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Richard Hamilton

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Everything posted by Richard Hamilton

  1. LightORamaDan wrote: Amen on Dan's comment. I was thinking similarly. A 1/4" to 1/2 inch of plywood should reduce the effect range by an almost unnoticeable amount. My guess is a 15 feet reduction. I am effectively transmitting line-of-sight to two neighbors that are 250 feet away with the only physical barrier being their wooden garage door. As Dan mentioned, can have a larger effect due to ground proximity. In fact, it can be quite large depending on your terrain, and your range greatly decreases as you near the ground due to modifying the radiation pattern, SWR and other ground absorption/reflection effects. I suggest staying at least 3 feet off the ground if you want to get the best range. I keep my transmitter and receivers > 5 feet off the ground because I need maximum range to my neighbors. Think of these receivers/transmitter as cordless phones when you think about range. The units operate at 900 MHz which is the same frequency as older style cordless phones, and transmit at about the same power level. When I do testing for the season, I create a one minute sequence where I have a single "ON" event across all channels on all controllers. Then I watch to see if the lights go off on any controller during that time. If a controller shuts down quickly, it tells me communication is poor. I try to get it so that all controllers stay up during the full minute (or longer). Since LOR appears to have a nice feature of turning off the channels if a signal is not continually received, this is the easiest way I know if a controller is not communicating reliably with the transmitter. LOR folks, please correct me if I am wrong on this assumption.
  2. You are going to get a lot of good replies and tips on this thread. As for me, I store away all controllers except for one that I keep handy in the garage so I can experiment with it in the summer. Other controllers go into storage. I keep them in the garage rather than the attic or the garden shed because I don't like for electronics to go through regular daily wide temperature changes. In theory, it should not matter, but I am just finicky not take unnecessary risks. I start updating software, firmware and experimenting with the "handy" controller in late summer to make sure it works with new changes, and take a leisurely pace at sequencing new songs for my weekend hobby. Having a controller available to view a couple of strings of lights gives me a better idea of the timing and appearance. Around November 10 is when I start setting up and testing everything for about a week. This gives me plenty of time to work out quirks and problems and get repairs done before the season starts. Although we don't fire up the shows until the weekend between Thanksgiving and Dec 1, this gives plenty of time to test everything out. While I'm on the subject, my best advice is related to what happens AFTER you set up the show next year. No matter how temped you are to tweak songs, sequences, shows, firmware, software, etc. DON'T DO IT! More than likely, you'll just cause problems. Changes are not worth the risk for an adjustment that your audience is not likely to notice anyway. This is where people get into trouble with their equipment failing. Remember Mark Twains adage... "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I use this advice even for updating firmware. Unless it is actually fixing something that is broken or gives me a great new feature, I don't update just for the purpose of having the latest and greatest. I noticed that some people were updating firmware a week before going live. I think that is poor judgment.
  3. bhays wrote: Yes, the encoder is hooked up between the computer and the transmitter.
  4. bhays wrote: I've been looking at that stuff from pcs-electronics and the specifications on it looks really good. Had I not already bought the transmitter and encoder I am using now, I would have gone with pcs. By the way, I am confused by your statement that the RDS must go after the stereo enocder. I am not currently doing it that way with my Ramsey transmitter, yet the RDS unit still works. Puzzled!
  5. Oh Rats! I meant to post these other links and forgot. This happens when you get old :shock: What is RDS... http://us.kensington.com/html/11276.html http://www.radiofuture.com/rdsgeneral.htm
  6. Jeff Millard wrote: Hi Jeff, Right, an RDS encoder is comletely separate from the transmitter in most all cases.. It just sends a digitally encoded signal that rides on the FM signal. Some people have referred to them as "RDS Transmitters", they aren't transmitters, and the use of that term probably adds to the confusion. There are transmitters that already have RDS encoding built into them, so be careful to make the distinction. I use this RDS encoder, but there are many good ones... http://www.pira.cz/rds/ Currently, I use it with Zara Radio which supports RDS. RDS is not cheap, but prices are coming down as more of then get sold.
