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Otto

Newbie. Which package to start off?

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Which kit should I start off with ? I want to control each bulb. Read alot about rasberry pi, so I'm just confused on where to start. Which controller ? Which bulbs ? Etc. Or is there a complete kit I can purchase and add on more later ?

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I definitely want smart pixels...is there a package or some type of "kit" I should start out with? I want to start basic, outline my windows, house, porch etc.. then move up from there later. Right now I just want to have something to work with to learn, figure out my next move. 

Edited by Otto

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LOR has kits, you might consider one of these:

http://store.lightorama.com/cococoiiwi2c.html
http://store.lightorama.com/ncccococoiiw.html

Other vendors have kits as well. 

 

There are a few things I'd think about:

1. What type of pixels (strips, bullets, flat nodes, C9, etc) do you want to place where?   That will lead into:

2. How will I wire it together?  Will I have elements connected to each other or connected separately to the controller?  What voltage (5v vs 12v)?  Much of that is based on element placement and overall length.

3. Will I use LOR controllers connected via RS-485 like the regular AC controllers, or a pixel controller using TCP/IP-based DMX over Ethernet ("E1.31")?  Pros and cons to each approach.  

 

My setup has grown as a hodge-podge as I learned and bought, and it's not "ideal".   For example, I have 4 pixel elements (2 candy canes and arches) that I wired separately to their controller using 4 DMX universes.  I could have wired them in a daisy chain and used one connection back to the controller, saving slots on the controller and saving on cabling had I thought ahead.   I will have to retrofit them to do this.  I got lucky in that my lack of forethought is easily corrected in this case. 

 

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Thanks for the help, I think I'm gonna start with some arches and the outline of my house. I'll have to do some more reading to determine which bulbs I'll start with. And the pros and cons of 12v vs 5v...

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13 minutes ago, Otto said:

Thanks for the help, I think I'm gonna start with some arches and the outline of my house. I'll have to do some more reading to determine which bulbs I'll start with. And the pros and cons of 12v vs 5v...

I highly recommend arches made with pixel strips inside of PTFE versus other designs.   I'd be happy to share my design/supplies list with you if desired.   You can see them here: 

 

 

 

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Wow, yea if you could help me with just the arches, that's a nice starting point I believe lol. Which software do you use ? I read so much about rasberry pi, I'm just now learning about all the other options. So now I'm confused even more lol.

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I use S4

Parts list:

 

4-arch kit from Holiday Coro that came with an E1.31 pixel controller ready-to-go in an enclosure with 4 strips.  You can, of course, go with an LOR kit or assemble the components yourself.  One of the LOR kits I mentioned earlier would work nicely.

9.5' length PTFE tubing from McMaster-Carr (https://www.mcmaster.com/#50375K64) for each arch

2 rebar caps per arch: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Blue-Hawk-3-to-7-Plastic-Rebar-Safety-Cap/4067490 - the PTFE fits nicely on these.

2 hose clamps per arch to secure the PTFE to the rebar cap.

Flat steel to act as a base.

Long nails (I use 2 per arch) to keep everything upright on the lawn

Nuts and bolts to secure the rebar caps to the flat steel

Silicone to secure the ends of the strips.

 

Assembly:

Drill holes in the corners of the rebar cap (for the nails) and through the center (to secure it to the flat steel). Insert the  

Use nuts & bolts to secure the rebar caps through the center to the flat steel. 

Fit the PTFE on the rebar caps and use the clamps to secure the ends.  This should be the final shape of your arch.

Cut a small rectangular hole just above the end of each rebar cap on the inside of the arch for the very end of the pixel strip to poke through.

Run your strip through the PTFE, sticking both ends out of the holes you made.   Orient the assembly vertical (standing position) so the strip lays on the bottom inside of the arch and cut the strip to length.  Wire connectors on each end as desired/needed.

Use silicone to seal the ends of the strips. 

 

Display:

Place the assembly upright, and use the nails to secure it upright on the lawn.  Wire connectors to your controller and optionally to other display elements. 

 

 

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I really appreciate the time your taking to explain. So if I buy the kit you mentioned in the earlier post and the arch kit with the controllers... That's pretty much all I need to get started , correct? 

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3 minutes ago, Richard Hamilton said:

JT, really NICE candy canes.  Looks like something custom that you made with RGH strips inside ?

 

I believe those are HC with flat module insid (there is a U-tube)

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1 hour ago, Otto said:

I really appreciate the time your taking to explain. So if I buy the kit you mentioned in the earlier post and the arch kit with the controllers... That's pretty much all I need to get started , correct? 

Maybe.  That controller is E1.31 (DMX over TCP/IP & Ethernet), so you’ll need to connect it to the show computer via Ethernet.  So you’ll need an available network interface (I recommend a separate network for E1.31 alone rather than using your existing network) and cabling.    You could also get an LOR kit that connects right in line with the other LOR controllers that you may have (which use the RS-248 protocol).   Basically, you need a controller, strip(s), PTFE segment(s), and the hardware I mentioned - and the cabling to wire it all up.   The kit I got from HC had strips with connectors on them (in and out), so I ordered extension cables from them as well to go from the controller to the arches.   LOR uses a small sized connector, so you’ll want to be careful in your planning unless you like soldering. :)

 

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I should also note that the arches are MUCH more vibrant in person than on video...  They are ridiculously bright and spectacularly colorful, as are the candy canes.  I plan on building two more arches for next year.  They are my favorite element in the show by far. 

