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New to dumb RGB and need help


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Here is my show last year 

 

What I have:

I currently have 4 LOR 16ch boxes and I want to add RGB to my light show   I have already bought  two DMX 24 ch controllers as well as power supplies   I also purchased 5m RGB IP65 rated strips. I plan to buy as many DMX and as many RGB strips that I need. 
 

What I want to do:

I want to make the mini trees, roof line, windows, and door all rgb strips.   I may also make the mega tree rgb.  I don’t want to do smart rgb because I like the look of one solid color.  I don’t want to go too advanced with my lighting. I want to be able to make the entire scene light up the same color at different parts in the song.  I also will be using the lor boxes to light up icicle lights, the yard, maybe the driveway archs, and each individual character cutout scene.  
 

What I need to know:

1. How do I connect the dmx into the lor.  I have read about doing them on separate connections, or creating a crossover cable. I currently use a mini director to run the show but I can dedicate a laptop if I need to do that. 
 

2.  Will the rgb strips last in the weather?

3. How do you mount them around a window?   Do you just curve them or do you put a 90 degree connector?  Should I create a prop to hold the strip and attach it to the window?

4  How do I power inject if I run a long run?

5  Can I use cat 5 cable to wire up my dmx to all of the rgb strips?  Is there a power loss if you use cat 5 to run power to the rgb? (I like the idea of a faster set up with a plug and play technique)
 

6. What is the best way to set up the rgb in the sequencer?   I have pro level license.

7.  Do you have any suggestions to make my light show better?  

8. Do you have a cheaper alternative to the strips or who do you buy your dumb rgb lights from?

Thank you ahead of time.   I am grateful if you only want to answer one question or redirect me to a post with the answer.  


 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, Sharpsburg Lights said:

Here is my show last year 

 

What I have:

I currently have 4 LOR 16ch boxes and I want to add RGB to my light show   I have already bought  two DMX 24 ch controllers as well as power supplies   I also purchased 5m RGB IP65 rated strips. I plan to buy as many DMX and as many RGB strips that I need. 
 

What I want to do:

I want to make the mini trees, roof line, windows, and door all rgb strips.   I may also make the mega tree rgb.  I don’t want to do smart rgb because I like the look of one solid color.  I don’t want to go too advanced with my lighting. I want to be able to make the entire scene light up the same color at different parts in the song.  I also will be using the lor boxes to light up icicle lights, the yard, maybe the driveway archs, and each individual character cutout scene.  
 

What I need to know:

1. How do I connect the dmx into the lor.  I have read about doing them on separate connections, or creating a crossover cable. I currently use a mini director to run the show but I can dedicate a laptop if I need to do that. 
 

2.  Will the rgb strips last in the weather?

3. How do you mount them around a window?   Do you just curve them or do you put a 90 degree connector?  Should I create a prop to hold the strip and attach it to the window?

4  How do I power inject if I run a long run?

5  Can I use cat 5 cable to wire up my dmx to all of the rgb strips?  Is there a power loss if you use cat 5 to run power to the rgb? (I like the idea of a faster set up with a plug and play technique)
 

6. What is the best way to set up the rgb in the sequencer?   I have pro level license.

7.  Do you have any suggestions to make my light show better?  

8. Do you have a cheaper alternative to the strips or who do you buy your dumb rgb lights from?

Thank you ahead of time.   I am grateful if you only want to answer one question or redirect me to a post with the answer.  


Look at the new PixieLink for  a possible solution for the DMX the connections

RGB strips are fragile and harder to repair (replace nodes). Bullets or flat packs. snip the wires long (close to bad node) and splice in the new. (Did 3 last season :()

Boo Hiss on the 90/T connectors. I tried some. I ended up soldering jumpers, a real PITA and the strips were sheltered on the porch

RGB (dumb) does not need a Pro if using a CMB24 It uses only 1 ID count. Think your AC controller with 24 channels (used in groups of 3 for RGB). I use some in Monochrome mode (candy cane spinner. 1 port per cane. Canes have white strips inside. (I use 12V nodes)

 

 

 

 

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On 3/28/2020 at 3:17 PM, Sharpsburg Lights said:

What I need to know:

1. How do I connect the dmx into the lor.  I have read about doing them on separate connections, or creating a crossover cable. I currently use a mini director to run the show but I can dedicate a laptop if I need to do that. 
 