  7. Amen! I use RDS now and it is cumbersome to time the RDS announcements of song titles and other info independently of LOR. I look forward to this feature.
  8. Steven wrote: Ah! interesting. I see. I did not know the pigtails were optional. Now I see how it could get reversed. Thanks
  9. David James wrote: Isn't that called "Carol of the Bells"? I thought that "Christmas Eve in Sarajevo" was the name of the album.
  10. Gee whiz David, you have too much time on your hands! Looks like you have extra time to come help paint my house Great job, especially for a first year. cheers,
  11. medman2000 wrote: Double the 320 channels you already have? :shock: You must be kidding! I suspect that the wife already knows this, and she is planning to bury you in the back yard, and will use your controllers for an animated tomb marker
  12. gaklinsk wrote: Welcome, Check out the LOR WIKI page. It will give you a lot of starter information if you read through it. FYI... looking at the number of viewers is not going to give you any information. There are many reasons. It is the holidays and people are busy. Some of the viewers may simply be other people with the same interest and wanting to see the response. Yet as third reason is that unless Dan has this board set up to reject spiders, then some of those viewing hits could be from search engines. But here is why I think people are viewing and not responding. It is the same reason I mentioned to someone else. It isn't because they are lazy or don't want to help. It is because you did not make a descriptive topic. Your topic reads "Newbie needs help and advice"! People have to read it to see what it is that you are talking about, and likey it is not something they can respond to. If you would like to get the best responses on message boards, try using more descriptive topics and splitting up unrelated questions into separate topics. Best wishes
  13. Doug L wrote: Even by having an engineering background, I would not dare to make my own. It's just not worth the time and effort... not to mention that they are not likely to be very waterproof unless you are careful. For long runs, I buy the "25 feet" 16-3 cords at Home Depot here every Christmas as they seem to be cheaper at that time. Example, I just bought 10 more of them a couple weeks ago for $3.79 each. They are thicker round 3-prong cords that are far better than the typical lamp cords used for in indoor use. They are typically green (blend in with the ground better) and really intended to be used for power equipment, so they could be overkill for Xmas lights. I've bought the shorter run 15' cords for $1.79 at Walmart. Prices do seem to change from time to time. For supply cable, I use 12-3 (if under 25 feet), and use 10-3 (if under 50 feet). However, most of the time I don't need controller supply extensions since I installed outlets in most places where I use controllers every year.
  14. JimCanfield wrote: Hey Jim, I see one good response already. I suggest just going to the Google search engine and type in "What is Midi". You will get zillions of links describing it. On a side note, I first started out by using midi to control our house lights 15 years ago by using custom built stage controllers that would respond to midi commands. We assigned one midi instrument channel to control a 120VAC channel. It worked well, but was limited to 256 channels and midi tends to be very slow compared to something as fast and powerful as Dan's LOR. I also had a tough time synchronizing it to music (was files) during design time. I haven't experimented with MIDI and LOR yet either, but I plan to do it next month when the Christmas dust settles. If I understand correctly. LOR is doing something similat to what I describe above. I used it as a command set to control lights directly. I think LOR is using it to decode an existing MIDI file and allowing you to assign LOR channels to specific instruments. I'd be interested in hearing more about this as I begin to experiment.
  15. BobinFL wrote: Hi Bob, I am not using LOR II, so I can't offer any advice on that, but since you are a newbie, I can offer a suggestion on how to get better responses to your questions. Your topic is not descriptive. When topics are descriptive, you will get much better response. A topic like "Should a new user start with LOR I or II?" Many people (and I am one of them) won't even click to read a topic that is general, but I see that you are new. There are too many topics to read them all if the topic title isn't descriptive. Any way, welcome to the "club", and wishing much success and fun with LOR.
