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which controller to buy


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I was wondering which would be the first controller I should get. Should I start with an 8 channel and use them all or buy a 16 channel controller and maybe not use them all, maybe end up using 8 or 12... also, is it easier just to add 8 at a time, if you have the money, or just buying a 16 and eventually using the channels.

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Compare the pricing and you'll find getting a 16 channel unit is much cheaper than getting two eights (at least that's true in the Showtime line, don't know if that applies to Hobbyist).

And, yes, if you get 16 you'll use 16. If you get 8, you'll wish you had 16.

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Here's the deal:

16's are cheaper on a per-channel basis -- EXCEPT for the case of the CTB-08 which isn't as powerful of a board (although we use 10 of them). A CTB16D is the same per-channel as a CTB-08(non-D) if I did my math correctly.

8's are more convenient for deploying, assuming you can put the controllers near the lights, since you can eliminate many extension cords. I've said this in other threads but most of our channels have the lights either directly plugged into the controller, or ar connected with a cord under 15'. Except for the case of something like a mega-tree, you probably won't need 16 channels in one exact spot so you'll be running more wire. We use a lot more cords for our static lights than we do for LOR...

Right now, all of our deployed boards are 8's. I put a box in the middle of a set of 8 mini trees, for example, and I only have to use extension cords on 2 of them (the 2 furthest out).

I have 2 16-channel boards in storage -- I might allocate these to our mega-tree next year and that way I have 4 more 8-channel boards to use in scattered locations...

-Tim

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I'm thinking I will buy a showtime product first and then buy the hobbyist products afterwards so I can see how everything is hooked up in the showtime product and then do it myself afterwards. The way I see it is you have to add the box and extension cords to the hobbyist products. Is this correct? also, I was wondering what the difference in the hobbyist products between the "deluxe" version and the non-deluxe version is. It looks like they are basically the same thing except the deluxe unit is a lot more expensive. Also, I was wondering how important the heatsink is to have or if you really don't need it. I notice it is only $10 more for the heatsink so I'm thinking that it might be worth it to get the heatsink ones. As far as number of channels, I guess it just depens on how much I can afford when I want to buy everything, when it gets in stock and when the new program comes out. I'll probably try and save up for a 16 and then just run cords as by the sound of it, once I have 16, I'm going to want more and will end up buying more anyways and then just buy the 8's in the hobbyist products and build them myself.

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musicman wrote:

I'm thinking I will buy a showtime product first and then buy the hobbyist products afterwards so I can see how everything is hooked up in the showtime product and then do it myself afterwards. The way I see it is you have to add the box and extension cords to the hobbyist products. Is this correct? also, I was wondering what the difference in the hobbyist products between the "deluxe" version and the non-deluxe version is. It looks like they are basically the same thing except the deluxe unit is a lot more expensive. Also, I was wondering how important the heatsink is to have or if you really don't need it. I notice it is only $10 more for the heatsink so I'm thinking that it might be worth it to get the heatsink ones. As far as number of channels, I guess it just depens on how much I can afford when I want to buy everything, when it gets in stock and when the new program comes out. I'll probably try and save up for a 16 and then just run cords as by the sound of it, once I have 16, I'm going to want more and will end up buying more anyways and then just buy the 8's in the hobbyist products and build them myself.

I'll try to hit all your questions. Make sure you read Don's LOR FAQ -- it answers many of them, and some of my info is stolen directly from it.

1) Yes -- if you buy the hobbyist product, you'll need to add cord ends (most of us just chop the male end off of extension cords and use those) and an enclosure. The Showtime products are very well built, but some of us chose to find a cheaper enclosure (like from a liquidator) and save some $$$'s that way. I built most of my boxes for $10-15 each, not including the LOR board.

2) The D unit has:
- Handy switches to select unit ID rather than software set unit ID.
- 20A card vs a 15A card.
- More seqeuence memory to store large standalone sequences
- Can act as a Director unit controlling other controllers (when in standalone mode).
- Speed control for standalone mode.
- Firmware can be upgraded via the Hardware Utility.
- Can control 2 servos as well as control 8 light circuits.
- A version of the CTB08D an operate at 240v 50Hz as well as 120v 60Hz.

