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About LightHouse_Papa

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    New Forum User

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    NE Wisconsin GO PACK!
  • Occupation

More About Me

  • Interests
    necessity is the mother of all invention.

    My family gave me the nickname “Light House Papa” because one year they thought the airport was going to complain about the lights. Back in prehistoric times BEFORE I built my *DIY* controllers, I was actually drawing 10kw full tilt using incandescent lamps! LEDS = 1-3k watts (gawd the LUMENS you get for pennies!) and with my Solar Power – free lights!
  • How I learned about Light-O-Rama -
    everywhere - it is almost impossible to search "sequencer" and NOT see LOR show up.
  • Favorite Decorating Holiday?
    All ... when I have time - Halloween & Christmas R big

LOR Software

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  1. Hi folks, I have read some good information here. GFCI protection. 25+ years as an electrician, I have written a few posts in regards to this matter on other sites. I have experienced many different phenomenon in GFI trips (an acronym as it is used in the trade since it was introduced). Here is something perhaps some do not know. I read the idea of micro amperage leakage - that could happen and usually does. There is a differential current sensitivity which the GFI functions on. That is how it has come into existence. The average GFI protected circuit should trip at no more than 5ma deviation. Hospitals require less than 3.5ma in the GFI circuit or device. I offer this test. I have performed this test many times for others under controlled conditions as how and why a GFI functions the way it does. Using a TWO conductor wire, bare ended, once placed in a plastic bucket of water protected by a GFI device, NOTHING. It is drawing current through the water as shown by a amp meter. The GFI sits there and keeps the power ON. Why? No differential current is present. That water is getting heated, although slowly and would take many hours to boil. Through a milliamp meter, a grounded conductor is introduced into the bucket of water. Depending on the distance between the grounded wire and the two conductor cable, you watch the meter and by the time it hits 5-7ma, BAM! The GFI opens and stops the flow of current. AND it is not just the HOT leg, it is BOTH legs in a GFI outlet. Breakers only open the HOT leg and are subject to all sorts of line noise too. This can confuse the breaker. I tossed out three GFI breakers (they would get buggy from time to time for no reason) for GFI receptacles. I DO use ARC-FAULT breakers for bedrooms, as per NEC code, an upgrade since my house is 40+ years old. I have leaned far away from 120v lights. Yes, I do use them and they are subject to all sorts of rain, snow, ice and whatever God cares to toss at us here in Wisconsin. I do maintain separation between AC powered lights and low voltage lights. I keep the AC and DC cables separated as much as possible. I use oversized AC power feeds - my smallest AC wire is a 12/4 SOOW cord. The AC wires have ONE IN and OUT - not chained by multiple extension cords. If it is TOO SHORT, get the one that is LONG enough. I use multiple GFI outlets which feed different things. These are plugged into the garage on a NON-GFI circuit (well, it is a 120/240 arrangement) ... and feed my 120v LOR controller, two Arduino 120v controllers and MANY low voltage power supplies housed in a single cabinet that feed all sorts of controllers and LEDS. I have had the privilege to work with, as a volunteer, many holiday displays in my area - they never go down. GFI is simply designed to help keep PEOPLE safe. I emphasize HELP. It is in no means a life safety device nor is it categorized as such. 3-5ma @ 120v can do some serious damage to the body on the cellular level. Depending how the current flows through the body, the path through vital organs like the heart, will dictate if someone survives a shock. AND that could be something as low as 24 volts. The CURRENT is what gets you. The disruption in the electrical signals in your body is the cause of organ failure, usually the heart depending on the path and duration. Your heart is not designed to beat at 60 times a second. Hence, 60Hz is the frequency of AC power in US homes. Electrical shock that some folks have survived? Some situations are NOT pretty. Cells are destroyed but the result is days down the road before the end result is seen. It is not pretty. I lost some good friends in the trade due to equipment failure and bad judgement. Myself, I