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marklodi

Time to take the next step - need advice

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marklodi    2

Hi all,

First, I apologize in advance if this question has been asked and answered a bunch before, but I could not find a direct answer. So thank you in advance to everyone here for your answers and your patience. :)

I have been using a LOR CTB16PC for several years now. I use all 16 channels with standard lights, including 4 channels dedicated to upper story whites, upper story multi colored, lower story whites, lower story multi colored, and the rest a white and multi colored archway and various deer, candy canes, etc. It's been a big hit, but I think it's time to "up my game", so to speak. Yes, I'll probably wait for the new year sales and get started early for next year, but starting my research now.

So currently, all the lights plug into my CTB16PC, which I then run via cat5 to a USB-RS485 adapter on my laptop, running LOR 3.12.0 Basic Plus software. Yes, I know it's out of date, but it has served me well. I have designed over 30 sequences and love the software. :)

Okay, on to what I'm aiming for. My current 2-story house has strands of white and multis on both floors outlining the house. I want to replace these with CCBs (based on my calculations of what is there now vs the approx 25' each CCB strand goes), I would need a total of 5 strands for the top floor, and 3 on the bottom. Of course, each set comes with 2 strands per 1 controller, so I'm looking at getting 5 sets total, with 2 controllers (1 top floor, 1 bottom floor) only running 1 strand...or I might just run them closer together. But I digress. For the archway, similar situation - will need 3 strands of CCPs, so two sets (4 strands) to get the 2 controllers I need.

Now here is where I get confused. Do I need to buy additional CTB16PCs to control all of this? Or is it all handled with the CCB/P Controller that comes with each set of 2 strands? Do I just daisy chain them to the CTB16PC, and then on to my laptop, and the software will see the additional channels? (Yes, I know I need to first direct connect them to the RS485 to set their unit IDs). My confusion has always been the feeling I need an additional network-level controller, but the more I have been reading, the more I think the CCB/P Controllers (the small green boxes the CCB/Ps plug into) are all I actually need. If someone could clarify that for me, I would sure appreciate it.

Second question: I've been reading about possibly needing a newer USB-RS485 "high speed" adapter? (The USB-RS485-HS) Do I really need that with the daisy chain setup I've described - total of 14 CCB/P strands (for now) all chaining via Cat-5 into the CTB16PC and then on to the RS485?

Third question: What are the pixel controllers and - given the intended setup described above - do I really need them? I'm mechanically challenged - I admit it, so I'm concerned that if I did need one, I don't see any "in a box" like my CTB16PC ready-to-go was (and what an awesome product it is too.) I guess I'm really looking for reassurance that I can get away with NOT needing a pixel controller and can still do similar (albeit more complicated I know) sequencing like I have done in the past. Advice?

Fourth question: As I mentioned, all my current sequences have been created in the Basic Plus software. But of course I will need to a) handle all of the additional channels (if I'm calculating correctly, each strand requires 150 channels X 14 strands = 2100 channels, plus my original 16 on the CTB for a grand total of 2116 channels.) To give me the control I need, what level of software will I need - the advanced or the pro? I'm guessing pro, and to save my sanity, I'm also guessing I'd be better off getting the Superstar add on at 24 CCR level (since I'm starting with just 14, that gives me 10 more for growth for now). Do I have that correct?

Again, my thanks in advance. I realize I've thrown a lot out there, but it's really just making sure, given the size of the investment, that I am getting what I need to make the an effective upgrade and I will have all the tools and hardware I need to move to the next level, and be able to focus solely on the sequence design and performance.

Mark

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oilmoney    56

The CCP/CCB strands come with a controller, the green box

Yes you will daisy chain from your CTB16PC's unless you wish to create a second network, personally I'd create a second network and I would get the high speed adapters ( the 500k  red ones ) as well. Daisy chained or not that's still a lot of channels to control. I had lag on my 12 CCR ribbons until I went to high speed and now it performs flawlessly. On your regular network daisy chain 3 CCB/CCP controllers to your CTB16PC and then Create a second network ( aux A ) with 4 CCP controllers.