That's from the LOR FAQ. Here's my own opinion: The CTB-08 is a darned good buy. 10 of my boards (the 10 currently in use) are CTB-08's, and they work very well. I have two D boards which I didn't get a chance to use this year. My biggest concern about the 08's is the lack of firmware upgradability. LOR has released a lot of upgrades to firmware to fix minor bugs and add some features. Since the 08 can only be upgraded by replacing the 'brain' chip, it doesn't receive frequent updates. But it's your best value for cost/channel...

3) Heat sink's -- if you don't run much power through each channel, you technically don't need one. For $10 I think it's a no-brainer to get one for flexibility and a little product insurance.

Your strategy to buy a Showtime 16 to get your feet wet, then later add 8's (or 16's) as you need them seems sound to me.

-Tim
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I was reading in other places about the new LORII coming out soon. Is there going to be new hardware also. What I mean, is has anyone heard of any new controllers coming out that maybe I should wait til they are out before I even think about buying anything. Also, any ideas when it will be released?

This question was probably answered somewhere else, and if so, I apologize.

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From what Dan has said the hardware will remain the same and the software will change. There will however be wireless ability of some sort but that has nothing to do with the 16 or 8 channel board. In other words you do not have to wait.

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Hey Tim,

Have you seen the sales at menards? indoor extion cords for 69 cents and buy one get one free with coupon, plus everything here in indy is 50% off, wonder what the selection will be like on the 26th?:happytree::waycool:

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  • 1 year later...

tfischer wrote:


I'll try to hit all your questions. Make sure you read Don's LOR FAQ -- it answers many of them, and some of my info is stolen directly from it.

1) Yes -- if you buy the hobbyist product, you'll need to add cord ends (most of us just chop the male end off of extension cords and use those) and an enclosure. The Showtime products are very well built, but some of us chose to find a cheaper enclosure (like from a liquidator) and save some $$$'s that way. I built most of my boxes for $10-15 each, not including the LOR board.

2) The D unit has:
- Handy switches to select unit ID rather than software set unit ID.
- 20A card vs a 15A card.
- More seqeuence memory to store large standalone sequences
- Can act as a Director unit controlling other controllers (when in standalone mode).
- Speed control for standalone mode.
- Firmware can be upgraded via the Hardware Utility.
- [glow=yellow]- Can control 2 servos as well as control 8 light circuits.[/glow].- A version of the CTB08D an operate at 240v 50Hz as well as 120v 60Hz.

That's from the LOR FAQ. Here's my own opinion: The CTB-08 is a darned good buy. 10 of my boards (the 10 currently in use) are CTB-08's, and they work very well. I have two D boards which I didn't get a chance to use this year. My biggest concern about the 08's is the lack of firmware upgradability. LOR has released a lot of upgrades to firmware to fix minor bugs and add some features. Since the 08 can only be upgraded by replacing the 'brain' chip, it doesn't receive frequent updates. But it's your best value for cost/channel...

3) Heat sink's -- if you don't run much power through each channel, you technically don't need one. For $10 I think it's a no-brainer to get one for flexibility and a little product insurance.

Your strategy to buy a Showtime 16 to get your feet wet, then later add 8's (or 16's) as you need them seems sound to me.

-Tim




As you might noticed I have awakened a old tread (just shows what you can find with the search option of Planet Christmas

Tim as you said above the CTB-08 can controle 2 servos (Highlighted in yellow)

Can the CTB-16D controle servos like the CTB-08 as I think I am going to want to controll some servos this upcoming year


Ricky

PS. The link to Don LOR FAQ is wrong and I was wondering if you know the correct link I will try to look arond for it.
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Only the CTB-08 can control servos, currently. LOR has been doing some development on a 32 channel board for control of servos, low voltage relay/solenoids and the like. Attached is a photo of my test board showing two servo near the bottom-waving LOR logos. The next post show the back of the board.

Attached files 124827=7422-Test Stand Front.JPG

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And here is the back, sorry you need to twist you head sideways to gain the proper prospective. The test unit is kind of the history of LOR containing the original MC-P setup, CTB-08 and the current 16 channel board.

Attached files 124828=7423-Test stand back.JPG

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Thanks for the Info.

Is there a good chance LOR will develope this 32 channel board that can control servos.

What do you use that setup in the pictures for. It looks kind of neat.

Thanks Ricky

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