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Showing content with the highest reputation on 12/22/2014 in all areas

  1. Lucy's just trying to get you to buy more controllers...
  2. I've been receiving a bunch of PMs & emails about how to set up a basic RGB network using Light o Rama. In order to give a consistent explanation, I figured I'd outline everything here. I apologize in advance for the length of this post. First things first: Resources I am not an engineer by trade and had no idea about soldering or anything else prior to entering the world of RGB. With that said, it can all be easily learned and doesn't require all that much technical skill. Instead, sufficient knowledge is all that's needed. With that in mind, I would highly suggest anyone entering the RGB world to visit www.auschristmaslighting.com. This web forum was developed by a guy named Fast Eddy many years ago and represents all his trials and experimentation. The posters on this forum are EXTREMELY helpful and unlike places like doityourselfchristmas.com, where the posters can get tough on newbies, the guys (and gals) at auschristmaslighting.com are extremely helpful. While on that forum, please also make sure you download the auschristmaslighting.com Introduction to RGB manual. It is a GREAT resource and gives a very good explanation about RGB networks and how to set things up. With that out of the way, I'll now get to my show and show you exactly what I purchased in order to set it up. Below is a list of everything I use to run my show along with links to where items can be purchased. 1: Controllers: I control all pixels using e1.31 protocol which is controlled via an assigned IP address on your laptop. The advantages of e1.31 are that unlike DMX, which limits you to only 512 channels, e1.31 allows you to control many MANY times more lights at a much smaller cost. For my show, I use TWO e1.31 RGB controllers from SanDevices. -to control the lights on the facade of my house I use (1) SanDevices e682 controller. This controller is nice for places in your displays that require many separate RGB light strings because it has 8 outputs. The e682 can control up to 10 universes of DMX channels. That works out to 1700 pixels which is ALOT. The SanDevices controller is purchased from the company website and costs just under $200. -to control the lights on my mini RGB trees I use a SanDevices e6804 controller. This controller can control nearly as many lights as the e 682. However, unlike that controller, it only has 4 outputs. It is therefore better for more concentrated RGB elements like pixel mini trees and pixel matrices. It is very cheap and costs $110 with shipping included. Here the website for SanDevices. http://www.sandevices.com/index.html 2: Lights: I buy all my RGB lights from China because they are cheapest and the exact same as those you'll purchase from US companies. The most popular vendor is Ray Wu, although there are others. You should note that when purchasing from Ray Wu and others, you'll see extremely high shipping prices listed on the website. THIS IS NOT THE ACTUAL SHIPPING COST. Instead, PM Ray directly and ask for an estimate on shipping with your order. Also, NEVER pay directly through the aliexpress website these vendors use. Instead, pay via paypal. This way, you won't get screwed on shipping and the vendor will have to quote you a solid price. With that said, here are the lights I bought from Ray Wu this year. A) Lights on the facade of house: 12v 2811 IC flexible pixel strips. http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/5m-led-digital-strip-DC12V-input-WS2811IC-256-scale-10pcs-IC-and-30pcs-5050-SMD-RGB/701799_568458133.html These are identical to the cosmic color ribbons LOR sells. However, unlike the strips from LOR, they need a power supply which can ALSO be purchased through Ray. Here's a link to a 12v 350 watt power supply from Ray's website. http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/12V-350W-switch-mode-power-supply-LED-power-driver-AC90-260V-input-DC12V-350W-output-constant/701799_1948832565.html NOTE: it is VERY important you choose the correct power supply for your pixels. If they're 12 v, you MUST use a 12 v power supply. If you choose 5v (not as popular) the same applies. The sandevices controllers can control EITHER 5v or 12 v pixels. Pixel lights for mini trees: 12v 2811 IC "bullet" style pixels. http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/DC12V-input-12mm-WS2811-pixel-node-100pcs-a-string-IP68-rated/701799_735790044.html Each individual pixel can be controlled. I've had very good results with these pixels and no failures so far. The spacing between nodes can be changed if you ask for it prior to ordering. 3: Connectors A) Wire: because pixels are DC and low voltage, they experience voltage loss much quicker than traditional AC lights. As such, you need to have fairly heavy gauge wire connecting your pixel strips to the controller. If you don't use thicker wire, you'll have power issues, data issues, and will need to use power injection. To limit these issues as much as possible, I'd suggest heavy duty 18 gauge alarm wire. Monoprice always has great prices on this type of wire. http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=102&cp_id=10239&cs_id=1023902&p_id=4039&seq=1&format=2 When buying wire, make sure its "stranded" and not solid as stranded wire will be more difficult to solder and solder joints will give way more easily. pig tails. For 12v pixels, you need 3 core male and female connectors. I recommend these from Ray Wu. Again, I'd also recommend you use the highest gauge possible. http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/10pcs-lot-3-Core-BLACK-Waterproof-pigtail-20cm-long-each-male-and-female-male-connector-s/701799_1019853359.html -Other than the above, the only other thing you'll need is a soldering gun to solder your wires. Any old gun will work at they are cheap and radioshack. Here's a good basic tutorial on soldering that should get you started. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9G9gaokqvM The above is a basic "parts list" for my display. I didn't include the DMX floods I use but those can be added to e1.31 by using a simple ettec DMX dongle. This dmx dongle has no interaction with the pixels or controllers.
  3. Logged on to our Facebook page this morning to find some very kind comments and a glowing review of our display from none other than Lucy Baldwin. For those unable to make the connection, Lucy is LOR Dan's mom. She stayed for 3 songs and is hoping to make time to come back to see more. Somehow, her stamp of approval adds a little extra validation for our efforts.
  4. I have purchased from the following Creative Displays (LED Lights) Pre-Sale Going on Holiday Light Express (LED Lights) Pre-Sale Going on Magic in the Sky (LED Lights) HolidayCoro (DIY Coro) lots of information on his site. Built my tree myself
  5. Open a trouble ticket with LOR since its new. Take a flashlight and possibly a magnifying glass and closely examine the small finger wires of the RJ45 connectors. What you're looking for is those wires to be pushed in, but not popping back out to their original positions. If you find that some or one are pushed in on both connectors, I'd suspect that's the issue. Again, trouble ticket first since its new.
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