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dkoehler42

New Controller and Old Controller

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I'm looking into the new 1602 controller with the MP3 add on, as I've had problems with my show misbehaving with a computer attached.  My concern is that I'm using Lightlinkers and an original 1602 box currently.  If I pick up this new one, is there going to be any issue with a newer box with the MP3 unit controlling an older unit?

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No problem at all.  About the only thing that the older controller can’t do is operate on an enhanced network.

i would be more concerned with why the older controller with is having trouble communicating with a computer.  My first guess would be with the ELLs.  Try using a cable temporarily for a test instead of the ELLs and see if that eliminates the Comm problem.

 

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4 hours ago, k6ccc said:

No problem at all.  About the only thing that the older controller can’t do is operate on an enhanced network.

i would be more concerned with why the older controller with is having trouble communicating with a computer.  My first guess would be with the ELLs.  Try using a cable temporarily for a test instead of the ELLs and see if that eliminates the Comm problem.

 

Forgive my naievety, but I'm a little behind on LOR.  What is the enhanced network?

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Enhanced network were added with S4.  Using enhanced networks allows a larger number of channel commands per network - which generally means more channels.  Because of changes in the data, older controllers can’t support enhanced networks, and some newer ones require firmware updates in order to do so.  Use of enhanced networks also requires a Pro level LOR software license.  If you are only running a few 16 channel controllers, you don’t need to use enhanced - unless you want to run Pixel Editor (which requires it).

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks to Jim for the explanation on an enhanced network!

I have been out of this stuff since 2014 and am trying to get back into it and make a few "informed decisions" on which way to proceed with future display items.  I have 21 of the older style LOR controllers and have always just run my shows using the LOR setup for channels and such but while watching things proceed over the last couple of years in this hobby (notably pixel usage and xLights software), I am seemingly more confused (imagine that!) on running things!  I am not looking to jump into using thousands of pixels but can see where they can add to the fun and excitement of a display.  I am really not a fan of making a display that looks like a Vegas strip front or being clinically pure straight lines and video screen style matrix.  I tend to like the more traditional look of lights myself.

I have seen people who have been LOR users for many years changing over to xLights for sequencing and running shows but it seems like they have to set up things to run as DMX first before converting?  I have never run my setup or controllers in DMX so that is a point that confuses me.

Also, how do we integrate pixels into our LOR setups with S5 and enhanced network setups if we have all older controllers?  Does it mean that I will end up running something like 2 networks (one the "old style" straight LOR and then another one in E1.31 for pixels)?  I imagine that most of you have already gone over this stuff and my apology if it is "old news" stuff but I really would like to learn and know more about things without getting told to go watch videos (although if someone gives me a link to a video that actually helps explain it then I certainly don't mind)!

I got blasted over on one of the DIY forums for trying to help out someone with a LOR question on a thread for LOR when a developer jumped me about "having to hold my hand" with xLights, so I am hesitant to ask much anymore.  Guess I may just be getting too old for all this stuff and am thinking of giving up some days, to be honest.

So can someone point me to a source to learn things about getting pixels into a standard LOR setup style without thinking that I am asking the world?  I sure would appreciate help getting up to date after 4 years off, please.

I will add that I have watched around 25 hours of videos on xLights so far and have yet to have found the answers to my questions about LOR and xLights if that helps any with all this!  Sorry for so long a posts but confusion and frustration are tough things to explain in a couple of sentences! 

Edited by beeiilll

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First thing.  Forget xLights.  You do NOT need to move to xLights.  From your description, you are planning on staying with a relatively small channel count.  As I understand it, the largest reason for going to xLights is large channel counts.  Personally, I have no plans to leave LOR software - and I'm running 66K channels this year.  This is my opinion, but as I understand it, xLights is essentially very similar to Pixel Editor (which I substantially dislike), so I see very little reason to even look at xLights - and no one has ever come up with a reason for me to try it.

As for DMX, using LOR software, you CAN drive all or part of your display with DMX if you want or need to.  An example of NEED to is if you have some stage spotlights that use a DMX interface.  You can also use E1.31 which is DMX over ethernet.  E1.31 is VERY commonly used for pixels.  In my case, my 2017 display was over 75% E1.31.  For 2018, it will be about 95% E1.31 despite adding over 100 channels on LOR controllers.

As for networking, let me explain a couple. 

LOR non-enhanced network:  Uses RS-485 as an electrical interface, so you use a LOR USB to RS-485 adapter.  LOR has two versions of the adapter, the older black adapters which officially work up to 115K speed, and the newer red adapters that support up to 1,000K speed.  Some people have reported being able to use the black adapters at higher speed, however my advise is that ANY time someone buys a LOR USB to RS-485 adapter, that they buy the high speed adapters (they are only $2.00 more).

