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51phiveoh

Pictures of setups

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Hello...I'm a visual person and love looking at the completed videos to get ideas of how to set up my light show...

But, was wondering if you all had pics of how your setup looks in your garage (or wherever you set up your controls) so I can get an idea of space needed, what it looks like with all those extension cords running from the control panels...etc.

Thanks.

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My picture is on my profile, but I don't hide everything in my garage. It is quite a distance from the show (for now, next year the show additions move to the garage.) I place the boxes near the props they control so I have shorter extension cord runs. One Cat5 cable is way easier to wrap up than 16 super long extension cords. Multiply that by my 9 boxes and it would be a lot of wrapping in Michigan in January.

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...and weight. Those regular AC 25, 50 or 100 foot extension cords get heavy REALLY fast. And expensive.

 

I put all my boxes near the props but I leave the computer, amp and FM transmitter in the garage. I created a snake with the four long AC extension cords, 2 data cables and the speaker wire from inside the garage. The 1 Pixie II plugs in to an existing outside outlet. At least it's only one heavy snake to pick up. All the others are shorter SPT1 cords with vampire plugs from the box to the lights. MUCH lighter and easier to pack.  This year, I had four new outlets installed outside, so I need to make a couple of mods to the snake. The extension cords will all be outside but the data and speaker cable will still come from the garage.  

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Same here.  The controllers are all close to the props.  Note that the vast majority of my channels are RGB pixels so I don't have a lot of choice on that.  I also have permanently installed Cat-5 in conduit for most of my networking (both LOR and E1.31).  Part of that is because I run a landscape lighting show year round.

 

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There is no "Control Panel" as such. My PC is in my basement, with one Ethernet, and two LOR RS 485 lines running to  the outside ground level wall. ( do not confuse the two) They terminate in three RJ 45  Jack plates on my carport along with left and right audio jacks. The RS 485 lines come out of the pc via the RS 485 adaptor connected to a USB port. 

All my controllers go near the props they control. and get cat 5 cable from those ports to feed them their signal. 

I have 2 LOR DC controllers for floods, and two 15 Ch AC boxes for my LED strand mini trees. All four of the LOR controllers cat 5's connect in a daisy chain to the RS 485 LOR  jack.

The second RS 485 is configured to control my Moving head lights and has its own jack.

The Ethernet goes to  two ethernet switches which split out to my  E1.31 pixel controllers. The E1.31 is on a separate network card installed in the PC to keep the traffic separated. from WIfi, Netflix etc.

Edited by PhilMassey

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BTW 51phiveoh, please fill in your software version and license level in your user profile.  Although not an issue for this question, most questions people come up with about how to make something work depend on those two answers.  If you put that in your profile, we don't have to ask.

Thanks
 

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I'm with MichRX7's plan.  You will end up with a HUGE pile of cords as it is during the show, and that is with a tiny yard.

Every controller box has Power ( how much depends on the lights attached to the box. ) and a NET in. Some boxes (mainly dumb or pixie2/4 ) will have a Net out.

Geography will dictate/suggest additional runs that were not otherwise mandated by capacity limits,  .  eg; I run 3 'zones::

1) roof (had a controller BOX attached to a dedicated TV antenna chimney clamp (CMB24 and a Pixie4),

2) another on the other side of the entrance walkway (where lots of cords would be a PITA /trip hazard to deal with every day)  ( CTB16 , 2CMB24's)

3) alongside the house (everything else )

(I really need 6 more ports in the middle area to avoid running 6 cords to the Live tree strings)  Budget limits.

A Visual: A Wagon wheel HUB is the controller and the spokes to the lights or another controller. The Power and Network are the Axles that hold the thing together

Edited by TheDucks

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56 minutes ago, TheDucks said:

I'm with MichRX7's plan.  You will end up with a HUGE pile of cords as it is during the show, and that is with a tiny yard.

Wait, wut? Something agrees with me? Maybe I'm doing something right? 🤣

Ok, back to tracing letters on corrugated plastic.

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55 minutes ago, MichRX7 said:

Wait, wut? Something agrees with me? Maybe I'm doing something right? 🤣

Ok, back to tracing letters on corrugated plastic.

There seems to be polar opposites here. Central vs dispersed .  I would have thought regional climate would be the main factor (wet (not flooded 😛 ) vs dry).   Nope.

