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2006 Static Display - 18,000 Lights

Ok, we're going to call it finished for this year. We lost track, but there's somewhere near 18,000 lights.

There are 2165 lights on the tree next to the house. There are 670 lights on each of the 4 columns on the porch. There are at least 200 lights on each small bush, and 400-600 lights on each large bush. There's a 7 foot tall tree in the lower right window with 650 lights on it, but you can barely see it because the white lights are so bright. As a matter of fact, my house is about 200 feet from the road, and you could probably read a book standing in the middle of the road.

The tree is about 15 feet tall to the top of the star. The star is 4 feet by 4 feet and is sitting about a foot above the top of a 10-foot long piece of 2" PVC pipe. There are 600 lights in the star, and 1900 lights in the large tree. There are 200 lights in each of the small trees, except for one, it only has 100 lights.

The lights are clipped to the vinyl siding, the gutters, and the shingles with all-purpose Christmas light clips jammed into the seams.

Did I mention how difficult it is to get a decent picture of Christmas lights with a cheap digital camera? I finally had to put it on the tripod and set the timer so that I wasn't even near it while it focused and took the picture.

This is my distribution box. 10 gauge wire carrying 220 Volts from 60 Amp breakers lead to the big black outlet. (It's a dryer outlet.) From there, the 30 Amp dryer pigtail goes into the 30 Amp disconnect box, and each leg of the 220 breaks out to feed 2 4-gang boxes full of outlets.

The dryer outlet is inside a baby wipe box to keep it weatherproof when not in use.

UPDATE: I wanted my lights to go on and off automatically. My mother gave me 4 of these last year. They have 3 outlets, a photo sensor for light, and a timer. However, they only have 14-gauge wire, and are made for 120V...

That's where these come in. I found 4 of these solid state relays on ebay. They will switch 240VAC 40Amp, with a control voltage of 3 - 32VDC.

I also wanted a breaker box, because I had already shot 4 fuses while trying to figure out the distribution of lights between the circuits. (I can't find my clamp-on ammeter right now.) So I bought a 125 Amp breaker box, since it would hold everything I wanted to put inside it. I'm not filling it with breakers. I'm still only using two 30 Amp circuits.

The beige thing plugged into the orange cord is a 6VDC "wall wart," or transformer from an old pair of computer speakers that quit working years ago. The wall wart powers the control side of the solid state relays. The male end of the orange cord runs out to another extension cord which is plugged into the light sensor timer thing shown above.

NOTE: I only show the electrical part as a demonstration of how I did it. I am not an electrician, and nothing you see here has been approved by one. All I can tell you is that it woks great for me. I am not responsible for your use of this information. If you try anything that I have shown, you do so at your own risk.

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Do It Yourself Christmas
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