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beeiilll

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Everything posted by beeiilll

  1. I started doing my animated lighting display in 2008 because our little town (approx. 1000 full-time residents) had almost no Christmas lights out during the season and I wanted to restart things if I could for all of us. As it happened, a family with a little girl was coming almost every night when I first started. It turned out that she was terminally ill and they had spent all their money and savings on her health costs so they couldn't afford to do much for the holiday. I made a special Christmas show just for her and it was the best thing I have ever done. Made all the work worth the effort. It worked for the town as well and the next year there were quite a few houses with at least some static or random blinking lights around. I did my last show in 2013 due to health issues making it almost impossible to put the lights and display stuff out. I had a few people offer to help but never seemed to show up so I couldn't depend on the help. Sad but it happens and I certainly understand that we all have lives other than lighting or doing things for others. I can understand Orville's "plight" all too well. I just can't climb on the roof, raise my mega tree, or even haul the display stuff around the yard by myself anymore. I spent a week in 2014 trying to get some things out without much success before I just had to give up and not do the display. Being is such a small town has the disadvantage of not having a lot of people around who can help with things as well. I miss the display and still have all my stuff to do it but now am in the position of having to sell my house since I am on SSI and can't afford to keep it. Not really sure what I am going to do with stuff though.
  2. You folks that live out there in the big world are lucky! Our post office is only open for 7 hours a day Monday through Friday and 4 hours on Saturday! We consider it a miracle if we actually get a package at the PO (no deliveries here) on the day that tracking says it arrived! Have been seeing delays of a few days lately with new people working at our PO since our postmaster retired a few months ago. Well, it is the price we pay for living in the middle of a Forever Wild, six million acre park I guess but it is not fun when you expect a priority first class overnight mail of meds and they don't show up!
  3. beeiilll

    To ground or not to ground your mega tree

    I am an electrician for 30 years so far and give this one note a big plus!! My electrical inspector is the biggest help to have. You can go by all the NEC and local regulations but inspectors have seen and know a lot of the "little things" that can make life easier, safer, and better. Being that they have "seen it all" in the trade, they are happy to help out homeowners and others with questions. I picked up so many little tips over the years from the inspectors that made things nicer for me and my customers. I had the unfortunate instance of having lightning strike my house years ago. It took out a lot of equipment and worst of all my server, 3 separate computers, and the loss of a great deal of data. I was in the process of updating a lot of records and getting a lot of old information put into digital (records, photos, drawings, etc) at the time and almost all of it was lost and unrecoverable by a data service! I was running a year-long test of different types of sealants for using with connections for this hobby at the time and lost all the data on that as well! I am now a "true believer" in having grounds and other means of protection against lightning.
  4. beeiilll

    building a design

    I have never tried the stuff but maybe look at some electroluminescent wire? Maybe something like this: http://www.elwirepros.com/ Since it can be cut to the foot from the looks, maybe it would be better suited to a prop like this? Just throwing out an idea. I have used rope light for a couple of props myself and used heat shrink to "hide" sections when necessary. Seems like there should be a newer tech way to do this though.
  5. beeiilll

    You Need These Pliers

    I'm of the mind with Mike on this! I have the Hakko cutters and they are super fine to work with. I have tried quite a few various manufacturers ones over the years (I'm 65 and have been playing with and working with electronics since I was 11)! It really does pay to find good quality tools and pay a bit more (IMO) for the easiness and help that they provide. Also helps keep the fatigue down on your hands when you are doing a lot of cutting, stripping, or repetitious work. Although on the other hand, as long as you recognize that a tool is getting dull or doesn't work right and will throw it away and get a new one, then you can use just about anything I use both plain old mini strippers as well as a very expensive set of adjustable strippers (mine were over $200 when I bought them many years ago). Each has their place and time for me but I agree that many of the cheaper adjustable ones out today are not worth the trouble. They lose the adjustment or the blades wear out quickly and then you are "fighting the tool" and that makes the job no fun and frustrating. My adjustable ones (I have had them for a few decades now and don't remember the name as I am not at my house right now) have replaceable cutting blades and several adjustments on them to get them to cut true and right. I take time every few months to clean, adjust, lubricate, and overall inspect my tools to keep them working in top order. When I find any tool that bends, breaks, or just doesn't work up to the job, I pitch it and grab a spare one right away. I refuse to fight with a tool and I still enjoy sitting at my workbench stripping a few dozen wires at a time and making up cables and assemblies for projects! This DIY should be fun as well as having some challenge to it but using the right (and good) tools makes it easier to enjoy!
  6. beeiilll