2.  Will the rgb strips last in the weather?

3. How do you mount them around a window?   Do you just curve them or do you put a 90 degree connector?  Should I create a prop to hold the strip and attach it to the window?

4  How do I power inject if I run a long run?

5  Can I use cat 5 cable to wire up my dmx to all of the rgb strips?  Is there a power loss if you use cat 5 to run power to the rgb? (I like the idea of a faster set up with a plug and play technique)
 

6. What is the best way to set up the rgb in the sequencer?   I have pro level license.

7.  Do you have any suggestions to make my light show better?  

8. Do you have a cheaper alternative to the strips or who do you buy your dumb rgb lights from?

Thank you ahead of time.   I am grateful if you only want to answer one question or redirect me to a post with the answer.  

I did my first dumb rgb lights this past Christmas, so I'll try and share what I learned to your questions.

 

1. I added a second USB485. So my LOR AC boxes where on one USB485 and the dumb RGB on another.

2. I live in Michigan and it got pretty cold this year and I had no issues with my strips. I even did tight bends as I was spelling out Merry Christmas in cursive. Maybe I got lucky, who knows, but what I did was put the strips through clear plastic tubing I ordered from Home Depot so that they wouldn't "kink" when I created the signs.

3. I did not mount them around any windows this past year, but easily could have using my plastic tubing method.

4. I did not do any power injection, so I am unable to assist here. My longest channel was a full 5m strip.

5. I used 4-wire security wire, again bought a box of it from Home Depot. There is a write-up on it somewhere here on the forum in the General Decorating area.

6. I use S4 pro level, I just added the rgb channels onto the end of one of my sequences, exported the layout and imported it into my other sequences as I added them.

7. This year I am going to smart rgb on the house. You can still light things up solid like you can with the dumb rgb, but it also gives you a lot of great alternative effects. The strips are almost the same price, but the controllers are a bit more expensive.

8. I bought all my strips off Amazon for this past year. I was dumb (pun intended) and bought one strip for each channel and cut them down to size. I did not have the soldering equipment I felt I needed, so if I do have to replace any elements next year I have plenty of extra strips, just have to buy a soldering iron which I am realizing I really need.

Good luck! It was fun sequencing the many different colors once I got the hang of it.

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LOR's Dumb RGB controller can coexist on the same LOR network as your AC controllers.   You said DMX, which is why I did not mention that

The channel count is 24, the ID consumed is 1  at 12V, 5M should not be an issue.

feed in the middle (5MT5M)  for 10M. DUMB strips don't care where the INPUT is

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This is what I have so far.... I have the power supply connected to a DMX 512 controller.  I have the DMX controller connected to the rgb strips.  I am trying to figure out how to connect the DMX controller to the LOR software to run.  I currently have this controller 

71JIUXaAmuL._AC_SL1000_.jpg

I chose this controller because everything screws to the board (I can not solder at all).  I read that you can connect a RJ45 cable to the DMX.  I used this image to connect a RJ45 cable to the DMX. 

http://salzlechner.com/decorate/2014/10/26/dmx-cable-information/

Can I connect the cat 5 cable to the USB485 and then connect to the computer.  Or do I need to connect it inot a LOR box that is connected through the dongle to the computer.  Which ever the way that I connect it, how do I get the computer to recogonize the DMX controller.

 

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Nevermind on getting this wired.  This is how I got it to work for anybody else that can't figure it out.

I cut a cat 5 wire and i connected the solid blue wire to the D+, the White/Blue Wire to the D-, and the Green wire to the GND.  

I connected the USB Dongle from LOR to the cat 5 cable to my computer.  

I went to Network Config and selected DMX and selected the dongle on universe 1.  

I turned the dip switch 1 on and the rest off to make this channels 1-24.  (google dip calculator to figure out the setup for different channels to start from)

I opened LOR Control Panel from the windows menu. (This turned on the LOR Comm Listener which recogonized the DMX device.

I simply created a new animated sequence from a preview that had channels set up for dumb rgb, dmx universe, starting at channel 1.

I created a quick animation sequence and it worked perfectly.

I hoped this helped some people.

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Next i need to know how to inject power.

Do you inject power directly from the power supply to only the V+ or do you supply another output from the same output slot.

