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I bought a Mr. Christmas this year thinking that it was the coolest thing since sliced bread. I had no idea that there were other products out there. Anyways, being im a rookie and plan on upgrading for next year already, i have a few standard questions that i am hoping that you experts may be able to answer. I realize these questions are probably in here somewhere, but my time is limited and hopefully some of you can offer some advice.

1. What LOR unit do you recommend? Is it just a cost differece or should a rookie start out small. Im thinking of starting with the 16 ch LOR. I take it i can expand this in the future?

2.How difficult is the programing? looking to see how far ahead of christmas i have to start working on it.

3.Power requirements - do you run a dedicated ckt for the LOR or can the standard outlet run the unit. I know this has many variables, but there must be a general rule of thumb for this.

4. Any suggestions, hints would be great!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! and thanks in advance for any responses.

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MontiChristmas wrote:

I bought a Mr. Christmas this year thinking that it was the coolest thing since sliced bread. I had no idea that there were other products out there. Anyways, being im a rookie and plan on upgrading for next year already, i have a few standard questions that i am hoping that you experts may be able to answer. I realize these questions are probably in here somewhere, but my time is limited and hopefully some of you can offer some advice.

1. What LOR unit do you recommend? Is it just a cost differece or should a rookie start out small. Im thinking of starting with the 16 ch LOR. I take it i can expand this in the future?


2.How difficult is the programing? looking to see how far ahead of christmas i have to start working on it.

3.Power requirements - do you run a dedicated ckt for the LOR or can the standard outlet run the unit. I know this has many variables, but there must be a general rule of thumb for this.

4. Any suggestions, hints would be great!


Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! and thanks in advance for any responses.



1. I am a newbie for this year, but will throw in my advice, for what its worth. If you like to tinker with electronics you can buy kits and build your own controllers, or do like I did and buy them ready to go. I started with 48 channels and will be added at least 32 more for next year.

2. You can download the trial software and start programming now. Thats what I did last year to get me feet wet and make sure I really wanted to do this. I had nearly all my songs programmed before I bought the full version software. With 16 channels you can figure on around an hour programming per minute of songs.

3. A 16 channel system should work fine on a outlet you already have. Just need to pay attention to the load you put on it. There are charts you can go by to figure load.

4. Plan now for what you want to do and start working soon as possible. Try to pick up needed lights when you find them on sale now and right after Christmas. I am sure others will chime in with more ideas.

James
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MontiChristmas wrote:

I bought a Mr. Christmas this year thinking that it was the coolest thing since sliced bread. I had no idea that there were other products out there. Anyways, being im a rookie and plan on upgrading for next year already, i have a few standard questions that i am hoping that you experts may be able to answer. I realize these questions are probably in here somewhere, but my time is limited and hopefully some of you can offer some advice.

1. What LOR unit do you recommend? Is it just a cost differece or should a rookie start out small. Im thinking of starting with the 16 ch LOR. I take it i can expand this in the future?

2.How difficult is the programing? looking to see how far ahead of christmas i have to start working on it.

3.Power requirements - do you run a dedicated ckt for the LOR or can the standard outlet run the unit. I know this has many variables, but there must be a general rule of thumb for this.

4. Any suggestions, hints would be great!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! and thanks in advance for any responses.

1. It depends on what you are planning to do and what skills you have. If you know how to solder components to circuit boards you might be interested in the build-your-own kits. If you don't like that idea, maybe the idea of attaching your own cords and mounting the circuit board in an enclosure is something you could do to save a few bucks. If you aren't comfortable with that, you can buy a fully assembled box. You have an additional choice to go with the unit where the sequences are stored in the box or they can be driven from a computer. It is up to you to determine what you are comfortable doing and your budget. The units themselves are not expandable, you just get another unit, assign it an address, connect a signal wire between them and the second unit will accept the instructions for it.

2. If you have your heart set on Light-O-Rama (which I use), I would suggest that you download the trial version of the sequencing tool. Unless things have changed, it does everything but control the lights. That is how I started. I needed to know if I had the patience to do the sequencing. Of course, if you have the money, you could always buy pre-programmed sequences.

3. The power requirements depend on what you want to power. There are many places on this site that discuss the power requirements of various types of lights. If what you plan to do is to animate the lights you have now, and you aren't having issues with power, adding this equipment will not change that. However if you decide to build a mega-tree and string a few thousand lights, then you will need to do some calculations. If you catch the fever, you will never have enough power.

4. As for suggestions - Read, study, learn. Or to paraphrase something I have seen here - crawl, walk run. Oh, and take that 15% off bag that you just got from Menards and fill it full of extension cords. That way you will only need another mile of them.

I found this site a year ago. I have spent more hours than I care to acknowledge learning about how people put together these giant displays. I was pretty ambitious and decided to make a mega-tree as my first project. I used ideas from so many people here that I cannot begin to name all of them. Although Tim Fischer will recognize the mini-trees and the base of my tree. If you are willing to take a drive, send me a PM, I'll give you directions and you can see how it turned out.

