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Beaver State Rich

Running 1 DMX device from LOR? NEWB HELP NEEDED.

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I want to add this style fogger to my Halloween display this year as the fire dept said no to live fire.  The goal it to trigger it at certain times during the show with the red and yellow led's to simulate a flame burst.

 

http://www.chauvetlighting.com/geyser-rgb.html

 

It only can be triggered by DMX.  (Regular foggers that I can attach a relay to won't give me this effect as they don't have the necessary pressure.)

 

So, looks like I may need to venture to the dark side of the force and jump into the DMX universe.

 

I have tried to read the board and did a search for a basic starting point and I am a bit confused and still have a couple of questions.  To help with an answer, here is my hardware I currently have on hand.

 

- 2 -LOR residential controllers purchased new in 2013, I am running the Advanced version of the LOR softwear as I use video in my display last update was September 2013. 

- The show is run from a dedicated laptop off of the usb output using the USB485 module to the LOR controller.

 

Q. 1

 

It appears there are 2 ways to do what I want, for my intended use which is the best method? There is a huge $$ difference but does the money buy less hassle/problems?  This year I am looking at adding one or two pieces, however I can see there is a lot of potential with the DMX hardware.  Future expandibility is something I am considering in the math, pay once, cry once.

 

A. The first is to buy the LOR iDMX1000 at $259.95 which plugs into one of the controllers? If I read the specs correctly this should give me 512 channels of DMX in additon to the 32 LOR channels I already have? This would use the program I already have for easy plug and play setup?

 

B.  If I read some of the posts correctly the above unit may not be needed since I am running right off a computer??  It appears that I may be able to run the DMX unit without extra hardware other than a special cable to the DMX unit from the LOR controller?   I assume if this is the case I would loose channels off of a controller?  OR, would I just have to get a 2nd USB485 and corresponding cable-and if so, how would this work with the show? 2 programs would have to be open at once in sync???

 

Q. 2. 

 

What would happen to my current shows I have programmed? I assume I can just add the new channels to the sequence or would I have to start from scratch?

 

I am sorry if this question is a repeat but I tried to figure this out by a search and frankly got more confused. 

 

Thanks for all of your help!

 

Rich Bryan.

Corvallis Oregon.

 

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If you're looking for cheap, you need another USB485 and an adapter cord from LOR. About $42 plus shipping.

There's online Youtube videos that show how to connect and configure them.

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the best and easy and cheap buy a dmx dongle AROUND $60.00 FRON HOLIDAY CORO OR seasonal entertainment you will have 512 CHANNELS IN DMX

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None of the methods will impact any of your existing channels or sequences.

You could run the LOR controllers in DMX mode, and only need an adapter cable for pinout from your second controller to your fogger. But this has the most impact to your channel configuration.

Adding a second USB485, or dedicated dongle like a entec pro is lower risk, as there are zero changes to your existing sequence/config you just add the USB universe on the com port it comes up as, and set up your new channel ad a dmx device on the new universe.

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Thanks for the help, I hadn't seen the Holiday Coro folks before and their video really explained it well.  The dongle is the way to go.

 

However...I now have a MAJOR problem in that I also saw how inexpensive the rgb light kits can be.  My brain is in hyperactive overdrive and I see those being added to the mix as well.  I swear this holiday display is turing into a full time year round hobby. 

 

With the $200 savings I can buy another effect this year!

 

Again, thanks for the fast and excellent help. 

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Dennis Laff, on 08 Mar 2014 - 1:58 PM, said:

the best and easy and cheap buy a dmx dongle AROUND $60.00 FRON HOLIDAY CORO OR seasonal entertainment you will have 512 CHANNELS IN DMX

 

You still have to purchase or build your own cable from the Actidonge to the DMX device.

 

Another $5-$15 for that, depending on where you buy it.

 

The LOR USB dongle also has 512 channels of output.

 

The EASIEST of all is the LOR iDMX1000  because it simply plugs into your existing LOR network. But it is the priceiest at $259.

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Rich DMX is real easy, the best way to get situated is really hands on. Keep it simple in the begining. KLB pegged it. Get a low cost DMX dongle. DMX King was inexpensive or the low end Enttec. No conversion cables. If you can make it to our C.L.A.P. meeting in Olympia, WA on May 3rd, we can really get you situated.

DMX is the foundation for RGB, so it helps to get a good understanding of it, and as you are already seeing, it gives a lot of options.

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Zman, what is CLAP?  I will have to check my schedule but my brother is stationed near Bremerton so that may be a possibility.  From Corvallis Olympia is about 4.5 hours.

