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brianfox

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About brianfox

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    Thousand Oaks, CA
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    Engineer

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  1. Hello, I have a pretty straightforward Q, but need to set it up... Have been using Pixel Mega Tree for a few years. Was very happy with how easy it is to set up and program in PE. For 2017, I am changing my incandescent mini trees and leapers to LOR Pixels. I have MANY songs, and rather than sequencing in Pixel arches and trees, I wanted to do this in two steps. First step would be to create props in PE that allow me to use the new devices exactly as I used the old ones. In other words, instead of an arch with 50 pixels, I created 7 props to represent a Pixel arch, with the intent of simply copying the SE sequence rows into the pixel device. This is where I run into the problem... When I have PE show me props that are sequenced by SE, it shows me one line per prop. So for a 7 segment arch programmed by SE, I see 7 rows with all my sequencing. When I create a PE pixel arch prop using 7 segments, it shows me two lines per prop (segment). If I select my 7 rows of SE sequencing with the intent of copying it onto the PE segments, it won't work, since I am copying 7 rows into 14 rows. So my alternative is to select one segment at a time and copy it. That is taking forever. Is there any way to have PE show one row per prop? Or what else do you suggest? Because I have 10 arches and 10 mini trees, and it will take me days to copy any song.
  2. The floods are mounted at varying distances from the walls. I had to pull out the calculator and do some math... What I did was to first place the flood 1 foot from a white wall and measure the spread of the light that was cast. I then moved the flood 2 feet from the wall and measured the now larger spread. With this, I could calculate the exact spread the flood would cast on a wall at any distance. I then measured the front of my house and divided it into segments. Take my large garage for instance. I decided to divide it into 4 equal sections. I took the width of those sections and plugged it into the formula that I created in the previous paragraph, and out popped the distance the floods needed to be from the garage. In order to mount the floods, I adhered them to furring strips and built stands. For the sloping roofs, I had to make PVC stands. believe me, these stands are ugly and thrown together, but they held up for the season. The floods ended up being between 4 and 6 ft from the walls. If I wanted to wash the house with, say, just 6 floods, I would have had to mount them on the ground and angled up. I think it would have looked awful. 22 floods look great, but the price... The reason I went with LOR is that if I ever decide to pack it up, I know I can sell them for not much less than I bought them for. Can't say that for the other brands.
  3. I used 20 LOR Cosmic Color flood heads in my display in 2012. In 2010-2011, I used DIY devices that kept giving me problems. I decided to switch to LOR for a few reasons: 1) I was able to buy them during the Summer sale at a big discount 2) LOR stands behind their products 3) I can always sell them later on for about the same price I purchased them LOR floods are good, but not great if you plan to only use a couple. They are only 3W each head, and it is my opinion that the light will wash out on a large surface. My application aims each flood head DIRECTLY at the house - no angles here. This is very different than pointing it up frm the ground or down from the eaves. The reasin I did it this way is so I could have perfect color separation between flood heads. You can see what I mean in one of my . At about :50 and 1:20 you will see how good the color separation can be.I mount these flood heads vertically. The color separation is spectacular along the long edge fo the flood head. Across the short ends, it sucks. You can see this int he video, around :50. Look where the top of the house is, say red and the bottom is blue. You will see a purple blur between. The LOR flood heads have no way to prevent this. It's because they have three RGB clusters spaced apart from each other. However, hotspots are nearly nonexistent with these floods. NOTE: LOR just introduced a new version of the flood head that is 10W and smaller. This was introduced at a trade show. No ides when they will go on sale. These floods are brighter, and will offer perfect color separation in the X and Y axis. The downside is that they will be much worse than the original floods for washing the side of a house, as they appear to cast a smaller area of light. I think the new floods (being brighter) may result in hotspots.