I'll tell you a little secret. The night before Thanksgiving, when I was conducting the final tests, there was a crazy, 50-year-old-man dancing in the street in front of my house. It was amazing.

tb
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1. What LOR unit do you recommend? Is it just a cost differece or should a rookie start out small. Im thinking of starting with the 16 ch LOR. I take it i can expand this in the future?

I started with 80 channels. Others start with 16. I'd recommend reading as much about the hobby as you can before you decide where to start. 16 channels seems to be where a majority of people start.

2.How difficult is the programing? looking to see how far ahead of christmas i have to start working on it.

Light-O-Rama puts out a demo of their software. You could download it and see how difficult you think it is by just giving it a whirl. Be sure to check out www.LightORamaSequences.com to download sequences by others. It's a great way to see how some effects are done.

3.Power requirements - do you run a dedicated ckt for the LOR or can the standard outlet run the unit. I know this has many variables, but there must be a general rule of thumb for this.
You need as much power for the controller as you plan to pull. If you only pull 8 amps for the entire 16 channel controller, you need only one circuit. If you load each one to the max, you are probably going to be looking at upgrading to 2, 20amp circuits per controller.

4. Any suggestions, hints would be great!

Read every post (okay, almost every post) in this forum. Read www.lorwiki.com.

(But after I typed this all out, no way I wasn't posting it ....)
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Thanks to all of you for your input! I just down loaded the trial from the LOR site. I will have to play with it a bit. I figured this was going to consume a lot of my free time which is in very short supply lately. I have had the plug and play version of the Mr. Christmas for a few weeks and all I can think about is next year and what crazy lighting schemes i can come up with. I believe i have the bug and its not going to be easy to drop it now. I cant let my kids down now!!!! I will keep checking back and posting with more questions im sure. Thanks again, I really do appriciate the feed back.

Things on my to do list for 2007.........

1. Call the electrician

2.Read, Read, Read

3. Start Christmas Light bank account

4. add 4 hours to the day

Thanks again everyone! Keep in touch.

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All the advice in this thread is exactly how I planned my first year with LOR. Im very please with how smoothly everything fell together and operates. I originally planned to go with the 8 channel LOR and grow from there. However, when I did the shopping for the LOR unit. I discovered that it was a better deal to buy the 16 channel show package which included the software cables and etc. Buy the single 8 or 16 channel units if you want to add to your system. My only gripes - not having enough money to get a good FM broadcaster. :{ Oh well, theres always next year. :)

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well i found that im pulling about 25amps right now on my current set up. Tomorrow im getting some outdoor outlets put in just for Christmas lights. Im thinking about having 2 or 3 20amp ckts put in. I would think that would be enough for now, next year.

I was surprised that i was pulling that much amperage on my lights. I'm guessing i have in the neighborhood of 8-10 thousand lights. So im thinking with going just LED ligthts next year. Any thoughts on LED lights? I bought a couple strings this year and they seem nice, a little expensive though. Either way I think I will go that route since they should not draw as much and last longer than your typical light.



later

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25amps is a walk in the park for the LOR1602W unit which comes in the 16 channel package. Im running the same amount of lights and pulling the same ampherage as you. You just have to be sure to load balance the LOR so you dont overload a single channel. To power the LOR I installed 2 20amp circuits both protected by GFCI outlets.

LED lights will work with LOR but there have been issues with them which have been resolved with a recent software update. There are several threads on here that address LED use. I dont have any LED lights so i cant tell you how well they work for me.

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the electrician will be here tomorrow morning. I will probably have him put in 3 20 amps just to make sure. I will have to check on the LED and LOR compatablility. Seems odd the LED's would not work with the LOR. I will have to investigate. At least with 3 20 amp breakers i can theoritcly tripple my lights. Which would be plenty. I dont want the yard to look to be an eye sore. With 30k of lights and im still not satisfied i may need to seek help!?!?!

So how many lights per channel do you average? If your main power source (LOR) has all 16 channels lit up at one time it would be very easy to surpase the 20 amps. I might be missing something here but do you just put in a 40 amp breaker then? I will have to talk with the electrician and get some electrical 101 in the morning. I have not even started yet and im thinking im going to need another 200 amp panel installed for christmas lights! The thing that gets me is that currently i peake at about 24 amps and im on a 15 amp breaker. You would think it would trip. If i turn all the lights on at once it will trip but with the Mr. Christmas box alternating the lights it doesnt seem to trip it. There are parts of music where all the lights are on, must be some type of time period of x amount of amps before they trip.

thanks for the input.......had a meeting with a few of the neighbors last night on next year and after a few beers i think we are all getting LOR and try to link them all together via wireless. I seen a wireless device for the LOR but didnt look into much. So i dont know if the wireless is just for the pc or is it to link multiple LOR's together.

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This is probably a dumb question, im assuming you can buy preprogramed music. If so has anyone tried it? Is it worth buying? This may be something i would purchase being im short on time. Someone had posted it takes about 1 hour of programing for every minute of music. Im not sure i would get more than 6 songs done during the course of year if it takes that long. Sometimes i wonder why every hobby i get into is time consuming and hard on the wallet!

