Jump to content
Light-O-Rama Forums
Platinumcd

Just getting started please help.

Recommended Posts

I just bought 2 controllers when LOR had their sale recently. They are both LOR1602Wg3 Computerized 18 spring. I am thinking about trying to do something for Halloween to get me started before O try and tackle Christmas. I have never done any of this. I have my fm transmitter as well. What kind of lights would you recommend to start out with to do a Halloween display ?  Thanks in advance 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

L.E.D. Full Wave are the best if you can afford them. 

I started out with Orange strands {8 strands of 70} and Purple {8 strands of 70}, basically bought at most retail stores or discount places like Big Lots/Odd Lots, even thrift store finds, or garage sales as well as E-Bay for Halloween stuff when I was doing Halloween displays,.

I also bought Halloween style Blow Molds, i.e. Ghosts, Styrofoam Jack-O'-Lanterns, Witches, the BM's and J-O'-L's were all C7 incandescent bulbs and I had some Orange incandescent Arches {4}, but thee Arches two up almost an entire controller 12 of the 16 channels, and the Orange and Purple strands = 16 strands, so they needed a 16 channel controller just for them.  Then the Blow Molds and Pumpkins took up a 3rd controller.  By the time I was done, Advanced license, 80 channels = 5 controllers. LOL

You probably won't have as much as I started with, although I didn't think I was going to need more than2 controllers when I started with this hobby either, but before 2 months were up, I ended up with 5 controllers and 80 channels of lighting control because I kept buying more and more stuff, then had to move from Basic Plus to Advanced to be able to use all of the controllers.  

It's why the majority of us here will always say buy the highest license level you can afford, that way as your hobby grows you don't have to worry about why isn't my new controller I just added working?   Advanced is good, Pro is better, especially if you are ever going to go with RGB lighting of any kind, plus no limitations on the number of controllers you can add, along with opening up some special tools that make sequencing a little easier at times.

Good Luck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Orville for the input !! I appreciate it. Is Full Wave a brand ? Sorry just starting day 1 here. Have a link you could share by chance ??

Edited by Platinumcd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Platinumcd said:

Thanks Orville for the input !! I appreciate it. Is Full Wave a brand ? Sorry just starting day 1 here. Have a link you could share by chance ??

Full Wave means the L.E.D.s on a strand so designated when faded up or down{Dimmed} won't flicker, it's noticeable to some folks, but not everyone pays attention to it, just us light show folks. 

Usually store bought brands are what they call half-wave and will flicker when faded up or down.  It's not a name brand, just a term used to describe the property of the L.E.D. strand.  Been out of the electronics loop for a long while now, so can't explain it like some of the others here can.

If you can afford them, get sealed strands, these type strands have non-replaceable L.e.D. bulbs, so they are more and better weatherproofed than most retail store brands that can rust out in the socket or on the L.E.D.'s leads, causing failure and non working strings.

If you check out the vendor section of the forums, you'll find a lot of websites that sell these type L.E.D. strands, they are more expensive than retail store, but in a pinch you can use retail store brands.  But be careful NOT to buy any Martha Stewart brand of L.E.D. strands, when dimming{fading} these L.E.D. strands they tend to overheat, and there has been stories of them literally bursting into flames and catching fire.  Avoid those at all costs.

If you do buy store brands, read the box label and see if they are full wave or half wave, and also dimmable, then they'll work with your controllers just fine.

Hope this helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you don’t have cold weather and snow to worry about, I got nearly all my mini lights (nearly 80k) from Walmart.  No issues for 4 years..... but if you have snow you really want sealed

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, ericm said:

If you don’t have cold weather and snow to worry about, I got nearly all my mini lights (nearly 80k) from Walmart.  No issues for 4 years..... but if you have snow you really want sealed

Big Walmart fan here myself. No problems with the minis, an occasional problem with c7-c9's however the 50' fall they make each year may cause some of those problems. Yes I rent a JLG to install but for take down a quick pull and down the come. I have shrubs so they soften the blow (a tad)

JR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Red lights for Halloween is a good start since you can use them for Christmas as well. Also cool white. It's pretty close to Halloween so you may want to focus more on Christmas sequencing. You can search the forums search bar up top for "sharing". Get as many sequences as you can within the next few days as most people will be too busy on their displays too focus on sharing after that. The next thing is to search through all the topics of anyone sharing sequences and grab them while you can once it gets busy very few people will be able to sign on to send them to you. Just go to the threads and ask people that are offering to share to send them to you you can take bits and pieces of their sequence and use it in yours.

