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About azfrankp

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  1. OK. Now I feel real stupid. The problem this whole time was the computer. I bought a new laptop last year because my old XP was no longer supported and I didn't want to have problems mid season. As it turns out, the new Dell Windows 10 machine either doesn't have enough RAM or speed to run the LOR system. I know this because when I was playing a song through the Sequence Editor I noticed some choppiness in the speed bar and at one point literally jumped ahead a second or two, equating it to buffering. When I changed back to my old system it worked flawlessly, even going back to one network. The lesson learned is don't buy cheap and invest in enough RAM memory to prevent these types of problems. Thanks again for your responses.
  2. Great idea. I tried and partially worked but still have a problem I can't figure out. I used two USB485's. Controllers 1 - 6 on Network A and 7 - 12 on Network B which is still noisy. When I switched cables, the noise stays with network B. I switched the 485's also and still noise on Network B. You did give me an idea in that I possibly have a controller problem. I'm not sure how since noise is now on all 6 controllers on Network B. I'm going to add to Network A and reduce from Network B one at a time until I isolate the problem. That will be time consuming but I will let you know the results. I used to think I was a pretty good Engineer but this one has me baffled.
  3. I have a 12 CCR tree with a star that has been working flawlessly the past 3 years but now suddenly has become erratic by not playing sequences properly (this is the older non pixie system) running on a single 500K network using a USB485B. Sequences sometimes looks like the equivalent of video noise we called "snow" back in the days of analog TV. The problem does not appear to be cable related despite using about 150' of CAT 6 cable that is terminated properly. The show runs on a laptop and so I replaced the 150' cable with a 6 footer up close and the display exhibits the same problems. I also tried the other port on the USB485B and swapped out the cable between the 12th CCR controller and the 16 channel controller used for the star. Some sequences run almost like they should while others are extremely noisy. It seems the faster the sequence the worse the noise. Sometimes, one or more of the CCR's will remain partial on after the sequence is finished. All sequences work perfectly in the Superstar Sequence Editor. I even tried re-exporting and building some of worst sequences. Nothing seems to work. Again, this just started happening this year after 3 years of no problems. The only change was the replacement of a bad CCR. I've ruled out a bad controller since the noise appears random and across all channels. Normally I would try moving the controllers away from possible radiated electrical noise but the display is on a hillside next to my house away from all that. Can anyone thing of something else to try? Thanks in advance
  4. Do you know if Pixie Controllers are backwards compatible with the old Cosmic Color Ribbons (CCR)? Thanks.
  5. I'm fairly new to the CCR world and the Superstar Sequencer. I purchased several sequences and a star from you last year and all went well. My display consists of a 12 CCR Megatree that is centered on a hill next to my house. Around the tree, scattered over the hillside, I have man made snowflakes ranging from 3' to 8' in diameter. I would like my display to control these snowflakes in time with the sequence that is playing. The snowflakes are all LED white lights using 1 channel each for a total of 26 additional non CCR Channels (10 left over from the star and 16 from a new controller). Since I don't have to worry about color or the flashing and variation to be perfect, I thought that the instant sequence would be ideal. I am having trouble getting the Instant Sequence routine to recognize the non CCR controllers. I thought I could create a temp snowflake sequence with just the appropriate controllers and channels; leaving the activity blank, export it into Superstar, auto sequence it, then export it back and paste it to the CCR sequence. To me it sounded good but I only see CCR channels. I would have to do a lot of cutting and pasting to change the CCR channels to LOR. I do not have a visualizer created for the snowflakes. What am I doing wrong? Is there a more detailed tutorial that would help? Thanks in advance.
  6. Thanks, Jim. I might try that next year when I time to learn more about it. At the moment I'm just trying to get my CCR mega tree up and running with a few purchased sequences in the short time I have before the season starts. My total display is quite large and takes me a long time to set up. Besides an interactive train display, the mountain display consists of a mega tree surrounded by several mountain snowflakes under LOR control. I just hope switching over to a CCR tree doesn't cause me a big problem. I have a fairly large fan base here in Phoenix and wouldn't want disappoint my visitors. You can view the Fox video on my website to see what I mean. www.Santatrain.com Rodents and family are a big problem here in the Southwest, especially to those of us that live adjacent to the mountain preserve. Even standard light sets get chewed up over time if left on the ground. I guess it has to do with our mild temperatures during the season.
