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About DrWizard

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  • Birthday 06/22/1963

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  • Location
    Orange Park, FL
  • Occupation
    Retired Programmer

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  • Interests
    Computers in general, Lights in general, Microcontrollers
  • How I learned about Light-O-Rama -
    The Wizard's of Winter viral video from 2005.
  • Favorite Decorating Holiday?

LOR Software

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  1. DrWizard

    upgrading 110/220V Ac controller to DC

    I disagree. I know how to convert a half wave string to full wave, and it's not that hard. But by rectifying the power before it goes into the controller, I effectively convert 16 strings all at once. It will be even easier to cut a short extension cord and put a rectifier in the middle of it than clipping the LED string in four spots and inserting 4 separate diodes. Triacs, once turned on, stay on as long there is voltage to the anode, even after removing the signal from the gate. They turn off only when the anode voltage goes to zero. So they will work on non-filtered rectified DC. Likewise, the zero crossing detector doesn't detect the voltage crossing zero, per se, it detects that it has gone to zero (or more accurately, when it is not at zero) so that should continue to work as well. Using an AC transformer on full-wave rectified DC results in doubling the frequency (no big deal) and substantially drops the output voltage, and can cause it to overheat. I will definitely need to provide a separate non-rectified source for the transformer. OR, better yet, I could just take it out completely and feed the logic circuit with the 5V DC power supply I already have which drives my pixels, arduinos, and other stuff. Very good point!! I had not considered that one! If I keep the controller close to the lights with short wires, that should not be a problem, but I wasn't planning on doing that. I keep the majority of my controllers centrally located in the garage. This actually may be the one factor that keeps my experiment from working. Possibly. It does double their heat output. If the strings were designed to take advantage of being half wave, and supply peak current a little above what they are rated for (as is oft done with LED matrices) then that could be a problem. I have converted a few cheap Walmart strings to full wave though, and they worked fine. Also, in my sequences, I try not to leave the strings on at 100% for an extended period of time. If I plan to leave the string on for a while, I tend to do it at 75%. I especially try to do that on blue, green, and purple strings to reduce failures of the individual LEDs. I could also make a custom dimming curve to reduce power, but that negates the point of converting to DC to make 'em twice as bright. Truthfully, I feel everything is plenty as bright as it is, but I thought this would make an interesting experiment. Thanks to everyone for their input!!
  2. DrWizard

    Cheaper USB to 485 Adapter

    I have a cheap one from eBay and it works fine. It's actually meant to be a USB to DMX adapter, but of course DMX uses the RS-485 protocol. If you want to run an 'enhanced' LOR network, you need to make sure the chip in the adapter is the FTDI brand, and that it is a genuine FTDI, as there are a lot of counterfeit FTDI chips out there, and FTDI has changed their drivers to detect the counterfeits and not work properly. As I understand it- DMX uses a kinda oddball baud rate of 250,000 which the FTDI chip supports, but most other USB to Serial chips (Prolific, CH340) do not. Thus any RS-485 adapter meant for DMX should, in theory, use the FTDI chip. But again, beware of counterfeits. And DMX uses a different pinout on the RJ-45 connector than LOR, but I see you're already on top of that.
  3. DrWizard

    upgrading 110/220V Ac controller to DC

    I am planning to run an experiment soon... I am going to put a high-powered high-voltage (400V 25A) bridge rectifier before the power input to the controller. The purpose of which is to make all of my half-wave LED strings work at full-wave and be twice as bright. Since the DC will NOT be filtered, I believe the triacs will still work, and will cut off as they should when the voltage goes to 0v 120 times per second. I also think the zero crossing detector circuit should continue to work for the same reason. Where I anticipate a problem is the transformer that drops the 120VAC to a lower voltage to operate the controller. I will need to isolate that from the power to the triacs, and provide a separate AC power source for it.
  4. No-one has an answer on this? I'm hoping to buy a few during the spring sale which is coming up soon. Can someone at least tell me if the current ones support dimming curves?
  5. DrWizard

    100 percent LOR

    I currently have 4 LOR 1602 AC controllers and looking to add at least 2 more. And I have a LOR CTB24 DC controller. I have been very happy with them! I have a Renard 32 channel DMX controller and it sucks. The dimming on it is very uneven and unpredictable. That's why I want at least 2 more LOR controllers, to replace this piece of ... And I have a cheap Chinese 27 channel DC DMX controller. The first one was DOA. But the second one has worked quite reliably for 3 years now. The really interesting controller tho, is an Arduino Mega using DMX protocol to control 32 channels of 120V DC LED strings in a 4 X 8 matrix.
  6. DrWizard

