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Jack Stevens

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About Jack Stevens

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  • Birthday 06/22/1955

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  • Location
    Pittsboro, NC
  • Occupation
    Internet Engineer, DNS Guru

More About Me

  • Interests
    Computers 'n Christmas Lights
  • How I learned about Light-O-Rama -
    I wanted something more than a Mr. Christmas Lights and Sounds of Christmas, did some research on the Internet.
  • Favorite Decorating Holiday?

LOR Software

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  1. You may still want to try another controller on a short cat 5 cable to your RS485 dongle. It *might* be a bad RJ45 in the controller (I'm suffering from that issue right now) in which case, use the other RJ45 with that unit being the last in the cable daisy chain, or like I had to one year, build an RJ45 to RJ11 adapter cable and use the left most connector. But from the sounds of it, it's probably a bad RS485 dongle; the output chip is probably kaput.
  2. DANGER! There is potential damage in some of the above answers! (not all) Plus the simple risk of things just not working. As far as the cable goes, the answer is yes. You can run 4 different RS-485 signals down that 4 twisted pair conductor cable. The twists are different for each pair, reducing the chance of crosstalk between the signals, using "common mode rejection" methods. HOWVER, and here's the "it won't work" or worse yet "blow up a controller" part. The "blow up a controller part" - LOR has its sigles on pins 4 and 5, and puts +9 on pin 3 and the ground is on pin 6. This is to run this is to provide a voltage supply for things such as the iDMX-1000 and the MP3 controllers. That could potentially damage your other controllers......not likely, but could. It could also get shorted out and stop your LOR controllers from working. CTB16PC controllers gen 1 and 2 will pass through all other signals. I've heard that gen 3 doesn't do that (can't prove that, don"t have one) and some of the other LOR products don't, either. On the other side, DMX generally uses pins 1 and 2 for RS-485 signalling, secondary set of signals on pins 3 and 6 (either disabling the volage supply from LOR or getting blown out by it, or both) Renard in DMX mode uses pins 4 and 5, and shorts 1-3 and 6-8 to ground, not allowing pass-through of any other signals. Renard in DMX mode also does a channel number adjustment, pulling off the first 8-16-24 channesl (depending on number of channels in the controoler) and adjusting the rest of the DMX string down in channel numbers. Other DMX controllers may also ground out the non-used pins, or use them for other things. The RJ SSR-4 with the DMX option uses the other wires for triac control. So yes, you can use a single cable for moultiple protocols, as long as you keep the wiring specifications for each controller you use in mind and make the appropriate wiring adapters.
  3. I'm not sure if there's a MAC version, but I've found this tool to be very useful. http://www.erightsoft.com/SUPER.html Super C converter; almost any format audio/video file into almost any other audio/video format.
  4. Check your local thrift stores, especially if they have an "electrical supply" section. Habitat For Humanity has their "ReStores around here; depending on which bin you find the cord in, it may be 50 cents, or a buck. Save on shipping (if you have any local, anyway) and helps out the charity.
  5. John - Thanks. That's valid for the CTB16PC inputs as well, I believe? Only 3 or 4 inputs. Always wanted to do something with them.
  6. Don is correct. There are some very early pre-production models that aren't fully current LOR compatible, but those haven't been sold in years. I don't think anyone but Don Williams in Wendell, NC would have them anyway, and he's not ready to sell any of his 60+ controllers.
  7. If you want to wire your own - like I did - here's a wiki for it. http://www.diylightanimation.com/wiki/index.php?title=Light-O-Rama_Controllers
  8. Watch your current per channel, total current per 8-channel bank, and total current. 8 amps per channel max, but if you run two channels at 8 amps full on, you'd exceed the 8-channel bank limitation of 15 amps. If you plug both banks into a single 20 amp circuit, you could have 3 4 amps channels going on both banks, and be OK within the controller, but exceed the 20 amps circuit limit by 4 amps. Plus, it's a good idea to keep total draw at 80% or less of maximim rating. It's best if you can run LED strings but incansdescent are so much lower priced. With 16 channels, it's unlikely you'll be running leaping arches (channel hogs) or megatrees with multiple slices. But you can be creative and have it look good. Before I bought my first LOR controller, I did a fair amount of coverage with an older model Mr. Christmas Lights and Sounds of Christmas device - 6 channels, all on/off only. I lit up 9 bushes (outer 3 on each end were wired together, 12 candy canes (2 on each channel) , and 6 snowflakes (one on each channel, along with the 2 candy canes on each channel, and 1 or 2 bushes on each channel). Because each of the "effects" weren't next to each other, it looked good. Took a lot of extension cords, though.
