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Computerized display, initial setup cost question?


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Hello,

I have been recently looking at the LOR1602 product for $299. If I get this controller and the Light-O-Rama software, will I be able to synchronize a display to music from my PC or will I need additional components?

I have been able to make some pretty neat angels, and I would like to put 8 angels above a nativity scene and have them sing an accapella version of hark the herald angels sing, with the different angels lighting up when the extra parts come in, like they are the ones singing. I have a corner lot, so I wanted to do this on one side of the yard, and do something else with the other 8 channels on a different part of the yard, but can not justify paying a ton of money in one lump sum for decorations. I prefer to spend a ton of money throughout the year on clearance items.

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KC,

Yes, if you purchase the LOR1602, *and* the SPK-ST (From the LOR site) you will have everything you need to animate your display, and synchronize it to music.


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"KC", the 1602 is a very good start to an even better display. For a lot of people one or two of the 160X series cards will do everything they want to do. Be warned though, as you start playing with computer control from any vendor, you will find yourself NEEDING more! It becomes addictive!

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Very addictive! I have plands for 6 new 16ch controllers! Thats 108 channels for next year ansd am planning to buy over 30k lights this year.

For your question, that is all you need in controlling aspects, but what you also need to think about is weather you will use a radio transmitter or speakers. You will need a computer, a box for your controlller, lights etc. etc.

I bought the 16ch controller/software and thought I would have a great display, after I got all that I ended up with more then 700$ invested this year. You can't stop once you get started so makesure you have/want to spend the money on all of it. Of course animated displays are easy and cheaper.

Zac

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VERY addictive! I started this year with just an 8 channel to "try things out"...well now I'm planning on at least 16 more channels in place before Halloween '06.





Jeff_Womack wrote:

"KC", the 1602 is a very good start to an even better display. For a lot of people one or two of the 160X series cards will do everything they want to do. Be warned though, as you start playing with computer control from any vendor, you will find yourself NEEDING more! It becomes addictive!
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If anyone is in need of extension cords in Texas, please email me and after Christmas I will get you a listing. I have lots that I will be parting with as I go with more and more SPT.

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Controllers are like Lays Potato Chips. You can't stop with one. And, like Charlie Brown's kite eating tree, controllers consume extension cords by the gross.

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KC,

I am diving in also in 2006 - My wife is getting me the starter kit for Christmas and one 1602 controller - I have spent hours playing with the sample LOR will let you download - I can't wait to get it and get stared for real - I will probably buy at least one additional 1602 so I can have 2 for next Christmas. Then it's katie bar the door from that point on.:laughing::laughing::laughing::laughing::laughing::laughing::laughing:

This spring, an electrician friend of mine is running 4 dedicated circuits out of my electrical box for just Christmas lights - Running under ground conduint (sp) and i'll have GFCI outdoor plugs all around my fence and all around the house and a couple in the front yard. I don't know all of the electrician lingo, But he say's I'll be able to run a whole lot of lights without burning the house down. ;) I thought that was comforting. BUT I know I will still need BUNCHES of extension cords! I have them now!

My wife say's, She figures I'll want a 1602 at every outlet - that will be (17)

You know she's right! :santa: I've got big plans!!!! :smile::smile::smile::smile::smile::smile::smile::smile::smile:

Man, I love Christmas!!!!!

Here's my song!

All I want for Christmas is a 1602 - a 1602 - a 1602! - All I want for Christmas is a 1602 - and LOR kit to run it!:santa::santa::santa::santa::santa::santa::santa::santa::santa::santa:

MERRY TO ALL and to all a good night!

Glenn

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So if you use all this LOR stuff, you need a computer set up at the site? I'm thinking about doing a display to music in local park next year. Will I need to leave a laptop there? I actually have an old laptop that I don't use anymore.



BTW.....

I LOVE this site

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**Newbie Alert **

I caught the bug by just seeing the news reports of Carsons display. Now reading the forums I have a question.
What do you get for 8 channels vs. 16 channels..? How many lights can you control with 8 vs. 16. Does it matter what kind of lights (LED, ROPE, mini's, etc.)?

I guess price is an issue considering a $500 investment just to get started but what does this really give me control of? Certainly not a display worthy of the Carson show.. :P

Thanks..

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Well there are two things you must remember.
1. You never have enough extension cords.
2. When you think you have enough extension cords you will realize you need more.

If you get 17 of the 16channel cards that will be 272 channels. If everything is right next to every controller then you will still need 272 six foot cords.

Now think about what you you will place where. Then think if you are going to double up any items. That will take twice as many.

And to tell you the truth. I dream of extension cords. If I am at a yard sale that is the second thing I ask. First, do you have decorations second any extension cords.

Now the important part. Test everyone. Even the new ones. I had a new one pop a fuse this year. Plugged it into an outlet and it tripped the breaker. Just was a bad cord.

Have fun cause I sure do.

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simonduz wrote:

**Newbie Alert **

I caught the bug by just seeing the news reports of Carsons display. Now reading the forums I have a question.
What do you get for 8 channels vs. 16 channels..? How many lights can you control with 8 vs. 16. Does it matter what kind of lights (LED, ROPE, mini's, etc.)?

I guess price is an issue considering a $500 investment just to get started but what does this really give me control of? Certainly not a display worthy of the Carson show.. :P

Thanks..


8 vs. 16 = Well, 8 is half of 16, which limits you to half as many options. For example, if you have 16 mini trees, but only 8 channels, either you have to double them up, or only animate 8 of them.