Here are some examples that are possible

(Power supply +-)(+-DMX controller, OUT1 RGBV+)(RGBV+ Light Strip)(RGBV+ Light Strip)(+Power supply injection)

or

(Power supply +-)(+-DMX controller, OUT1 RGBV+)(RGBV+ Light Strip)(RGBV+ Light Strip)(OUT1 RGBV+)

or 

(Power supply +-)(+-DMX controller, OUT1 RGBV+)(RGBV+ Light Strip)(RGBV+ Light Strip)(OUT1 V+)

or 

(Power supply +-)(+-DMX controller, OUT1 RGBV+)(RGBV+ Light Strip)(OUT1 RGBV+)(RGBV+ Light Strip)

or

(Power supply +-)(+-DMX controller, OUT1 RGBV+)(RGBV+ Light Strip)(OUT1 V+)(RGBV+ Light Strip)

or 

(Power supply +-)(+-DMX controller, OUT1 RGBV+)(RGBV+ Light Strip)(RGBV+ Light Strip)(OUT1 V+)

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With dumb strips or strings, you don't do power injection at all.  With one rare exception, your power for the strips MUST come from the controller.

Power injection is something that is fairly common in smart strips or strings.

Suggestion.  If you are going to do much in this addiction, learn how to solder.  It's not that hard, and I just did a Google search for "Learn how to solder" and came up with millions of results.  It will be to your benefit in the long run.

 

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On 3/28/2020 at 3:17 PM, Sharpsburg Lights said:

I want to make the mini trees, roof line, windows, and door all rgb strips

I question the choice of strips for the minitrees. They are fragile and need care in handling and I personally think the look would not be that good. You might want to consider dumb pixels if you really want to use RGB there,

My Minitrees are two color AC strings, I have nine of them and they use my only remaining AC controllers. I like the look and they will probably stay that way.

I had a brief foray into dumb strips in 2012 on roofline and windows.. Didn't like the look and went pixels the next year, plus more control. The controllers got repurposed to floodlights, and the strips were mostly scrapped.

If you wanted to do smart pixels, you can still make them all one color and avoid the added complexity of sequencing many channels until you learn how. Also motion effects are fairly easy.

I also echo K6CCC on the learn to solder comment. Strips are difficult to solder, yes, but you will have failures and need to replace leads and pixels at some point.

Pixel nodes whether dumb or smart are much less fragile and easier to solder.

 

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Thank you for your help.  I honestly am going back and forward on the smart vs dumb.  I like the old school look and I really don’t want to switch to smart rgb.  I just want the aesthetics of a single stranded light but adding the variations of colors. I actually would be fine with standard lights but I didn’t want to spend the money on all the different colors to get the effect that I want.  
Thanks for the heads up on soldering.  I have soldered, and I have watched hours of video.  But I have only soldered with a $5 soldering iron without any switches.  I may actually be ok at soldering if I spend the money on a nice set up. That may be what I need to invest in and retrain on a decent setup. 
I still need advice on how to power inject.  
I plan to 3d print some clips this weekend to hang the lights up on the roof line and do an Easter Animated show.  However, my extruded feeder broke so I am pushed back a few days.  Thanks again guys for your help. 

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As the saying goes, there are advantages and disadvantages to both smart and dumb pixels.  I have both in use.  There are places in my yard where I am using smart pixels even though they are being used to simulate dumb.  No power injection with dumb pixels.  Dealing with it for smart pixels is not that hard.

As for soldering, you can spend a lot of money, but you don't need to.

Lucky you - having a 3d printer.

 

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Posted (edited)

I got the 3d printer up and running.  I designed a clip with onshape.  Here is the link. 
https://cad.onshape.com/documents/c7d2ec1c03505a501a629ee8/w/5eaa7e802bd876e7d8599969/e/2cc5d29083353d0b5eb3fc65

I tried to print 20 at a time and I had adhesion issues.  I ended up printing one that was 100mm tall and cut it down to size on a band saw.  The clips fit like a glove on the edge of the soffit.  
I had to add a couple of feet to one strand.  I don’t see any issues with any colors except when it’s all white.  I see some diming on the end.  That strand terminates next to a really short strand.  Can I jump the V+ from that strand to the end of the other, or will that burn something up.  
Here is a quick view of it just cycling through colors.  I’ll upload a little sequence for Easter soon.  Thanks for your help. 

 

Edited by Sharpsburg Lights
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  • 4 weeks later...