90 % of my led lights are Walmart brand. It's cheap, they work, and have no problems. Whatever you do avoid Martha Stewart lights or any lights that have a small controller on them. Anything that has a box on the wire avoid because you cannot fade those or you can burn them up. I mean if you can afford full wave LED that's great but many of us out here don't use it simply because of the cost. I normally buy the Holiday Time 100 led strings at Walmart or the reels of 100 diamond bright c-9's. Walmart will start putting their lights on the website within the next week or two and you can get free shipping right to your door.

Personally I have found Halloween quality lights are just not as good as the quality they offer for Christmas. Normally the wires are black but thinner for some reason. I use Christmas lights as well for Halloween but this year there's only three colors on the perimeter of the roof in two colors on the perimeter of the PVC fence that I put up. The rest of it is focusing on the RGB floods and RGB tombstones i made. 

on a side note if you are using S4, to really grasp the idea of this look for John storms tutorials on light O Rama on YouTube. He has four different tutorials and they will really give you the basics to get you started. Depending on what software you use. If you use the S5 version of the software there's really not a lot of tutorials out on it yet since it literally just released a month ago. S5 is more 4 pixels but if you're just getting started I would suggest learning S4 it's much easier and there's lots of tutorials out there. with only two controllers I really don't think you're ready for S5 yet as it focuses more on pixels.

Edited by GriswoldStyle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also on a side note you can Google search lightorama free sequence download and find sites that offer sequences that you can copy and paste into yours to get you started your first year. Such as http://www.highcountrylights.com/links/hcl-sequences.html

The only thing you have to do is find the matching audio which normally is easy because if you open up the sequence and go to the edit then scroll down to media file it will tell you the name of the song that most people used. Then just look at the length of the song in the sequence and Google search the name of the song and that length time and find one that matches.

for the next week and a half I am here to help if you need anything or pointers but after that I get started on Halloween and Christmas setup and will not be in the forums very much as well as many other people will not be here. A good start would be to post another topic that says you are new here and starting out and ask if anybody has sequences to get you started then post your email address you probably will be flooded with sequences because in this community most people have shared with us to get us started and we always give back it's the name of the game. just remember don't share anything that people have shared with you without their permission. And most importantly do not sell sequences or you may get cut off from people who are sharing. 

Welcome to the Hobby or as many of us like to call it the addiction. I started with 16 channels my first year I'm now up to four AC controllers and three RGB controllers and two pixel controllers and it's only my third year LOL

Edited by GriswoldStyle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, when I started I used Wal-Mart, Wal-Green's, CVS, Target, K-Mart, Big Lots, Sears, ACE Hardware, Home Depot, Lowes, Garden Ridge {now called "At Home" in my area}, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree and other Everything's a Dollar type stores, Thrift Stores such as Goodwill and Salvation Army and also E-Bay to buy my Halloween and Christmas lights and/or Blow Molds if they sold them.  Usually found Blow Molds at K-Mart and Garden Ridge {"At Home" in my area} or on E-Bay{Buy It Now option}.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got a throwback for you Orville, What about Scotty's hardware? Lol we used to go there in the early 90s when I first started doing displays as a teen.

Edited by GriswoldStyle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, GriswoldStyle said:

I got a throwback for you Orville, What about Scotty's hardware? Lol we used to go there in the early 90s when I first started doing displays as a teen.

Are they even still around?   We used to have a lot of them around here, but all gone now.  So I have no idea if any still exist anywhere else.

But yes, used to go there quite a bit, there was another store that I can't recall the name of similar to Home Depot and Scotty's, but they lasted about a year, maybe 2 and folded up out of sight here in my area too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Orville said:

Are they even still around?   We used to have a lot of them around here, but all gone now.  So I have no idea if any still exist anywhere else.

But yes, used to go there quite a bit, there was another store that I can't recall the name of similar to Home Depot and Scotty's, but they lasted about a year, maybe 2 and folded up out of sight here in my area too.

They left back in 2004 I think. they were based out of Winter Haven but had stores all over Florida they ended up filing for bankruptcy. That's all we used to have in some parts of Florida before Scotty's and Home Depot really took over everywhere. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

90% of all my light strings are GE LED.  Although on the box it does not list full wave or dimmable.....they are

GE StayBright 70-Count 17.25-ft Constant Warm White C5 LED Plug-In Indoor/Outdoor Christmas String Lights ENERGY STAR

However at 10$ per box at lowes or HD it gets pretty spendy.  This year 2 of my mega trees will have 4 colors, 48 light strings, and 32 channels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just about all the big box store led lights, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes etc, etc are goinfg to be half wave.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Mr. P said:

Just about all the big box store led lights, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes etc, etc are goinfg to be half wave.

Last year when I looked at L.E.D. lights at target, just about every box stated they were full wave on them. 

Wal-Mart didn't say, but I think Home Depot also had some that stated they were full wave.  You have to look all over the box to find it though, it was only printed in one area of the box and not in very large print either.  Most often they are half-wave, but sometimes you get lucky. 

