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rondaxmas

Want Just a mega tree!

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Can someone help me?  I would like to know what to buy to put a mega tree in my yard? Either the ribbons or pixels?  Which is easier to put up?  Would I just need a 16 channel controller and the music director?   I really don't need the FM transmitter that I saw mentioned.  I can connect a speaker and it won't bother the neighbors.  Thanks in Advance for any help!  

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Posted (edited)

Welcome, the first thing you will need to decide is if you want pixels or ribbons. Ribbons are best if you ant to display graphics and a flat front. Pixels are great if if you want design patterns and a tree that is 180 or 360. LOR sells Pixel Tree packages and Ribbon Tree packages in the store. You can watch videos of each on YouTube to decide which you like.

You can also piece your tree together by purchasing the Pixie16 card but I don't think they come assembled in an enclosure. You will need to purchase and enclosure such as the CG1500, one large 12v power supply or two medium ones, and some 12v WS2811 pixels or ribbons. You will also need a RED USB485HS adapter and a Software license with a minimum of Advanced.

These things are easy to build but take some time. If you have the time and want to save some money then build your own. If you don't have the time and money is no option then get the LOR kit.

Figure out exactly what you want and how much you are willing to spend then hit this thread back up.

One more thing, please fill in you profile completely..

Edited by Mr. P

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3 hours ago, rondaxmas said:

 I really don't need the FM transmitter that I saw mentioned.

I'm going to disagree with you.  You really do want to have an FM transmitter, unless the ONLY way people will be viewing your show is by walking through it.  If people will be in their car, you need an FM transmitter.  To make it loud enough that it will be useful inside a car (even with the windows rolled down), it will need to be loud enough to drive neighbors nuts unless you don't have any for a quarter mile or more.  Even then, it will drive you nuts.  I DO recommend having speakers on that can be heard when someone is on the sidewalk in front of your display, but not much louder.  I routinely tell people that the best way to watch my show is to get out of their car and walk the sidewalk, but very few people do.

3 hours ago, rondaxmas said:

I would like to know what to buy to put a mega tree in my yard? Either the ribbons or pixels?  Which is easier to put up?  Would I just need a 16 channel controller and the music director?   

Mr. P brought up some points, but you need to get a little more basic.  Warning:  long answer coming...

Back in the old days, a mega tree was built using traditional Christmas light strings.  Each string was all the same color.  That would be controlled by a standard AC light controller.  The next step up was to tie several strings of different colors together in a bundle - commonly called a "SuperString".  Lots of people ran three or four colors in SuperStrings.  That means that for every string on the tree, you are needing three or four controller channels.  That can add up in a hurry.  For example, a 16 string tree with four colors requires 64 channels (normally four controllers).

Next up is to get away from dumb lights using AC controllers and go to strings of dumb RGB lights and use dumb RGB controllers such as the CMB24D.  This gives the advantage that you can make each string any color you want, but you are still limited to having all the lights on any given string being the same color any any instant in time.  Dumb RGB lights are available in both ribbons or in strings.  More on that later...

The most recent addition to the puzzle is smart RGB.  This allows every light to be individually controlled which gives a huge flexibility in what you are doing.  However your channel count is now in the thousands, so sequencing gets more involved.  The technology changes a lot as well.  Like dumb RGB, smart RGB is also available in strings or ribbons..

Ribbons vs strings.  Like everything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to each.  For the most part, I have a strong preference for strings (although I have a bunch of ribbons).  One advantage of strings is that it is far easier to adjust the spacing of the lights to what you want.  Ribbons are generally fixed.  Most ribbons are sold in five meter lengths with anywhere from 30 to 150 LEDs per meter - 30 being the most common.  I need to clarify something about that one.  Ribbons (particularly 12 volt ones) often have three LEDs per "pixel".  What that means is that a five meter ribbon with 30 LEDs per meter will have 150 LEDs but they are controlled in groups of three, so from a programming standpoint, there are 50 pixels for the string.  This is a annotated view of one end of one of my ribbons shows this:

Planter_strip_backfeed.jpg

The three leftmost LEDs (one barely visible next to the blue heat shrink tubing), are controlled by the black WS2811 chip as a single "pixel".  You CAN buy ribbons that have one LED per pixel (most 5 volt ribbon is this way).  Back to pixel spacing.  With strings, you can mount the pixels at whatever spacing you want as long as that spacing is equal or less than the physical wire length.  For example the first two years my pixel tree had the pixels tied to a steel cable using zip ties.

Pixels_on_cable.sm.jpg

As you can see, I could adjust the spacing to anything that I wanted.  In this case, they are 2.5 inches apart which resulted in 122.5 inches from the center of the top pixel to the center of the bottom pixel.  In 2014, I rebuilt the tree so that the pixels were mounted in half PVC tubing - also with 2.5 inch spacing:

2014_Bottom_of_strip-mounting_detail_1.j

One of the other advantages to strips is repair.  Particularly with smart pixels, you WILL eventually have a pixel fail.  Replacing a pixel in a string is fairly easy (provided you know how to solder).  Replacing a pixel in a ribbon is far harder, and keeping the splice waterproof is a class A bitch.