    New to LOR and pixels

    Thanks. I have never used S4 at all even though I do have it on my show computer. I last sequenced with S3 back in 2013 (or so ) before I had to stop with things. Now I am getting back into this and have had others say to not even bother with learning S4 since I am starting out pretty much from zero with things. Although I do see your point in referencing the help in S4 so I guess I better fire up my show computer and take some time to see how that works somewhat. Right now I am building my preview in S5 and assigning channels in it for my "regular" AC channels and LOR working network to get things changed over to that. I have 288 channels with lots of blow mold props to build in S5 first and then I will take a look at pixels but since I am now retired due to health and forced to live on SSI, I may not get to using pixels anytime soon. I do have many thousands of dollars of LEDs to use though and can make a "relatively" good show with them for now. I am also the only person who is doing any kind of animated lighting display within 50 miles and the folks around here loved it when I could do it so looking to try and get it going again if I can! Plus I like to change my display layout from year to year to make things interesting. In S3 and the older LOR sequencing, it was not that hard to chop and change things for a new display. I can see that pixels will cause me a new set of things to consider with it although the groups function and making new previews has a great capacity to help with that once I get further into things with S5.
  7. beeiilll

    New to LOR and pixels

    Thanks for our response to this JR! I need to learn how to add pixels and controllers for them to S5 myself at some point. I will follow this and other threads to see. Also interested in any videos for those of us who have never played with pixels yet to help bring us up to speed on adding controllers and basic things with sequencing?
  8. beeiilll

    New to LOR and pixels

    I am just getting back to using LOR after being out of things since 2014 myself. I have not sequenced in S4 even though it has been on one of my computers since it came out (I tried to keep things updated). I am learning S5 now as well although I don't have any pixels on my display yet, only LEDs so afraid that I may not a big help to you. You want to get a picture of your house in S5 first so that you can set up the layout of your display. Open S5, then Tools, Manage Previews. In the Preview list, make a new preview and name it (something like 2018, my house, etc), then modify it. In the lower right-hand side, you will see the background tab. Use it to set image and get a picture of your house into the window. Once you get the image in you can begin to make props which will be the pixels you will use. Use Create Prop to bring up the design window and then you give it a name for each prop (such as a door, window, tree, etc). Select RGB Pixel, then under the shape tab use predefined (such as a window) and put in how many pixels there will be in the window (top, left/right, bottom) and the starting position for control (the point your data will come into the prop). Then on the right side, you will assign the controller for those pixels in that prop. Then you drag the prop around the image to resize it to fit a window or whatever. Then save it. Then you just make another prop for the next window, roofline, door or whatever is next. I also do a save in the Preview Design window after a couple of props just to be safe and not risk losing work. I'm sure that there are people here who can help more with pixels but you should be able to start with this info. I know it is all greek to me as well after being out of things for so long but I have about 50% of my 288 regular channels stuff built up in the Preview manager so far so things are progressing pretty well for me at this point. I still have to set up groups for my props as the list is getting longer as I go and I rearrange my display in different patterns each year but all is good so far. I am looking forward to being able to add pixels to things as well.
  9. beeiilll