  9. Two things-you need to run the renard DMX firmware and the ts485 polarity is reversed. LOR software doesn't support renard protocol.
  10. DANGER WILL ROBINSON! DANGER! You're asking to blow up stuff! Or at least make it not work any more. Jon - On an 8 pin RJ45 connector, LOR uses pin 4 for RS-485 data +, ping 5 for RS-485 data -, pin 3 for 9v DC +, and pin 6 for 9v DC -1. The 9 vots can be use dto run devices such as an iDMX1000 and the USB to RS485 dongle. Pins 1,2,7, and 8 are not used and can be used for other purposes in a LOR network. I've seen discussions where people have used them for a theft alarm - run a low current/continuity test through them and if the circuit is opened by someone unplugging a controller to stel it, it sets off an alarm. A simple DC voltage powering a normally closed relay (voltage keeps the rely "open") will do that. If you do this, you will either need to run the cable back to your house to access the end of the wire or short two of the unused wires together at the last controller so it will be a completed sircuit - i.e. - put the voltage on pin 7, expect to see it back on pn 8, because you've got pins 7 and 8 shorted at your last controller. You can NOT run RF through the cat 5 / cat 6 cable. If you try to use the spare wires as an antenna, you'll probably cause some interference in your light controller signals until your transitter dies due to an impedance mismatch. For the amount of time your transmitter actually works, the signal quality would probably be far worse than not useing it, due to that impedence mismatch. Audio? Again, probalby distortion due to impedence mismatch, with the possible side effect of cross-talk into your light control netowrk pair (pins 4 and 5) You can try it, it may work, but I won't do that myself.
  11. They're pretty good about it; they understand computers die, get reloaded from scratch, etc. It doesn't hurt to pay the renewal on it, though. I want them to keep coming out with bug fixes and new features. I'm actually waiting for my next company laptop to get here to renew my license, since I think I've maxed out the number of seats I had available (again)
  12. It is entirely possible it is the controller, but it usually isn't. Something I don't see mentioned. Is this your only controller? If not, do other controllers do this as well? The HW utility does more than just detect controllers and update firmware. You can run a simple chase sequence with it. If the controller runs that correctly, it's something in your channel configuration or you have a corrupted copy of LOR. You might also try a piece of software called "Xlights" - it is not a sequence editor, it is only a sequence player with some diagnostics built in. It is also free. I sue it for the diagnostics, primarily on an old laptop I don't want to waste a LOR license on. If the controller works with that, but not the LOR software, I'd consider an uninstall / re-install of the LOR software. Does the controller act up when there is no sequence running? With the cable disconnected? If it acts up with the cable disconnected from the controller, definitely a controller issue (or bad power issue?) If it acts up with the cable connected to the controller but not to the dongle or another controller, it's a cable noise issue, but you said you changed out the cable. Basic trouble shooting skills apply; break the system down to each of its components (controller, cable, dongle, USB cable, PC, software) and test each piece individually and then with each other.
  13. That sounds like an electrical noise issue to me, or a faulty data cable. Try a different data cable first; you may have a bad crimp on an RJ45 end. Make sure your data cable doesn't run parallel to any electrical cords unless separated by at least 6 inches (a couple of feet would be better) If data cables and power wires need to cross, do it at 90 degree angles if possible, and again, separated if possible. And something Dan Baldwin would probably ask you. Are you using the filtered USB cable? The one with the ferrite core in it? You shoul; it helps prevent the types of symptoms you mention. I know someone running LOR version 1. He has this same problem occasionally. It's never been a software issue.
  14. A quick test to see how many real light circuits are in a string of lights: Pull a single bulb out. What went out is a single light circuit. Between the last light that is out and the first light that is lit, you will probably find just two wires. You can cut at that point - AFTER you unplug the string! Most of the time there isn't more than two light circuits per plug, except when it comes to icicle lights. Many of those have 6 circuits - i.e. a 300 light icicle string will have 6 50 light circuits. Many of the incandescent candy canes only have 20 lights in them, if that string is short enough. If you need fewer lights than that, the easy thing to do is black out the lights you don't want; a 1/4" piece of heat shrink will do that. Otherwise you will need to replace lights with resistors.
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