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SparkChaser

Showtime MP3 player vs laptop

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Hello everyone. Looking for some suggestions, as this is my first year. My question is this... I'm trying to decided on which route to use. I have a laptop that I have everything loaded on and was planning on using that to run my shows. However, I live in Minnesota and I'm starting to think leaving the laptop on in the unheated garage may not be the best idea. So my options are

1. leave it in the garage and hope for the best (maybe find a way to keep it warm)

2. drill a hole into the house to run both the cat 5 and antenna wire to my EDM transmitter

3. Purchase the Showtime MP3 Director and have that in the garage

Which option is prefered? I thought about the ELL's but I would still need a cord for the EDM (im using an external TM 100 antenna)

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I'm using Ells to get outside.....But then I put my external antenna in the attic and just ran some RG58 cable to the transmitter which sits right next to my show computer.

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What about the cheaper alternative of the mini-director and a $15-$20 timer. http://store.lightorama.com/midiwimp3pl.html

If between your two options, I would choose laptop. But for the price of the mini-director, I would choose it (what I use). Works great. Main difference between it and the Showtime director is the built in timer.

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Guest wbottomley

S4D has the best option that's cheap. I ran out of likes for the day.

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I ran the mini director for a couple of years, but now use the Showtime director, set the time at the beginning of the season, and forget about it till take down time.

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I ran the mini director for a couple of years, but now use the Showtime director, set the time at the beginning of the season, and forget about it till take down time.

And I do the exact same thing with the timer I linked above for $20 with the mini-director, and have an extra $100 to spend on other stuff. Even do different times on the weekends compared to weekdays. With such a digital timer, I can set the precise time for the show to start and stop. I also save a channel for my display sign too since I plug that into the same timer power strip (rather than wasting a channel on it) so it comes on the same time my mini-director comes on. Also plug my EDM transmitter in too so I am only transmitting during my show rather than 24/7. The rest of the year, I use my mini-director to control some landscape lighting.

It runs the show the exact same way as the Showtime Director (with the same type of starts and stops). Basically the Showtime just has an expensive built-in timer (extra $120). Only other difference is Showtime has 6 trigger inputs, and the mini-director has 3. Most people don't even use trigger inputs.

Never have regretted this purchase one bit--especially since it is usually on $99 during sales.

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What I like best about the Showtime director is that I can run up to 9 different shows, mainly because I don't run the same songs each night. It's a nice feature. But S4D's way is good also. I never used a timer when I had my mini going, so i had to plug and unplug the controllers each night, a bit of a pain in the butt if I must say so myself.

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I used a computer to control my show for the first few years. I travel a lot and live in an area where brief storm power outages are an issue. Bottom line with the computer was that if the power blinked off, so did my computer. No shows until I got back in town. I baught the DC-MP3 two years ago and love it. Set the time/date on it, insert the card and I don't worry about a thing until it's time to take everything down. After a power outage all the ocntrollers automatically power up once the power comes back on and the DC-MP3 has a battery so once the power comes back on it knows the current date/time and boom, the show kicks off right on time.

I know there is a way to program the computer to power up and launch LOR after a power outage... Laptops have limited battery life too.....too complicated for me to play with... Set it up and forget it is more my style..

You do need to know what you want your show to do as the DC-MP3 doesn't do everything that the computer can but I think it works great for me.

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Thanks for all the inputs. I think whenthe next sale hits I will be getting a director. For this year though I think Im going to use the laptop. Probably end up running wires inside unless I come up with a way to insulate the laptop in the garage.

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I run a cheap tower computer in the garage. It has run without troubles for 5 seasons. The DC-MP3 isn't an option for me because I run 2 LOR networks, control some X10 channels, use RDS software, and even use the parallel port to control the power to the outdoor speakers.

Of course I live in warm California, where it may get down to 32° a few times on winter nights, but I know that most electronics, including laptops, handle cold much better than hot. If you keep the laptop turned on, then it will stay warmer than the surrounding air and thus won't get any condensation. You have nothing to worry about.

By the way, I have my computer on a UPS that also runs the FM transmitter. I also have it set to run LOR whenever it boots. It loads Windows updates and reboots in the early morning several times each season, but no one notices because everything starts up automatically.

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