To me, budget should have had a lot of weight. CAT5 is way cheaper than 16/3 (or 18/2 SPT for LEDs). OTOH Physical security may be a neighborhood decision factor (I had an occasional C9 go missing when I ran Incans)

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I am also of the distributed camp.  Of course, my setup is across a wide area and even distributed, I run about a mile of wires.   Even with spt1 wires, 16 is still a handful.  I also have power distributed in 4 places which helps get the power to the controllers.   Since I have to cross walkways and the driveway, as noted, it is a lot easier to run a cat5 cable than all of the wire that would need to.  If you were just going to do your house and the garage was an option, it is certainly manageable but not with extension cords, they are too bulky.   Spt1 wire is the way to go, and you can have all of them in the space of a couple of extension cords. There a few pictures in the links of my signature of the yard setup, but nothing specific to the controllers (I will admit I am a bit of a slacker as I am just starting putting up the lights this weekend so no pictures from this year yet). 

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37 minutes ago, TexasLights said:

(I will admit I am a bit of a slacker as I am just starting putting up the lights this weekend so no pictures from this year yet). 

No you aren't, @tlogan and I are still building props!

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I am also in the distributed camp, but also old school with about 400 AC / DC channels and zero smart pixels.  One thing I do have are "islands" of controllers that use one ELL and then connect a few controllers in a group with short cat5 jumpers.  Had too many issues with critters munching on long data cables.  Munching on power cables is self correcting.  We also get something called snow and ice up here.  Small gauge data cables do not have the strength of 12 gage power distribution cables when taking things down and ripping off frozen ground. 

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OK, I will TRY to actually post a video of my set up form last year. Sorry, I took this with my phone. AND I didn't put everything out last year since we weren't home (maybe interesting to @radioguy1007, we were in Door County).

Logan Christmas 2018

Edited by tlogan

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2 minutes ago, tlogan said:

OK, I will TRY to actually post a video of my set up form last year. Sorry, I took this with my phone. AND I didn't put everything out last since we weren't home (maybe interesting to @radioguy1007, we were in Door County).

Logan Christmas 2018

Looks great, can't wait to see how the light poles/canes enhance it. I especially like the ambulance in the background at the end. 😂

If you wanted to see what mine looks like lit @51phiveoh, I have a few posted on Vimeo from last Christmas here:

https://vimeo.com/showcase/6379484

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Nice! Having the entire front of the house gives a really nice effect. I wish I could get up to do the peaks of my house, but I'm not getting up there any more. And that big ass tree blocks most of it anyway.  

You see all those bushes with the crappily strung strings in my yard? THAT'S why I'm looking for LED nets. And the blue tree trunk to the far right is as far as mine goes. Those other lights past that are my neighbor's, who has some really nice blow molds.  I wish I had the room to store some of those.

So my new props will be over on the side around that blue tree trunk. I'll have to get a better video and pics this year.

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6 hours ago, k6ccc said:

BTW 51phiveoh, please fill in your software version and license level in your user profile.  Although not an issue for this question, most questions people come up with about how to make something work depend on those two answers.  If you put that in your profile, we don't have to ask.

Thanks
 

Hi Tim....I am not even close to buying anything yet.  Still learning as much as I can before I "take the leap" and get dragged in above my head and want to just throw it all away.  All the information here is what I wasn't finding reading each forum post.  I assumed based on the drawings of LOR that the computer hooked up right to the control boxes that had all those female outlets and you ran your cords from there to your lights. Didn't realize that you are actually running Cat 5 from your box out to the control boxes by each set of lights...so it's painting a little better of a picture of how to design my layout...Will see if I can do something with the profile.

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2 hours ago, tlogan said:

OK, I will TRY to actually post a video of my set up form last year. Sorry, I took this with my phone. AND I didn't put everything out last year since we weren't home (maybe interesting to @radioguy1007, we were in Door County).

Logan Christmas 2018

I love seeing all the videos of different displays....I see you use a lot of "dumb" (trying to learn all the terminology) lights...how did you do the arches?  I'm thinking I want to add those to my walk way.

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2 hours ago, MichRX7 said:

Looks great, can't wait to see how the light poles/canes enhance it. I especially like the ambulance in the background at the end. 😂

If you wanted to see what mine looks like lit @51phiveoh, I have a few posted on Vimeo from last Christmas here:

https://vimeo.com/showcase/6379484

Those are awesome.  Thanks.  

I think I'm getting hung up with all this stuff about LEDS and Individually assigned LED's and thinking that to make a decent show you need to have lights and strips that are individually assigned.  I think running dumb lights is more than enough for me.

