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Hobbyist vs Showtime


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Hi! I am very interested in using LOR this year for a small display. I am just looking to decorate a few trees with mini's, and having them fade/blink/change color, etc. I am interested in a 16 Channel controller. Here is my problem. I have never done anything with electronic circuit boards! I would have no clue how to put together one of the hobbyist products. I think I am better off with a pre-assembled Showtime product, however the $$ I can save going with a Hobbyist product would be great.

Are these things easy to assemble for someone who doesn't really have any idea about electronics/circuit boards? Is there anyone looking to sell a pre-assembled 16 channel control? I live in the St. Paul, MN area. If I bought one, would someone be willing to assemble it and ship it to me? I would of course pay for parts and labor involved, as long as it would be less $$ than buying a Showtime.

Any advice would be appreciated! I'm really looking forward to using LOR this year, as no one in my neighborhood has this, and I believe it would really impress the neighbors, and also it would be a lot of fun for myself.

Thanks!

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For those with unlimited budgets the Showtime units are a great deal.Before we continue, we must define a few things here.

Hobbyist = Controller only. Already assembled for you. Just add an enclosure and power cords.
DIY = Kit that you must put together. LOR ships the parts, you assemble the controller, plus enclosure and power cords.

If you have a working knowledge of electricity, or are willing to learn, then the hobbyist controller may be for you. (If you are really unsure, but know an electrician, maybe they can check your work.)

Which ever route you go, you have your work cut out for you in the next month or so. You must decide WHAT you are going to animate, HOW you are going to animate it, then PROGRAM the animation. Each of these tasks can be quite time consuming as you deal with both the artistic and electrical nature of the displays.

If you haven't already, be sure to check out the LOR Wiki, which contains a wealth of LOR information.

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The hobbiest products don't necessarily mean you have to solder the electronics together You would have to however get 16 extention cords cut the ends off, Strip the 2 wires and then insert them in the screw terminals of the controller, in order to plug your lights in. If you wanted to go this route I could give you my number and even coach you through it over the phone.

You might want to put the controller in a plastic box as well so you can't touch it while it is on.

There are basically 3 levels of options

  1. Hobbyist Do-it-Yourself Kits, where you would solder everthing on the board, There are very nice instructions with the kits.
  2. Hobbyist Pre-Built - Where everything is on the board already and you supply the cords and box
  3. Showtime, Comes in a box with cords already "Terminated" the board.

The software is very easy to use to do the animation.

Have a nice day.

Robogeek

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Hey! I was looking at that same problem a few months ago. I just ordered the hobbyist CTB-o8 (8 channels) adn took a sterlite box from my room and put it in there. I ordered the cords from Light-O-Rama's website, and it was very easy. All you have to do is get the hot and the neutrals in the right place, and then tie together the grounds. I'm only 14 (13 when I got the board) and my older brother just helped me and it worked like a charm. We used a Dremel to cut plastic, adn it works excellent. Hope that helps.

P.S. It is a nice money saver!

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  • 2 weeks later...

lkcubsrule wrote:

Hey! I was looking at that same problem a few months ago. I just ordered the hobbyist CTB-o8 (8 channels) adn took a sterlite box from my room and put it in there. I ordered the cords from Light-O-Rama's website, and it was very easy. All you have to do is get the hot and the neutrals in the right place, and then tie together the grounds. I'm only 14 (13 when I got the board) and my older brother just helped me and it worked like a charm. We used a Dremel to cut plastic, adn it works excellent. Hope that helps.

P.S. It is a nice money saver!


Well, I just placed my order for a CT-16D controller!!! CAN'T WAIT TO TRY IT OUT!

I went ahead and ordered the 16 cords from the site as well. The only thing I'm going to need help/advice on now is how to get this installed into a box. I'm going to check the threads and also the lorwiki.

Thanks for everyone's reply
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robogeek wrote:

The hobbiest products don't necessarily mean you have to solder the electronics together You would have to however get 16 extention cords cut the ends off, Strip the 2 wires and then insert them in the screw terminals of the controller, in order to plug your lights in. If you wanted to go this route I could give you my number and even coach you through it over the phone.

You might want to put the controller in a plastic box as well so you can't touch it while it is on.

There are basically 3 levels of options

  1. Hobbyist Do-it-Yourself Kits, where you would solder everthing on the board, There are very nice instructions with the kits.
  2. Hobbyist Pre-Built - Where everything is on the board already and you supply the cords and box
  3. Showtime, Comes in a box with cords already "Terminated" the board.

The software is very easy to use to do the animation.

Have a nice day.

Robogeek



Robo, I really appreciate your offer. I just placed my order for a board. I'll check it out when I get it and if I have any questions/problems I may have to take you up on the phone call.

Gary
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I was talking to a couple of the Electricians that I work with and he was saying to buy something of comparable quality would almost cost the same.
By the time you pay for the Board, cords, and housing. It's pretty close to the same price.

But that's up here in Canada. It might be cheaper to part it out down in the US.

Just my 2 cents worth..

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