One more thing to keep in mind - and this applies to ribbons and strips (dumb or smart).  They are generally not mechanically strong enough to suspend them without mechanical support.  You need to support them so that there is little or no tension trying to pull them apart.  When you decide on what type of lights, there are plenty of suggestions on supporting them.  As I commented earlier, I have a bunch of ribbons.  ALL of them are glued to something, mostly brick like the first photo.

OK, that's enough for now...

 

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Posted (edited)

The director audio output is line level.   This means it is not amplified and can not power speakers directly.   You need the 3.5 jack to go to an amplifier, which has a volume control, and to the speakers from there.   Usually your director will be close to the mega tree which means the amplifier will also be near.  So the amp may need weather protection.      I am with Jim on this one.  A small FM transmitter will allow you to have a boom box with a tuned radio in the yard for the walkers with no wires so you can place it in the right spot.  And you can hear in the house and cars can hear on their own radios. 

 

Edited by ItsMeBobO

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An FM transmitter and Tune In Sign are a must!!!!

 

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Agree with others, speakers are ok for walkers or bicycle riders that may pass by and stop and watch for few minutes, but for those in an vehicle, an FM Transmitter IS A MUST and in my opinion a requirement for most displays.   Not only that, if it's cold out, most folks will want to keep warm in their vehicle, window rolled up and with the way cars are practically soundproof today, you'd really have to BLAST those outdoor speakers.  Neighbors WILL NOT be happy with that at all, they may tolerate it for a day or two, but after hearing the same songs day after day {or night}, it will start getting on their nerves.

FM transmitters aren't that expensive, you should be able to get a good one for less than $100 in most cases, depending on where you look.

But I wouldn't even think of operating my display without the use of an FM Transmitter, it keeps the peace between neighbors not having to hear music blaring every day or night.   In my case I play random Christmas songs during all non-show hours over my speakers {softly} and via my FM Transmitter until time for the light show to start, then it goes to that, and at end of show time, I run animation sequences across all my lighted display pieces until 7am, when the Christmas Music starts up again, Transmitter and Speakers get shut down at 10pm Sunday-Thursday, and 11pm on Friday and Saturday.

So both outdoor weatherproof speakers and an FM Transmitter are beneficial to ones musical light display and off-hours holiday music, if provided.

 

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Hi. quick ?...The laptop I just got is so very slow to open, thinking of returning it. Meanwhile, I got the program 4.3 downloaded on my old windows 7 computer and it seems to be working just fine.   Tried it again on the new one and keep getting an error message.  Is this because I can't have it running on 2 computers at once.   

Thanks,  Going to open my box of controllers/CCR Ribbons and that Pixi controller that came with the ribbons later tonight and try to connect to the laptop to see what happens.  So excited for this!

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You have 5 seats included with your licence. So you can have the LOR software installed on up to 5 machines. there will be no effect from having multiple installations. A brand new laptop should not be having any difficulty in loading and running LOR provided it is of reasonable capability. and the software is installed correctly.

You don't say what error you are getting, but It sounds like you should try to reinstall LOR and make sure all the components are loaded and the USB drivers.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, rondaxmas said:

Tried it again on the new one and keep getting an error message.  Is this because I can't have it running on 2 computers at once.   

Your LOR license allows you to install the software on up to five computers at the same time.  You can run any or all of those at the same time.  I very commonly have two running at the same time, and three occasionally.

What error are you getting?

 

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it say error 1706

the 2nd message says "The light o rama visualizer has stopped working. A problem caused the stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify if a solution is available.

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Are you getting that error when you start Visualizer, when you open a Visualization file, when you start playing a sequence, or some other time?  If some other time, when?

 

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Did I miss a call or did you get my robokiller? If you did sorry. Ive been setting up and get on here early, lunch and late night. Just now seeing this thread.

Let me know if I can help you

JR

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Yes I tried calling.  Then ended up in the hospital, and I am just getting back to figuring this out. I am moving all the ccr lights,  pixi16 controller and the extra controller to a game table in my basement to plug everything in to see if it will work. My new laptop says windows can't run LOR because it's on another network.  I ran out of time to send it back to Amazon....so I'm using one of my kids old laptops that I got to work. Just tried again on new laptop,  it says " the feature you are trying to use is on a network resource that is unavailable. Click ok or enter an alternate path to a folder containing the installation package  light o Rama.msi. 

If any of you have time to put what I need on this darn laptop that I can't send back, let me know....I'll pack it up and send it down with prepaid shipping back to me and pay you for your time! Thanks!!

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1 hour ago, rondaxmas said:

Yes I tried calling.  Then ended up in the hospital, and I am just getting back to figuring this out. I am moving all the ccr lights,  pixi16 controller and the extra controller to a game table in my basement to plug everything in to see if it will work. My new laptop says windows can't run LOR because it's on another network.  I ran out of time to send it back to Amazon....so I'm using one of my kids old laptops that I got to work. Just tried again on new laptop,  it says " the feature you are trying to use is on a network resource that is unavailable. Click ok or enter an alternate path to a folder containing the installation package  light o Rama.msi. 