 

I ordered the Acti-Dongle as it was on sale for 49.99.  It has the cat 5 and 3 pin dmx outputs on it.

 

I also ordered 2 of the RGB flood kits at under $25 a piece along with a power supply. 

 

For my Halloween show I have a feeling I may be ordering about 8 more RGB flood kits to replace the incan light cans I have been using to light up my headstones.  This will free up 10 channels of LOR! 

 

I was going to buy a 3rd controller for the new segment of the show this year as I needed 4 more channels, this will free up more than that and allow a much more dynamic color show.  I can sync all my lights to various colors beyond the static gels.  VERY cool. 

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Rich,

There are meetings around the country that take place from a "national" or "regional/local" level for networking and education purposes.

CLAP in context of my response, is the name of our local Pacific Northwest Decorating get together. The local gatherings were referred to as "mini's" a hold over from years ago. That did not make sense to newbies, so the local gatherings started naming their meetings. Whew! Anyway, since I came up with the CLAP tag line in my signature years ago, we took a poll for a name of the northwest meeting. CLAP won out. So we call it Christmas Light Addiction Program, for those with the Problem.

Our group has been active for about 10 years, myself and other Northwest crazies took over the coordination about 7 years ago. It has been in the same location and there is some history to that.

If you do a search for Northwest in the "Coffee Shop" section, you will see references to the meetings, and the subject matter we have spoken to over the years. We have a very active group in the NW, and we get anywhere from 45-60 attendees in any given year. Our agendas are somewhat Christmas centric, but most of the topics are generic enough to apply to any holiday.

Here is a link to this years meeting which is on May 3rd:

http://forums.lightorama.com/index.php?/topic/30567-pacnw-regional-clap-2014-mtg/

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Hey Rich,

I'm just up the road in Portland and I read your first thread.  I too want to run a DMX fire machine.  So did the fire department say no and what was the reason? I see other people in our state use them so I was curious. I wonder if it's a state thing or a local ordinance. Guess I should find out before I purchase the machine.  I wanted to use it for a Halloween display and don't see why it would be a problem as long as it's monitored and in a safe place.

 

I too want to run a simple DMX device and I was also look at the possibility of running a snow machine at Christmas.  Sounds like the Holiday Coro dongle is the best way to go about it from based on the answers to your post. I am brand new to all this and just learning....

 

Eric

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Eric and Rich, David has some DMX reference material on his site, I also have some on my website on my How-To page, for you guys to peruse. David and I were just talking yesterday how there is now a lot of info on DMX and E1.31 material, where years ago, it was sparse.

DMX fire cannons have been used successfully by a few decorators. However, you will never see a professional outfit using DMX to control a fire cannon. There is no redundancy in the set up. Use caution with these devices.

Edited by zman

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Thanks so much for the info, I will have to check it out.  If it's not too difficult I'd like to try a DMX device with my regular LOR setup.  I saw a video of someone using the fire machine in their Halloween display and it looks really cool.  I think it would be a fun addition and would only run it when I am home and can monitor it.

I was thinking about try to use it for a sequence to" Shout at the Devil."  Who doesn't like a fire effect? :)

 

(I just need to figure out if I can do it though, before I make a purchase)

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Eric, if you were closer I would loan you some of my DMX test items. I get to Portland on business about once a month and may be there around mid-April.

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That's very kind kind of you thanks.  I want to do the same thing as Rich, just run 1 item on a DMX weather it be a fire machine or a snow machine. Don't even know if I can afford the machine or if it's okay to use.

 

Ya, if you make your way down here let me know. I live in Gresham I could meet you somewhere and buy you a beverage or something.

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I may have to do some digging, but I have a snow machine. I would be willing to let you buy it cheap or use it, because I do not.

I am heading out of the country on a biz trip on Friday. When I get back I can look for it if you are interested.

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RE: fire machine.  I think in most cases it's the beg forgiveness vs. ask permission crowd that is using the devices.  The last thing I wanted was to invest $1000 in fire machines and have it shut down after someone makes a phone call.

 

In Or the fire code is basically universal with the State Fire Marshall.  While the fire shooter is not illegal as a destructive device, local FD could deem it unsafe and make you shut it down. 

 

So, I go input from a collegue who eats smoke for a living to review my proposed safety plan and the response I got was it would open my display up to having to get inspections, permits etc to avoid the shut down. Once you go down that dark path forget it, no way would I want to deal with that red tape. If approved FD would want to do test fires BEFORE EVERY SHOW and would have to issue a permit FOR EVERY SHOW which would also classify my yard as a concert and open me to all other inspections/permits from the city = Permit Fees $$$$.

