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DMX with Dumb RGB Strips


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#1 Ralph A

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:45 PM

Hello and Merry Christmas to all!!

I have been reading and studying the DMX stuff for about a year now and want to use it in my 2013 layout. I am running LOR S3 Advanced. I have several questions and have a general idea but I do not have the experience in DMX to be aware of all the options. And frankly there are a lot of options when it comes to DMX.

Here is what I'm trying to achieve. I have a 12 foot mega tree and around the tree on the ground I have 6 constrict squares getting larger as you move away from the tree. The first one is a 10 x 12 foot square or 44 liner feet. The next is a 12 x14 or 52 liner feet. Then the last one or square six is 20 x 24 or 88 liner feet. This is a total of 388 liner feet. In past years I've had C-9 bulbs on this grid that sits on the ground. Now I wand to use a Dumb RGB flex strip on each of the squares. Each square will be controlled independently from the other five. Since this is a very large layout if presents some different problems than normal. Such as many DMX controllers only support up to 2 amps per channel. Then power will most likely need to be supplied in different locations on the square.

So here are some of my questions for those that have been down the path that I am about to embark on.

1. Since these are long runs I have read that It would be best to go with a 12vdc led (not 5vcd) since these are better for longer runs. Is this correct?

2. Each square will require 3 channels. Is there a DMX controller that will work with LOR that will handle these power requirements? The LOR DC controller I believe only handles 2 amps per channel. If possible I would like to keep each square on a 3 channel controller but I may have to break them in two groups due to power limitations. Any suggestions?

3. The best price I've seen so far for a LED dumb strip is, http://www.diyledexp...&products_id=78 at $19.25 Don't know what chip is used in this set . Anyone seen a better deal on dump strips?

4. The smallest square is 44 feet long and the longest is 88 feet. What is the best way to distribute the power? Power over Ethernet or using several units like these,
http://www.aliexpres..._289599951.html

5. Finally I will need to have some type of breakdown plan. I will secure the LED strips to the wood grid but will need 4 wire connectors for each piece of the grid that separates from the other for storage. Has anyone seen these on Rays store or others?

Thank you for reading this long post and for your help in helping me avoid dangerous mistakes in my endeavor to make a better and more enjoyable show for 2013!!

Ralph

#2 jlowe

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 05:18 PM

Have you looked at the small dmx controllers available from holidaycoro?

Another idea is the ren48lsd from diy christmas.

#3 Ralph A

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 06:33 PM

Yes I have seen the Holidaycoro controllers. In fact I own a few. I'm trying to find some that will handle more than 2 amps. If I'm correct my large square at 88 feet will be about 6amps. I have heard of the ren48lsd, but know nothing about it. Will look into it thank you.

#4 Ralph A

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:12 PM

Has anyone used this strip from Ray's store?

http://www.aliexpres..._587735379.html

If so what can you tell me about the quality of the strip?

Thanks

#5 jeffl

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:10 PM

This might work for a controller but the output is only 1 amp per channel.

Edited by jeffl, 22 December 2012 - 09:15 PM.

Just remember. Wireless is nice. Copper is king!

#6 De Trommelslager

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:41 PM

1. Since these are long runs I have read that It would be best to go with a 12vdc led (not 5vcd) since these are better for longer runs. Is this correct?


You will be able to run the higher voltage easier than the lower voltage and on a smaller wire. This is why the power company runs high voltage transmission lines everywhere and then steps the voltage down to "consumer levels".

2. Each square will require 3 channels. Is there a DMX controller that will work with LOR that will handle these power requirements? The LOR DC controller I believe only handles 2 amps per channel. If possible I would like to keep each square on a 3 channel controller but I may have to break them in two groups due to power limitations. Any suggestions?


It would be more expensive since you can't the same numbers of channels for the same cost, but the LOR controller may be worth a look. They are $100 and have 16 channels of control (4A per ch I believe). It would yield five RGB channels with one spare left.

4. The smallest square is 44 feet long and the longest is 88 feet. What is the best way to distribute the power? Power over Ethernet or using several units like these,
http://www.aliexpres..._289599951.html


You need to calculate the expected loads and determine what would be the most economical option for your installation. CAT5 cable should be fine unless you are pulling lots of amps.