recently survived a direct shock from a 480v VFD unit. Lit me up real good. 120v is a joke in comparison - yup, I have been hit over the years on occasion - still here and willing to help others understand the hazards of electricity and how to PREVENT them. I could go over the tests and procedures to determine which load is presenting a fault but that takes time, diligence and some equipment the regular homeowner does not have ready access to. My primary job, as an electrician, is to keep people safe. To understand the hazards and prevent electric from injuring people, including FIDO who pisses on the powered wire. Yes, GFCI does protect animals too. Anyway - here is my offer. Use either a single GFI receptacle or multiple GFI receptacles to split up the potential current feedback that has obviously confused your one breaker fed from a NON-GFCI protected outlet. OR LOOSE the breaker and replace the outlets it was protecting with single GFCI receptacles to feed the loads, it sounds like the breaker could be a bit twitchy. And for good reason. The manufacturer cares to cover their "ARSE". So, with that thought, it gets GOOFY. Without the right equipment to TEST the breaker AT the outlet you primarily use, and without more information (visual inspection) it is hard to identify the fault(s). REMEMBER! Every outlet exposed to the elements requires a non-conductive constant use cover! Used to be you could use cast aluminum ... code changes! If I rambled on ... sorry about that. Good luck, Eddie
  2. Yup - thanks. I knew I used it on this machine before ... this is why I was puzzled as to this interesting turn of events. Matt, so the installer failed to see the older installation and delete it before the reinstall. I am fuzzy on this - exactly when - I did uninstall LOR S4 many moons ago. The new install found the old settings (and got pissy b/c that particular server was offline) so if this info helps out down the road, it is all good then. I will try the "hammer and nail" approach. Thanks, Eddie P.S. Who or where do I go to settle a problem with LOR COMM Listener?
  3. Hi, I have LOR S4 Adv. and one 16ch 120v controller on a e1.31 to DMX bridge. I have 3 "other guy" controllers with a total capacity of 28,560 channels (9500+ pixels) and approximate total of, for 2016, 4,600 pixels on multiple props. Pixel count could go up to as high as 5,000 (depending how I finish some other props). I am not sequencing to music (I lost enough hair last year with Sequencer). My physical location does not lend itself to sequenced music - busy county road. One driver caused a wreck last year in front of my house. Sync'd Music is not on the menu. Reading some more on what I need to get some reasonable control over the pixels, many questions come to mind. So if anyone reading this has the time or experience to offer, that would be greatly appreciated. Here is what I would like to try and do. Make some animation sequences - lots of blinky flashy. I am okay with using Sequencer for allot of this. Plenty of FLOODS and STROBES to play with. Some things I want to do are simple. However to "SEE" what I am doing - well, that is something that I have not been able to accomplish on my computer - Visualizer does not care to work for me, including the "ENCLOSED" demo. I wasted enough time on trying to get it to work properly. THIS YEAR: I do have the 1200 pixel banner in front of me. So I can get some "WHAT IF'S" answered by seeing what it does. Yeah, still working through the cob webs too. I want to group all the pixels for the banner and only have to set ONE channel of RGB - have not discovered if it applies to all channels, that would be a plus. I am looking at this action later on today. It would be INSANE to program EACH PIXEL - WOW! I have many, in LOR terms, CCRs across the gutters and under the eaves and on props. I have a 18' mega tree 1024 pixels, this year making it a half circle. I have a 1200 pixel banner, several in house designed "11 bar" fans - 1 with dumb RGB/DMX and 3 with smart pixels. The banner would do some words, pictures and Christmas sort of display. I would LIKE to have the mega tree do colors, go all blinky flashy with random colors, all white twinkle and act as a real time Frequency Graphic Display - for some music. So - What I am thinking is this. I am considering some additional software to help me "DESIGN" something that looks OK. The masses around here would appreciate it. Now - getting the Pixel Editor upgrade is OKAY. I see I can do quite a few things but on a PIXEL LEVEL? I feel it would take me at least a year to get something working - I played around with the demo