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Sparkybzapped

DIY vs Card Assembled vs Ready to go controllers

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Hi all, I'm very excited to be a part of the newbie group! The information and feedback I've read is awesome.

My question is, since I'm planning on purchasing a minimum of 2-16 channel controllers, advanced software and either the mini director or the ShowTime central package what have all of you experienced with the above?

The DIY yourself controllers require some soldering which I'm not concerned about.

The card assembled package only requires installation of the channel cables. In the description for this unit it says it doesn't have all the bells no whistles. What do they mean by that?

And the ready to go units are self explanatory.

How effective is the FM transmitter that is included in the ShowTime Central unit? Have you experienced any issues? Am I better off purchasing the miniDirector unit and getting a different FM transmitter? If so do you have any recommendations?

For all of you who have purchased any or all of the above please let me know what you think? Would you add/change/modify anything. Please keep in mind this will be my first purchase so any advice even if it has nothing to do with the above would be appreciated.

One last thing......I'm from Saskatchewan Canada. How do the LOR units stand up to very cold winter?

Thank you in advance for any feedback given.

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Welcome to the forum Sparkybzapped, you're getting involved in a great hobby. I don't use the showtime unit or LOR fm transmitter but I do have the DIY and factory built PC type controller AC controller and 3 variations of the DC controller, they are fine in the the Canadian winters. In over 10 years I've never had a cold related failure, UTS (User Too Stupid) errors can and will abound but they are not as bad now as in the beginning. I've used a Ramsey, Vast and currently use an EDM for FM transmitters. All of them have been good to great with the EDM being the best in my opinion. If I can offer any help or assistance either post here or PM me and I'll do what I can to help out, there are a few LOR user in Saskatoon and if I can find some contact info I'll be sure to forward it to you. There are usually 2 sales a year with LOR, so my best advise is read as much as possible while waiting for them.

Cheers and Merry Christmas

Daryl B.

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Welcome.

 

Everyone has their own priorities, but for the difference in price, I'm not about to solder my own board when LOR has people who do it flawlessly.  What I do is buy the completed CTB16PC boards and then put it into a Cable-Guard enclosure and make my own dongles.  For me, that's the least expensive way. 

 

The forum here, as well as the LOR user groups on Facebook are loaded with threads regarding the dismal performance and terrible track record of the Whole Room transmitter.  There is no single product, including the flaming Martha Stewart light strings, that's more reviled in this hobby.  For less than half the price you can have a transmitter whose signal actually reaches the street.

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all the pc kits or the ready to go pc controllers, all do the same thing. so they have the same  bells and whistles

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I see you say soldering is no problem so I would go with those kits. In fact, I am the same way so I have ~20 kits I have assembled here. It's a cool factor/pride thing with me that I can say I did that.

I try to buy the kits during one of the sales and then I do what George does to finish them off. After a couple kits you get the hang of it and you can get them assembled in under an hour. Just go slow at first and use the included checklist.

It's a great hobby, good luck!

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I bought the partially assembled kits where the board was complete and mounted in the box but the cords needed attaching and so on. I don't see them offering those any more though. My view of having the board completed already with heat-sinks, was much to my advantage and saved a bunch of time with very little extra cost over the non-soldered kits.

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If you have the time then you could save some money & do the soldering yourself since you said soldering doesn't  "concerned" you. You can buy cheap enclosures from the USA despite the $$$ exchange rate. In fact you can get that Stanley Fat Max Tool box from Canadian Tire & you can house 2 or more controllers in that thing. I have some of mine in Tupperware type containers that are meant for the freezer. Of course drilling holes suck if you forget to add duct tape inside & outside the container 1st. (keeps it from cracking when drilling). 

 

On the other hand if you wait for the Light-O-Rama spring reduction sale, or the summer sale then you can get the kits or the ready to go stuff a bit cheaper. Also controllers go up for sale on this site or Planet Christmas each year from people getting out of it, or switching to rgb.  RGB stuff is another subject.

 

As far as cold weather goes that isn't an issue. Remember when Edmonton had -46.2 Celsius (-51.16  Fahrenheit) back in 2007 or 2008 winter? Will the controllers ran like a charm. However I do cover my controllers in black garbage bags for added protection unless I have them under the deck where the weather (like rain or melting snow) does not get to them.

 

As for FM transmitters there are a few of them out there that work just fine.

 

Most use a PC to run the show, but there are folks that use the mini director/mp3 player to run the show which I used at one time before I added ccrs & ccps & so now I use the Generation 3 Showtime Director/MP3 unit with dual ports.

 

Where are you living in Saskatchewan?  

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Thank you all for the info. I live in Martensville Sk which is just out of Saskatoon.

Now I've heard many people refer to this as an obsession and I'm vary capable of understanding that! I'm now wanting to purchase not only the standard residential controllers but also an RGB controller. (I like to have all the bells and whistles on my workbench even if I don't get it all ready to go for 2015). So with that being said can someone comment on the parts and pieces required to get into the RGB devices? I need to know everything from recommended controllers to power supplies, and where to purchase from. What do I need to start? As well I see lots of talk about Ray Wu's store. Is this the place to go for RGB ribbons, modules, pixel bulbs etc? Let me have it! I'm ready to go all in and the anticipation is killing me!!

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Thanks to this movie this is all i think of when someone says Saskatoon..... Grown Ups - Canadian Guy Scene (Funny):

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I bought the partially assembled kits where the board was complete and mounted in the box but the cords needed attaching and so on. I don't see them offering those any more though. My view of having the board completed already with heat-sinks, was much to my advantage and saved a bunch of time with very little extra cost over the non-soldered kits.

 

They are for sale here from LOR or here from Synchronized Christmas.

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Ok, Thanks Don. Shame they raised the prices so much as they were $189 last year. I don't need one now except as possibly a spare for emegencies so the spring sale, maybe will pick one up.

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Anyone willing to comment on my previous post? I hope so.

Granted, I may be a bit biased towards LOR equipment, but they do have a good selection of RGB devices that work well with their other products.

 

You can get it here or here.

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I purchased 2 of the units that just required installing the cables/wires and hardware and the only thing I noticed compared to the Ready to go ones were that the cables had no channels numbers or stickers, although nothing that a silver sharpie couldn't cure!

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Ok, Thanks Don. Shame they raised the prices so much as they were $189 last year. I don't need one now except as possibly a spare for emegencies so the spring sale, maybe will pick one up.

 

I went back and looked at some old screen shots. The $189.95 price you mentioned was during the Summer sale in 2012 and 2013. (Didn't look up 2014 prices.)

Regular price is listed at $215.95 in both cases.

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Yes, that was when I last purchased those controllers from LOR.

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Yes, that was when I last purchased those controllers from LOR.

I'm not picking on you here. Just want to note for those reading the thread in the future the price didn't go way up, rather it was on sale when you purchased it.

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I knew that Don but thanks for saying it anyway! Of course I'm going to buy when they are on sale...less money is a good thing! 

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Anyone willing to comment on my previous post? I hope so.

Granted, I may be a bit biased towards LOR equipment, but they do have a good selection of RGB devices that work well with their other products.

 

You can get it here or here.

Agree with this statement, it's just expensive lol

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I bought the partially assembled kits where the board was complete and mounted in the box but the cords needed attaching and so on. I don't see them offering those any more though. My view of having the board completed already with heat-sinks, was much to my advantage and saved a bunch of time with very little extra cost over the non-soldered kits.

Wow lights still sells the CTB16PC controllers partially assembled, meaning no soldering. 

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