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About PJD

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  • Gender
  • Location
    West Chicago, IL
  • Occupation
    Manage small family business

More About Me

  • Interests
    Background in Mechanical Engineering and then a Masters in Computer Science. Enjoy 'playing' with computers. Also mess around with photography, sing in a classical choir, and read a lot.
  • How I learned about Light-O-Rama -
    I am married to DBeebe who has been using LOR since 2010. We have decided to split up the work - he is handling hardware & I am handling software.
  • Favorite Decorating Holiday?
    Christmas (& a smaller Halloween show)

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  1. I've tried searching, but I can't come up with a search term that will find what I am looking for... Is it possible to define a prop in the Preview to be On/Off only - no dimming/fading so that you can't accidentally try to fade it later when sequencing? We have a group of LED rope light spiral trees. Unfortunately, they are not dimmable and I am afraid that it might damage them if I accidentally apply a fade or something to them. I'd like to plug them into one of the AC controllers so I can turn them on and off with the show. I was hoping to find something when defining the prop where I could tell S5 that this particular prop is On/Off only. I haven't found anything - am I just missing it or is this not an option? PJD
  2. In the same boat as everyone else here up north in the Arctic cold. My thermometer said it was 3F this morning. Brrrr! Lucky for me, the division of work says I'm software and husband is hardware, so he does most of the outside setup. (I do help some here and there, but its mostly him!) He did get the upper icicles up on the house this weekend before the real cold and bad weather came in. That's the part we worry about the most since it is waaaay up there. He still has plenty to put up, but the only part that needs the big extension ladder now is the peak of the garage. Everything else off the ground can be reached from the "short" ladders and that's at least reasonably safe even if the snow doesn't melt. He is sticking to indoors projects for the next few evenings and when it hits that balmy 40 on the weekend, he'll rush around getting outside stuff ready. He definitely envies those of you in warmer climates and/or those who are retired and aren't stuck with just working on setup mostly on the weekends.
  3. Yes! I finally figured it out - Between Little_b and TexasLights and some playing around trying stuff, I finally have it working. First and foremost - it can only be done in it's own Grid View. It cannot be done in the "Show All Items" view. The creating view grouping stuff doesn't seem to matter. I created a New view "MiniTrees" with the 8 trees in it. In that view, I finally noticed that I could copy individual channels (one color of one tree) into the space between props. It didn't work if I dragged it to the bottom of the list, the top of the list or on top of another prop. As mentioned above, the "original" version in the prop tree was still there, but I now had a copy in a different area. I was able to drag all the Red channels and all the Green channels into the order I wanted to have them. I then moved all the "original" props to the bottom of the list (collapsed down) to get them out of the way. I actually already have a bunch of "Views" for this preview, so I exported this configuration so I will be able to use it with each sequence without re-doing it each time. Thank you for all the help - I don't think I would have ever figured this out without your pointers! PJD
  4. Hi TexasLights - thanks for the suggestions. Unfortunately, neither seems to work for this type of prop. For Option 1: The new view groups still do not let me collapse them to only see the Red or the Green. It's an all or nothing choice. I can see the top level "MiniTree-Red&Green -1" or I can see the 2 grid rows. For Option 2: I cannot drag all the Red together or all the Green together to create views that I can export. I can drag within a single tree and reverse the red/green order. I think it comes down to the 2 colors being just different channels on a single prop. I think I am going to have to split it up into 2 props for each physical tree. The mathematician/Engineer in me really liked the more elegant solution of 1 preview prop = 1 physical prop, but it looks like practicality dictates the more complex solution. 😣 I suspect my best option is going to be to redo the prop in the preview to be 2 separate color props for each tree. Then group the 2 together (for convenience moving them in the preview) and maybe group all 8 of those together also. The picture below show an attempt at a Grid View Group for Green trees - I turned of "Condensed view" so you can see all the levels when it is expanded.
  5. Just as I think I'm getting a handle on all this, I come across something that confuses me! We have 8 small HC trees that each use 2 strings of regular LED lights - Red and Green. They are controlled from a CTB16PC controller. I have debated with myself a number of times how these should be setup in the Preview for my Christmas show. They are currently set up as 1 prop for each tree, with 2 channels each (to match the 2 colors). This looked good to me and I was happy with it until I was working on sequencing with it. I would like to be able to easily work with all the Red trees and all the Green trees separately. My first thought was to create a new View for the sequencing grid - but I can't find a way to do this. I can only include the full prop with both colors which ends up with every other row being red or green which is just annoying for sequencing a single color. Is there any way to do this that I am just missing? Would I be better off to go back and recreate the prop as 2 separate trees - one green and one red and stack them on top of each other? Is it generally better practice to only have 1 channel for each traditional prop? Thanks for any input/suggestions, PJD
