Christmas Lighting Display Worth Seeing

By JIMMY GALVAN
December, 2, 2008

Daniel Havard puts the finishing touches on a ring of lights in his front yard. Havard has put music to his Christmas lighting display at 601 Live Oak and invites the public to come and enjoy the spirit of the Christmas season.

A year ago, Daniel Havard was grumbling about putting up Christmas lights.

This year, Havard is in the process of placing more than 13,000 lights up on his Jasper home in an effort to light up the holiday season.

"I have always loved the Christmas season but I always complained to my wife when it came to hanging lights on the house," Havard said. "But this makes it interesting.

"My wife used to like decorating for Christmas but now she is getting tired of it," Havard laughed. "I'm always telling her, 'hey, let's go hang some more lights.'"

This lighting idea started early last year and took off with Havard.

"I started planning back in January of this year and in March I started working on the sequencing for it because the lights will be sequenced to music," said Harvard, a self-professed "computer geek." "For a minute of music it takes three to four hours."

Right now, Havard has four songs sequenced to his lighting display and planned to have six songs completed by the unveiling, which was scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 29.

Havard admits this is not his idea to begin with. He had seen other houses, which had done this on You Tube, and then in 2005 he saw a Lumberton man who did this and knew he wanted to do it as well.

"I went and saw it in person last year and after I saw it I knew I wanted to do it," Havard said. "It really sent me over the edge in wanting to do it."

Havard contacted the man and exchanged ideas on how to do the project.

"He told me what I needed to do and where to start," Havard said. "Once I got into it, I learned a lot and it has been steady on since then."

To get 13,000 lights on a house takes a little more work than just running some extension cords. Havard had to coordinate all the lights into controller with 16 channels, which allows him to control 16 different displays at one time.

"I can make 16 strands of lights blink in different ways with the controller," Havard said.

He then uses computer Internet cable to connect the controllers together. Havard makes his own extension cords to plug into the controllers and then uses his computer to sequence them. In all, Havard has six controllers in use during the display.

In other words, Havard is making the local hardware stores very happy this holiday season.

"Oh, Lowe's sees me a lot and are quite happy with me," Havard said. "I make trips in there sometimes three, four times a day."

And his electrical provider should be happy as well with the light show.

"From what I have heard and one guy has more than 30,000 lights on his house and his bill only went up $10 a month," Havard said. "The lights will not be on at the same time constantly.

Havard said he checked out a couple of websites on line that show people how to work on complete displays like this on.

Most websites recommend only connecting three strands on lights on each channel on a controller.

"Each strand is 3.4 amps and then I have to calculate how many I will have on a particular outlet so I can divide it up between each circuit in the house," Havard said.

The plan is to have people drive up to the display, turn off their lights, tune in to a radio station and listen to the music and watch the lights blink.

"You pull up, tune in your car radio and I will have speakers set up and enjoy the show," Havard said. "In the end, it was all worth it."

Havard said his family is pretty much excited about the display and what it brings to the area.

"Except for my wife, they are all excited," Havard laughed. "She wants me to be through with this. She wanted to put me to work on some of her projects. But seriously she has been supportive of me doing this and I appreciate that."

And all of this has Havard only thinking of next year and bigger and better plans for his Christmas display.

"I am already planning for next year," Havard said. "People told me that you would start thinking of next year before this year is over. I am already trying to get plans together now.

"I would like to double my lights next year," Havard said. "Next year, I want 48 channels and max them out as much as I can and use 20-30,000 lights.

"So the day after Christmas, I will be shopping for some lights," Havard laughed.

 

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