  16. Steven wrote: Could you elaborate on this a bit? I'd like to understand why this would be a problem since I can't image it would make a difference to the equipment. Actually, how could that occur anyway? The LOR AC input plugs are 3-prong so unless someone has their house plug mis-wired (not likely) or they are using a 3-prong to 2-prong cheater (not a good idea), then I am not sure how the hot and neutral could get reversed or that it would make a difference. It sounds like you have had this problem?
  17. thebaronn wrote: Thanks Eric. Hmmm, well that does sound weird about the mysterious problem. Give me a call the next time that happens and we can talk about it. If you send a PM, I'll reply with telephone number. Have you considered calling in Deacon Dave to perform an exorcism on your house? ha! ;-) Glad you could come by. Traffic was very hectic about 9 pm, so I hope you did not hit that. Some people just didn't seem to be in the Christmas spirit and got frustrated with not being able to get in and see. I guess I'll have to call the cops again this year to control that. Last year they were very nice about helping out. Since we are so close, we should try to get together. By the way, I'm not sure if you noticed, but I am only using LOR on the two neighbor houses and on my megatree. For the remainder of my house, I am using some custom built stage lighting controllers that we have had for about 15 years, and since they work great, I still use them. I'm running two software programs simultaneously to drive both equipment.
  18. Shubb wrote: Sounds like he has some good LEDs. I'll want to check them our sometime. Also sounds like they are full-wave rectified. By the way, Home Depot sells lots of different types of LEDS. I bought some this year for my mega tree and tehy worked great. No flicker, and fades are great. I did not have to use and terminators on them. So I think it depends on why you buy.
  19. thebaronn wrote: Did you solve the problem? If so, what was it?
  20. Clay Collier wrote: Clay, I suggest doing as one other person suggested and put a larger load on the channel for testing. True, that is does not take 100 Watts to ensure lights fade on and off properly. In fact, I only use a home-made 1/2 watt terminator that does the trick. However, for testing sake, put a decent load on the circuit. Swapping the channel (I assume you are swapping the plug) with another set of lights may give you a false indication that the channel is bad when it may not be. Example.. if you have some lights on a channel that work fine, then plug them into to faulty channel for testing, it isn't a reliable test. If the load is tiny, you may still get the same results which will lead you to believe the channel is bad. I don't know about LOR equipment, but in my past experience, Triacs and SCRs can have different thresholds of cutoff when the load is low. Just because a low load works on one channel, it does not mean that same load will work on all other channels. This can be especially true with LED lights. When I do testing for something like this, I use an incandescent shop light with a least a 40 Watt bulb in it as a starting point for testing, and I unplug the lights that were on that channel.
  21. Tim Fischer wrote: Tim, you are talking about "incandescant" bulbs flickering... right? Surely this is not the ole issue of LEDs not drawing enough power to shut off the channel, as you seem to know about that stuff... right? This does sound a little odd. I had this issue with some incandescant bulbs on a new controller this year, but Dan set me straight on how to change the box ID temporarily to get it working ;-) I guess that is not your issue?
  22. thebaronn wrote: This is a good hint to me that you might need snubbers. See this link on my web site. There are also many other good links about this on this site. Search for "terminator" or "snubber". http://magiclightshow.com/bb/index.php?topic=41.0
  23. Brad Bilger wrote: No worry Brad. There are enough idiots in the word to keep your job secure :? This reminds me of a neighbor many years ago that had an outdoor appliance blow up in his face and I had to take him to the emergency room. He replaced a 240 VAC outlet in the garage (intended for clothes dryer) with a 110 VAC plug and then used it on a 110 appliance! Duh..... the thinking was that he didn't need to 240, so he just converted it to 110 (still using both legs of the 220 lines). Fortunately, this man is not in control of our USA nuclear missle program!
  24. michael spencer wrote: Actually, I suggest backing up the whole LOR folder (program files, sequences, etc). Copy them off to practically anything you want. There's nothing special about that folder.
  25. Mike WIlliams wrote: Hopefully, you replaced the fuses with the correct type? There are "fast Acting" and "Slow Blow" Which did you use?
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