  6. My husband and I have split up the responsibility for our show - I do software (mostly) and he does hardware (mostly). Therefore, I don't necessarily know all the details of our setup, but I can give you a broad outline. We have a wide lot (3 "city lots" in our suburban town) with the house in the middle. Our lot is 180'x100'. There is a stand alone garage to the West of the house. For years, we have run a "regular" AC only show. All our original controllers are CTB16PC type. There are 4 under the porch that feed the 4 faces (monsters or xmas trees) and other props near the front of the house and over to the east side. There are 2 in the garage that handle lights on the garage and the west side. There is 1 in the gazebo behind our house which handles anything near the back of the lot. The computer is in the house and talks to the controllers with ELL (Easy Light Linker) so there are no cables between the computer and the controllers. This year, we are adding pixels. We have added 2 pixel trees that were up and running for Halloween. We are using E1.31 for the pixels and AlphaPix controllers rather than LOR. I'm finding the E1.31 easy to configure. Pixels cannot really be run wireless - just too much data and WiFi protocols aren't really designed for this type of thing. We have a small network switch by the computer. We have Cat5 cables from there to each of the pixel trees. Since the Pixel trees were a success, my husband has decided he wants to cover the gazebo in pixels also this year. After days of researching and deliberating, he decided to get more AlphaPix controllers for that. The Pixel Trees each use an Alphapix16, but he is going with 3 Alphapix4 controllers for the gazebo. 1 will have a string of C9 bulbs (100 pixels) and 3 sets of snowflakes (108 pixels each). The other 2 controllers will handle the Pixel Icicles. There are 8 segments each with 100 pixels, so 4 will be on one controller and the other 4 will be on the other controller. The switch from the house will connect to a switch in the gazebo. That switch will connect to the 3 new controllers. I believe he intends to get this setup this weekend, so we will find out then if it works as planned! I guess our setup is semi-distributed? We still run some pretty long extension cords from the controllers, but they are shorter than they would be if we tried to have them all in one place. Based on our experience, I would suggest starting with a "simple" AC show with regular LED lights. Once you have that down and are comfortable with it, then move on to pixels. I would also echo the advise to start with the S5 version of the software - I started really working on our show this past year. I jumped right into S5 without knowing much about how the earlier versions worked and I found it to be pretty straightforward and easy to learn. Based on posts here on the boards, it is much more difficult to come from the earlier versions and have to change how you think about things. PJD
  7. Just to complete this for anyone who comes along reading this in the future: The Custom Prop grid is based on you looking at the prop from the FRONT. If you entered you pixel node numbers while looking at the back of your prop, use "Flip Selection Horizontal" to turn it around. I found a few minutes this evening to test it out. My original version of the prop did the motion effect for "Bars Blended" the opposite direction from what I was watching in the preview window. After I edited the prop and flipped it, the preview matched the real life snowflake.
  8. Hi Default - I really like your videos. A number of them have really helped me in figuring out S5 After watching this, I tried messing around with my snowflake and made separate "props" for each arm and grouped them, but I don't think it is really worth it for something with so few pixels. Each arm only has 8 with the entire snowflake at 48. I could get some different effects, but its probably easier for now to just stick with a single prop and the "Use Preview" setup. We still don't have this setup for testing it - might manage it this evening, but its more likely over the weekend. I think even with "Use Preview" that the pixel order I input is going to matter somewhat. If I use a motion effect that moves from left to right it won't show up that way if I have the pixels reversed in the Custom prop setup. If I have pixel 12 on the left edge of the grid for the custom prop and it is really on the right edge of the snowflake (when viewed from the front), I think it that left to right effect would end up going right to left. I strongly suspect that the grid numbers should be based on looking at the prop from the front. I entered them as viewed from the back, so I will probably need to use flip-horizontal to fix it. PJD
  9. LOL! You just reminded me that I taught my son binary, Octal and Hex when he was around 7 or 8. He had come across binary references in Minecraft and wanted to know what it was. He thought it was the coolest thing ever. Clearly nerdy-ness is contagious - he is now in his Jr year at college majoring in Electrical/Computer Engineering with a minor in Computer Science! (Still not sure how that happened - my husband and I both majored in Mechanical Engineering - how did we end up with an EE?!?)
  10. Hi TheDucks (I like your picture), Yes, Pixel 1 is clear, but if I use Motion Effects (I use S5) or SuperStar on it, the direction will matter for things that move across left to right or right to left. It could get confusing if I try to use a sequence that sweeps across one direction and it ends up doing it the other way because the Preview is reversed 😆 I guess I'll just wait until we get things hooked up - probably this weekend - and just test it out. Totally unrelated note - I think I came across one of your posts at the Mobile Read forum about Calibre - it was pretty old but it seems unlikely anyone else would have the same screen name AND picture! Thanks - PJD
  11. Hi JR, Definitely not nagging - but I think my request above may have been lost amid all the confusion last week when you started your new policy. Restating my request below so you don't need to scroll up and look for it. Certainly understand that things are busy at this time of year! I would like a copy sent to pdarrah@gmail.com I agree to not sell or share this sequence with anyone. This request will be used for my private, personal use on my show only. I also understand the mere fact of making changes to the borrowed sequence and pasting it in to my sequence does not make it mine to share. Thank you - PJD
  12. Once we get things hooked up, yes, it probably isn't that hard to just test it out and see what happens. Was just hoping that someone happened to know .... It would be one more thing off the to-do list!
  13. I am creating a custom prop (HolidayCoro Snowflake - 24") with 48 pixels. I used the layout on the back of the snowflake to enter the pixel numbers into the grid. Now I am wondering if the pixel numbers should actually be based on looking at the snowflake from the front? It's probably an easy fix if that is the case - I can just flip-horizontal the whole thing - but I can't find anything in the documentation that says one way or the other. It is definitely easier to number it from the back since you can see the wires (and in this case, the printed numbers) but I'm suspecting that it should be as seen from the front .... Does anyone know for sure? Thanks - PJD
  14. PJD