You guys have me really debating this dumb vs smart.  I am looking at just doing my outline of the house.  I am estimating about 56 different strands of strips.  I’m guessing in the neighborhood of 10,000 led nodes. It will be about 36 strips at 5 m each. These will be different lengths but it will be a total of 7 dumb rgb controllers at $210 and I am currently running  solid core Cat5 to each connection point.  I will also need 7 power supplies.  I planned to run power over the cat5. 

I know that the strands are about the same price as the strips. I need to know what I would need for the smart rgb.  Is one falcon player at $200 enough to run all the strands for the entire house.  How many power supplies would I need as well?  What else would I need to run the lights. I just need a starting point

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Step one (regardless of smart of dumb lights) - dump your plan on using Cat-5 for power.  Cat-5 is really small wire.  Assuming 24 AWG Cat-5, for smart pixels, you parallel four of the eight wires for each "conductor" (positive and negative), that gets almost as much wire as 18 AWG.  That is good for fairly short runs only and only about 7 amps.  If you end up with dumb RGB, it's even worse because you need four conductors for the lights, so using each pair for a conductor you now end up with roughly the equivalent of 21 AWG wire.

Step two, HIGHLY recommend you go with pixels strings and not strips.  First part is fact, and the second is my opinion.  Pixel strings are FAR easier to repair WHEN (not if) a pixel fails, and part two is I think they look better for a Christmas display.  IMHO, using strips makes it look like a casino or nightclub.  Lastly, it is FAR easier to deal with different lengths with strings that with strips.

Almost any of the large capacity pixel controllers (including a Falcon F16 or F48) has the capacity to handle 10,000 pixels, however, you could easily end up with controller to first pixel issues depending on your layout, and how you implement it.

I need to get to bed, so more later.

 

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Posted (edited)

Don’t know nothing about a Falcon but it would take a tad over 4 pixie16’s to push 10K pixels

As my friend Jim points out with only one controller issues.

Your best option may be to go with multiple controllers and place them in spots to keep the distance from controller to first pixel shorter and less or no PI required.

PI while sounding cool and all adds a lot more work. It doesn’t take very much power to push but it adds work.

And as Jim states POE will not work. Works for camera systems but not our hobby.

Pixies are the easiest to learn. Keep it simple.

Once again as Jim states nodes over strips. They are more forgiving if mishandled. Don’t think of nodes as only being round. I have some 5050 that are rectangular and each led is RGB -3 per section.

They are also easier to cut and cap where not needed and bend to go around anything in the way as needed.

If you search for my latest Covid19 graduation video you can see what they look like.

JR

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On 4/6/2020 at 12:40 AM, Sharpsburg Lights said:

I got the 3d printer up and running.  I designed a clip with onshape.  Here is the link. 
https://cad.onshape.com/documents/c7d2ec1c03505a501a629ee8/w/5eaa7e802bd876e7d8599969/e/2cc5d29083353d0b5eb3fc65

I tried to print 20 at a time and I had adhesion issues.  I ended up printing one that was 100mm tall and cut it down to size on a band saw.  The clips fit like a glove on the edge of the soffit.  
I had to add a couple of feet to one strand.  I don’t see any issues with any colors except when it’s all white.  I see some diming on the end.  That strand terminates next to a really short strand.  Can I jump the V+ from that strand to the end of the other, or will that burn something up.  
Here is a quick view of it just cycling through colors.  I’ll upload a little sequence for Easter soon.  Thanks for your help. 

 

BTW- you have the mouth movements copy pasted incorrectly.

As the sequencer I always send out instructions.

Just wanted to point that out.

Glad to see them in use though. 
 

if you need my instructions on how to copy paste my face sequences feel free to ask.

JR

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59 minutes ago, Sharpsburg Lights said:

I plugged them in backwards and didn’t realize until after I recorded it.  I went back and swapped them out.  You have a great eye though. 

LOL, that what I get paid for, or not paid for. Singing faces. Glad it was that simple. My OCD drives me crazy sometimes esp with the faces.

It is great to see them in action.

JR

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1 hour ago, dibblejr said:

Singing faces. Glad it was that simple. My OCD drives me crazy sometimes esp with the faces.

It is great to see them in action.

Maybe I'll actually get some video shot of mine this year...