LOR Enhanced network:  Uses the same electrical interface as non-enhanced networks.  If you use intensity files (optional with SuperStar, required with Pixel Editor), you MUST use enhanced networking.  Note that you can NOT detect inputs on an enhanced network, so if you use inputs on controllers or InputPup controllers, they MUST reside on a non-enhanced network.

DMX:  Uses the same electrical interface as LOR networks, although the wiring MAY be different (depending on the hardware).  More on that part if you need it.  You can use LOR USB to RS-485 adapters for DMX, but there are specialized DMX adapters that CAN work better.  Again, more on that if desired.  DMX is the standard interface for the stage lighting industry.

E1.31:  This is the same data protocol as DMX except that the data is encapsulated in ethernet frames and runs over an ethernet LAN.  Because of the far higher speeds that an ethernet network can run, it is possible to fun FAR more lighting channels over an E1.31 network  than either LOR of DMX.

I can give you more details on all of what I just said, and more than happy to get you on the phone to better explain stuff too.

I hope this has helped.

 

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Thanks, Jim that does help clear out some of the cobwebs a bit! :D

Since I have older controllers I would "assume" (hate that term, to be honest) that I should stay with a non-enhanced network then or would it work to shift to using E1.31 and run my controllers in DMX style?  I can't say that I fully understand why to use DMX over the LOR other than the possible speed increase that DMX is supposed to give other than when using DMX fixtures with a display?  I have the DMX adapter (idmx1000) from LOR that I bought years ago when I picked up one LED spotlight but have never gotten around to trying it yet.

I have the USB-RS485B with booster adapter for my display now.  I have never tried to play with the speed on the network as it has always just worked fine with the "factory settings" of things so far.  Guess I will have to go look at the hardware settings on my show computer and see what it actually is (boy that sounds like I am not very knowledgeable now doesn't it :blink:).  So is there any real reason to get the USB-RS485-HS adapter at this point?

Or, can I run a non-enhanced mode and then use E1.31 for pixels later on using a separate network "line" (ie - 2 network "signals" from the computer)?

Yea, I would rather not switch to xLights as I can't really see any reason too myself.  And with S5 being "similar" to what xLights is (in my limited knowledge of each), I will just stay with LOR.

I think I know just enough to be dangerous to myself at this point! :rolleyes:  As it slowly sinks in I will be better able to know which way to go with things I think.

And again as well, Thanks for the help.

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8 minutes ago, beeiilll said:

Since I have older controllers I would "assume" (hate that term, to be honest) that I should stay with a non-enhanced network then or would it work to shift to using E1.31 and run my controllers in DMX style?  I can't say that I fully understand why to use DMX over the LOR other than the possible speed increase that DMX is supposed to give other than when using DMX fixtures with a display? 

Correct - the likelyhood is that your older controllers do not support enhanced networking.  As far as I know, if the controller has a green status LED, it is Gen3 and will handle enhanced, and if it's red, it is older and won't.  There is really nothing to be gained by moving to DMX - UNLESS you have DMX only controllers.  In fact, you can put more channels on a LOR network than on a DMX network.

14 minutes ago, beeiilll said:

I have the DMX adapter (idmx1000) from LOR that I bought years ago when I picked up one LED spotlight but have never gotten around to trying it yet.

The iDMX is perfect for someone who is running LOR networking and needs a fairly small number of DMX channels, but does not want to run a separate network.  Your one DMX spotlight is a perfect example of a use for the iDMX.

17 minutes ago, beeiilll said:

I have the USB-RS485B with booster adapter for my display now.  I have never tried to play with the speed on the network as it has always just worked fine with the "factory settings" of things so far.  Guess I will have to go look at the hardware settings on my show computer and see what it actually is (boy that sounds like I am not very knowledgeable now doesn't it :blink:).  So is there any real reason to get the USB-RS485-HS adapter at this point?

The Booster adapter is generally used when you need to power one end of an ELL link.  Since the default speed (56K if I remember right) is working fine for you, there is little reason to buy another adapter.  The only reason to buy another adapter is to have a spare, or if you need to go to higher speed at some later date.  BTW, one of my standard recommendations is to have a spare USB to RS-485 adapter.  The reason is that if that fails, your entire show is dead until you receive a replacement. 

21 minutes ago, beeiilll said:

Or, can I run a non-enhanced mode and then use E1.31 for pixels later on using a separate network "line" (ie - 2 network "signals" from the computer)?