    DIO Dimming

    So I'm kicking around the idea of buying a National Instruments DIO-96 board as they are available cheap on eBay. Alas, the cable costs more than the board. Now I realize these are for DC, and there is no zero-crossing-detector and if I was to connect the outputs to Triacs or SSRs to control AC I would pretty much be limited to on or off. But if I use them for DC, do they (and Showtime v4) support dimming via PWM?
  7. DrWizard

    Extension Cord for pixels

    It should work fine if the cords are fairly short. Anything longer than 15-20 feet and you may start having data corruption issues. Longer than 20' I suggest you used twisted pair (cat5, cat6, ethernet). I use 1 colored wire for data, the other 3 colored wires for +5V or +12v, and the 4 white wires for ground. I sometimes used 18/3 extension cord wire for power injection. But cut off the 120 volt plugs and use some other kind of plug. You don't wanna accidentally plug the pixels into 120 volts!
  8. Question 1: It appears that dimming curves or advanced configuration are not supported on the CTB24D. I'm guessing that is because the D board uses ordinary PWM (Pulse-Width-Modulation) to "dim" the low-voltage direct-current, whereas the alternating-current uses a type of PWM that has to be coordinated with the zero crossing of the voltage. Yet I fail to see why that would preclude the use of dimming curves. Is there a way to do dimming curves on a DC controller? Question 2: I have some old 1602W's with the blue boards. What would be the cheapest and easiest way to get them to do dimming curves? Will the current CTB16K boards fit into the old 1602W cases, or is there an easier way? I have no incandescent lights left, everything I am controlling is either LED and/or something that should be strictly on or off, both conditions suited to dimming curves.
  9. This topic has been brought up before... in like 2008-2009. I'm sure things have changed a bit since then. So what is the current differences between the PC and K versions? From the photos, they both seem to have the same components. The boards look a little different, and use different connection methods, but that no doubt is because they are intended to fit in different cases. Is there any difference in the functionality or capabilities of these 2 boards? Do they currently both do dimming curves?
  10. I've spent a good many hours tinkering with version 5. Here's my 2 cents--- View Fades As Ramps: I miss this! I routinely go back and forth in v4. The main reason is that for long slow fades, it is hard to tell exactly where it starts (ramp up) or ends (ramp down) and it is more obvious with the ramps display. As an alternative (or in addition) a way to visualize where each individual effect starts or ends, perhaps by making the grid lines a little thicker, or darker/lighter? Adding a prop to the grid is not at all intuitive. I eventually memorized how to get to it, but the first batch of props I added, I had to keep clicking around trying to find it again. I think there should be more than one way to do this, and something more obvious than being in a drop-down box. Also, after creating and saving a brand new prop, prompt the user to add it to the grid. Pixel Strips: I don't (yet) have any grid or grid-like pixel displays. But I have loads of strips and strings. Most of the effects in the pixel editor are grid-oriented and pretty much useless for strips. Show us some love! I'd like to see more pixel editor tools for complex chases and patterns. I realize I'm just used to v4, but I find v5 confusing and overall not very intuitive. One final suggestion, and I know this is a complex one... A visualizer or live preview viewer that can be run (and opened and closed as needed) while a show is running, Preferably across the network. Good for a [remote] status check and to see where it the show it currently is at. Alternatively or in addition, a simpler status viewer with the name of the show, name of the song, current time within the song, perhaps which song is queued up next, controller status and any comm errors...
  11. [Admin Edit] - Sorry Audio was located on this share. It has been removed. You may share sequences, but not audio.
  12. DrWizard

    Looking for Minions jingle bells

    Heh Heh! I was not aware the Minions had done a rendition of this. Just googled and found the YouTube video. Hillarious! May I get a copy of this sequence too please? wizard@wizlights.com Thanks in advance!
  13. DrWizard

    Pink Floyd Time

    I probably won't use it in my show, but being a HUGE Floyd fan, I'd like a copy anyway please! wizard@wizlights.com
  14. DrWizard

    Sugar Plum Fairy- remix

    Ooh, Ooh, over here, me too please! wizard@wizlights.com Who's the artist(s) or orchestra?
  15. I have a utility that I wrote for v4 of sequencer that does global search-replace of RGB colors. I plan to update it for v5, although not till after Christmas. v5's files are COMPLETELY different. I will have to rewrite all whole utility suite.