    WOW lights 64 channel set up

    I feel your pain! I did 80 channels my first year and am up to 288 now on most of my sequences. The first thing to do is think of this as a labor of love and not work. Trust me, it helps. Try to pick songs for sequencing that have a fairly easy tempo and melody to start out doing sequences with. Listen to the song over and over a lot before you even start to sequence it. You will start to "see" how you want your lights to react to the music as you listen to the song after a while. Use a beat track to help see the timing for your songs. The waveform helps as you go. Don't try and use every effect for things. Simple on/off and fades do a lot more than you think. You can always add in effects later on after you get a basic sequence done. I sequence by doing sections of my display at a time. Go through and do my roofline, then my windows and doors, then my mega tree, my mini trees, and then other props in the display. Usually, I have a very good idea of things once I get my house laid out in the sequence and the other props will not take all that long to add in. But it can also take a very long time to do sequencing depending on the number of channels, amount of different props, effects wanted, etc. so don't be surprised by it taking a long time either. If you get tired or frustrated, take a break for some time and then go back and pick it up again. We all get stuck at points in sequencing I think and it is really up to how much you want out of it. I am "assuming" that you are not using pixels for your display? They do add in quite a leap in the amount of work that it can take to sequence as well. I only have LEDs in my display but am thinking of adding pixels in at some point. You actually have quite a bit of time to sequence till Christmas yet and can get a lot done if you do a little bit on a regular basis. I sequenced 8 songs with 80 channels for my first year in a little over a month so I know it can be done. Everybody has their own methods for doing this and you will pick up on things as you get more used to doing it as well. Hope this helps a bit!
  10. beeiilll

    Enclosure

    The closest place for me is 1/2 hour away in another town at a True Value dealer. Hence the reason I buy a lot of stuff online anyway! I'll have to check when I get over there and see. This is from the Krylon page: http://www.krylon.com/locator/ The solvent issue is probably the reformulation cause I would agree. I have 15 cabins that we take care of at our camp and used to use a great oil-based paint for them as we have to paint 3 a year usually. Now everything is water based and the paints are crap for trying to overcoat old oil based stuff as well as it just doesn't hold up as well to weather as the oil-based paint did. Also tough to get good paint on metal outdoor furniture and signs now but such is the way of change and "progress". Makes life a bit more challenging to try and keep things in good condition at the very least and sometimes very frustrating to have to try and prep older stuff with oil paint on it for the newer water based stuff! I use epoxy paint on a lot of stuff but it takes a very good prep job and careful painting to make sure it is right when you do it. Makes for a good tough paint job that will last quite a while though!
  11. beeiilll

    Enclosure

    I guess they have changed the name! I have not bought any in a couple of years myself and still have a lot of it left yet! I see now they call it "Fusion for Plastic" from the looks: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Krylon+fusion
  12. beeiilll

    2018 Spring Sale

    Naw, I still have to eat for a bit before my next dole from the government! (SSI)
  13. beeiilll

    2018 Spring Sale

    I didn't get any chance to even try with this sale! We lost our power last night at 6:30 and just got it back on at 7 this morning! Probably a good thing for me though - LOL!
  14. beeiilll

    Prayers for Val & Family

    Sending prayers and healing thoughts to Val and family at this most troubling of times.
  15. beeiilll

    Enclosure

    Jim is right on using a sender and receiver card for video if you are really serious. Just want to add that you might go over to the FalconChristmas.com site and read up there as well. There are quite a few people over there that are playing with the ColorLight and the Linds(?) cards for doing video and even using P5 panels. A good bunch of information available on this subject.
  16. beeiilll

    Enclosure

    Ray is a very good guy to deal with for sure! I have done over a dozen orders with him with no problems at all. You are best off to make up a list of the items you want and converse with Ray through email or even Skype. You want to be VERY clear in your explanations and descriptions of what you want as well. Ray can make up whatever you want with connectors on the ends, special spacing or lengths, etc. but be very clear and you will avoid any troubles. He will also give you a better price on shipping if you consolidate your items into one order rather than using the AliExpress cart system. He does accept PayPal and other means of payments. There are a lot of folks on here and other forums that can help if you know what stuff you are looking to buy as far as suppliers. There are some here in the US for a lot of items including pixels and other items.
  17. beeiilll