version last year. Super Star is where the complexity comes in. SS would only be needed for two props, 2024 pixels (6072 channels). It would be nice to use some music as a starting point and edit some other effects into it as it is needed. The text abilities are interesting as I have used that successfully with some OTHER software - it is not geared towards props but does some real great video, effects and JPEG rendering. So the OTHER guy is out as many of us in this wonderful hobby try to keep expenses at a minimum. The issue is using SSS with "THE OTHER HARDWARE" AND having to get a large enough version to handle ALL the channels or just for the ones I need. That flexibility is something I have not found confirming information on. The OTHER thought is to switch between the two props keeping the total channels to a max of 3600. That scheme would fit perfectly into what I have in mind without breaking the bank. Nope, no deep pockets here! So I am considering what to do. WS2812 pixels have a color depth 8x8x8 or 512 bits. These are the pixels I use. I can cut and re-arrange them any way I need. This flexibility is important for my designs. IF SuperStar can help operate the pixels I have and fit into the two props I need it to without going all out and almost waging war (the missus is a bean counter) - I am considering the upgrade. Sure, I have looked at some other software options ...mostly CRASH AND BURN or short of a TRAIN WRECK or requiring a PhD in physics. I.E. real steep learning curve. In other areas: I have one dedicated network and a older server running Win 7 to run the show. I use e1.31 to DMX bridges to handle 4 universes and have a capacity of 59 universes. At 48% of capacity but could hit 50% this year. Thanks for your time and any insight, Eddie
  4. OKAY ... what is wrong? I was able to use this last year. I installed the latest and greatest ... now I get this. I do have a S4 Advanced license (to use E1.31).
  5. Thanks Matt, Right now I am resorting to plan "B" – all of the hardware is built and coding the software. I first started with about 500 GECE pixels 2 years ago. Using an Arduino for a controller and some C code got them going in 30 minutes. A few hours working on it and different effects. I won’t have sync'd music this year. I've put together a fair looking animation. LAST year I hand coded all of it. Plenty of effects, special effects and routines that are easy to implement on an AVR platform. This year with the addition of the pixel mega tree I found it to be more than I’d like to handle and was looking to simplify it. I did NOT expect such a steep learning curve to get a simple string of pixels to work. Anyhow … I will have to take time next year to sort S4 out. Happy holidays! Eddie
  6. Hey Matt, Have a look at that PDF. Note the STEPS starting at page #4. TWO #1 and jumps to #3? Me thinks there are missing pages or something went a bit wonky there. That would confuse Shakespeare! Another note is the TUTORIAL sequences. NOTHING works. Visualizer - tutorial ... Can't have a tutorial that doesn't work. Tutorial = working example ... something to study and see how it all fits together. THAT would REALLY be useful. Sure, there are examples – nothing that is completely tied together or works together. MAYBE it is how I have my files setup? Central windows 2k3 server does that work. S4 knows where to find its files – changed that up awhile ago with some help. Another GOOD reason for WORKING examples: Ability to build onto it - something for someone to "PLAY WITH" and see how it could work for them. And if a mistake is made, keeping the original files allows someone go back and see what they probably did wrong. Examples should include all the different controllers at their simplest form. Something that says “hey, see this?” this is how it works. Inspiration NOT frustration. In my trade, doing something WRONG for so long seems RIGHT. That’s a hard mold to break. I have 7 days and NOTHING to show for the past 45 days of work. AGAIN: Inspiration NOT frustration. Thanks P.S. Okay - saw the 2nd PDF file - so that is good. (missed that)
  7. Hey Jim, Lemme see if I got this right. I did not notice any "LIMITATION" for the advanced license. Channels or anything like that. UNLIMITED controllers = unlimited channels (universes, etc). At least that is how anyone reading it would take it at first glance - AND after seeing this, I decided to go back and read it again ... Or have I missed something. More so b/c although I am struggling to get through this S4 LEARNING CURVE, I don't need to start thinking LIMITATIONS. Or should I drop this thought on "the LOR chiefs" ...