 

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I'm sorry I'm so new to this. I've read forums and watched tutorials and getting started videos etc.. there are so many options and dos and donts..that I get lost.. would you recommend I just start with maybe 4 arches (like yours, the 9' , not the kit which says they are 16') instead of outlining the house as well. I'm gonna start off trying to put at least the Arches together by Halloween.

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Just now, Otto said:

I'm sorry I'm so new to this. I've read forums and watched tutorials and getting started videos etc.. there are so many options and dos and donts..that I get lost.. would you recommend I just start with maybe 4 arches (like yours, the 9' , not the kit which says they are 16') instead of outlining the house as well. I'm gonna start off trying to put at least the Arches together by Halloween.

I have a laptop of course..but that's it. So starting completely fresh and trying to understand as I go. Maybe just starting with the arches would be the best for me. If possible maybe u can link to everything I need to control just those. 

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11 minutes ago, Otto said:

I'm sorry I'm so new to this. I've read forums and watched tutorials and getting started videos etc.. there are so many options and dos and donts..that I get lost.. would you recommend I just start with maybe 4 arches (like yours, the 9' , not the kit which says they are 16') instead of outlining the house as well. I'm gonna start off trying to put at least the Arches together by Halloween.

 

10 minutes ago, Otto said:

I have a laptop of course..but that's it. So starting completely fresh and trying to understand as I go. Maybe just starting with the arches would be the best for me. If possible maybe u can link to everything I need to control just those. 

I use a laptop as my show computer.  Internet connectivity via WiFi, and E1.31 via the wired interface.   

I can give you links, but it depends on whether you want to go LOR controllers/protocol or E1.31.    If you are already using LOR controllers and have wiring out near where you'd put the candy canes, it's hard to argue for E1.31.   

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I seen a program where you actually take a pic of your house and put the lights where they actually are on your house.. seems simple to be able to preview without walking in and outside. 

I'll use whatever you tell me to, seems you know what your doing.. All the numbers and abbreviations are mind boggling right now but I'll learn. Like I said, I'll start with a simple setup of maybe 2 - 4 arches and add on over time when I get the hang of it.

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1 hour ago, Otto said:

I'll use whatever you tell me to, seems you know what your doing.. All the numbers and abbreviations are mind boggling right now but I'll learn. Like I said, I'll start with a simple setup of maybe 2 - 4 arches and add on over time when I get the hang of it.

Are you using LOR controllers today?

 

1 hour ago, Otto said:

I seen a program where you actually take a pic of your house and put the lights where they actually are on your house.. seems simple to be able to preview without walking in and outside. 

 

You are referring to the Visualizer.   I don't actually use it, to be honest.  I kinda see it in my head as I sequence it. 

 

allisequence.jpg

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15 minutes ago, Otto said:

I'm not using anything right now. I have nothing . Lol.. 

OK..  Then that's the first step - choosing a sequencing/display platform.  Since you're on a Light-O-Rama forum, you're mostly going to find people who prefer their platform - and to be honest, while I know that there are others out there, I'm not well versed on them myself, so let's start with the assumption that you will want to use LOR.   Do you want to control "regular" incandescent or LED lights (that plug into regular outlets) as well, or only pixels? 

 

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19 minutes ago, Otto said:

Only pixels for now. Possibly leds later ? 

OK, then I'd recommend using LOR since you can get controllers for both.   

Start with one of the RGB packages here: http://store.lightorama.com/newcococopac.html

You'll need a USB-RS-485 adapter to connect the PC to the controller and the S4 Sequencing Software: http://store.lightorama.com/spk800.html

If you are pretty sure you'll want to add LED lights, you might combine the USB adapter, sequencing software, and a 16-channel controller into a package: http://store.lightorama.com/rese16chstpa.html.  Otherwise, you can add that controller later. 

 

You'll also need to get the audio to your audience.   You can use outdoor speakers and an amp, a low-powered FM radio transmitter, or both.   

For the speakers/amp, just find a solution you like.  I use an old amp from Radio Shack and waterproof speakers I got from Best Buy.  

For the FM transmitter, LOR sells this one: http://store.lightorama.com/whhofmtr20.html

...but I (and many others here) prefer this: https://www.amazon.com/CZH-CZH-05B-Wireless-Broadcast-Transmitter/dp/B01JS39622/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1513803240&sr=8-3&keywords=CZH-05B

 

 

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Sounds good. I really appreciate your time. I've been watching the videos on the sequence editor and pixel editor all day long.. I may go ahead and get that so I can play around with it. 

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18 minutes ago, Otto said:

Sounds good. I really appreciate your time. I've been watching the videos on the sequence editor and pixel editor all day long.. I may go ahead and get that so I can play around with it. 

My pleasure.  If you have questions, ask.  Lots of helpful and friendly folks here that are willing to help.  I know it's a lot to absorb (and most people don't get into the complications of RGB to start!), so definitely go with the assumption that the only stupid question is the unasked one. 

 

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