    DMX and Pixies

    One can also just run an E1.31 network alongside a regular LOR AC network. We have a dongle (the old black one) that comes off our PC for the LOR AC controllers and an ethernet cable to a switch which then goes to our AlphaPix controllers. I keep my E1.31 on a totally different IP than my normal home network. (normal network that connects to internet is 192.,168.1.x and E1.31 is 192.168.10.x) We use a LOR ELL (wireless) to get the signal from inside to the various controllers outside so there isn't any wiring for the AC controllers at all. Once it is setup in the LOR Network configuration and in my S5 Preview, it doesn't matter how it is happening, all the functions of the software work normally.
  15. Which faces are you planning to use? I have 4 monsters and 4 xmas trees. I know other people have light bulbs, pumpkins, etc. The S5 software does not have built props for these, but a couple nice people here on the forum sent me a couple when I was getting started (not in S5 format, but they imported OK). I also found that some of the old sequences (S3/S4 format) that when I opened them and chose "import the block style animation created with the S2/S3/S4 sequence editor" instead of using my own Preview, the preview that was generated included the faces. I then created a Group from the correct channels for each face and exported the group as a LPEPROP file which I now use with any preview I create that needs that face. If you don't have an older LMS type sequence you can import to get the faces from there and you need either trees or monsters, let me know and I will send you my LPEPROP files.
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