1. New to Christmas lighting? Get started with the AusChristmasLighting 101 Manual:
    auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/AusChristmasLighting-101

Hey, new and need some help

Discussion in 'New Members Say Hello' started by Nate, Nov 16, 2015.

  1. Nate

    Nate New Elf

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    Hey everyone,
    I'm happy I stumbled across this site and hope to learn everything I need to and get to know everyone. So I've been wanting to put up lights for years now and I've finally decided to start this year.

    I'm only starting small by putting up a few along the gutters, roof line and maybe a couple windows and trees.

    Just have a few questions. Are these two sites okay to start with: http://m.oo.com.au/Christmas-Lights-Decorations_C3600.cfm
    http://m.dealsdirect.com.au/christmas-lights/

    And where do you get clips for the gutter and how do you attach the lights to the roof ridgelines and side walls?

    Thanks. Appreciate any help you can give :)
     
  2. kel

    kel Dedicated Elf

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    [​IMG]
     
  3. AussieDoug

    AussieDoug Full Time Elf

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  4. scamper

    scamper Senior Elf

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    What you have pointed to there is similar to the stuff you get from Bunnings and big w etc.
    If you only want to put lights up and run around and push the buttons to get the flash rate you want, then that is fine.
    Most people on here started out like that and then got the bug and now import rgb and pixels strings from china and the like, then sequence it to music.
    A few years ago, the strings you purchased from these sort of places wasn't too difficult to modify and most of us now have modified strings somewhere in our displays.
    However it would seem most of the new ones around this year are not able to be modified, so be aware that what you buy will most likely not be controllable to music etc.
    If you haven't already, have a read of this
    http://auschristmaslighting.com/forums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=5803.0;attach=5477
    to give you a more detailed insight to what can be done and how.
    And welcome :)
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Nate

    Nate New Elf

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    Thanks for the welcome and help.

    Will try wire. Are there any clips or something you can get for gutters though? And can you get those zip tie mounts from Bunnings?

    Wow, that's a lot to learn. Yeah, I'll just go with the easy lights from those sites this year. Do you know why they can't be modified now?

    Also, just two more questions. Sorry if they're stupid. The lights I'm looking at are a few metres more than I need for the gutter. What do I do with the extra? Just hide it?

    And it's hard trying to do all the ridgelines without doubling back. How do you guys get around that?

    Thanks again.
     
  6. Lenny

    Lenny New Elf

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    You can buy gutter clips from bunnings. usually a pack of 20. thats where mine from last year. they aren't overly strong so spacing can't be huge, keeping that in mind they worked great with my icicles.


    as far as over length goes, you can either hide it or you can fold it back on itself and if you get it just right your lights should line up so you don't have irregular spacing.


    Hope this helps
     
  7. dale82

    dale82 Senior Elf

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    Welcome to ACL, I would start by reading the 101 manual and go from there. There is a wealth of knowledge here on ACL
     
  8. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    Welcome to ACL

    What you need to look for is light sets that have 3 or more wires going to the lights from the 8-function controller. They can't be modified for computer control if there are only two. Two wires is only ok if there is no 8-function controller. Avoid eBay lights and removable LEDs in sockets as well.

    Answering your question about the extra length; if you have a light set with three wires going to the lights, it could be cut wherever there are three wires. You'll see what I mean as the number of wires between each LED varies. This is not a great idea if your light set's wires look very thin though because a lower current through the lead-in cable leads to a lower voltage drop which might overpower and damage the remaining LEDs. You can get around this when you hack them for computer control. I just run the extra few metres around the corner of the house and it looks deliberate. I have one place where this was not an option and my icicles were too long. I calculated the correct icicle spacing and tied small loops in a piece of string at this interval. I then threaded the icicle drops into the loops and while it tangles easily now, it fits the length of the roofline perfectly.

    I wouldn't aim for computer control this year if I were you; the displays in the video section are year-round projects and you need a lot of background knowledge which you'll get in time for next year. I also suggest limiting your budget this year if pixel lights appeal to you because next year you might want to replace what you're buying now. Pixels typically give you full computer control over the colour and brightness of every individual light. They're commonly used by members of this forum to make leaping arches or A-frames, megatrees and pixel icicles.

    Head into the chat too; you'll get to meet the members of this community.
     
  9. OP
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    Nate

    Nate New Elf

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    Will give the 101 manual a read.

    What's wrong with removable LEDS? Are the LEDS from those two sites okay? Nah, I don't plan on trying computer control this year. Just want a few simple lights to put up for now.

    Have any of you tried solar ones?
    And this is a stupid question. But do you put the lights on the inside or outside of the windows. Such a newbie. Lol.

    Wanna try and buy what I need today while they have a sale.
     
