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I really liked the flexibility of the vampire clips. However I didn't feel like making 13 sets of clips.

I kept an eye out at yard sales and found a set of Malibu brand landscaping lights, I have some in the yard already and knew they had these kind of connectors.

You can also get them in a pack of two from home depot
http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc...splay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

If you are in a hurry building lights this year, this could help speed you up.

Thanks for the ideas Niblique
 

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I also question vampire clips in weather do you ever have a problem? I imagine they cant be water proof right? Also has anyone used bright white LED's with a lightning simulator or color organ? I want to give it a shot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
I also question vampire clips in weather do you ever have a problem? I imagine they cant be water proof right?
The vampire clips are home made versions of commercial Outdoor landscape lighting clips.

Last year my setup was outdoors for 40+ days with 0% failures. I did notice that the clips on the lights that I had outside for 8 months (As a test), the plywood stated to delaminate slightly, but I believe I solved that issue as well.

As for the copper nails, if the clips are hooked up correctly to the main line, 90% of the nail(s) will be embedded in the main wire and fairly well protected. A tiney Dab of Di-electric grease and you will have a more durable and longer lasting clip than the commercial grade vampire clips.

The only expense that can freak people out is the main wire. Last time I bought wire, a 250 roll of 14-2, I believe it was on sale for like $80. With Copper prices skyrocketing I have No Idea what it will be this year. I estimate that the main line could easily last 10 years or more, even longer if it's stored indoors during the off season.

Bob, Come by ANYTIME for a demo. I can have one set up for you in 5 minutes. For that matter I could bring my setup to your place and have it set up just as fast. If you come here, Bring some of your spotlights and we can do a side by side comparison.
 

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Greg, Thanks for the offer. I might take you up on that. I was thinking about other options for the housing of the LEDs like dollar store flash lights etc. I'm sure the reflective cone in a flashlight would help big time. I'm also playing with the idea of building them right into the patio type spots sold at home depot and Lowes...more weather proof and more room for LEDS. I know the cost will go up but lighting is key with yard haunts so I shell out the cash...lol :jol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
I'm sure the reflective cone in a flashlight would help big time. I'm also playing with the idea of building them right into the patio type spots sold at home depot and Lowes...more weather proof and more room for LEDS. I know the cost will go up but lighting is key with yard haunts so I shell out the cash...lol :jol:
Just FYI, Most LED's already have directionality built into them through the plastic lens they are housed in. You will get a slight benifit from the reflective flashlight cone, but probably not nearly as much as you'd expect. Given the angle of emitted light from most LED's, my tube setup actually concentrates as much or more light than a reflective cone, especially if you use a slightly longer tube and set the lights a little deeper.

The Other FYI is that (and I learned this through great embarrasment), almost Landscape light power supplies are 12V AC. The LED's WILL work, but will Flicker at 60 hz, meaning they'll go on and off 60 time a second. Most people won't notice this flickering, but it could greatly reduce the life of your LED's.

Lastly you could modify landscape light fixtures quite nicely. You could even use the 12AC power supply as I mentioned. The only factor as you mentioned is Cost.

On the other hand, if you were to make 50 fixtures or more from this tutorial, you could probably make up to 100 of 'em in a weekend (Once all the materials are onsite). I can help you either way.
 

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Yeah I wouldn't rely on the 12V AC on the spots I would the right thing and run a power supply.
 

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Also has anyone used bright white LED's with a lightning simulator or color organ? I want to give it a shot.
I have two of those cheap LED worklights from Harbor Freight I use with a lightning box. The lights look like the small 250 Watt Halogen worklights, but have LEDs inside.



I have these lights hooked in line with a 500 Watt Halogen light. The Halogen will dim and brighten, but the LEDs will flash. It works out quite well. The LEDS give you that blueish white color of lighting, and the halogen will give you the pop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
I have two of those cheap LED worklights from Harbor Freight I use with a lightning box. The lights look like the small 250 Watt Halogen worklights, but have LEDs inside.

I have these lights hooked in line with a 500 Watt Halogen light. The Halogen will dim and brighten, but the LEDs will flash. It works out quite well. The LEDS give you that blueish white color of lighting, and the halogen will give you the pop.
That looks like a great solution Jaybo.

Have you ever used them as Floodlights instead of a lightning effect?? Do they run Cool enough to put Colored Gels on?? I was impressed by the price as well.
 

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That looks like a great solution Jaybo.

Have you ever used them as Floodlights instead of a lightning effect?? Do they run Cool enough to put Colored Gels on?? I was impressed by the price as well.
They do not put out a very wide beam of light, so they do not make a very good floodlight. The LEDs in the worklight are the typical narrow angle (20 to 25 degree) lights, so it works more like a big spot light rather than a flood. They have other ones with more LEDs in a larger case, but I imagine you will be getting another spot light with just a bit larger circle of light.

I originally had the same idea I think you have. To use gels and flood the yard. They did not live up to the image in my head, so I mounted one on top of each of my entry columns at a 45 degree angle firing across my yard. Worked great as lightning.

I have since dismantled one of the lights and installed five 120 degree 12v RGB modules inside with a 3-channel DMX controller. I now have a kick'n floodlight that can be any color I choose when hooked up to Vixen or VSA. This is the direction I am going with all of my lights. I wanted to switch over this year, but running out of time. So, this will be my number one project for next year. I need a couple of clones so I can get my projects finished!
 

