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jskelton83
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jskelton83 wrote:

What do i need, want, or should stay away from? What is the minimum for lights and channels? ...I need to jump ahead 4 years.

You need a dose of sanity. You want someone to encourage you. What you should stay away from is this place, for doses of sanity are few and far between around here.

The minimum for channels is 8. The minimum for lights is 8. Anything above that is showing off. In four years you'll be sorry you even thought about it.

Anything else we can help you with?
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I would suggest getting the software as a demo and play with it a while. If you still want to get into sequencing I would suggest getting a starter set from LOR (either 16 or 32 channels). Then buy 1/2 mile of spt cord, hundred alligator connectors, and about a hundred strings of lights.

Now layout your display, pick the songs you want to use, and sequence the songs with the display layout you have decided on. With 16 channels I would estimate spending about 4 hours of time sequencing for each minute of song.

If you have power limitation (you will need about 30 amp circuit that nothing else uses if you use incandescent lights) to run the lights buy LEDs, if you want to use blue or purple colored lights buy LEDs, if you just like LEDs... You get the idea.

You didn't say where you live, but most viewers will be in a car or truck to watch the display. You have 2 choices; install outside speakers that you can play very loud, or get an FM transmitter so people can hear the music while sitting in their car.

Come Oct 2011 you have to put your display up, hook up the channels to the correct lights, and test your sequences and lights. Now after hundreds of hours of effort, and thousands of dollars invested, you get to be amazed standing in front of your display and watching it.

After watching your handy work a few times you will have a conversation with yourself that goes kind of like this; "if I had more channels I could do......."

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Keep an eye on your budget!

Things can add up quickly!

Extension cords! One for each channel (or more if you have other things the channel controls)

Time...never enough so start now!

Start reading the forums.

Welcome to the madness!

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jskelton83 wrote:

I am the ultimate newbie. 0, thats zero, lights in 2010 and want to start for 2011. What do i need, want, or should stay away from? What is the minimum for lights and channels? Give me the tips, I need to jump ahead 4 years.
Thanks so much.


First, you will need to decide what your display will look like. Where will you put the lights? Will you have structured elemetns (like a mega tree, or an arrangement of mini trees), or do you plan on something more free form? How many different elements (channels) will you have? You should make those decisions early, and commit them to paper. Make sure things are where you want them before you start. Commit to that layout. Once you start sequencing, changes to where things are become detrimental to the beauty of your display. Once you have your layout completed, you can begin to setup your channels and visualizer in the sequence editing software. Remember, it can take many hours to sequence just one minute of music, so make sure you start WAY early (now is good).

As stated in a previous post, you will need an extension cord for each channel, plus one or 2 for each controller. How many channels and how many lights are limited only by your bank account and your willingness to see its balance drop. But remember, the more channels you have, the longer it will take to sequence each minute of music.

You can start small, and then expand next year if you enjoyed it enough and have the finances to do so... and as always, the answers to all your questions can be found here :)

D.T.
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PaulXmas wrote:

Keep an eye on your budget!

Things can add up quickly!

Is there really such thing as a budget with this hobby...addiction? Mine went up in lights months ago and the plans for next year......I hope LOR has a 75% off sale.
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MikeA wrote:

PaulXmas wrote:
Keep an eye on your budget!

Things can add up quickly!

Is there really such thing as a budget with this hobby...addiction? Mine went up in lights months ago and the plans for next year......I hope LOR has a 75% off sale.

LOL right there with you, I hit Lowe's 60% off and Home Depot 40% off this week and cleaned them out on lights and some other stuff, I talked to the manager at Lowe's and worked a deal for 75% off all the lights they had left if I got all of them. I still haven't counted them, but it was almost 3 carts with lights, cords that were also 40% off and some dear.

Now I just need 3 or 4 more LOR controllers. :shock:

Have fun :D
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What ever you do DO NOT buy LED lights from the brick and mortar stores if you plan to use them. Get them during the presales which are all just getting started between now and the next couple weeks from one of our reputable on line dealers. Paul at CDI, Ryan at Magic In The Sky, etc are a couple. So many horror stories are out there where people thought they where getting a heck of deal picking up 50 or 60 count light strands at $4 or $5 each only to see them fail before the end of the first season. Most of these do not have sealed construction and with such a low current draw the smallest bit of galvanic corrosion in the sockets will kill the string. As an example, a 100 count red string of M5 which is similar in size to the mini light is going to cost $9.72 this year at MITS. Last year Paul at CDI had these priced at $9.50. Lowes was selling I believe it was a 70 count for $9.99 for a decent GE brand. You could get them for $3 off with a trade in of a bad string or a coupon from GE. But 70 light strings at $6.99, so add Half of that again and you are at more then commercial grade lights with sealed sockets would cost. I know which way I'd lean to spend it. Otherwise what Ainsworth said is a good starter. Get a Starter package at LOR as soon as you can and get sequencing. IF you do buy LED's from one of our on line guys most will have the Zip cord and plugs as decent pricing also.

The cord comes in 1000' spools and if you get the green it has some UV protection added in to the cover. Can't express how much easier this is than buying up premade cords. I have both, and some others have sworn off the zip for years and once they tried it have kicked themselves for not trying it earlier...

Biggest thing is HAVE FUN!!! Good luck...

Lenny

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I was you a year or so ago..

1. plan to spend more than you budget (my 2 controllers went to 3..then 4...and I have like 2 channels left..)..I'm afraid to add it all up, but my rationalization is, a lot is one time investment, usable year after year. The initial investment will be sizable..

2. plan to need more time than ever expected...no matter how much your family looks at you like you have finally lost it, wrapping mini-trees in June is NOT insane.

3. start playing with the software..NOW.

4. do not ask Jim Winder for advice on building sturdy weber trees...:):P:P

5. do not ask George Simmons for advice on parking issues..:P:P:P

6. And lastly...accept the fact that a lot of 3 letter abbreviations..like SPT and LOR and CCR and LED, will invade your vocabulary and will never ever leave...

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MikeA wrote:

PaulXmas wrote:
Keep an eye on your budget!

Things can add up quickly!

Is there really such thing as a budget with this hobby...addiction? Mine went up in lights months ago and the plans for next year......I hope LOR has a 75% off sale.

Yes there is a budget but I go over before Sept every year!
Somethings come up that you need but didnt plan for.
Budget includes time and money you are going to spend more than you plan on both!
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Hey, jskelton83! I'm in the same boat you are. Well actually I talked hubby into getting me a 16 channel starter kit and FM transmitter for Christmas (translation: he handed me his credit card and I exerted self control!!!:( ) We have some icicle lights in the attic and we went by Walmart today to get what was left (not much and Lowes was wiped clean by someone else). We have an idea of layout and we've started thinking music also, but I need to clean up hubby's computer so I can hijack it (I use a mac) to run the software. Gotta say I've never been so excited about Christmas when it was more than a year away!!!

Good luck.

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