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Electronic Setup Strategy?


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Hello everyone...

I've been spending some time planning my first display and have some more basic questions regarding different controller approaches. Seems like people use all types of controller layouts! :shock:

After spending lots of time in this forum (and over at PC) and it seems the best way for me to setup my starter system would be with a combination of a couple 16ch PC boards and and maybe a few DIO-type channels that use the remote 4ch SSR boxes (both to minimize extension cords and to get some more channels at lower cost than the 16PC). I would like to stick with LOR but seems many people use Renard also. I'm familiar with electronics and assembly, but not on the PLC logic and these types of communications.

The 16 ch PC boards are rather expensive but seem to be well supported and easier to program. The Renard boards are cheaper but not supported.

  1. Do you recommend the extra cost of the LOR boards? I'm on a tight budget and look forward to the DIY aspect of soldering either type of board.
  2. If LOR can control the Renard boards with an adapter, is it worth it (cost wise) to build Renard boards and control them with the LOR system, or just stick exclusively with the Vixen software?
  3. Are there LOR boards that offer the full control of a 16PC board but will allow the use of remote SSRs to minimize the power transmission required?

For the DIO side of the system, I see some older discussions about building 96ch on/off boards that use a PLC board, Buffer and SSRs. I also see LOR now has a DIO board, but it's only 32 channels, costs $150 and requires a connection board ($25 x 2 from LOR) and external SSRs to be built...seems much more expensive and much fewer channels. Seems like by the time you add up all the DIO stuff from LOR it costs as much as a couple of 16PC boards with full control (where's the benefit of this approach?).

  1. For simple on/off switching, what's the best LOR configuration?
  2. What's the best configuration for remote boxes using SSRs?
  3. What's the best solution for on-board SSRs?
  4. What's the best solution for other boards? Is it worth it to follow up on the Renard boards or the solution Jeff Millard built up (PCI,Buffer,remote SSRs) in the DIY forum?

Any help is appreciated!

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Thanks Jeff, I appreciate your perspective. Is there a way to add remote SSR cards with LOR? I'm thinking of the same control as a 16PC, but having remotely located SSR clusters (like groups of four) to reduce the extension cords for things like windows that don't have many channels and are spaced far apart.

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The way I lay out my PC controllers is using (1 or 2) supply cords to each controller, then I can deploy them close to where I need them. Then I am able to hook up some things without cords and all other things with shorter cords (like 6,9,and 15' cords) ... mostly obtained this time of year from clearance sales. I'm very happy with LOR products and support.

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