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kd7jur

Advice for Getting Started

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Hello All,

I have finally decided to start down the LOR path this year, but can't exacty figure out EVERYTHING i will need in order to do what i want.

To start, i presently do not have any LOR equipment, or anything like it.

My current holiday lighting setup currently uses the Philips Illuminate system on the peaks of my house (link: https://smile.amazon.com/Philips-Illuminate-Faceted-Smartphone-Controlled/dp/B00R4ZBB0C?sa-no-redirect=1)

  1. This is an RGB app controlled holiday lighting system, but by no means as powerful as LOR
  2. My current system has 1 controller with 3 strings wired in series
    1. We currently run 1 string per peak (see attached picture, light path in marked in red)
  3. Quality is sub par, and I'm getting rid of it...

What i want to do is:

  1. Keep the current path of lights on the peak (ie. 3 strings, 1 on each peak) (see attached picture, light path in marked in red)
  2. Have indiviual bulb RGB control (smart pixels)
  3. would like to be able to sequence each string individually (i would guess this means 1 string per channel of a controller)

Can anybody point me in the right direction of where to start?

I have found the CCC-II Kits, more specifically for what i want, the "NEW CCB" kit (http://store.lightorama.com/ncccococoiiw2.html), but would need to buy 2 of these to accomplish the 3 light strings that i want to run.

And that is all i have pretty much figured out... I also know i can buy the RGB Bulb Strings indivually (http://store.lightorama.com/12vwhrgbbu50.html) then would need some sort of controller, the Pixie4 (http://store.lightorama.com/pismpico.html)i believe would fulfill my requirements, but this appears to be just a control board with no power supply or enclosure.

 

 

What i'm asking is

  1. What Hardware will i need to accomplish my goal
  2. What software will i need to sequence it
  3. Will the ShowTime Director (http://www1.lightorama.com/stand-alone-show-directors/) or ShowTime Central (http://www1.lightorama.com/showtime-central/) control the Pixels, or is a PC required?

 

Also, I do plan on expanding in the future, just wanting something small to get started (both in a learning and using capacity)

 

Peak Lights.jpg

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1- If your current lights are three wires you “should” be able to cut the connectors off to splice to one of LOR’s pixie controllers. 

I would suggest 2 pixie 4’s which mean some building on your part. I have video segments of how to build a pixie controller.

You could use a pixie8 and if you are not comfortable building your own a pre built pixie16 is great and would leave you expansion down the road.

Though my roof line is much larger than yours they are very similar and we share all of our sequences.

In the event your current lights will not work with a dif controller most of us have our favorite suppliers of light strings or strips.

2- you will need software and a computer to sequence the light.

The directors play the show and outside of controlling the show have nothing to do with sequencing. 

Feel free to pm me for additional help/ info.

JR

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And a Show Director unit will still require a PC to move the sequences for your show onto the Show Director via the Hub software that comes with the LOR Suite.  Once moved onto the Director and the Director either using an adapter or powered from the nearest controller via a Cat5 link to the first controller will no longer require the computer to run the show. 

And as my friend JR states, no matter what type lights you have, you will still need a computer and some kind of lighting software {preferably LOR Software, but others out here use other software} to sequence the lights to your props, lights, etc. and then create your show to put on the SD Card the Show Director uses.  

And those DIY kits, you have to purchase your own enclosure and proper power supply to power them and the lights, as they do not come with power supplies or enclosures.

 

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There are CosmicColor * packages that come with a Pixie2 (which has a power brick included. but that is not weatherized). This is a great way for outlines, as Pixiels relly dislike long cable (from controller) runs.

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6 hours ago, dibblejr said:

1- If your current lights are three wires you “should” be able to cut the connectors off to splice to one of LOR’s pixie controllers. 

I would suggest 2 pixie 4’s which mean some building on your part. I have video segments of how to build a pixie controller.

You could use a pixie8 and if you are not comfortable building your own a pre built pixie16 is great and would leave you expansion down the road.

Though my roof line is much larger than yours they are very similar and we share all of our sequences.

In the event your current lights will not work with a dif controller most of us have our favorite suppliers of light strings or strips.

2- you will need software and a computer to sequence the light.

The directors play the show and outside of controlling the show have nothing to do with sequencing. 

Feel free to pm me for additional help/ info.

