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DMX Newbie Question


Milwaukee..Chip
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Milwaukee..Chip

What I want to do is set up a string of lights (rewire), 6 colors that repeat along the string. I want to use dmx to control each color on the string, not each individual bulb.

Any ideas on what equipment I will need past the dongle part.
These are not LED, they are incandescent strings.

Any help greatly appreciated.

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Ken Benedict

Sounds like a "Super String", where you have six seperate strands of wire tied together as a bundle. As long as your colors don't "move", you could make your own strings of C7 lights with the vampire plugs and bulk SPT1 wire.

This would take six channels of a LOR AC controller.

Is this close to what you envision?

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Is there any reason you think this should be a DMX solution?

Standard 110v incandescent, or low voltage?

Th superstring on 6 channels of a LOR sounds like what you are looking for with what we have read so far.

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DMX usually enters with DMX native fixtures, some low voltage applications, and intelligent pixel strings.

To do 110v incandescent with DMX you would need 110VAC dimmer packs that had some advantage over LOR hardware. I'm not aware of any at the moment.

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Ken Benedict

The LOR AC controllers can all speak DMX.

Are these strings LED strings, LED strips or incandescents?

Why the push for DMX? Is there something LOR does not have that DMX offers?

72 different channels would take six LOR controllers, AC or DC.

There are some slight cost savings with some DC DMX controllers, but not knowing what the load is, you are at a fork in the road.

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Milwaukee..Chip

These are incandescent lights sets
Dmx because I Want to learn how to use it. plus thought it might be cheaper and a little easier.

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Ken Benedict

I would suggest using the existing LOR equipment and protocol for your lighting show and learn DMX on the side.

In the DMX dimmer field, dimmers are are from $15 per channel to $100 per channel (some even more). The LOR AC controller is about $15 per channel, so for 72 channels it's about $1250.

That's pretty cheap for what you're getting; it's reliable and supported very well.

Going DMX only will cost you more per channel plus the dimmers have to be weatherproofed (more $$).

Think about getting an iDMX1000 controller from LOR and playing with that and some DMX type devices. Contact HEYSTEW (LOR member), who has some extras for about $125 each (half price). I have four that I use for home and commercial displays and they work great; never had a problem.

It's easy to get all balled up in the dongle/cat5/crossover cable/module addressing thing, so start simple and learn it as you can.

The iDMX1000 can connect to your regular LOR network and the lights and devices look like everything else in you Sequence Editor.

DMX is the latest cool buzzword, but don't let the technology bog you down and slow or even stop your display ideas.

Use the LOR hardware and start learning this sequencing stuff. Keep us posted.

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Even though DMX protocol supports control of 512 channels. That does not mean you receive 512 dimmers. What Ken said is correct, DMX dimmers are usually more expensive than the LOR dimmers. This is the case because DMX dimmers usually have more of a load capacity than the LOR dimmers do. The standard for professional rack-mounted DMX dimmers is 2.5k-ish watts a piece. 48 channels of that is approx $14,000. Obviously there are cheaper ones with less of a load capacity but seems like a lot of hassle when the LOR hardware is working.

I was using 10- 500w pars this past season on the LOR dimmers, no worries. If I end up upgrading those to 1k units then I would think about different dimmers.

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Ken Benedict wrote:

I would suggest using the existing LOR equipment and protocol for your lighting show and learn DMX on the side.

In the DMX dimmer field, dimmers are are from $15 per channel to $100 per channel (some even more). The LOR AC controller is about $15 per channel, so for 72 channels it's about $1250.

That's pretty cheap for what you're getting; it's reliable and supported very well.

Going DMX only will cost you more per channel plus the dimmers have to be weatherproofed (more $$).

Think about getting an iDMX1000 controller from LOR and playing with that and some DMX type devices. Contact HEYSTEW (LOR member), who has some extras for about $125 each (half price). I have four that I use for home and commercial displays and they work great; never had a problem.

It's easy to get all balled up in the dongle/cat5/crossover cable/module addressing thing, so start simple and learn it as you can.

The iDMX1000 can connect to your regular LOR network and the lights and devices look like everything else in you Sequence Editor.

DMX is the latest cool buzzword, but don't let the technology bog you down and slow or even stop your display ideas.

Use the LOR hardware and start learning this sequencing stuff. Keep us posted.


Sorry to correct you Ken. It is important that we supply newbies with correct info;

DMX and Christmas lights is widely used in the DIY Christmas community. I have more DMX channels because 27 channel boards only cost $45. You can build 16 channel AC boards for about the same price as a LOR PC board.

Also, LOR's software is now native DMX. All you need is a DMX dongle. There is no longer a need for a iDMX1000.

From what I saw years ago getting into Christmas there were two clear choices, the DIY way or LOR way. However, there are still other boards out there that are widely used just not as good as LOR.

Back to the original question;

You do not need to use DMX to control six colors on a string. But if using regular Christmas light strings, you would wrap the wires together (all six colors) and use six channels to control each string. This is easily done with a LOR board. You could make each string 15 feet long and control every 15 of your house with 6 channels each. Meaning if your house was 30 feet long you would use 12 channels and be able to use any color at any time.

If you are talking making every other bulb a different color and being able to control every other color, the above way would be the best way. Becuase cutting up the wire and rewiring it you would still need to have six plugs so why not just wrap the wires together.

If you want to get into DMX, see what the guys at do it yourself Chirstmas and diy lightamation are doing. And while looking around, check out auschristmaslighting

Good Luck and welcome to the insanity/obsession!
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Kent - You and I have been working with DMX for quite a while and are comfortable with it.

Beginners are usually looking for a simple solution that may not involve a DIY approach.

That's why I suggested the LOR approach.

After all, this is a forum for LOR hardware.


If others are comfortable with DIY, there are other great forums like you mentioned that are geared towards other vendor's hardware.

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Agree, Hands down the best way to start is LOR. There are many that use only LOR. The only reason I started towards DMX is RGB. I originally planned on using LOR DC boards.

I still after reading/rereading Chip's question six LOR channels and six strings of lights are the way to go. Trying to do too much in one year especially the first year is too much stress. Spend the extra time making cool props

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