  10. scamper

    scamper Senior Elf

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    My dad uses solar lights and swears by them. The biggest trouble is they only last a couple of years as the batteries are cheap and don't last well.
    If you don't want to computer control, then go for it, but just remember, you get what you pay for.
    some of the stuff on this site is cheap for a reason. The lights are usually pretty good, but the cables are where they make them cheaper and if you can't see it and touch it, you can sometimes end up disappointed.
    I purchased some cheap led strings online and when I got them it was like handling fairy floss. The leds were the most brilliant colours I have seen though.
    I ended up giving them away as I was worried that I would break them and end up getting frustrated.

    But as far as the sites go, I have used them and they are ok to deal with.
     
  11. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    The real question is whether you want to continue using these lights with computer control in future. If so then I would suggest looking for suitable ones in local stores and not trying to save a relatively small amount of money with the online sales. Remember they need at least three wires going to the lights if there's an 8-function controller.
    If you don't ever want to use these lights with computer control then the sales are worth a try; just make sure it is specified as low voltage unlike those dangerous eBay light sets. Occasionally there are dangerous low voltage plugpacks too.

    Solar lights run on exceptionally low voltages; low enough that it might become a problem. There's probably a power supply that could run them in future with computer control. You'll just need a separate power supply for the controller and voltage drop could be an issue. Again though, they need to have at least three wires going to the lights if there's an 8-function controller. I don't have enough experience with solar lights to know whether this is normal or not.

    If you can only find light sets with an 8-function controller and only two wires coming out of it then the only option is to control them with a relay. Relays can only be ON or OFF and you can't disable that type of 8-function controller either.

    The problem with removable LEDs in sockets is that the wires on the LEDs themselves are cheap steal and the sockets don't seal out any moisture so they rust and stop working quickly. The icicle versions are fragile too. The ones you linked to appear not to have this design but I just skimmed through a few of them.
     
  12. thecrazylightlady

    thecrazylightlady Yes I admit it.....I have the C.L.A.P

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    Welcome to ACL
     
  13. blondesrock

    blondesrock Be the light or the mirror that reflects it

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    Hey there - I'm new to this site too but not new to light displays. I'm not super technical but have managed to put very effective displays together by myself for over 10 years. Trial and error was my best teacher! I can vouch for Deals Direct and OO.com. I have many rope light silhouettes and garden stakes from them but they may only last a couple of years. Remember to keep the plug and controller out of the rain (I use plastic bags, electrical tape or weather proof casing). If you want to put icicle lights along your gutters then I would suggest buying a set of lights as close to the same length that you require then you won't have to hide any or double back. For example my guttering is 20 meters long so I bought a 21 meter set of icicle lights. They were $100 and I've used them for 5 years!! The bonus is that they work perfectly with my Light O Rama controllers. I wouldn't recommend replaceable leds - gone are the days of getting up on the roof and trying to fix broken bulbs. You can buy gutter clips from Big W, K-Mart, Bunnings and online. They are really easy to use and are designed for different types of lights. You just slip them over the edge of the gutter and then position the led bulb or wire appropriately. They can also be used on roof tiles. You may need to fiddle around a couple of times until you get the hang of it. I wouldn't recommend buying lights from K-Mart, Target or Big W - they are cheap and really only designed to last for one season. Just remember to be safe and sensible. Here are some other online stores you may like to try (I have bought pretty good stuff from them all in the past few years): http://www.vickysun.com/ https://www.festivelightingdirect.com.au/shop/ Good luck :D
     
  14. gerry

    gerry Senior Elf

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    Hello Nate ,

    Welcome to ACL
     
  15. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    blondesrock thanks for the info. Great to have someone else taking the time to help other ACL members. I just want to add that the light sets have changed a lot in the 5 years since you bought yours. I still have light sets from the local store sales in late 2008 and 2009 because I have maintained the ones that needed it. The socketed icicles are the only ones that are on their last legs. The ones with clear wires have discoloured though but their light output is the same as always. Which type of LOR controller are you using?

    The changes in the last few years have not been good for us with computer control. Lightweight plugpacks are becoming increasingly common and these break when dimmed with 240V controllers and there's often a delay between their input and output. More recently the 2 wire design has meant that no-one can use them with DC control either. If you can't ask the seller or see the lights in person then it is no longer worth the risk IMO.

    I've checked a few different stores today. Target's 4.9 metre 250 LED Mirabella icicles for $20 have the 3 wire design, 31V, no sockets and dark green wire that shouldn't discolour. Really the only thing that isn't that great is the wires appear to be soldered quite close to the ends of the heatshrink; I think that'll be their eventual failing point but they'll last a very long time. This works out to be cheaper than 21 metres for $100. I didn't find any non-icicle sets anywhere with 3 or more wires. I will re-check K-Mart tomorrow because I did not realise the icicles were wired differently to the ordinary strings when I was there.
     

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