Your computer won't just " see " the extra channels, you will need to add these controllers to your sequence editor, you need to " insert device below " before the computer can control them. Check out the youtube vids in this link...

 

The pixel controllers are not needed for what you are trying to do

You mention that you are planning on having 14 strings of CCP/CCB's, that means you are buying 7 sets, 2 strings per controller?

Each strand actually is 157 channels if you account for the macro channels as well so that's 2198 channels from the CCP/CCB's plus your original 16Ch = 2214 channels total

Yes I'd start with superstar at 24 CCR level. Advanced looks like it can do what you need it to, multiple networks and unlimited controllers but Pro comes with the pixel editor included so that's tempting as well

Hope this helps, have a great weekend!

oilmoney

1 hour ago, marklodi said:

Hi all,

First, I apologize in advance if this question has been asked and answered a bunch before, but I could not find a direct answer. So thank you in advance to everyone here for your answers and your patience. :)

I have been using a LOR CTB16PC for several years now. I use all 16 channels with standard lights, including 4 channels dedicated to upper story whites, upper story multi colored, lower story whites, lower story multi colored, and the rest a white and multi colored archway and various deer, candy canes, etc. It's been a big hit, but I think it's time to "up my game", so to speak. Yes, I'll probably wait for the new year sales and get started early for next year, but starting my research now.

So currently, all the lights plug into my CTB16PC, which I then run via cat5 to a USB-RS485 adapter on my laptop, running LOR 3.12.0 Basic Plus software. Yes, I know it's out of date, but it has served me well. I have designed over 30 sequences and love the software. :)

Okay, on to what I'm aiming for. My current 2-story house has strands of white and multis on both floors outlining the house. I want to replace these with CCBs (based on my calculations of what is there now vs the approx 25' each CCB strand goes), I would need a total of 5 strands for the top floor, and 3 on the bottom. Of course, each set comes with 2 strands per 1 controller, so I'm looking at getting 5 sets total, with 2 controllers (1 top floor, 1 bottom floor) only running 1 strand...or I might just run them closer together. But I digress. For the archway, similar situation - will need 3 strands of CCPs, so two sets (4 strands) to get the 2 controllers I need.

Now here is where I get confused. Do I need to buy additional CTB16PCs to control all of this? Or is it all handled with the CCB/P Controller that comes with each set of 2 strands? Do I just daisy chain them to the CTB16PC, and then on to my laptop, and the software will see the additional channels? (Yes, I know I need to first direct connect them to the RS485 to set their unit IDs). My confusion has always been the feeling I need an additional network-level controller, but the more I have been reading, the more I think the CCB/P Controllers (the small green boxes the CCB/Ps plug into) are all I actually need. If someone could clarify that for me, I would sure appreciate it.

Second question: I've been reading about possibly needing a newer USB-RS485 "high speed" adapter? (The USB-RS485-HS) Do I really need that with the daisy chain setup I've described - total of 14 CCB/P strands (for now) all chaining via Cat-5 into the CTB16PC and then on to the RS485?

Third question: What are the pixel controllers and - given the intended setup described above - do I really need them? I'm mechanically challenged - I admit it, so I'm concerned that if I did need one, I don't see any "in a box" like my CTB16PC ready-to-go was (and what an awesome product it is too.) I guess I'm really looking for reassurance that I can get away with NOT needing a pixel controller and can still do similar (albeit more complicated I know) sequencing like I have done in the past. Advice?

Fourth question: As I mentioned, all my current sequences have been created in the Basic Plus software. But of course I will need to a) handle all of the additional channels (if I'm calculating correctly, each strand requires 150 channels X 14 strands = 2100 channels, plus my original 16 on the CTB for a grand total of 2116 channels.) To give me the control I need, what level of software will I need - the advanced or the pro? I'm guessing pro, and to save my sanity, I'm also guessing I'd be better off getting the Superstar add on at 24 CCR level (since I'm starting with just 14, that gives me 10 more for growth for now). Do I have that correct?

Again, my thanks in advance. I realize I've thrown a lot out there, but it's really just making sure, given the size of the investment, that I am getting what I need to make the an effective upgrade and I will have all the tools and hardware I need to move to the next level, and be able to focus solely on the sequence design and performance.

