FAQ


Up

Meaning
Why We Do It
Etiquette
Map
Photos/Video
FAQ
Technical
History
Radio
Construction
Music
Movies
Lighting Links
Media
Facebook Page

There are days until Christmas !



 
 

Search all of PlymouthLights.com, or the entire web!


PlymouthLights
Web

There are a number of common questions that we get asked all the time.  This page is an attempt to answer some of them.

Why do you folks decorate so much?

Good question!  In fact, we have dedicated a whole page to answer this.  You can read the answer here.

How many lights do you have?

To be honest, we don't really know, and we don't care.  Our display isn't about the number of bulbs, or items, or watts...  We're not trying to be the biggest or the best (which is good, since there are other displays in the Twin Cities area with over half a million lights...) we're just trying to help others have some fun and spread the Good News of the Christmas season.  If we had to take a stab, I'd say we have somewhere around 40,000 lights.

How long does it take to set up?

Setup is only part of the equation.  The displays need to be constructed, the lights need to be sequenced with the computer. Old strings need to be tested and repaired, as do old displays. Some of this work happens in the spring and summer when few people are even thinking about Christmas.  We start the actual setup in late October or early November, starting with the lights in the trees and other things that aren't so noticeable, then as Thanksgiving draws closer we work for hours getting everything else out.  Usually Tim takes a few days off work to get things finalized.  We don't have a grand total of hours, but it's a lot.  And then as soon as January 1 hits, regardless of the weather, it all starts coming down, which takes a lot of time too.

How much power does it take?

It's a lot less than you'd expect.  First of all, the vast majority of our display is LED lights, which take a fraction of the power of the standard lights we used to use when the display was first new.  Secondly,  since much of the display is computer-controlled, typically at any moment in time, only a fraction of the total lights are on at the same time, which helps keep the overall number much lower than if we ran the entire display as "static".  The actual number is  hard to gauge, since the display season is typically split between two billing cycles, and December is typically when it starts getting very cold, which means the furnace is running all the time.   We have a number of dedicated circuits around the outside of the house that power all of the displays.  As we've converted more and more of the display to LED lights, which take a fraction of the power of traditional lights, the bill gets lower and lower.   

Even if we had hard numbers to share, we wouldn't, as we consider the display a gift to the community, and it wouldn't be right to know how much your gift cost, right?

Isn't the whole thing just a big waste of power and resources?

I guess that's a matter of opinion, and someone's own personal definition of "waste".  As noted above, the amount of power is really fairly minimal, especially compared to things like running air conditioning in the summertime.  The computer control helps keep the total power consumption down, as has our gradual shift tof energy-efficient LED lighting products into the display.  But all that aside, a lot of folks love looking at Christmas lights.  It helps kids of all ages get into the holiday spirit, and makes memories for people that might last a lifetime.  Is that a "waste"?
 
How do you get the lights to blink to the music?

No, we don't just have a "magic box" that we can "plug in" to a CD player (although that would be much easier!).  The computer controls everything, via a software package called Light-O-Rama.  Each song is meticulously programmed by us for many hours per song so that each of our lighting circuits can react to different nuances in the music.  Even if we reuse songs from year to year, these sequences need to be updated with additions and changes to the display.  This can literally take hours of tedious sequencing time per minute of music you see when viewing the display.  For more technical info please see this page

 

This page was last updated on Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2000-2006 Tim and Cathy Fischer Comments?  Email  webmaster@fischersplace.com
PlymouthLights.com logo thanks to Scott Hardin