Usually if they have a bump on the strand, sometimes depending on length and number of L.E.D. bulbs, could be up to 3 of these bumps{which house the full wave circuitry} they usually are most often full wave. 

If they don't have the bump, then half wave is usually normal for those.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Mr. P said:

Just about all the big box store led lights, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes etc, etc are goinfg to be half wave.

I have no issues at fading with any of the lights I have from any of those stores.  all fade just fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, ericm said:

I have no issues at fading with any of the lights I have from any of those stores.  all fade just fine.

The issue with half wave lights isn't so much of the fading, it's the flickering. Most people can't see them flicker but some can. Personally I can see them flicker but only when a string is turned on and left on. When the show is running my lights uaually aren't on long enough to notice.

Led lights work by cycling on and off so many times per second. Full wave lights cycle 120X a second.whereas half wave lights cycle 60X a second so some people can see the flicker in the lower cycle.

Most retail stores sell the half wave lights as they are cheaper to make usually going around $10 a box. Full wave lights cost more to make and are usually $25+ for a 100 string.

Edited by Mr. P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I have a lot of Walmart holiday time lights are they half or full wave then. Will they hurt the controler if they are half?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ~DOC~ said:

So I have a lot of Walmart holiday time lights are they half or full wave then. Will they hurt the controler if they are half?

No problems whatsoever. Read my post above. I am a big fan of them. But for color options I buy from some of the vendors here.

I have never had a problem with the minis. I actually have more brand new boxes in my garage than my Walmart currently has in the store. I do have an occasional problem with my c7 and c9 however I contribute that to the 50' dead fall they take from my roof every year. But even with that I don't have many problems.

Wont hurt the controllers a bit, unless it falls with the lights. LOL

JR

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ~DOC~ said:

So I have a lot of Walmart holiday time lights are they half or full wave then. Will they hurt the controler if they are half?

I have nearly 80k of walmarts lights in my show, in 5 years not one string has failed.  Now I also do not have cold weather and snow to deal with down in Houston, but I usually clear out 2 or 3 stores the day after christmas clearance sales.  I have spent the money on sealed full wave lights in 2 places... My singing trees, and my C9 bulbs I line my roof, roof peaks, yard and flower beds with.  Other then that all my stuff is walmart. Warm white, red, green and working on collecting blue.  I have no issues with flickers and any of the dimming curves that are used. 

Edited by ericm
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, ericm said:

I have nearly 80k of walmarts lights in my show, in 5 years not one string has failed.  Now I also do not have cold weather and snow to deal with down in Houston, but I usually clear out 2 or 3 stores the day after christmas clearance sales.  I have spent the money on sealed full wave lights in 2 places... My singing trees, and my C9 bulbs I line my roof, roof peaks, yard and flower beds with.  Other then that all my stuff is walmart. Warm white, red, green and working on collecting blue.  I have no issues with flickers and any of the dimming curves that are used. 

Blue 100 ct was next to impossible to find here last year. Must have been a shortage.

My hook head broke on the MT and the guy wires to my tower cut about 10 strands. I was forced to take my arches and many of my mini trees apart to use the blue strands.

This year I already see blue 50’s on the shelf but no 100’s. If I see them I plan on buying the entire pallet even at their premium price.

JR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, dibblejr said:

Blue 100 ct was next to impossible to find here last year. Must have been a shortage.

Big Lots, I got 50 boxes of blue C6's last year @ $1 a box after the Holidays.

Edited by Mr. P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My suggestion is the At Home store if available in your area, especially when they drop prices to 50-75% off AFTER the holidays. Think ahead for next year, you don’t need to know exactly what you are doing with the lights, but buy a bunch and think in groups of 4. I think I added about 60-80 light strands, good quality extension cords (probably 20), 2 inflatables, led 2 foot tall ornaments.....all for about $200 after Christmas. They will make up my leaping arches this year and other options. 

I also got a 15 foot tall family of three polar bears from sams for about $40....down from $200. No clue where that’s going!  Need to cut down some bushes!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Goldie1970 said:

My suggestion is the At Home store if available in your area, especially when they drop prices to 50-75% off AFTER the holidays. Think ahead for next year, you don’t need to know exactly what you are doing with the lights, but buy a bunch and think in groups of 4. I think I added about 60-80 light strands, good quality extension cords (probably 20), 2 inflatables, led 2 foot tall ornaments.....all for about $200 after Christmas. They will make up my leaping arches this year and other options. 

I also got a 15 foot tall family of three polar bears from sams for about $40....down from $200. No clue where that’s going!  Need to cut down some bushes!

Oh i never really know what i am going to do with the ones I buy....just buy everything I can and figure out later... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×