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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you do this?

Christmas and Thanksgiving are times to give and share with others - to brighten the lives of others. My parents always managed to do this. This is my small way of attempting the same. Setting up the display is hard and sometimes tiresome, but when you see the faces of the people, especially the children, it’s all worth it.

 

How long does it take to setup your display and get it running?

Planning, construction, programming, setup, testing, tear down and storage are some of the elements that make up the process. It takes weeks to do the actual setup of the lights and display elements working evenings and weekends. We start setting up in late October and by the Wednesday before Thanksgiving we are generally ready to go. Although our official start date is after Thanksgiving, we strive to start the display the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. Planning for next year’s display starts during the installation of the previous year’s display. During the installation, we see what works best and what doesn’t from an artistic and structural design standpoint. Tear down goes fairly quickly but finding space to store everything and packing it up does take some time. At this point it’s almost a year long hobby.

 

How much power does it take? How much is your electric bill?

Not much! It takes a lot less than you would think. First, our Christmas lights are energy efficient LEDs which draw very little power. Second, because of the animation, each LED is on only for a fraction of the time. About a third, or less, of the total display is on at any particular time. Many smaller, non-animated displays draw more power than ours because each element is always on. We hardly noticed a blip in the electric bill.

 

Do you have your own Radio Station? How are you transmitting to my radio?

We have a small low powered FM transmitter that transmits on 88.1 FM. Our transmitter only goes a short distance which allows people to listen to the music within sight of our display. This transmitter is connected to the same computer that controls the lights. We have had visitors to our display that didn’t know there was music. They just enjoyed the blinking lights.

 

How do you control the lights so they are synchronized with the music?

Everything is computer controlled. Our 2012 display uses 256 separate channels to control the lights. Each element of the display, whether it be a display element or a different color in that element, is connected to one of those 256 channels. This is why we need 6,000 feet of extension cords.