5. Finally I will need to have some type of breakdown plan. I will secure the LED strips to the wood grid but will need 4 wire connectors for each piece of the grid that separates from the other for storage. Has anyone seen these on Rays store or others?



Many options there. Just search out some connectors that you think would be suitable for the application. If it were me I would use Amphenol connectors, but that may be more cost than you wish to incur. Weather is something to be thinking about, so keep that in mind as you search.

Don't forget about storage space as well. You are on the right path. I am interested to see the finished product blinking, so keep us informed!

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#7 jerrymac

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 10:54 PM

How about this. With the 3 channel controllers (holiday coro as an example which work great), seperate the box's into 2 or 4 legs each (solution to max capacity allthough it increases the cost a little), Advantage is that you can control each leg, or pair of legs as a single unit if you choose. you mentioned you did not know what chip was being used. With dumb strips there is no chip (the chip allow addressing of each individual pixel). I have used both dumb and smart pixels and each have there advantages. With smart pixel strips comming down in price they are becomming a real competetor to dumb stips, Only downside is the controllers required need to be pixelnet and the incredible increase in channel requirments that realisticly means E1.31 becomes a necessitity.
In many cases each pixel (or group of pixels) do NOT need to be addressable, and when you do not need individual control dumb stips (or pixels) fit right in. Example I use dumb strips on archs (and fans) since you tipically break arches down into sections rather than individual pixel chases. Within the requirements of the strip (often 3 pixels) you can cut into any length you need (pixels of course one at a time).

#8 Ralph A

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 11:45 PM

Hey De Trommelslager, Thanks you for that detailed explanation. A big help. I may send you a PM soon on controllers.

jerrymac, I like your Idea about taking each square and putting each side A separate controller and power. Would make for some interesting display options.

I like the idea of Ray Wu's 27 channel controller, but I've read of problems often. I would like to find a more dependable 27 channel controller.


#9 jeffl

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 12:05 AM

I like the idea of Ray Wu's 27 channel controller, but I've read of problems often. I would like to find a more dependable 27 channel controller.


I need to do some reading. I had not heard of any but I haven't got that far yet.
Just remember. Wireless is nice. Copper is king!

#10 Ken Benedict

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 01:15 AM

9 channels at 16 amps per channel for $28: http://www.ebay.com/...=item3f1fcefd83

#11 Ralph A

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 01:36 AM

Hey Jeffl, Here are some of the problems that I've read about. Can't find the others at the moment,
http://auschristmasl...pic,3273.0.html
BY the way I still have not used the blue incan light I bought from you last year, but I'm glad to have them. There getting hard to find.


Thanks Ken that's a high powered sucker!! I've been reading a lot of your post over the past few days. You've been at this DMX stuff a while. What do you think about Ray Wu's 27 channel controller being used with LOR?

#12 Ken Benedict

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 02:33 AM

Ralph - I have two of them and a 96 channel version that were supposed to be in this year's shows, but were bumped by Holidaycoro's Singing Christmas trees and rebuilding my 45 foot long piano key display.

So I have no direct experience with them.

HolidayCoro used to sell the 27 channel version and then a 3 channel circuit board version, but they stopped sometime in September (don't know why).

Yes, I've been doing theatre lighting for a few years now and electrical work from time to time. So DMX is easy for me.

Among this year's projects was supposed to be a RGB snowflake made out of dumb RGB strips, but they took about 3 hours each to make, so I put them on the shelf for a few months. Another was a 15 foot tall Ring Tree with 18 horizontal rings in a circle, each 1M long. Dumb RGB strips here too.

The big one was a spinner with 8 spokes of 1M each, originally dumb RGB strips, but will probably go with the 2811 strips for more pizazz.
I could probably spend a year just coming up with chase patterns with a 504 channel smart strip. Sheesh.

I like your idea of big squares; I was going to make some concentric diamonds, 5 patterns inside each other, with more dumb RGB strips with a LOR DC controller driving it.

My mind runs amok thinking, designing and building these things, but they can be used year-round for store promotions and attention getters.
Except for the snowflakes. In California.


96 channel DMX dimmer/controller: http://usledsupply.c...mx-decoder.html
3 channel DMX rgb controller: http://www.aliexpres..._378113147.html
27 channel DMX rgb controller: http://www.aliexpres..._378111925.html
60 channel DMX rgb controller: http://auschristmasl.../wiki/AAHmega60

Edited by Ken Benedict, 23 December 2012 - 02:44 AM.