    New Controller and Old Controller

    Thanks again. As far as network, I would plan to use a totally separate network for my show stuff. I have a separate show computer that is not on the internet and use it for all my LOR stuff. I figure that I can always add another network card if necessary to it for other uses if it comes down to it. I have another AP (TP-Link wa7201) that I picked up to play with EsPixelsticks as well as tinkering with doing wireless stuff in case I do get into pixels. I do have a spare USB-RS485B as well. I just went ahead and bought them years ago when I got started as I was trying to look ahead as much as possible at that time. I agree with you on the different color cable aspect as well! I have a scrolling LED sign that I use for announcements and such and it runs from the show computer as well. I have its Cat cable run out of the house as red so I know that it is the sign and not the LOR network which I use different colors with for lengths and to allow me to know which portion of the display that the signal is running too. Although once I get a foot of snow, all bets are off and things are pretty much on their own but it helps during setup. Thanks too for the difference between xLights and S5! Since I pretty much have never used S4 (although I have it on a computer), I have skipped a lot of the new things that LOR can do. That is why I decided to just download S5 and get used to it rather than learn S4 at this point pretty much. I do have a lot to learn in S5 though but I have set up my house and have been making props for all my display items so far! I am going to rework my sequences as far as controller layout orders prior to importing them into S5 as of now to make things a bit easier when I get all the props made up and things divided up into different groups but this is all a part of relearning things and getting used to new software for me. Well, back to reading and learning slowly each day! Plus almost time to think about what to make today for dinner for me and the ladies of the house! I'm sure I will have questions in the coming days and months but always nice to pick up knowledge.
  18. beeiilll

    New Controller and Old Controller

    Thanks, Jim that does help clear out some of the cobwebs a bit! Since I have older controllers I would "assume" (hate that term, to be honest) that I should stay with a non-enhanced network then or would it work to shift to using E1.31 and run my controllers in DMX style? I can't say that I fully understand why to use DMX over the LOR other than the possible speed increase that DMX is supposed to give other than when using DMX fixtures with a display? I have the DMX adapter (idmx1000) from LOR that I bought years ago when I picked up one LED spotlight but have never gotten around to trying it yet. I have the USB-RS485B with booster adapter for my display now. I have never tried to play with the speed on the network as it has always just worked fine with the "factory settings" of things so far. Guess I will have to go look at the hardware settings on my show computer and see what it actually is (boy that sounds like I am not very knowledgeable now doesn't it ). So is there any real reason to get the USB-RS485-HS adapter at this point? Or, can I run a non-enhanced mode and then use E1.31 for pixels later on using a separate network "line" (ie - 2 network "signals" from the computer)? Yea, I would rather not switch to xLights as I can't really see any reason too myself. And with S5 being "similar" to what xLights is (in my limited knowledge of each), I will just stay with LOR. I think I know just enough to be dangerous to myself at this point! As it slowly sinks in I will be better able to know which way to go with things I think. And again as well, Thanks for the help.
  19. beeiilll