If / when you start using E1.31 for pixels, it would connect via an ethernet LAN (either the same LAN that you use for other stuff for the house or a separate dedicated LAN just for E1.31 traffic).  Another one of my standard recommendations is that if you are running E1.31 in addition to LOR networking, use a different color cable.  It makes it at least harder to plug a cable into the wrong type of device (which CAN be bad).  In my case, my E1.31 LAN uses green cable, my "normal" home LAN uses blue cable, and my LOR networks use purple cable.

25 minutes ago, beeiilll said:

Yea, I would rather not switch to xLights as I can't really see any reason too myself.  And with S5 being "similar" to what xLights is (in my limited knowledge of each), I will just stay with LOR.

I'm going to clarify that statement a bit.  xLights is similar to Pixel Editor (or the Pixel Editor portion of S5).  The Sequencer in S5 is similar to the Sequence Editor in S3 and S4.  The big difference is that in S4, Sequence Editor, Pixel Editor, and SuperStar are all separate programs, where in S5, The Sequence Editor and Pixel Editor functions are in one program and SuperStar is sort of integrated.

 

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Thanks again.

As far as network, I would plan to use a totally separate network for my show stuff.  I have a separate show computer that is not on the internet and use it for all my LOR stuff.  I figure that I can always add another network card if necessary to it for other uses if it comes down to it.  I have another AP (TP-Link wa7201) that I picked up to play with EsPixelsticks as well as tinkering with doing wireless stuff in case I do get into pixels.

I do have a spare USB-RS485B as well.  I just went ahead and bought them years ago when I got started as I was trying to look ahead as much as possible at that time.

I agree with you on the different color cable aspect as well!  I have a scrolling LED sign that I use for announcements and such and it runs from the show computer as well.  I have its Cat cable run out of the house as red so I know that it is the sign and not the LOR network which I use different colors with for lengths and to allow me to know which portion of the display that the signal is running too.  Although once I get a foot of snow, all bets are off and things are pretty much on their own but it helps during setup.

Thanks too for the difference between xLights and S5!  Since I pretty much have never used S4 (although I have it on a computer), I have skipped a lot of the new things that LOR can do.  That is why I decided to just download S5 and get used to it rather than learn S4 at this point pretty much.  I do have a lot to learn in S5 though but I have set up my house and have been making props for all my display items so far!  I am going to rework my sequences as far as controller layout orders prior to importing them into S5 as of now to make things a bit easier when I get all the props made up and things divided up into different groups but this is all a part of relearning things and getting used to new software for me.

Well, back to reading and learning slowly each day!  Plus almost time to think about what to make today for dinner for me and the ladies of the house!

I'm sure I will have questions in the coming days and months but always nice to pick up knowledge.

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On ‎4‎/‎6‎/‎2018 at 9:32 AM, k6ccc said:

First thing.  Forget xLights.  You do NOT need to move to xLights.  From your description, you are planning on staying with a relatively small channel count.  As I understand it, the largest reason for going to xLights is large channel counts.  Personally, I have no plans to leave LOR software - and I'm running 66K channels this year.  This is my opinion, but as I understand it, xLights is essentially very similar to Pixel Editor (which I substantially dislike), so I see very little reason to even look at xLights - and no one has ever come up with a reason for me to try it.

As for DMX, using LOR software, you CAN drive all or part of your display with DMX if you want or need to.  An example of NEED to is if you have some stage spotlights that use a DMX interface.  You can also use E1.31 which is DMX over ethernet.  E1.31 is VERY commonly used for pixels.  In my case, my 2017 display was over 75% E1.31.  For 2018, it will be about 95% E1.31 despite adding over 100 channels on LOR controllers.

As for networking, let me explain a couple. 

Quote

LOR non-enhanced network:  Uses RS-485 as an electrical interface, so you use a LOR USB to RS-485 adapter.  LOR has two versions of the adapter, the older black adapters which officially work up to 115K speed, and the newer red adapters that support up to 1,000K speed.  Some people have reported being able to use the black adapters at higher speed, however my advise is that ANY time someone buys a LOR USB to RS-485 adapter, that they buy the high speed adapters (they are only $2.00 more).

LOR Enhanced network:  Uses the same electrical interface as non-enhanced networks.  If you use intensity files (optional with SuperStar, required with Pixel Editor), you MUST use enhanced networking.  Note that you can NOT detect inputs on an enhanced network, so if you use inputs on controllers or InputPup controllers, they MUST reside on a non-enhanced network.

DMX:  Uses the same electrical interface as LOR networks, although the wiring MAY be different (depending on the hardware).  More on that part if you need it.  You can use LOR USB to RS-485 adapters for DMX, but there are specialized DMX adapters that CAN work better.  Again, more on that if desired.  DMX is the standard interface for the stage lighting industry.

