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Do I buy the package or do I buy the board and create my own?

I can't seem to find the right information on for the questions that I have.

I am still trying to figure out how the PC communicates to the I/O boards or the package product. I did download a demo version of the LOR software and found it easy enough to use...Now the only problems are the hardware questions...How did they do that?..LOL

I seen the excitement in my 6 and 3 year old son when they saw all of the videos that I found and we have taken them to a few commercial light shows and they loved it. I want to be able to create that same excitement for the two of them. If you can give us any guidance it would be greatly appreciated.



:happytree: Thanks,

Tommy

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I would recommend purchasing the starter package with whatever controller(s) you go with. In addition to the full version of the software the starter package includes the 'dongle' that attaches to a serial port on your computer. From there you run either cat-5 cable or telephone cable to the first controller. The signals are transmitted over this cable and make you lights come to life.

If you computer doesn't have a serial port you will also need a usb to serial adapter.

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To simplify it ... you'll need:

1. Starter Package which includes the software and the RS485 connector for the serial port on your PC

2. Controller(s) - 1 or more, can be either Hobbyist (do it yourself) or Showtime (ready to use)

3. Cable to go from PC to controller - the LOR web store is currently offering a free cable when you purchase the starter kit.

4. Enthusiasm and creativity -- sounds you've already got that in good supply!

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To determine if you should buy the board and create your own, or go with the showtime product, you have to look at a couple of things:

1. You still need to purchase weatherproof boxes of some sort for the controller to reside in.

2. You still need to purchase cords to attach to the controllers.

3. You have to take the time to put them together (easy to do )

Now.. is it worth the savings to you to buy the hobbyist controller, or, would you be happier not doing all of these things and just buying the showtime product that is already ready to go. The first controller I got (and currently only one) is a showtime controller.. I didn't want to run into any problems with it the first time I played with it, so I felt that was the safest way to go. Now that I have played with it a bit, I am more comfortable with it, and I may buy just the boards next year and make my own boxes.

Dan used to sell a 6 outlet 'power strip' controller.. not sure whatever happened to that. I was initially going to start with that, but ended up going to the 1602W instead...

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cbromley wrote:

Dan used to sell a 6 outlet 'power strip' controller.. not sure whatever happened to that. I was initially going to start with that, but ended up going to the 1602W instead...

I saw something like that in one of the big box stores a while back... Wal-Mart, Target, maybe Lowes... it had 6 or 8 outlets of different colors...and something like 30 pre-programmed sequences. I should have picked it up then but couldn't tell if it was at all programmable. Anyone know who makes it or where to order one?

-Frank

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That's the Digital LightShow and you probably saw it at WalMart. Don't know if they have them again this year. As you said, those are preprogrammed, so are limited when used in conjunction with LOR.. though, they can control an animation pretty effectively..

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cbromley wrote:

That's the Digital LightShow and you probably saw it at WalMart. Don't know if they have them again this year. As you said, those are preprogrammed, so are limited when used in conjunction with LOR.. though, they can control an animation pretty effectively..

Word of advise. I am currently useing 3 of the Digital Light Show Controllers made by Noma. But I have done some research and Noma is no longer in bussiness. They work ok, but are very limited.

JR

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I bought one last year during the Christmas Clearance sale ($15.00), it was programmed, nothing very exciting, but what a deal! couldn't pass it up for $15 bucks.

I like programming the lights better, another labor of love.

Building the hobby kit is easy is you consider yourself handy, Dan's instructions will take you step by step.

Have fun!

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Showtime boxes have alot higher shipping if you live far away like Canada, they weigh more and are alot bigger. I would say hobbiest is the best route for most, fun too!!!

Zac

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speaking of those outlet controllers, Dan do you have any idea will those be available with LOR II? I know i have asked before about those and you took them off the web site, i would still love a couple of those!!!:happytree:

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joshuashu wrote:

speaking of those outlet controllers, Dan do you have any idea will those be available with LOR II?
They are low on the priority list...

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joshuashu wrote:

speaking of those outlet controllers, Dan do you have any idea will those be available with LOR II?
They are low on the priority list...

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itsmejrv wrote:


But I have done some research and Noma is no longer in bussiness. They work ok, but are very limited.

Noma out of business? This is the first I heard of that. Now technically Noma has been out of buisness for many years, but a company called Inliten has been using their name (legally) and put out many products with it, including the DLS boxes.

Inliten's website is very much alive and well: www.inliten.com, and I've seen many many Noma-branded products on the shelves this year...

-Tim

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tfischer wrote:

itsmejrv wrote:

But I have done some research and Noma is no longer in bussiness. They work ok, but are very limited.

Noma out of business? This is the first I heard of that. Now technically Noma has been out of buisness for many years, but a company called Inliten has been using their name (legally) and put out many products with it, including the DLS boxes.

Inliten's website is very much alive and well: http://www.inliten.com, and I've seen many many Noma-branded products on the shelves this year...