My advise has always been, "Start with what you have, and go from there." Don't try to add to much the first year. I added mini-trees and a grid. (And a few colors in the trees.) I didn't go and add everything I could find. Once I knew what I wanted to do, I could figure up how many channels I wanted to run, thus allowing me to buy the number of boards I needed.

As far as the lights, does not matter what you use. All of the ones you mentioned are compatible with LOR. Your only concern will be staying within the amperage limits of the controllers.
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Don wrote:


8 vs. 16 = Well, 8 is half of 16, which limits you to half as many options. For example, if you have 16 mini trees, but only 8 channels, either you have to double them up, or only animate 8 of them.


There is something that I think is worth mentioning about the question of whether to get an 8 or 16 channel box:

The more boxes you have the easier it is to place them close to the lights they will be controlling. If you get a 16 channel box to control lights on both sides of the yard, you end up running long extension cords in all directions. If you get (2) 8 channel boxes then you only need to run two really long cords (one to each box) and then shorter ones from there.

I plan on ending up with a few 16 channel boxes for the larger elements (such as mega trees) and all of the rest 8 channel boxes to minimize extension cords.
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gaines wrote:

There is something that I think is worth mentioning about the question of whether to get an 8 or 16 channel box:

Very well said. I'm lucky that in my case, I have a smallish yard, and I don't run into that problem.

If you have a larger yard, it's something to consider.
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Dear Curious and Smitten:

Okay, it seems everyone in the world has seen Carson's Vid. I have rec'd it 8 times in email form, and been referred to it more often than that. Before you go off and buy the "stuff" ... and I suggest you do, if you are at all "obsessed" with Christmas and Christmas Lights ... let me give you the warnings, in other words let me knock the bloom off the rose for you ... So that when you do it, you'll be ready! Because you WILL do it.

Surgeon General's Warning:

What you are about to do is more addictive than cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol. It will eat your "lunch" and your "lunch money" too! It will only take ONE dose/exposure/encounter to find yourself permanently HOOKED! There are currently NO 12 step programs for LOR or Animated Lighting Enthusiasts, but some of you will need an "intervention"!!! And you will not listen to further warnings once you engage in this endeavor.

Your spouse and friends will come to assume you have either died or are doing something on the computer that polite people don't talk about. The time you will invest will not simply be in the purchase and installation of said devices. From now until next Christmas, you will be thinking about it, everyday! You will doodle Christmas Designs. You will automatically calculate wattage and amperage in your head evertime you see or hear about Christmas Lights.

You will think about songs that will best show off your display's abilities. You will play CDs of Christmas music all year long in your car, just so you can imagine how you might "animate" your lights to it. You will nearly hit several cars while day dreaming to the sounds of the "Overture from Mircale on 34th Street." You will search the internet for new and wondrous ideas. You will go to sleep and wake up thinking about lights, dancing, blinking, fading, twinkling LIGHTS. And you will find that whatever number of channels you initially purchase, IT WILL NOT BE ENOUGH!

You are advised to turn-back, lest ye have a strong temperment, and can resist urges that will present themselves to you.

HAVE YOU CHOSEN?

I see you have. Take my hand. We are entering in to the most wonderful part of the most wonderful time of the year!

Please step quickly on to the moving platform!
(Phrases/thoughts to remember, and re-read often.)


  • "The cost of the box/board ... is NOT the most expensive part."
  • "Extensions Cords, you will need more than you think. A lot more!"
  • "Sequencing/programming takes practice. Think at least 1 to 3 hours per minute of music."
  • "Multiply the number of lights you have now times 3."
  • "Every inch of your home will suddenly require lights to accent it's features."
  • "Installation, will take longer than last year. I know, I didn't believe it either."
  • "Storage will become an issue, but don't bother me with that until January."
  • "Just when you think you have everything lined up and ready to go ... be ready to order another LOR box."
  • "Calculate your amperage needs long before the Fall. If you need more access to power, and you'll need time to get it installed."
  • "Assume you will need more capacity than you calcuated, because there is always NEXT year. And you will want MORE."
  • "Start buying supplies ASAP. Start looking for sales. NOW NOW NOW!"
  • "A little at a time will be easier on the family budget than all at once. Plus, almost everything is more expensive when you are in a hurry."
  • "Plan like you are preparing to build the Empire State Building. Spreadsheets, Notes, Drawings, More Notes, pictures, save favorite web pages, find a buddy on Planet Christmas, MORE NOTES. Trust me, you won't be able to remember everthing."
  • "Start helping your friends out with projects all through the year! You are going to want them to OWE you some help. Oh, and you should plan on them not being around for the 'take down'."
  • "It's a cheap thrill to sit in front of your own house in your car watching the lights with all the people who love your work."
  • "Watch for Light-o-Rama to have a big sale after the holidays. So don't spend all your money!"
  • "And finally, "Planet Christmas" IS your best friend in this endeavor. Just ask, and an answer will come with a smile and a helping hand -- from someone who started just like you!"

Enjoy the Ride!

Having said all the above, and being in the middle of my first LOR year. After all the hard work, the hours and hours of time devoted to it, and the expense ... I would do it again ... WITHOUT QUESTION!

All the best to you, and Merry Christmas!

T.

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I need all of the help and expertise of a veteran.....I am looking to build / design a display for 2006 and want to start now purchasing parts, lights and cords etc..etc..etc.. but I need to know how the computer communicates through the serial port to the boards or will I have to install something into my computer and then run out a cord to something else, and what would that something else be? How do you get power to the SSR's if you build your own?

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