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About Steve398

  • Rank
    New Forum User
  • Birthday 05/10/1963

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Fond du Lac, WI
  • Occupation
    Project Operations Analyst

More About Me

  • Interests
    All powered motor sports, computers, home repair
  • How I learned about Light-O-Rama -
    Online Research
  • Favorite Decorating Holiday?

LOR Software

  • LOR Software Version
  • License Level
    Basic Plus

Recent Profile Visitors

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  1. I wanted to pass this along, sorry it's so long winded but I figure the more info I include the easier it might be for the next guy to find it. I doubt I am the first person to come across this, but I didn't find anything in my search. Please keep in mind I only bought my first controller 2 months ago and am a newbie to how all this works, and it is very overwhelming reading all about RBG lights, pixel trees, and people with 3200 channels. I have 32 channels now (2 CTB16PC-G3), looking to expand to 5 controllers and 4 singing faces for my first "real" show, Christmas 2018. I bought my house in March 2017 (this information comes into play later), and as I mentioned, this is also my first year with the LOR system. I set up one control unit on a table in my 3 season porch at the front of my house, and the other behind my bushes for the outside lights in the front yard this year (power cords running in through the mail slot, don't judge me). I didn't have time to learn the software and sequence a 32 channel show with music, so I just had my house lights and some interior window decorations flickering on and off with an animated sequence I made on a schedule I created. Everything worked fine, except that almost every day my controllers would lose their connection to my laptop, the CP and/or HU programs would display a "Not Responding" error in the Windows title bar (Windows 7 Home Premium); the program would "lock up" (not the computer, just the LOR window that was open); and the controller light was blinking. Sometimes I couldn't even close it with the Windows Task Manager. I would reboot the PC and restart the LOR Control Panel and I was back in business (solid light on the controller); CP would start according to my schedule. But again, occasionally the show would just stop running. It seemed to be very random, sometimes it would run for hours without any issues, sometimes it wouldn't last more than a minute; there was nothing else running on the PC, I had plenty of RAM (4GB), and the PC was more than capable of running the LOR software (Dell PC with 2.2 Ghz dual core processor and 277 GB free on a 500 GB hard drive). I opened a help desk ticket (I thought it was a software issue) and they suggested I uninstall / reinstall the LOR software and sent me a link to the registry cleaner utility. I reinstalled the software, started the Hardware Utility and let it run for over an hour with no trouble. I sat in my recliner next to the table I set my laptop on and thought I had it licked. I got up to get a beverage and when I came back I grabbed my computer my controller lost comm again. Rebooted the PC and it all came back on normally. Sat back to watch TV, went to check it again minutes later and it was disconnected again. I worked on this for 2 days (off and on) over the weekend, changing cat5 cables, resetting different comm ports in the LOR Network Utility, figuring out that comm4 worked... until it didn't any more and I rebooted. I would take a break for a while, then come back to it later and try something new. Now, I work with computers for a living, mostly Linux software, but I have a couple college degrees and I and know my way around a PC. I uninstalled / reinstalled the drivers for comm4 and the USB485 adapter, but the only thing that came of it was that I figured out all I had to do was unplug the adapter and plug it back in (a reboot wasn't necessary each time). As soon as I unlpugged the adapter I realized the "not responding" error went away and I could close the program normally (time saver). After one such restart I walked past the controller wearing socks on my carpeted floor and got a shock when my hand brushed one of the dongles. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the light on the controller start flashing. I opened the HU and immediately got an error that comm4 could not be found. It has been below 20 degrees for more than a month here in E Central WI, and that means it is very dry inside the house. I have been complaining (to myself) for weeks about getting a shock every time I pick up my computer. Light bulb moment. I checked the outlet and sure enough, not grounded. STATIC ELECTRICITY!! Before I bought the house (built in the 50's) I tested several outlets to make sure the wiring was good. I guess I didn't check the outlet next to where I was going to set my recliner (the one I have the PC plugged into). Later, I found 2 outlets not grounded and another that has the hot and neutral reversed. I can fix that. I now have the PC plugged into a (verified) grounded outlet and I haven't had any other issues all day. The end result is, and I had never seen this before, but a small electric shock was enough to disrupt communication from the PC to the controller and knock out the comm port temporarily. It was going out randomly because sometimes I would sit in my chair for more than an hour, sometimes for less than a minute. But each time I came back to the recliner I would burn off the static charge I created as soon as I picked the laptop off the table. I'm lucky I didn't fry my controllers. Make sure your outlets are properly grounded!! Again, forgive me for this being so long, but maybe it will help someone else.
  2. My first year hanging with the big boys

    That was what I meant. I think I saw where you can buy LED bulbs that will screw into the old sockets. So I have 48 feet to get me started.
  3. My first year hanging with the big boys

    I'll look into the C7 retrofit. As it happens, I was looking for something else today and found my four old 12 ft strings of incandescent C9 socket lights. I bought the LEDs this year 'cause I couldn't find the old ones. I still can't find my old icicle lights. I hate moving.
  4. My first year hanging with the big boys