Mark

 

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ItsMeBobO    276

You will need to upgrade software level.  Basic limits you to 2 controllers.  I suggest Advanced. 

A second high speed adaptor means you will use two USB ports used on your laptop.  You may need a USB hub.  Each will have a set of controllers daisy chained.  

 

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marklodi    2

Thank you both for your replies. Couple of follow-ups:

Can you please explain what the "Macro channels" are for? Haven't heard of those before. Yes, 7 sets of 2 (5 sets of bulbs, 2 sets of pixels) - though the thing is that's more than I really need. For my top floor, I only need 5 strands. For my bottom floor, I only need 3. And for my arch (pixels) I also only need 3. But since a controller only handles 2 strands (and that's how they're sold), I will probably have a few controllers with only 1 strand attached in the chain. Or I might "scrunch" them a bit - move them closer than the full length), since I believe I may have over-estimated anyway. I used the lights that are currently up, measured the distance between lights (8") then counted the full run, including blackouts (currently taped with black tape, but will be "dead" lights with the new CCB's) and that's how I got my length for each level. 

I've attached a picture from last year, so it's easier to see. Only thing missing is the right side of the house, which is ONLY upper level, continuing from where it seems to end in the picture to the top roof arch and then down the arch to the same point on the other side. Hence the 5 strands for the top level vs the 3 for the bottom.

Sounds like the Advanced will work, but I may just upgrade to Pro since I'm diving in the deep end, and yes, I'll go with the Superstar 24 CCR. Yes, will definitely get the high speed RS485.

Do I really need two networks? What will I gain by doing so? Will it work with just one? Trying to understand the pros/cons here. USB ports are not an issue, so that's not my concern, only in where the advantage would be to do so. Would it change how I program my shows? Yes, I realize I will need to spend a lot of time "upconverting" my existing shows, but since I'm directly replacing existing channels, I'm hoping it's just expanding on them and not having to rewrite from scratch...

Not to digress too much, but any advice on how to hang these? We have had to pay someone in the past (I know, I know) to come out and hang these lights (1st and 2nd levels), which is why I've reluctantly become the guy who leaves his lights up year round (I KNOW). The cost was simply too prohibitive on a recurring basis. But now, with the investment I'm going to make, I'm going to need to either buy the ladder or rent a lift for a day to do these in a way I can easily put up and take down. Thus my question: is there a preferred "hanger" or clip system that most of you use to 1) make it easy to hang, and 2) avoid damaging these strands? I will readily admit I'm afraid of heights, so this is going to be a challenge for me, but I love putting these shows on for friends and family, so failure is not an option. :) Any other advice for how best to put these up safely (without hiring someone)?

Thanks again!

Mark 

HouseLights.jpg

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mpageler    55

Congrates...you may have posted the longest post of the year. 

 

Being mechanically challenge, the LOR cosmic color products would be a straight forward but more costly way to go for smart pixels.

 

Yes there are a number of non-LOR pixel controllers out there but generally require  you put together the enclousure, pixel board, powerer supply and wires.

I have seen a few dealers selling the Sandevices 5pixel controllers as a "built controller".  I believe creativelightingdisplays.com is selling "ready to use" SanDevices controllers.  If needing a number of pixel strings/strips, buying a ready made SandDevices controller would probably be your most economical option, without having to put together a pixel controller yourself. 

 

With a non-LOR pixel controller, you would be using e1.31 technology via an ethernet cable from you computer to controller.

 

 

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ItsMeBobO    276

Having two networks does not impact sequencing.    You could do it all on one network.  But you didn't say you had a very tight budget.   For a tech challenged first shot at RGB you should go with LOR pixel Bulbs.   Use the red high speed 500k adaptor.   Since you already have the black one,  you are not replacing it just adding another.   The AC controller(s) on the old one and the pixels on the new one daisy chained.  

 

Most people dont use the LOR macro channels.   My sequences use them a lot and I love them however I dont like the way they were implemented and rework the defaults.   Explanation program here.

Edited by ItsMeBobO

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