  8. Hi Matt, I will not doubt the value of a video. Some folks (or most) do OK with them. Then there is a smaller group that have a different perspective - reading the steps and working it out. I didn't find anything in writing and for me, I am allot more proficient reading and applying. Different strokes for different folks. Anyhow - I see there could be some confusion on my part - is why I'm here. Okay - Pixel Editor does not offer NEW under FILE... that would be NICE but isn't on the list. I did find Preview List offers NEW. I have 2 setup for a 50 pixel strip. U1 and U2 (for testing/training purposes). their properties are identical except for universe #. I can't find any problem with the settings - okay with that then. This PE requires a sequence file opened otherwise it just looks at you - I got something going but dam if I can understand why things are as complex for a simple COLOR ON - stuff like that. Maybe a "SIMPLE" and "ADVANCED" mode would allow faster sequence creation - having to jump between programs to setup sync'd shows - that's crazy. For me, S4 logic flow is wrong. Visualizer is where you can draw a conceptual view, name the 'PROPS' and should be able to generate a working skeleton for Pixel Editor and Sequencer (IMHO should be ONE program). All THREE programs integrated with the ability to share working data seamlessly. IMPORT? EXPORT? Wow! I feel S4 needs to go back into development and become tightly integrated into a single program. This current software arrangement is more reminiscent of the days of "DOS" where you couldn’t run many programs together due to memory limitations of 640k - long before Windows broke the mold. Different programs had to be run to accomplish tasks in some situations. That was 30+ years ago. Thanks for the course correction.
  9. Hi Read the manuals, looked up HOW-TO (videos R a waste of time). I would rather read a SIMPLE step by step guide. Problem: Create 50 pixel string & get pixel editor to do it's job. Steps: Sequencer: 50 RGB channels, saved. Visualizer: 50 RGB string, saved. Start PE. Open sequence ... Import visualizer as prop. OK ... where the heck is it? Tried to do a simple TREE, ARCH & pixel string. Something is missing. I cannot see the step(s) missed. The samples, for whatever reason, do NOT work. That is not good either. Jumping through hoops to get a simple "test" to work ... not on my "TO DO" list. 3000+ pixels and no S4 - bad enough I am having issues w/the hardware dongle. (reverted to E1.31 -> DMX bridge) Anyone direct me to a clear step by step "HOW TO" ????????? Heck, get my RGB spot light to show and work - that'd be a START. Much appreciated.
  10. Hi, I went through all the stuff again ... LOR driver ... install ... restart ... insert dongle (that just doesn't sound right) ... Hardware Utility: Screw you! It refuses to open the port. Invalid port number ... **BUZZZZ* Nope, sorry - that is a incorrect answer! I can STILL use it with a COMM program - send/receive and no issues - so it is really strange HU has a problem. In all the time I've had to use FTDI stuff in the past - it is usually a headache to get to work properly and actually KEEP it working. So that's how it goes when I've used their stuff. Hmmm ... My serial port bridge to RS485 happily screams along @ 115kbps - I think I can go that route for now *IF* I can convince S4 to use it without jumping through any more hoops. Or use the E6804 DMX bridge mode. OKAY - gonna submit a trouble ticket ... obviously there is a problem with the software. UPDATE: HU does not like my laptop - Put a StarTech USB to serial COM port on - connected the serial to RS485 ... (my GO-TO always works tool) ... HU still refuses to open the com port. INVALID PORT NUMBER - yeah, right. Maybe it is time to STICK to Renard and SanDevices - obviously S4 can't handle it. Time to re-evaluate this installation before it blows up. Madrix is looking better all the time in spite of its cost. All the suggestions is appreciated - Thanks!
  11. Hey This is a rather unique issue. All of my 'WinBlows' machines register a new device at COM XX. Enumeration based on the device. Windows remembers the device and its previous com port address. I have seen this behavior on Win 2000, XP, Win 7 & Win 8. I use many different USB devices and each gets its own unique com port number assigned (for the devices that have a serial port). Windows remembers it b/c it has a device identifier and serial number. What I CAN do is assign it a com port number in the advanced settings dialog. Occasionly it will complain about another device having that port # (and I know it isn't being used) assigning it to a port number usually works. Try to force it to REMEMBER that com port number. Control Panel --> Device Manager --> Ports --> your dongle usb port --> double click --> Port Settings --> Advanced --> there you will see the port number assigned - you can change it to match the S4 port and it should remain like that. If this doesn't work - then there is something "broken" in Windows. You didn't specify what version of Windows you were using. Only other possible avenue would be while powering up the machine, keep the dongle disconnected until the machine is ready - shouldn't make a difference but it is a try. Good luck.