  4. About the above videos: At the start of Gangnam you will see a good demonstration of white. My house is stucco that is beige. The garage doors are very dark brown wood, that absorb light like crazy. There is a point in the Twisted Sister song where every flood is a different color - it shows my exact layout. What is hard to see when looking dead-on is that in my alcove I have 4 floods. Two aimed at each of the side walls. For the record, both the 2011 and 2012 use the EXACT SAME color mixing. This means that I make what I call "purple" by setting RGB to 100%, 0%, 100%. I perceive that purple looks much more vivid with the MMFLs. LOR floods have a weaker blue in my opinion. Again, I am comparing a DIY project with a high quality LOR device. The fact is that the primary colors produced by LOR are quite good. If I could change one thing about the LOR floods, it would be the housing/bezel. When you cast white against a wall from a distance, the RGB color separation at the far edges is prominent.
  5. Here are two videos from my 2012 show with 21 CCF flood heads. Gangnam doesn't really have the floods used much until around :40. Here is a video from 2011, with 21 Mighty Mini Floods You will see that the LOR floods do an amazing job of color-striping. The separation of colors on the Y-axis is incredible. The X-axis - not so much. The bleed is really bad. The LOR floods also do not suffer from hotspots like the MMFLs do. The only hotspotting you will see is on the left garage, because the floods are only 2 feet from the garage door. Again, with 21 floods, a person can do no wrong. If I were using only 4 floods for this, i twould look crappy.
  6. Is it safe to extend the white cables that drive the flood heads? If so, by what length is still safe? It seems that most of the newer flood heads all use this same 4-conductor wire...
  7. Jeez, I really did make a mess of that. Sorry. I am NOT looking at using Ribbon at all. I would use the Bulbs.
  8. I am using a full 21 CCF heads on my display and it is BRIGHT. That said, I was using the same number of Mighty Mini floods last year and those were only a little less bright. Now, I am aiming these floods directly at my walls. They are not angled up or down. The floods are only about 5-6 feet from the walls so I "slice" the house into many vertical stripes. While the effect is powerful and dramatic in this use case, it is not typical of most users. Personally, I think just one or two angled at my house would look pretty poor. I know that "poor" is highly subjective. Suffice it to say I'd probably use Malibu lights before I used two flood heads (any type) to cover a house. In other words, I personally think that with RGB floods, you go BIG or don't go at all.
  9. If I am undertsanding you, you have one 16-channel controller with just LED lights, and 12 CCR controllers. Perhaps I misunderstood what you meant by "12 CCRs". Even what I described can be run on a single household outlet. You would probably be safe to plug in a hair dryer in addition. You have that much margin...
  10. I have 21 CCF heads in my show this year. Every single one has a strange thing that happens only on the Red. Note that this is by no means a showstopper, but is most liklely something that can be addressed in a PROM update. When I turn Red on instantly to 100%, it is instantaneously fully bright, but then ever so slightly "backs off" by a few percentages. I have no idea if it is actually overshooting, then backing off to 100% (current-wise), but there is definitely something perceptable going on and only with Red (or any color mix with Red). My concern is if it is truly going too high on current for a moment, shortening the life of the LEDs. I have asked people watching the show to tell me if they see anything unusual with the flood brightness - without giving any other clue. About half will see it and every one says it's the Red. Whiel I saw it even when I tested my very first light indoors, it is much more noticeable when 21 are used against a house... I don't know off hand what my Prom version or LOR SW version is, but when I started the show at Thanksgiving, I had the latest firmware and SW.