-Tim

I am not 100% for sure of this, but I dont think the boxes are being made at all any more. The only place I even saw the boxes being sold this year was from a local store that only gets there stuff from bussiness bankruptseis. Unfortinatly I had to buy the last 2 they had and one was broke. I have had 3 or 4 of those things go out on me thru the last 4 years. I use to see them for sell at most of the retail stores here, Walmart fall apart, Shopko, Sears and some of the hardware stores, not this year, there wasn't any.

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So if I understand this right, then I will not need a power supply to the I/O board?

I will bring 110V in off the bottom side and then the serial cable will bring in the 5V DC that will be used to turn the relays off and on? Is this correct?

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I have watched Lister's "beethoven's 5th 2005" video many times and still can not figure out how he has changed the color of the lighting on the side of his house. I have several idea's of how I think it could have been done but if there is a veteran out there that could explain it to me it would be greatly appreciated.

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Tommy,

I bought my 1st boards this year. Both were Hobbist boards.

My biggest downfall was finding boxes for it. I panicked for some time then found what I was looking for.

also you will spend up to 6 00 a cord for each channel that can be expensive if you have multiple 16 channel boards. But if your patient you will find what you need.

Now that the season is almost over check the stores and do what Jeff Womack does. buy up all the supplies you need to build your hobby boards now while its on sale. the costs will be lots cheaper.

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what type of boxes does LOR supply? can they be found in a BORG? looks to me like one could get a bunch of computer power cables (got a ton here at work) and chop them in half, and hook to the LOR hobbiest board, right?

Colin

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Cdshakes wrote:

what type of boxes does LOR supply? can they be found in a BORG? looks to me like one could get a bunch of computer power cables (got a ton here at work) and chop them in half, and hook to the LOR hobbiest board, right?

Colin

Mind reader! :) I tell ya, those power cords multiply at night.

Most are only 18 gauge, so you def wouldn't want to use as the input cable. Also the picture of cords that LOR sells shows nice lugs on the end, making for a more sure connection on the terminal blocks... although the description says they're just stripped & tinned. http://store.lightorama.com/rewigr18.html

Oh and be careful with the male ends that you cut off... don't want to leave them around for the kids to play with.

Frank S.

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The cheapest and neatest source for cords, in my opinion, is right on the lor site, under accessories. I had made up 2 boxes previously, chopping cords. What a waste of time and effort. This last box, I was in a hurry and ordered the precut, tinned power cords and power supply cord from Dan. What a time saver, and better quality than I had come up with on my own. Originally I was using 6' walmart extensions, chopped for the 8 power cords. they work, but the time involved in cutting, stripping, and then you still wind up with 18 ga. cords instead of 16 ga from Dan, and you cant plug a 3 prong extension cord into a cheapo 18 ga female triple end socket. Then are polarized, but not grounded. All in all, do yourself a favor and check out the accessory area of the lor site. it will save you lots of time and you will end up with a much better unit. Frank

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Frank Brunke wrote:

The cheapest and neatest source for cords, in my opinion, is right on the lor site, under accessories. I had made up 2 boxes previously, chopping cords. What a waste of time and effort. This last box, I was in a hurry and ordered the precut, tinned power cords and power supply cord from Dan. What a time saver, and better quality than I had come up with on my own. Originally I was using 6' walmart extensions, chopped for the 8 power cords. they work, but the time involved in cutting, stripping, and then you still wind up with 18 ga. cords instead of 16 ga from Dan, and you cant plug a 3 prong extension cord into a cheapo 18 ga female triple end socket. Then are polarized, but not grounded. All in all, do yourself a favor and check out the accessory area of the lor site. it will save you lots of time and you will end up with a much better unit. Frank

I agree, the cords from LOR are worth the few dollars. I prefer to have the 3 prong cords so I can use the 16/3 extension cords I use for halloween, and they come in easy to use lenths. I also like to have everything grounded, you never know when you'll get lightning/rain in NC.

We had a nice Christmas rain, so no lights for most of Christmas day :)

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Scott:

Wanna share? What did you use for controller 'boxes'. I've seen 12" x 12" top cover sealed enclosures at Home Depot for about $24, but theres got to be something cheaper to use. I've contemplated using empty chlorine buckets (I've got about a dozen of them!), but I haven't decided yet.

Also, even if you use 3 prong grounded wire for extensions, if you have a plastic enclosure, the main power coming in is not grounded (unless you ganged all the grounds together with the incoming power ground).

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I was thinking that instead of using female power cords for the channels that i would use an outlet mounted to the outside of the box with the proper wire to connect the outlet and the controller. The box would probably be made of wood as it is easily cut to dimension. Would this pose a problem, ie. board needing metal to be grounded though screws, or would this be a possible solution?

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don't know what the LOR sale is like in april, but judging by current prices, if the showtime stuff is $100 more then the hobbyist (for the 16 channel unit), and the female power connectors are gonna run 30 plus about 25 for the box, then i think i'd rather go for the finished showtime product. don't have to put it together or anything...

Colin

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Are you telling me that I need to wait untill April for a big sale at LOR?

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