E1.31:  This is the same data protocol as DMX except that the data is encapsulated in ethernet frames and runs over an ethernet LAN.  Because of the far higher speeds that an ethernet network can run, it is possible to fun FAR more lighting channels over an E1.31 network  than either LOR of DMX.

I can give you more details on all of what I just said, and more than happy to get you on the phone to better explain stuff too.

I hope this has helped.

 

Jim,

After our conversation last night about all things LOR, I have decided to ditch the mini director idea and run out and buy a computer (on tigerdirect). Now, the issue I have is that I currently have the non high speed adapter. I want to get my show up and running by Halloween. Should I chance it (with fingers crossed) hoping that the old black adapter will do the trick and possibly not have the show up and running on Halloween? or should I order one of the red adapters?

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4 hours ago, GrenzTravis said:

Jim,

After our conversation last night about all things LOR, I have decided to ditch the mini director idea and run out and buy a computer (on tigerdirect). Now, the issue I have is that I currently have the non high speed adapter. I want to get my show up and running by Halloween. Should I chance it (with fingers crossed) hoping that the old black adapter will do the trick and possibly not have the show up and running on Halloween? or should I order one of the red adapters?

If you have the pixie controllers MOST I have found will work with the black adapter. At least that’s what the majority of the people I have helped since it’s no longer stayed the HS adapter is a requirement. Seems no one buys ir

BTW- as long as you have 1 network the mini Director can control pixies along with your ac controllers.

My show computer took a dump last Halloween- I consolidated 5 networks into the LOR network at  500k enhanced

All controllers must be gen3 at this speed

Jr

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I am beginning to feel like a newbie even though I’ve been running shows for several years now. I recently got into CCRs and pixels and it is a whole new world. I also just recently dove into sequencing with S5 and Super Star instead of buying all of my sequences like I have in the previous years. I had been running my show with the showtime central package with the mini director and the fm transmitter. I thought I’d be able to run my pixie16 controllers off this, but I just realized that I have the older mini director that won’t run the enhanced 500K network.

Anyways…long story short. I plugged my USB485 adapter into my computer and tried to run a sequence that I built. Two of my 5 controllers wouldn’t produce any effects. So the troubleshooting began. I went in to the hardware utility to test the units. They tested fine (all the lights came on). I looked into my sequence to make sure that all my channels were configured correctly and that there was actually effects on those channels. There is. I am at a loss.

Network information:

First off, I am running these all on an enhanced 500K network, but I am using the black USB485 adapter. I know that this is not ideal, but I have heard that people don’t normally have issues with it running the higher speeds. Also, if you look at my list of units below, you will see that both of my Pixie units are working fine.

Unit01- CTB16PCG3 (not working)

Unit02- CTB16PCG3 (working fine)

Unit03- LOR1602WG3 (not working)

Unit04-Pixie16 (working fine)

Unit05-Pixie16 (working fine)

Please let me know if any of you have any ideas what might be going on…I am pulling my hair out. Thanks

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The most noticeable thing in you controller description is the Unit04 and Unit05 for the Pixie16s. You do know that each Pixie16 will use 16 Unit IDs so at 04 and 05 they would be sharing ports and pretty much doing the same thing.

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Agree with Mr P.

KISS  Make Pixie16 #1  ID 10, make #2 ID 20  (since ID's are Hex, that is 10-1F, 20-2F), makes it easy-peasey  16's. Gaps in ID's are allowed as long as you don't have too low of a license. Pro has no issues

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Sorry... I didn't mean that they were labeled unit 4 and unit 5... one is 4 and the other one is 14... I figured out my issue for anyone else that might have this problem. It was the firmware on the older controllers. Downloaded firmware and everything is good. All ready to go. Light em up!

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On ‎10‎/‎23‎/‎2018 at 11:48 AM, TheDucks said:

Agree with Mr P.

KISS  Make Pixie16 #1  ID 10, make #2 ID 20  (since ID's are Hex, that is 10-1F, 20-2F), makes it easy-peasey  16's. Gaps in ID's are allowed as long as you don't have too low of a license. Pro has no issues

Winner, keep them in order. All of mine are in order.

JR

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22 minutes ago, dibblejr said:

Winner, keep them in order. All of mine are in order.

JR

I blocked mine out to match the LOR standard for their sequences (sold in their store)

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Good idea! If I change them, will I need to insert the ss effect back in? Or will it just recognize it?

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50 minutes ago, GrenzTravis said:

Good idea! If I change them, will I need to insert the ss effect back in? Or will it just recognize it?

Haven't got that far. Just got up to making the Pixels do anything except All ON this season. (have a chases along the gutter line)

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