 

And yes, DMX/LOR only control is a BAD idea for this.  The machine I was looking at could be controlled by standard LOR or DMX.  I had plans to install a dead man switch in the signal line to the item ensuring it would only fire when I wanted it to.  I also had written plans detailing the barriers, permiter, fire blanket, appropiate ABC supression etc. along with a written emergency response plan as part of my setup. 

 

In the end fog = no drama and no big brother. 

 

Zman, I REALLY want to go to your meeting but it looks like I am going to be in the midwest that week for work not flying back until late Friday night. Bummer.

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That is a bummer you will miss CLAP this year, however............

There is another option for you to get DMX info and decorating saavy. I was asked to volunteer for Christmas Expo this year, to assist on the Advisory and Education Committee. Christmas Expo is in Biloxi, MS July 17-19. If you check out their website, you will see we have put together an outstanding curriculum, one of the best I have ever seen. There will be plenty of brains there to pick.

Christmas Expo is the BIG brother to our CLAP meeting.

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Inserting the standard disclaimer that Light-O-Rama is not recommended for use with fireworks.

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Hey guys, I am just up the road from ya in Hillsboro. I use the holiday coro dongle and have a mixed dmx/ LOR network. I can share any info you want or need. Built my RGB display specifically for Halloween and ventured into Christmas with it. I am just getting my pixels and will start testing my sans device next week which is my new edition this year.

FYI I have a fog machine circuit ready to go but I am triggering with 12 vdc dmx through a relay.

Anyway, any questions about dmx and/or RGB let me know. Hopefully I can help out with a photo, drawing or you can come look at it.

By the way, the only cable needed to go from the dongle to the DMX device is a cat 5 cable. I used one that was150ft long last year to go from my computer to the first dmx device. Then daisy chained to the other devices off that first one. Ran great.

Good luck,

Sax

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Sax, there is quite a little group of you guys in that area. If you can, pop up on May 3rd to our event. There has been car pool efforts to do so. Great way to pass the couple hour drive.

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Imagine you working on last minute adjustments of your Fire Breather and you or somebody steps on a loose DMX connection (like the Cat5 are prone to); the sudden disconnect causes DMX garbage on the line and you get a tummy full of unexpected fire.

 

At least put a Dead Man switch in series, like they do in the big concerts.

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I really appreciate all the input, and I agree less red tape is better. Seems like government wants to have a hand in  everything, and it's all about making money off it.  I've seen a few videos of other people's displays with this and I love the idea.

I am concerned tough about making the purchase and then having someone come and make me get a permit. I was going to use it just for Halloween night, and all my neighbors want me to do it.  I did emil our local fire department and I have a feeling I know what the answer will be.  Sometimes it's better to ask forgiveness than to ask for permission.  Still I don't want to cause problems.

The setup was going to be in my front yard where it's level and away from everyone and cords for my lights.  I think I would plug it in only for the song I wanted.  Guess I'm on the fence about it now.......

 

Ya, it sounds like a few of us from the Portland area. I may be interested in going to the CLAP if anyone else is.

 

Eric

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I was looking at CLAP and thought it would be fun to go. But having 2 kids who play baseball you can imagine what I will be doing that weekend and every other weekend until mid- July.

I will keep looking to see if I can squeeze it in but I don't have high hopes.

Sax

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All there a few more of us in the Vancovuer area as well. I been doing my show since 2008 but didn't do one the last two years. I took a year off to take a break and spend time with family. It was the best choice I could have ever made. It ended up be the last Christmas with my mom as to why I didn't do a show last Chirstmas. Anyways if you need any help. Let me know. I will do my best to help ya out. I'm working on to do a great show this year. 

 

The Clap mini is a lot of fun. Mark and Kevin do a great job. Its a very relaxing atmosphere too with A Big thanks to Nancy for allowing us to come to her home.

-Brandon

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OK, so I got the Acti Dongle # 53 from Holiday Coro along with a couple of RGB Flood kits, they are up and running with LOR.  Cool. 

 

Got the Fogger from UPS today and I'm trying to get it to work.  I didn't use a RGB channel in the LOR as it only should need one channel correct? Set the channel to 21 to not overlap with the floods and I'm not getting it to fire.  Used a dip switch chart to ensrue my numbers were correct.  Fogger seems to be working good and the light on the machine reads it's getting a signal from the DMX when the cord is plugged in.  I'm missing something here-any ideas what it is?

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