spaced my clips at 5 1/2″ apart to ensure I had a little extra cabling if needed, better too long than too short was my mantra for this. When I measured the bulbs they was exactly 6″ between every bulb. I had also made my calculation on centre to centre, the LOR bulbs were 6″ edge to edge, almost 7″ centre to centre, I would be ok with the clips I had mounted.

Next was to hook them up and see if they would work. I plugged in the lights, controller and network cable and launched the LOR hardware utility, no problems they worked on spec. Next test was to create a quick test sequence to se how they would work with S5 and also to test the power draw. I could have done this with the HW Utility as I only need to know the draw on white (all channels on) but curiosity got the better of me so and I wanted to see the different colour draws. After creating a quick sequence, setting the S5 control lights option I hit play… Nothing! After a quick skim through the manual I realized I needed to change my network settings from regular to enhanced to control the RGBs. After a quick flip of this switch in the settings my RGB’s came to life.

After this the next step was to set the controller unit ID to match my prop definition and see how it would play as part of one of the sequences I have built. This video the RGBs are on the channel for one of the upper storey windows.

Needles to say the kids love these lights as much as their childish father, not so much the dog.

Assembling adhesive mini clips

Once all that was sorted, it was back to the cold to start getting some more lights up. First I needed to build up some more mini adhesive clips to attach my white LEDs to the roof pitch, gutters, living room window and garage. These little clips work perfectly with these lights but get brittle after being out in the sun all year. I usually have to replace about 10% each year and add some new ones as I move around the lights. These clips come with a double sided adhesive pad to stick to “any” surface, but I found these we not holding in the cold. I switched to using 3M double sided tape to attach them which worked great. The only downfall to this is that the tape is grey so the clips really stand out against the white trim of my house when the lights are not in them. This year I found some clear gorilla tape so I thought I would try it.

To build the clips I roll out a section of tape press the clips onto it 2 wide, once I have a whole package mounted I use an exacto knife to cut between each clip. This gives me an easy assembly line process to this tedious task.

The clear tape worked great until the bag slid down the roof and fell off into the snow, emptying the clips all over. The clear clips with clear backing were very difficult to find (I’m sure I’ll find plenty in spring for next year) compared to the ones with grey 3M tape and red backing. The clear tape is the way to go though as the clips blend right into the trim of the house. When I use these clips I usually use a heat gun to warm the trim and the adhesive tape (once the protective backing is removed) to get a better bond , it was -15c when I was applying them.

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