JR

  1. My current lights i believe are 3 wire, but i don't even want to mess with them any more. Also, if i get the white cabled bulbs, it'll blend better with my white trimmed house.
  2. What software exactly?
    1. I know there are 5 levels of Showtime Designer and i was going to go with the Standard Level
    2. Also believe i will need the SuperStar Sequencer software, was going to buy this at the 4_CCR level
3 hours ago, Orville said:

And a Show Director unit will still require a PC to move the sequences for your show onto the Show Director via the Hub software that comes with the LOR Suite.  Once moved onto the Director and the Director either using an adapter or powered from the nearest controller via a Cat5 link to the first controller will no longer require the computer to run the show. 

And as my friend JR states, no matter what type lights you have, you will still need a computer and some kind of lighting software {preferably LOR Software, but others out here use other software} to sequence the lights to your props, lights, etc. and then create your show to put on the SD Card the Show Director uses.  

And those DIY kits, you have to purchase your own enclosure and proper power supply to power them and the lights, as they do not come with power supplies or enclosures.

 

I have a computer for sequencing, that's not a problem, Its the matter of having an available computer to control the show, I don't have a reliable spare computer, thus i was looking at the showtime controllers.

As far as putting things together, that's no problem for me, i can build if needed.

1 hour ago, TheDucks said:

There are CosmicColor * packages that come with a Pixie2 (which has a power brick included. but that is not weatherized). This is a great way for outlines, as Pixiels relly dislike long cable (from controller) runs.

I didn't really want to go this route due to the cost factor. I did see them, and also wondered what the actual controller was (didn't know if it was a Pixie4 with only 2 leads attached or a different one, obviously your saying it's different, pixie2, and only has 2 channels)

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Would highly recommend Pro software as you are getting into pixels and will need enhanced network (ELOR). You will also need the red USB485HS adapter since the pixels will require a high speed network.

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A pixie2 can handle 200 nodes.Just put it in the middle of long runs  100 -Pixie2-100

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2 hours ago, kd7jur said:
  1. My current lights i believe are 3 wire, but i don't even want to mess with them any more. Also, if i get the white cabled bulbs, it'll blend better with my white trimmed house.
  2. What software exactly?
    1. I know there are 5 levels of Showtime Designer and i was going to go with the Standard Level
    2. Also believe i will need the SuperStar Sequencer software, was going to buy this at the 4_CCR level

I have a computer for sequencing, that's not a problem, Its the matter of having an available computer to control the show, I don't have a reliable spare computer, thus i was looking at the showtime controllers.

As far as putting things together, that's no problem for me, i can build if needed.

I didn't really want to go this route due to the cost factor. I did see them, and also wondered what the actual controller was (didn't know if it was a Pixie4 with only 2 leads attached or a different one, obviously your saying it's different, pixie2, and only has 2 channels)

No the Pixie 2 can handle 200 nodes as JR states, which = 600 channels, not 2.   It has 2 ports, each port can control up to 100 RGB Nodes which = 300 channels per port, 2nd port the same, so your total RGB Channels will be 600.  If it only had 2 channels it'd be worthless, as each RGB node is 3 channels, 1 for Red, 1 for Blue and 1 for Green.  So 2 channels wouldn't even give you full control of a single RGB node, at least not a smart pixel.

And as Mr. P states, you definitely need the Pro license and red HS adapter for pixels to work efficiently.

If on a regular adapter, they can sure slow things down and behave erratically or not at all.   I learned that after I got into them and was waiting for my Red HS Adapter to come in.  The older unit I have just couldn't keep up with them with my other AC CTB16PC Controllers {mine are older units Pre-Gen 3} on the same adapter and network, I had misfires of the RGB lights lighting at the wrong times, sometimes some on the strand would get missed and not light at all, it was very sporadic and very frustrating.  The Red HS Adapter and putting my RGB Controllers on a separate Network from them and all my issues went away.   Just saying what can happen if you don't use the RED HS Adapter and use the Enhanced and 500K speed with RGB Pixel lights.

 

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On 10/7/2019 at 11:50 AM, Mr. P said:

You will also need the red USB485HS adapter since the pixels will require a high speed network.

OK so i don't know if i'm not getting my point across or if your all trying to say it's not possible. There have now been a couple of recommendations for the Red USB485HS adapter.

I don't plan running the sequence via computer, I don't have a reliable spare for this (Unless it can be done from a Raspberry Pi)

This is why i asked about the Showtime Directors.