If any of you have time to put what I need on this darn laptop that I can't send back, let me know....I'll pack it up and send it down with prepaid shipping back to me and pay you for your time! Thanks!!

Hmm, never received a call unless my robokiller picked it up.

If you still have my number feel free to test me when you are ready. I will text you back either way. Normally I will make time to stop but if Im driving that's a dif story.

Hope you are feeling better

If you are not busy I will be sitting in my van for 1.5 hours in a few minutes and will gladly talk you through it.

JR

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2 hours ago, rondaxmas said:

If any of you have time to put what I need on this darn laptop that I can't send back, let me know....I'll pack it up and send it down with prepaid shipping back to me and pay you for your time! Thanks!!

What are you trying to install on the laptop in question?  Just the LOR Software suite and which version?

I'll try and get it working for you, will send you a PM with my address and everything once I know what you are needing done, I may be able to do it for you.

Send me a PM with all the info and we can take it from there.

 

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We just need to configure your computer USB that’s all

i got that message 11 times last week because of my stupid update. Computer has never seen the internet but software issues forced me too- it reconfigured all of my LOR networks

JR

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2 hours ago, dibblejr said:

I am moving all the ccr lights,  pixi16 controller and the extra controller to a game table in my basement to plug everything in to see if it will work.

I had to laugh at that one because I do the exact same thing. My pool table in the garage has been my work table for the last 2 years. The kids haven't been playing on it so I'm about ready to sell it and build a bigger workbench LOL.

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2 minutes ago, GriswoldStyle said:

I had to laugh at that one because I do the exact same thing. My pool table in the garage has been my work table for the last 2 years. The kids haven't been playing on it so I'm about ready to sell it and build a bigger workbench LOL.

Hmm. ThAts not my reply, strange.

JR

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Actually you did, but when you said it, it was a quote of what Rondaxmas said.  When GriswoldStyle quoted you, he pulled the text from the quote of Rondaxmas, rather than either the original test that Rondaxmas said or what you replied.

 

Edited by k6ccc

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3 minutes ago, k6ccc said:

Actually you did, but when you said it, it was a quote of what Rondaxmas said.  When GriswoldStyle quoted you, he pulled the text from the quote of Rondaxmas, rather than either the original test that Rondaxmas said or what you replied.

 

Thanks Jim- now I did all of the pw changes and asked admin to look into it for nothing.

Even after you said that it took me a few minutes to find it.

JR

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Sorry wasn't trying to do that. I saw it above highlighted it and quoted it. Meant to quote the other guy but guess when the page rolled on my mobile I scrolled up and grabbed it from the wrong spot lol .. sorry ???

Edited by GriswoldStyle

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58 minutes ago, GriswoldStyle said:

Sorry wasn't trying to do that. I saw it above highlighted it and quoted it. Meant to quote the other guy but guess when the page rolled on my mobile I scrolled up and grabbed it from the wrong spot lol .. sorry ???

No worries, anymore LOL

JR

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Thank you, I finally had some time away from everything and got the software connected and working on my old laptop. I connected some strands of lights onto one regular controller that I bought with the basic version and the lights came on.   I then plugged the CCRs into the Pixi16 Controller   Everything I bought only had one 50 ft cable to connect things to.  And I also bought the E485 connector.   I plugged the 485 connector into the laptop and the other end into the 16 controller.  How do I connect the Pixi16 controller?  Do I need another Connector or wire.   Also, should I buy extra CCR in case one of the ones I bought doesn't work.  I haven't been able to test them yet.  My son is going to home depot with me this weekend to buy the conduit or wood to put the tree together.   I bought the extra 16 controller to use for the 6 channel star for the top of the tree.  What do I do with the other 10 wires on that controller that won't be connected to anything?  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!

 

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15 minutes ago, rondaxmas said:

Thank you, I finally had some time away from everything and got the software connected and working on my old laptop. I connected some strands of lights onto one regular controller that I bought with the basic version and the lights came on.   I then plugged the CCRs into the Pixi16 Controller   Everything I bought only had one 50 ft cable to connect things to.  And I also bought the E485 connector.   I plugged the 485 connector into the laptop and the other end into the 16 controller.  How do I connect the Pixi16 controller?  Do I need another Connector or wire.   Also, should I buy extra CCR in case one of the ones I bought doesn't work.  I haven't been able to test them yet.  My son is going to home depot with me this weekend to buy the conduit or wood to put the tree together.   I bought the extra 16 controller to use for the 6 channel star for the top of the tree.  What do I do with the other 10 wires on that controller that won't be connected to anything?  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!

 

Yes, you need to connect another cable from the AC controller to the pixie, or from the adapter to the pixie and from pixie to AC, the order doesn't matter

Hopefully you purchased the red 485 adapter since it can be used for any network and speed

Call if you need to, I can give you some advice as well

 

JR

Edited by dibblejr

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