  11. I am considering chganging my mega tree lights to CCR next year. My question concerns pixel resolution. I would like to use Superstar to program the tree, and want the maximum resolution (1 pixel=1 bulb). My current tree has a hypotenuse that is 1/2 the length of a standard 100 light string (about 13 feet). This is equal to 25 CCR lights. So a single CCR (100 lights) could provide a 4 verticals of my tree. My question is: Can Superstar deal with the notion that pixel 1, 50, 51 and 100 are at the bottom of the three and pixels 25, 26, 75 and 76 are at the top? That is, will their built in animation macros work when applied to a mega tree where there are only 25 lights on each vertical? I am hoping that the answer is NOT that I have to lower the resolution or treat the up-and-down as a "wedge"... I know that no matter what, I can light each pixel independently, but I want to use the power of Superstar macros, and not have to build the macros custom. A couple of other questions - mainly for current users of CCR nodes: * Bulb vs Pixel for Mega Tree - any preferences, and why? * How many verticles is "too many" for a CCR mega tree? Is 32 twice as dramatic as 16, or is more not necessarily better? * Can one argue that half a CCR Mega Tree (only showing the front half) is better than a full-circle Mega Tree? The argument being that the back half of the tree confuses intricate patterns. The reason I brig up this last quesrtion is that I think the flat CCR mega trees look really great, and could see how a second layer behind it could hurt the effect.
  12. Ralph, Let me give you my experience. My show has 22 floods - that's a huge number for a single house. The effect is incredibly dramatic, though. Here are a couple of videos showing how dramatic: I added these in 2010 and they were an instant hit. RGB floods were a new concept then; several groups of people were making RGB flood designs as group DIY projects. There was: Mighty Mini Floods, Rainbow Floods, and V-Floods. There were others, but these were the main three I knew of. I went the Mighy Mini route, and purchased materials to build 22 floods. It took a great deal of time to build everything, and house them in what I hoped was weatherproof enclosures. All of these floods were similar, in that they had discrete Red, Green, and Blue LEDS. The Mighy Mini also had White LEDS. (If you don't have White as a separate color, you get white by turning RGB fully on, so all of these floods have White capability.) The "next generation" of floods started using very high intensity RGB LEDs - fewer actual LEDs, but for now, I'll keep talking about the first gen. Since I am exclusively LOR, I used an iDMX to control the floods. LOR talks to the iDMX, which talks to a V-Drive constant current controller, which drives the flood. Most people at that time drove voltage (12V up to 24V) through CAT5 cable. That is what I did. I should also mention that moisture was never a problem. Most people purchased 20W worklights from the local hardware store, ripped out the halogen bulb fixture, and mounted their flood board in the enclosure. These hold up to weather incredibly well. We get very heavy rain out where I live, and I never found any of the 22 enclosures with even a drop of water in them. Although my Mighty Minis worked GREAT, they had a nasty problem of LEDs failing. Each season, I found myself replacing 2 dozen LEDs over the course of the month. In my opinion, the burnouts were due to several factors: 1) LEDs were cheap (Chinese) crap, whose tolerances varied from lot to lot. 2) People pushed the current too close to the absolute max of the devices, shortening their lifespan 3) Constant Current drivers were often used on these first-gen lights. Big problem, since the circuits were layed out in parallel legs. This meant that if an LED in one leg burned out, double the current would flow through the other leg, killing a perfectly fine LED in that leg. The funny thing is that I KNEW that the third item would spell disaster, but I decided to go constant current, against my better judgement... This summer, not looking forward to replacing 30 more LEDs, I did a science experiment. I modified all of my constant current drivers to drive a fraction of the previous current. That is, I lowered the overall current to the floods. This would make them less bright, but would (hopefully) prevent even a single burnout. Having completed the mods, I ran all of my floods for a week straight in my garage. I made sure they were never running hot. Even doing all of this, I found color after color burning out. I believe that the short periods of overcurrent from previous failues had weakened the LEDs ireperably. Also, to the point of the cheap Chinese LEDs, I found that throughout the years, certain colors were much more likely to fail while others never (or rarely) failed. Long story short(er), this year I have decided to retire my Mighty Minis and go a different