 

On 10/7/2019 at 11:39 AM, kd7jur said:

I didn't really want to go this route due to the cost factor. I did see them, and also wondered what the actual controller was (didn't know if it was a Pixie4 with only 2 leads attached or a different one, obviously your saying it's different, pixie2, and only has 2 channels)

I'm sorry for using the improper term of channel. What i was meaning was ports.... The pixie4 has 4 ports that can each control up to 100 RGB Bulbs/Pixels/etc.... Thus the Pixie2 has 2 ports that can each control up to 100 RGB bulbs/pixels/etc.

 

Here is my vision for what i want to do.

  1. 3 Strings of the Bulbs, 1 on each peak.
    • The strings are ~25ft if there are 50 bulbs at 6" seperation
    • 25ft is plenty of length per peak on my house
  2. 1 Pixel Controller
    • Looks like i'll need a Pixie4
      • I have no problem assembling a controller/PSU/enclosure
      • I plan on using 12V
  3. PC-less Show control

 

Thank you all so far for your insights and information. I really do appreciate the help

 

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Posted (edited)

I understand you will be using a director but you will still need a 485 adapter for the computer, how else will you do things like assigning ID's to the controllers and testing in the HU and other things that can only be done on a computer. So, since you are going with pixels and you have to have a 485 adapter you may as well pay the extra $2 and get the red USB485HS adapter. That is why it keeps getting brought up.

Just an FYI, if you would rather run the show from a computer then just go to a pawn shop and get a cheapo laptop. It doesn't take much resources to run the show. My show computer is a 10 year old laptop but my sequencing laptop is one of the fastest on the market.

Edited by Mr. P

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I ran my show, and used the same computer to post here :)

As Mr P said, running a show is not intensive. I wouldn't do real intensive (I/O or CPU ) stuff when a show was running, but a Core 2 duo had no problems running an animated (no music) show.

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Buy yourself a computer. It does not need to be robust. You will need it to sequence your lights via whatever software you choose such as LOR or Xlights and others. I've never tried to use a Raspberry Pi for this purpose but I suspect sequencing would be difficult.

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Last  year, after the laptop I was using to run the show crapped out,  I bought a refurbed older desktop that still had 8 (count 'em, EIGHT!) USB ports. Fortunately I am close enough to one of the MicroCenter stores and it only cost me $79.  The sales guys looked at me funny when I asked for one (they don't keep them on the shelf) until I explained that EIGHT USB ports was really attractive for what I was using it for. Once I explained, they thought it was great buy. 

Check them out and get it shipped to you. I keep an eye on their refurbed units and have noticed that recently they are more in the $99-$129 range, but they have more memory (RAM and HD) and are faster. And they do not add any bloatware. So far, all I have loaded on it is the LOR software. I program and run the show from it. 

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34 minutes ago, tlogan said:

Last  year, after the laptop I was using to run the show crapped out,  I bought a refurbed older desktop that still had 8 (count 'em, EIGHT!) USB ports. Fortunately I am close enough to one of the MicroCenter stores and it only cost me $79.  The sales guys looked at me funny when I asked for one (they don't keep them on the shelf) until I explained that EIGHT USB ports was really attractive for what I was using it for. Once I explained, they thought it was great buy. 

Check them out and get it shipped to you. I keep an eye on their refurbed units and have noticed that recently they are more in the $99-$129 range, but they have more memory (RAM and HD) and are faster. And they do not add any bloatware. So far, all I have loaded on it is the LOR software. I program and run the show from it. 

Refurbs 👍 (I got My Dell Optiplex via Walmart. Extra RAM, Pro W7 and 1T)

Desktops have the added advantage of usually having open PCIe slots. Just drop a USB board into them.

Watch out tho.  

Low profile (AKA Half height) slots. Make sure your chosen USB board is compatible.

Power connectors . USB3 use extra power. Make sure your USB board has the same type (they use extra disc drive power plugs) The New Dell I got for my spouse at Walmart had NO spare power :(. (I needed a Y )

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I DID need to add a graphics card this year when I upgraded to S5 to support the higher version of OpenGL (S5 requires 1.5 or higher and the refurb only had version 1.0) and there was no way to upgrade just the OpenGL...the machine was too old and Lenovo no longer supported it with an update. So I added a cheap newer graphics card. Been working great ever since.

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