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7 minutes ago, 51phiveoh said:

I love seeing all the videos of different displays....I see you use a lot of "dumb" (trying to learn all the terminology) lights...how did you do the arches?  I'm thinking I want to add those to my walk way.

Right, those dumb lights were my first foray into LOR 2 years ago. The first year is a killer...last year I was able to get those up in a couple of hours. Then I spent a goodly amount of time on the arches. It's strip of ribbon of RGB and controlled by one side (Unit ID) of a Pixie II and that long thing that looks like an Arch straitened out is just that...and controlled by the other Unit ID of the Pixie II. I used PEX tubing to create the arches and glued up some PVC to create a bottom frame to be able to just insert the PEX into after threading the ribbon through. Then I got tired and just threaded the ribbon through another long length of PEX and mounted it on a couple of posts.

Stepping up to RGB is a learning curve  and stepping up to software version S5 is another learning curve. I suggest starting out on S5. And I'm building new props for this year, some dumb and some not.

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21 minutes ago, 51phiveoh said:

Hi Tim....I am not even close to buying anything yet.  Still learning as much as I can before I "take the leap" and get dragged in above my head and want to just throw it all away.  All the information here is what I wasn't finding reading each forum post.  I assumed based on the drawings of LOR that the computer hooked up right to the control boxes that had all those female outlets and you ran your cords from there to your lights. Didn't realize that you are actually running Cat 5 from your box out to the control boxes by each set of lights...so it's painting a little better of a picture of how to design my layout...Will see if I can do something with the profile.

The only LOR Lights that get CAT5 are the 50W floods. Those have their own controllers. All the rest are controllers for the type of lights attached.  CAT5 is for commands, not power or lights

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3 hours ago, 51phiveoh said:

Those are awesome.  Thanks.  

I think I'm getting hung up with all this stuff about LEDS and Individually assigned LED's and thinking that to make a decent show you need to have lights and strips that are individually assigned.  I think running dumb lights is more than enough for me.

My show last year was 100% string lights (LED not incandescent) that I bought at Walmart. They are the easiest to learn and I like them. This year I am adding dumb RGB strips which just means that instead of having a string of green lights somewhere I have a strip of colored pixels that I can change the color of the entire string to whatever color I can mix using settings for red, green and blue (as an example, 100% red, 0% green and 100% blue make purple). But for years I have run just those simple string lights strung ways I like them. Thinking of adding the smart pixels next year which means that instead of having to change the entire strip the same color each "light" on the string can be set individually.

Good luck! It is a hard habit to break once you get started (not that I want to).

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15 hours ago, tlogan said:

Right, those dumb lights were my first foray into LOR 2 years ago. The first year is a killer...last year I was able to get those up in a couple of hours.

Agreed, this is why I started building everything as props. Take them down, and store them in the back shed. Then set them up and plug them in. The only thing I have left that isn't a prop are my house poles (and the tree though I consider that a prop, just can't cut the tree down and put it in the shed). So much faster, so much easier. I even bought out the short cheap artificial trees at Walmart at the end of one season for around $10 each so I could wrap the lights around them, stick them in the shed and be done until I pull it all out the next year.

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I ran one of those 6 channel Mr. Christmas type setups with incans for a number of years running big heavy extension cords and figuring out how to make 6 channels look like many more across the side and front of the house. I found that you can really only focus on one area at a time, so if you were looking at the side ,you didn't really notice what was happening in the front. And if lights went from left to right in one area and right to left in another, it didn't look the same. And then mix some up, it was still in time with the music for that particular area.

So, my big secret with the new props for this year is that I just copied the sequences from existing props that are on the left side of the house over to the new props that will be on the front far right side of the house. You can't even see the first side from there. 

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1 hour ago, MichRX7 said:

Agreed, this is why I started building everything as props. Take them down, and store them in the back shed. Then set them up and plug them in. The only thing I have left that isn't a prop are my house poles (and the tree though I consider that a prop, just can't cut the tree down and put it in the shed). So much faster, so much easier. I even bought out the short cheap artificial trees at Walmart at the end of one season for around $10 each so I could wrap the lights around them, stick them in the shed and be done until I pull it all out the next year.

I'm moving in that direction. Although I still have two trees I like to get some height with and a lot of bushes. I do run a string of Icicles over the garage (because it's easy to reach with a step ladder) and this year I'm adding a string of smart bulbs to it. And probably a second string of smart bulbs around the front door because it's pretty easy to get to, too.  

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