path. So here we are in 2012 and the "2nd generation" of floods is widely available. This newer generation as I mentioned use RGB LEDs or very high intensity discrete LEDs. Gone is the parallel circuit legs of the first gen. This means that Constant Current is not only not a danger to these devices, it is preferrable. There are two major classes of 2nd gen devices: Floods with external DMX controllers: Cosmic Color Floods from LOR Rainbow Flood Extreme Floods with built-in DMX controllers: Extremely cheap floods from Ray Wu There are other floods, but these are the main ones I know about. All of these have one new thing in common - gone is the CAT5E cable to drive the flood. They all use a white cable with 4 wires in it. The cable has waterproof connectors. If you go the Rainbow Flood Extreme, the floods can be purchased as a kit or fully assembled. You will still need to buy a power supply, controller, and mount them yourself in an enclosure. There will still be a fair amount of DIY, and a learning curve. If things go wrong, you will need to debug it yourself. There will be no gaurantees, but a lot of resources who will be able to help. If you go the Ray Wu route (Ray Wu is the name of the seller in China; you can google "Ray Wu Floods" and you will find his AliExpress store), you will find a wide variety of floods. Some have built in DMX and others do not. We're talking $25 for a very powerful DMX RGB flood in a weatherproof enclosure. Just rediculously low prices. I saw one of these working, and it was very, very bright. Again, going this route will require you to purchase a DMX controller, power supplies, cable, and enclosure. There will be a fair amount of DIY work - a bit more than going the Rainbow route. And again, no gaurantees and little help when things go wrong. If you go the LOR oute, it will be expensive. However, it will come fully assembled, with power supply and controller already in an enclosure. It will literally be plug and play. It will work in an existing LOR system with zero effort. If you want ZERO learning curve and ZERO DIY, this is the way to go. Having weighed the options, I chose to go LOR. It cost a fortune. But I want to spend my time building new stuff for my light show I do not want to spend a single hour debugging floods or modifying cables to hook up a power injector. I'm done with that. But that's just me. Plus, I know that if I ever retire the show, I can easily find buyers for my LOR floods - because they are LOR - and will get back most of the money I am spending now, because LOR products hold their value very well. Finally, I know that if I have a problem with the LOR product even 3 years from now, they will take care of me. I just don't have the time to debug anymore. Because I did not want to do any more building of floods, I considered the Rainbow Extreme fully assembled, but two flood heads alone cost as much as a Cosmic Color Flood (that includes the 2 heads, controller, and power supply). So for my application, the LOR was actually (amazingly) cheaper. Again, these are my thoughts on the subject, and as you can see, I've been there from the start. I have no dog in this hunt, so choose whatever path you want. I waffled back and forth among the three choices and was about to purchase a few of the Ray Wu floods to play with - when my Mighy Minis started failing again during my experiment. That alone pushed me over the edge. With grated teeth, I pushed the "purchase" button on the LOR website - and this was AFTER the Summer Sale had ended (missing that cost me a ton...) There's no way I can put the show on without floods. The effect is just too much to lose. But there's no way I can go another season climbing a ladder in the dark with a soldering gun, an ohm meter, and a bag of replacement LEDs...
  13. I live in a relatively low-crime area, but with so many controllers, I have security cameras on 4 points of my display, hooked up to a DVR that records based on motion. I can check the cameras (and recorded video) from my iPhone. I also have two PIR sensors hooked up to LOR inputs, that trigger 1 minute of lighting up a section of the display. Two ways to look at that - it will scare away the dumb thieves, and will give the smart ones light to work by... The biggest theft prevention item I have (in my opinion) are my "tune to" signs that warn that video recording is in progress 24/7.
  14. bgwyn wrote: My order said 4-6 weeks also, but this morning I got a "shipped" message from LOR. Should be here by April 6. Have fun with those controllers! You order the RS485 adapter, also?
  15. mattpatt wrote: The last 5 digits of my first order are 34468 and nine minutes later when I purchased the software the last 5 digits were 34974! So if they go in order there were 506 orders placed in 9 minutes time! That's 56 orders per minute or one order every 1.07 seconds! 34181 here. You guys are sloooow!
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