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the electrician will be here tomorrow morning. I will probably have him put in 3 20 amps just to make sure. I will have to check on the LED and LOR compatablility. Seems odd the LED's would not work with the LOR. I will have to investigate. At least with 3 20 amp breakers i can theoritcly tripple my lights. Which would be plenty. I dont want the yard to look to be an eye sore. With 30k of lights and im still not satisfied i may need to seek help!?!?!


So how many lights per channel do you average? If your main power source (LOR) has all 16 channels lit up at one time it would be very easy to surpase the 20 amps. I might be missing something here but do you just put in a 40 amp breaker then? I will have to talk with the electrician and get some electrical 101 in the morning. I have not even started yet and im thinking im going to need another 200 amp panel installed for christmas lights! The thing that gets me is that currently i peake at about 24 amps and im on a 15 amp breaker. You would think it would trip. If i turn all the lights on at once it will trip but with the Mr. Christmas box alternating the lights it doesnt seem to trip it. There are parts of music where all the lights are on, must be some type of time period of x amount of amps before they trip.
Lights per channle really depend on you. you can have up to 20 amps per side of an lor board, each side of the board has 8 channels. Each channel max 8 amps. Yes you can overlaod if you have 8 amps on all 8 curcuits. you have to be sure you dont pull too many amps to long. Some people have to limit them selves. You can have 30k lights but only have the power to light 15k of them at a time, to fix this problem they just buy more lor boards. To break it down one lor board can take 2 imputs. 2 20 amp plugs. totaling 40 amps per lor board.

thanks for the input.......had a meeting with a few of the neighbors last night on next year and after a few beers i think we are all getting LOR and try to link them all together via wireless. I seen a wireless device for the LOR but didnt look into much. So i dont know if the wireless is just for the pc or is it to link multiple LOR's together.
Yes you can link multiple together.... see link http://store.lightorama.com/ealilip.html also see picture below....


Attached files 108154=6498-LOR_Sophisticated.jpg
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look at this photo posted by another member here.... if you look at this one close it can show you alot how lor inputs may look....

Notice the 2 black main Cords going in those are both imputs for one board.....


Attached files 108158=6499-IMG_0703.JPG

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This is probably a dumb question, im assuming you can buy preprogramed music. If so has anyone tried it? Is it worth buying? This may be something i would purchase being im short on time. Someone had posted it takes about 1 hour of programing for every minute of music. Im not sure i would get more than 6 songs done during the course of year if it takes that long. Sometimes i wonder why every hobby i get into is time consuming and hard on the wallet!



yes you can buy pre programed music...

you can buy them here... http://store.lightorama.com/sequences.html

The look worth buying, but remember they are not made for you display... basicly they program it so it will look ok on any house... but for example if you have one element you want to control of your show and make it look your way you really cant..

Try sequencing a few songs for fun at first.... (what I am doing now) ... once you get an idea of what sequencing is like try a simple song with a stedy beat....
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from what im reading, you can only have 15 amps per 8 channels if you buy the pre built and 20 amps per 8 channels if you build your own. Why is it different. I would much rather have the 20 amps.

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doublea wrote:

the electrician will be here tomorrow morning. I will probably have him put in 3 20 amps just to make sure. I will have to check on the LED and LOR compatablility. Seems odd the LED's would not work with the LOR. I will have to investigate. At least with 3 20 amp breakers i can theoritcly tripple my lights. Which would be plenty. I dont want the yard to look to be an eye sore. With 30k of lights and im still not satisfied i may need to seek help!?!?!


So how many lights per channel do you average? If your main power source (LOR) has all 16 channels lit up at one time it would be very easy to surpase the 20 amps. I might be missing something here but do you just put in a 40 amp breaker then? I will have to talk with the electrician and get some electrical 101 in the morning. I have not even started yet and im thinking im going to need another 200 amp panel installed for christmas lights! The thing that gets me is that currently i peake at about 24 amps and im on a 15 amp breaker. You would think it would trip. If i turn all the lights on at once it will trip but with the Mr. Christmas box alternating the lights it doesnt seem to trip it. There are parts of music where all the lights are on, must be some type of time period of x amount of amps before they trip.
Lights per channle really depend on you. you can have up to 20 amps per side of an lor board, each side of the board has 8 channels. Each channel max 8 amps. Yes you can overlaod if you have 8 amps on all 8 curcuits. you have to be sure you dont pull too many amps to long. Some people have to limit them selves. You can have 30k lights but only have the power to light 15k of them at a time, to fix this problem they just buy more lor boards. To break it down one lor board can take 2 imputs. 2 20 amp plugs. totaling 40 amps per lor board.

thanks for the input.......had a meeting with a few of the neighbors last night on next year and after a few beers i think we are all getting LOR and try to link them all together via wireless. I seen a wireless device for the LOR but didnt look into much. So i dont know if the wireless is just for the pc or is it to link multiple LOR's together.
Yes you can link multiple together.... see link http://store.lightorama.com/ealilip.html also see picture below....


Thanks for the info........i really like this site. Nice to know that there are people out there that still have the Christmas spirit.

thanks again.
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