  7. Thanks guys, but I have no choice. I have to use the two ELL's (6 CCR's on each). This display is on a mountain over 400' from my house. I've been using physical CAT5 cables for years controlling a standard LOR tree. Unfortunately, all wire is manufactured with a process that uses peanut oil as base for producing the insulation. This happens to be a delicacy for chipmunks, rabbits, mice and other rodent members that flourish in the hills. This means that about 4 or 5 times per season I have to replace those cables that I find in pieces on the hillside. Needless to say it becomes very time consuming and expensive. I've tried all kinds of deterrents but nothing seems to work. My extension cord lasts longer because that 1st bite for the little critters is a "shocker". Worst case is that I have to tape up a few bite marks every once in a while. I've tested 1 network with an ELL on my basic LOR system and it seems to work fine for the distance. However, I know that a CCR mega tree will put a considerable higher load on the network and the recommendation from most is that I split up the CCR's into two networks. One for 6 CCR's plus 3 standard LOR controllers and another for the other 6 CCR's. I'm looking for the best settings for speed, frequency, etc. of these two networks. Where I get confused is setting up two networks. Is the fact that I simply connect 2 RS485 with Two ELL's on two different USB ports on my PC automatically give me two networks? Thanks again for your help.
  8. I've tried searching but being new to CCRs I can't find steps for adding a second wireless network to control my 12 CCR Megatree. I purchased two RS485Bs and 2 Easy Light Linkers. Can someone point me in the right direction on how to set up the two networks and Superstar software? Thanks.
  9. The bottom line is that it is not safe to cut or shorten any series wired light strings unless you absolutely know how it's wired. Even then it becomes a problem. Jim is right in that you could probably shorten a string to half but even that could cause problems by exposing the high voltage pass through wires. LED's are even trickier because they use rectification and current limiting resistors in the process. That's the one or more lumps with heat shrink tubing you see along the wire. All series strings are designed for maximum efficiency of the bulbs or LED's. In other words in a typical 100 bulb incandescant string there are two 120 VAC legs of 50 2.5 volt bulbs. White, red, green and blue LED's all require different voltages to operate from 2 to 4 volts each but depend mostly on the current through them decided by the resistor. So in a blue and white string you may find more of those lumps than in a red and green string simply because you you can only have a maximum of 25 or 30 blue LED's (up to 4 volts drop) before you run out of voltage to drive them. The green and red ones require less voltage and therefore the maximum could increase to 50 or 60 per leg. To add more complexity to LED lights they can either be full or half wave rectified meaning when it's full wave converted to DC the effective voltage available will increase to approximatel 160 volts while a half wave rectified string is only 90 volts. Finally, if you try to short out one or more lites in the middle of a series circuit you would most likely destroy the string. because the bulbs that remain would see a higher current than what the limiting resistor (in the lump) was designed for. That's probably more than you wanted to know but I hope that helps.
  10. For those that have built or tried to build a 12' or higher mega tree in their display know how time consumming it can be and the difficulty in trying to keep all those lights from tangling during assembly. Two years ago I decided to do something about it by coming up with a design which is both tangle free and easy to assemble and store. I thought I would share my design for those interested. I just purchased LOR equipment so next year will be the 1st year of using a musical sequence to control the little mountain next to my home. Attached you will find the pdf file and narrative on the construction techniques. Please email me at frank@santatrain.com if you have any questions. You can see photos at www.santatrain.comMegaTreeAssemblyNotes.pdfChristmasMegaTree.pdf
  11. I'm sorry I'm jumping in here too late for this year but hope this will help for next year. I live in Arizona and have a large display on a hill next to my house with over a mile's worth of extension cords. I used to have a big problem with critters chewing through them almost daily. After some research I discovered that the process for making wire involves peanut oil which is especially attractive to rabbits, squirrels or anything in the rodent family. There are several products on the market that emmulate secretions of their natural enemies. They are listed as rabbit repellants, critter repellents, etc. and available in most hardware stores. After setting up my display I spray the cords and wire with this product directly and have had only one instance in the last 3 years I've used it. One application should last a season (about 2 months) but depending how much rain you get may require a second application. Obviously in Phoenix I don't have that kind of problem. Good luck!
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