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Hopefully this doesn't sound stupid.

I have been collecting bottle caps and I have noticed that the diameter is closer to 1.25". A 1.25" disk can't fit into a 1" pipe, right? Additionally, where does one find thin wall rigid PVC pipe? Do I have to go to a plumbing store, or are they decorative tubes?


*edit: I think the hint I needed was "Class 200 PVC"
 

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Yeah, I think CPVC is what you want. I got mine at HD and Lowes. If you buy in large enough quanitity, you'll get the contractor's rate. Woot! I just got 500ft of speaker cable delivered to my doorstep. Time to get the soldering iron and heat shrink out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
Hopefully this doesn't sound stupid.

I have been collecting bottle caps and I have noticed that the diameter is closer to 1.25". A 1.25" disk can't fit into a 1" pipe, right? Additionally, where does one find thin wall rigid PVC pipe? Do I have to go to a plumbing store, or are they decorative tubes?

*edit: I think the hint I needed was "Class 200 PVC"
If you look carefully you should find 1" sched 40 (Thickwall) Pvc tubing and 1" schedule 20 (thinwall) tubing. I used the schedule 20 thinwall for this project.

Edit: THe manufacturers dont want to make EXTRA fittings for 1" thinwall pipe. So 1" thinwall fits into 1" schedule 40 fittings. Therefore the inner diameter is larger on the thinwall... hey I didn't make the rules LOL they still call it 1"... I've not used my micrometer on it yet.. but I know it's a larger opening

CPVC is an entirely different animal. You might find bottle caps to fit into certain dimentions, and if you do please report back so we have an alternative solution.

Bottlers in our area are starting to change thier bottle cap designs. They are using a cap that uses less plastic. Also, it's a tapered cap and doesn't work well for this tutorial. THe old style cap is still available in some drinks like aquafina water (20oz or more) and some pepsi products. Coke (out here) has gone almost completely with the new bottle cap....... Dissapointing..... cause this will make it challenging to find a new medium to mount the leds that is this SUPER Cheap.

If I can remember to do it... I'll post a quickie tut on what ones work and what ones won't in the 1" thinwall pvc
 

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I have since dismantled one of the lights and installed five 120 degree 12v RGB modules inside with a 3-channel DMX controller. I now have a kick'n floodlight that can be any color I choose when hooked up to Vixen or VSA. This is the direction I am going with all of my lights. I wanted to switch over this year, but running out of time. So, this will be my number one project for next year. I need a couple of clones so I can get my projects finished!
I've just ordered some RGB's to play with over the winter, so would be interested in any info you have. I saw a link on here somewhere for a hack like yours but couldn't find it. The link was to one of those other holiday forums.
 

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I've just ordered some RGB's to play with over the winter, so would be interested in any info you have. I saw a link on here somewhere for a hack like yours but couldn't find it. The link was to one of those other holiday forums.
Check out this PDF describing how to build an RGB Megaball controlled by DMX. They are basically giant Christmas Ornaments you hang outside. Just mount the LEDS in a cheap halogen worklight enclosure instead of the acrylic globe they use and you have a new RGB spotlight. I use 5 of the RGB modules to create a spot.
 

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Check out this PDF describing how to build an RGB Megaball controlled by DMX. They are basically giant Christmas Ornaments you hang outside. Just mount the LEDS in a cheap halogen worklight enclosure instead of the acrylic globe they use and you have a new RGB spotlight. I use 5 of the RGB modules to create a spot.
Thanks Jaybo, I think that is what i am after. So that is 5 square modules and one dmx controller for each spot, correct? Can you post a pic or a vid?
 

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Thanks Jaybo, I think that is what i am after. So that is 5 square modules and one dmx controller for each spot, correct? Can you post a pic or a vid?
Correct. 5 modules and 1 controller per flood light. I don't have my Vixen/VSA laptop available at the moment, but I will record a video of the light running the DMX controller test pattern tonight. I picked up another Halogen work light at Home Depot for $5 last night, so I will be adding to my collection. I will not have enough for this year, but I plan on building several over the winter. Holidaycoro also has square modules that would fit nicely into larger PVC pipes for RGB spot lights. Also check out CheapDMX, who has basically the same inventory. They cater to the Christmas crowd, so they may be running low on stock at the moment.
 

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Thanks Jaybo, I think that is what i am after. So that is 5 square modules and one dmx controller for each spot, correct? Can you post a pic or a vid?
Correct. 5 modules and 1 controller per flood light. I don't have my Vixen/VSA laptop available at the moment, but I will record a video of the light running the DMX controller test pattern tonight. I picked up another Halogen work light at Home Depot for $5 last night, so I will be adding to my collection. I will not have enough for this year, but I plan on building several over the winter. Holidaycoro also has square modules that would fit nicely into larger PVC pipes for RGB spot lights. Also check out CheapDMX, who has basically the same inventory. They cater to the Christmas crowd, so they may be running low on stock at the moment.
I didn't want to hijack this thread any further, so I posted the video in a new thread here.
 

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Can you run more than one light off the 12v wire connector? I"m wondering if running say 3 lights off one connector would work? I can see where I'd place more than one light close by another and maybe having just one connector for all 3 lights to the landscape wire would be OK instead of 3 separate ones?
 
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