 

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I am trying to learn how smart nodes work and it is over my head. This is what I am thinking. I will compare it to the network in a house.  A house is wired with Ethernet throughout the house.  You have the data travel through the network and can connect a computer through that same data cable at any point. The power is separated so each computer is essentially limited to one plug each.  
 

DATA

I am thinking that it doesn’t matter how many nodes I connect together on the network. For instance, I can jump from one window to the next window if they are close together. I am limited by the power for that run.  And I guess the layout of the nodes is done on the computer?  
 

POWER

I don’t how many nodes one power supply can power   Do I push the power through the falcon pixel controller?  I am guessing that I will need several power supplies.   If I am pushing further down the line do I need to close a loop and create a new loop with another power supply or are you able to inject power on one line with different power supplies.  I know you will wreck anything if you cross alternate currents on an ac system but I really don’t know much about a DC system that is from different sources.  
 

 

 

 

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Check you PM for my phone number.

 

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2 hours ago, Sharpsburg Lights said:

I am trying to learn how smart nodes work and it is over my head. This is what I am thinking. I will compare it to the network in a house.  A house is wired with Ethernet throughout the house.  You have the data travel through the network and can connect a computer through that same data cable at any point. The power is separated so each computer is essentially limited to one plug each.  
 

DATA

I am thinking that it doesn’t matter how many nodes I connect together on the network. For instance, I can jump from one window to the next window if they are close together. I am limited by the power for that run.  And I guess the layout of the nodes is done on the computer?  
 

POWER

I don’t how many nodes one power supply can power   Do I push the power through the falcon pixel controller?  I am guessing that I will need several power supplies.   If I am pushing further down the line do I need to close a loop and create a new loop with another power supply or are you able to inject power on one line with different power supplies.  I know you will wreck anything if you cross alternate currents on an ac system but I really don’t know much about a DC system that is from different sources.  
 

 

 

 

You are stuck in the AC light layout rut. Long cords at 120V really were not a problem at 4A (500W) per port. Putting the controllers all together did not hurt (other than the heavy mass of cords to store ;) )

Now you switch to Low Voltage. There are 2 common voltages in use: 5V and 12V.  Watts is Watts (P = I * E )/ Lower the voltage (E) and Amps (I) goes up/ more Amps = fatter wires to prevent I*R losses

When you need to cover distances, 5V is a pain because you can only run 50 nodes before you need to do other tricks (power inject). OTOH 12V can do 150 nodes (no gap jumps) (IIRC 170 is a DMX universe (port) limit)

Power (P = I * E) depends on the strings used AND controller power bus limits.  @12V 50 nodes runs about 3A (36W) all white. While a Pixie# port can do 100 nodes. the power bus CAN'T  do a whole BANK (800 nodes) all white (48A) (for some reason, the board layout designers decided to feed the power from  the End of a bank. The copper can only handle so many Amps. )    In many cases, small controller + PSU packages  is better for outlines (closer to the place of use), where bigger controllers for dense (many nodes) things like Mega Trees and Matrix. 

While 12V nodes are less efficient, I CHOSE to use a single voltage. I can grab just about any string, and a controller package (A CG1500  enclosure + Controller+PSU)  No OOPS!  #$%^ those were 5V nodes that I just powered from a 12V package.

K6CCC has part of his permanently installed. He just changes their show.  Sit down, scratch both ends 😛 and figure what FITS best for what you are lighting. IMHO buy a Falcon (or any other brand) and trying to make it WORK for your site, is backwards. Figure the Lights: Calculate the loads and node count: Then figure what controller(s) and power is needed.  CAT5 (the LOR/DMX data to the controller) is cheap. for most part 4000'  is the only RS485 limit (OTOH Ethernet has a 300' limit and can't be daisy chained (some controllers include a Ethernet repeater port)

BTW LOR's ELL can not do Pixel needed (500K) data rates, so don't think you can hang other than tour Ac/dumb controllers on that network and beat the length limits 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I bought the Falcon F16 and I am currently trying to learn the system.  I have two strands of lights connected and I am trying to inject power at the end of the second and the second is not turning on.  I also am trying to do a color wash test and the green is illuminating as red,  blue is illuminating as green, and red is illuminating as blue.  I don't know why it is doing this wrong. 
 

Update:  I needed to change the addressing mode to universe/start channel.  That seemed to fix all of the problems.  I’m not sure why I had a color issue but it is resolved as well. 

Edited by Sharpsburg Lights
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