#13 jerrymac

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:12 AM

Hey De Trommelslager, Thanks you for that detailed explanation. A big help. I may send you a PM soon on controllers.

jerrymac, I like your Idea about taking each square and putting each side A separate controller and power. Would make for some interesting display options.

I like the idea of Ray Wu's 27 channel controller, but I've read of problems often. I would like to find a more dependable 27 channel controller.


I have 4 of the 27 channel controllers (1 from Ray and 3 from Holiday Coro). I am having issues with one of them, the quality is not great but ? I needed a campact higher channel count conroller for fan/archs and at the time these were the only ones available (reasonable) as each fan/arch was 51 channels of dumb strips that make them self contained.
This next year I'm sure will bring many new dmx higher count controllers. As RGB continues to overtake led strings lots of new stuff should show up ( I HOPE )

#14 Robert Burton

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:41 AM

Where can you get the 60 channel dmx board???? Looks interesting ;-)

#15 jeffl

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 01:53 PM

From reading the thread on the 27 channel unit I suspect that there is a hardware/software compatibility problem with them. DMX should be DMX everywhere but it's not.

RJ has a dumb string controller a well that is an option. You can look for it on this page. I'm running his E1.31 Etherdongle device, Lynx Expresses and LOR gear with S3 3.8 this year all in DMX mode. I have not used his dumb string controllers so you would have to get educated.

http://www.diylighta...t#Smart_Strings
Just remember. Wireless is nice. Copper is king!

#16 Ralph A

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 03:31 PM

Jeffl, Thanks for the link on RJ's page. I have followed his stuff a little. I have two of his dongles and a hub, but just know the basics of his products. Something to look into though.

Jerrymac, I too am looking for a high channel controller other than Ray's. The way I see it, I would rather spend a little more up front and have fewer problems down the line. Every year many things go wrong with these types of displays and to some degree it's a challenge to fix every year. However, to much is just annoying and can be overwhelming when you have a set time frame like we do.

#17 Tim Fischer

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 05:33 PM

Has anyone used this strip from Ray's store?

http://www.aliexpres..._587735379.html

If so what can you tell me about the quality of the strip?

Thanks


I think that's the strip I redid my Mega-Tree star with last year. Works great, on its second year.
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#18 Ralph A

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 05:45 PM

Tim,
How many of these do you have? And since you live in Minn, No problems with the lower temps.

What type of DMX controller are you running and power supply?

Thanks

#19 Ken Benedict

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 06:48 PM

Where can you get the 60 channel dmx board???? Looks interesting ;-)


Email the designer on the last page of the manual, I think.

60 channel manual: https://dl.dropbox.c... manual 1.3.pdf

#20 Tim Fischer

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 11:37 AM

Tim,
How many of these do you have? And since you live in Minn, No problems with the lower temps.

What type of DMX controller are you running and power supply?

Thanks


I'm currently just using one (part of one, actually) - enough to do my star.

It's being controlled with one of the little white <$10 DMX controllers and a generic chinese power supply.
There's a fine line between a hobby and a mental illness. -Dave Barry
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#21 plasmadrive

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 02:06 PM

I have been using 4 of these http://www.aliexpres..._378111925.html from Ray this year. Fed by a single IDMX they have worked flawlessly for me. I have them outside in the demarkation boxes.. My only wish is that they were PWM but I suspect they are linear.. haven't really put a scope on them.. but again, they have worked just fine for me this year..

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#22 Ralph A

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:10 PM

I'm currently just using one (part of one, actually) - enough to do my star.

It's being controlled with one of the little white <$10 DMX controllers and a generic chinese power supply.




Thanks Tim. You have been doing this a long time and I appreciate your help.

#23 Ralph A

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:13 PM

Email the designer on the last page of the manual, I think.

60 channel manual: https://dl.dropbox.c... manual 1.3.pdf


Wanted to let everyone know that this controller is on sale till 12-31-12 Regular price is $250. and is on sale for $200. Not sure what the shipping will run from Australia

#24 Ralph A

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:17 PM

Thanks for the info plasmadrive. That's good to know about Rays stuff. From what I read you may get 20 of the same thing and 10 work great and 10 have problems. I could be wrong just seems that way from what I'm reading. I have become spoiled from outstanding quality from LOR!!!