    Thanks!!! I will be doing something with the bushes, just need to figure it out.
  5. My first year hanging with the big boys

    I think the socket light style is the way to go too. But I worry that C9 size bulbs are too big for around the windows. I have C9 LEDs on the eaves now (you can see in the pictures) and they are great, but I don't want the lights below that to be "too much". Mostly because of how close the house is to the street. I think the C6 size is better for around the windows, and I may use some C7s in the empty space above the windows, I'll see if I can find those in the socket style. I'm not looking forward to replacing all my lights, but I want this to look right. I have a plan in mind for what goes on the house. I have some ideas for the yard. And I was thinking the same color combo you are using (let's face it, those ARE the Christmas colors).
  6. My first year hanging with the big boys

    I've thought about net lights on the bushes, but that would mean those lights are either on or off during my shows. I also thought about hanging several rows of lights horizontally, and then several columns vertically (creating a net-like design) for more options for my sequences, but that would mean adding 1 controller per bush. I'm not sure that's the best way to do this. I'll have to look around some more and see what others have done. Maybe I'm overthinking it.
  7. Hi Everyone, I have been putting up Christmas lights for years. It's really the only decorating I do since I live alone. I have been admiring the YouTube videos and each year I tell myself I'm going to add music to my lights "one of these years". Then work / life happens and I forget about it until December, by which time I figure it's too late to get started, so I tell myself "next year...". I travel quite a bit for work, so some years I am busy and away from home until just before Christmas, and some I am actually home long enough to spend time on my lights. I bought a new house earlier this year (no more rentals), and I got home before Thanksgiving, plus I have enough vacation accumulated to take off most the month of December. So 2 weeks ago I stopped making excuses and bought the residential LOR package (I was literally giddy when it arrived, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.). After lurking in the forums for several days (this is my first post) I figured out how to get my first animation show running on a schedule and I'm pretty happy with it. And of course as soon as I got it working I ordered a 2nd controller (it arrived today). I believe people here refer to that as the "addiction"; again, not ashamed. I'm not into the RGB / dumb vs smart / pixel / flying arches / turning my roof into a video monitor style of decorating. Yet. Baby steps. This years display will remain very simple, I have a 3 season porch on the front of my house with a dozen 5 ft tall windows on 3 walls. I hung mini-light window decorations and created a 1 minute blinking / ramping / twinkling / shimmering on/off animation sequence for them, then set up a schedule to run from 5 - 11 PM. I also have C9 LED lights on the eaves, and C6 lights around the "groups" of windows on the outside of the house and will incorporate those with the 2nd controller later next week, as well as a few more decorations I have in the basement. Those are controlled by a timer (for now) and run independently of the interior window decorations. I am trying hard to not make it look "cluttered", so having the window lights come on and off randomly helps. If you noticed, I have cut-outs of the Grinch, Max the dog, and Cindy Lou Who in the window; those are my "theme". The interior windows are deep set (toward the outside) so I was able to add white mini lights around the inside of my windows to illuminate them "occasionally". With the lights off, they almost disappear. I plan to use mostly humorous type music (later) to keep with the theme. I love the Christmas Can Can. I'm going to figure out the best way to mount the lights to... something, so I don't have to spend each year stapling each strand to my woodwork. I want to be able to hang each section as one unit, or at least faster than having to move the ladder 20 times. Finding strings of lights JUST the right length is always difficult. I may need to invest in the lamp cord / zip style lights so I can adjust them to any length I want, or maybe find a way to hide the tail end of a string of lights if they are too long. I'll work on that throughout the spring / summer as work permits. I want to wrap each window on the outside so I can control them individually; maybe add some rope lights of different colors under the eaves for both mood lighting and to emphasize big sounds; as well as icicle lights under the white LEDs on the peaks; and maybe add up to 4 singing faces (although I admit there will be little room for them, unless I put them on top of the highest peak, but I'm not thrilled about the idea of fastening them too the roof). I think I can hang several strings of lights horizontally on the bushes in front and (maybe) use them to show up / down movement in some of the music. I'll have to see how that works. I'm limited on space, as you can see from the pictures I have a very narrow lot. My driveway is on the left, and only a 12 ft wide area on the right side of the house for decorating. The front yard is less than 8 ft to the sidewalk. Not many houses in my neighborhood are decorated beyond a few strings of icicle lights on the gutters, so I kinda feel like I am over-doing it, but I do this for me, no one else has to appreciate it. To do everything I want I figure I'll need 4 or 5 controllers. To justify the cost, I'll be running shows as often as I can to get my money's worth. Luckily I only have to justify the cost to myself; and I'm easy to persuade. I'm always interested in suggestions, so let me know what you think. I'm really admiring what some of you are doing with your lights and am always looking for the next bright idea to "borrow" (see what I did there?). Steve Fond du Lac, WI