  12. Hi Phil, Sorry - I should have been clearer ... these are the LOR FTDI for the device. Acquired from LOR site. I'll diddle around with them again tomorrow - ya never know what you miss when you're tired and under the gun to get it done. I've gone the reboot, cold power reboot and went as far as re-installing the LOR FTDI drivers after digging around to locate the “WinBlows” drivers. I know I ‘broke’ some com drivers while doing this. No worries – they are there, just renamed for now. 8 years (since last OS install) and you acquire allot of different drivers! The primary reason I want to get this to work: I use the laptop for developing hardware designs in the shop because it has internet access. The shop machine has NO INTERNET ACCESS by design (and security) So I need the laptop to further development and the actual testing of the new display elements (I think that's proper LOR terminology) to be certain of the effects I built in. I do not want to install and REGISTER S4 on another machine again unless it will work. I have a XP machine that has enough horsepower to handle the task of running a show but not until it is ready. Just blinky / flashy this year ... next year an entire 3 hour show with sound (MIDI to DMX is woring very well). My OLD show PC is a P4 and Windows ’98, yeah ’98 and it works just fine with the serial to RS485 bridge @ 115kbps – no it isn’t DMX speed – it is Arduino speed (for a lack of a better term) I’m thinking I should just use the DMX bridge. S4 is rather a pain when it comes down to E1.31 and sequencing as I am still trying to get Pixel Editor to work for me on a simple 50 pixel string. I gotta be missing something … allot of pressure to get something done this year and trying to work with something that is short of total chaos doesn’t help. Almost an entirely new display this year (minus the GECE pixels). Current calculation has me @ +/- 10,000 channels depending how much I get built, tested and done. This doesn’t include the several Arduinos on RS485 or DMX(simple change in bps)that run the SSRs. I’ve already constructed the many different cross over cables – LOR to DMX (RJ45 & 3-pin XLR) – Bridge to LOR – Bridge to DMX (RJ45 & 3-pin XLR) so it isn’t a total Greek tragedy. So to get this all done and tested, sure – I’d LIKE to use the dongle but will revert to alternative methods using my E6804 as a bridge (for now). It is a pain b/c it is already setup for the 1200 pixel matrix. My E682 is already doing its job … sort of. So – I am frustrated this doesn’t work ‘as advertised’. Thanks for the assist
  13. Hi I got a problem with my notebook and this USB to LOR dongle. HP DV9000 with Vista x64. The dongle works on my desktop - so the hardware isn't busted ... YET. Installed the latest and greatest drivers. Windows says it is working. LOR Hardware Utility says "NOPE". Can't open port. Gee, I can OPEN and USE the PORT with Hyperterm (swiped from an XP installation) AND send/receive data (little test rig I slapped together). I don't want to install S4 on other machines - one bit of aggrivation is enough seeing how time is short for this lighting season. So what's wrong here. Any ideas? Thanks!
  14. Hey Phil, Ahhhh - sounds like a good approach. I'll give that a shot and see how it all works out. Perfect! Exactly what I needed Registry? Bluntly: only an idiot starts poking around in the registry before backing it up. If you know what you are looking for, the registry editor is not that hard to use. It is amazing how much you have to add by hand to get some stuff working properly! Microsoft documents many of these "NEW KEYS" - Eh, go figure. However - I've been using computers since 1974. Before DOS and the PC. No worries - I've been digging around in registries since Win'95 started that crap. I still have working copies of Windows for Workgroups (on the 386) and the original Windows 1.0 on 5.25" floppies (saved to DVD and tape backup). You only see the 8" floppy in a museum these days. I still have an original IBM PC 360k full height floppy drive. I show the grand kids stuff they'll never use - and yes, it all works. Thanks again for the help!
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