    New Controller and Old Controller

    Thanks to Jim for the explanation on an enhanced network! I have been out of this stuff since 2014 and am trying to get back into it and make a few "informed decisions" on which way to proceed with future display items. I have 21 of the older style LOR controllers and have always just run my shows using the LOR setup for channels and such but while watching things proceed over the last couple of years in this hobby (notably pixel usage and xLights software), I am seemingly more confused (imagine that!) on running things! I am not looking to jump into using thousands of pixels but can see where they can add to the fun and excitement of a display. I am really not a fan of making a display that looks like a Vegas strip front or being clinically pure straight lines and video screen style matrix. I tend to like the more traditional look of lights myself. I have seen people who have been LOR users for many years changing over to xLights for sequencing and running shows but it seems like they have to set up things to run as DMX first before converting? I have never run my setup or controllers in DMX so that is a point that confuses me. Also, how do we integrate pixels into our LOR setups with S5 and enhanced network setups if we have all older controllers? Does it mean that I will end up running something like 2 networks (one the "old style" straight LOR and then another one in E1.31 for pixels)? I imagine that most of you have already gone over this stuff and my apology if it is "old news" stuff but I really would like to learn and know more about things without getting told to go watch videos (although if someone gives me a link to a video that actually helps explain it then I certainly don't mind)! I got blasted over on one of the DIY forums for trying to help out someone with a LOR question on a thread for LOR when a developer jumped me about "having to hold my hand" with xLights, so I am hesitant to ask much anymore. Guess I may just be getting too old for all this stuff and am thinking of giving up some days, to be honest. So can someone point me to a source to learn things about getting pixels into a standard LOR setup style without thinking that I am asking the world? I sure would appreciate help getting up to date after 4 years off, please. I will add that I have watched around 25 hours of videos on xLights so far and have yet to have found the answers to my questions about LOR and xLights if that helps any with all this! Sorry for so long a posts but confusion and frustration are tough things to explain in a couple of sentences!
  20. beeiilll

    Enclosure

    I just took the covers for the plugs and painted them with Krylon fusion paint to get the colors. Yea, it makes things a lot easier to keep track off for me. I have 4 color strings on all my windows, doors, and roof so I use8 conductor cord to run the lines out from under my front deck up to the roof and windows for the strings. With the color coding, it is a snap to hook things up quickly.
  21. beeiilll

    Enclosure

    Your welcome. I forgot to mention that there are fuse holders under those switches for power to the cards. Can't really see them in this picture. I have run 32 strands of white and blue LEDs as spirals on my tree as well. I used two more controllers in sperate boxes to run the spirals though. The Red, Green, blue, and white plugs on the left are the ones going out to the mega tree strands in this photo. I too use 4 colors in my tree.
  22. beeiilll

    Enclosure

    I remember the post about the other person who used a plastic garden storage shed for a bunch of controllers and wheeled it around as needed. Fairly cheap way to get a lot of room for controllers and other items in one space.
  23. beeiilll

    Enclosure

    Check with electricians, electrical supply houses, any companies doing upgrade work on equipment. You can find enclosures like this out there (in fact I have another one of these just sitting in my basement at the moment)! Might take a bit but you can find deals on them if you look around. I had to fill in some holes in a couple of other boxes similar to this with epoxy but the boxes were cheap to buy so why not!
  24. beeiilll

    Enclosure

    I did the same basic build for my mega tree when I made up one box for controller cards for it. I have 96 strands of 70 count LEDs for the tree and a 3 channel star. I have to use 2 strands per channel (only because I made the tree bigger after I had the box built) but that has not been a big problem at all to my sequences and shows when I was still doing them. I have not had a show since 2014 due to health issues and other things but maybe I will get going again. I used a metal 24 x 36 x 8 deep NEMA enclosure which I picked up from an electrical supply house cheap ( they had ordered it for a customer who canceled the order on them). I put in 4 of the CTB16K cards, 32 outlets (cut so that it is really 64 single outlets), 2 ecs weatherproof Cat connectors, 2 30 amp weatherproof power connectors, and 4 lighted switches to be able to shut off any card for work if necessary. I mounted the box on a stand and painted it green with a big red bow so it stands next to the mega tree and just looks like a big present out in the display. The only drawback to it is that it weighs 87 lbs so you don't just pick it up and walk around with it! But it also makes it hard to steal at the same time I guess. It has worked out great for me here in upstate NY for many years so far with no fans or any trouble at all.
  25. beeiilll

    2018 Spring Sale

    Look at doing some Rare Earth, Quicksilver Messenger Service, James Gang, and a few others if you are up to it! Great old rock and roll to make lights flash too IMO!
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