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A Learning Experience

Updated: Feb 3, 2022

Ron Kruse, COO Houston

February 2022

How Do You Learn?

If you don't know by now, maybe you need to test yourself to find out. Learning by outside pursuits not only makes you more interesting but being a continual learner will make you sharper on the job.

How Do I Learn?

I learn by reading for sure, but I am mainly a lab and project guy. In college, I needed to bring the theory off of the page in the lab. Then the kitchen table and garage became my labs. I break things and build things and break them again.

The Learning Bug

I was looking for a new challenge eight years ago when I found out that our Aggie Michael Lee was also interested in multi-channel Christmas light shows. This meant that we could utilize the same hardware and software platform to share knowledge. I attended a Saturday programming class in Irving Texas and then began building and programming a three-face 72-channel Halloween show to practiced what I learned.

Halloween Show 2013 (1:10 video clip)

The Next Setup

Controller Address Notes

in 2013 I dipped my toe in the water with an easy 88-channels. Then it blew up. 2014 - 2016 I was running between 1,288 and 1,676 channel shows. I had to build weatherproof RGB controller units, weld fixtures, do my voltage drop calculations, custom power distribution, network cabling, place show controllers and FM transmitter. It is challenging getting things to work in an outdoor winter environment. The setup took three days after Thanksgiving.

RGB Controllers Testing

A Little Help From My Friends

When I started working on my first Christmas show, luckily, I had Michael Lee doing some show software editing because I was taking so much time with the hardware. John Borden made a service call to the house to help me get some controllers back on the network. Raymond Gilbert made some custom network cables for me. Justin Bailey helped me set up the network the next year as I was short-handed.

Face Shop Fabrication

RGB 24 Channel Controller & Power Supply

A Learning Experience

This pursuit was the best mix of right brain and left brain for me. The left side did the linear thinking and sequencing. The right side used imagination and rhythm. This has been true all of my adult life and the many projects have helped me keep sharp. I know this kind of learning has helped me stay sharp at my job.

What Are You Learning Lately?

If you don't think you are learning anything new, maybe you need to push yourself a little.

- Ron Kruse, Chief Operating Officer, Houston

- Edited by Patt Bowles & Kevin Henderson




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