Jump to content
Light-O-Rama Forums

Newbie with DC controller question


msjones2452

Recommended Posts

Hello all! So I'm working on future Halloween setups and I'm very interested in the LOR system (I haven't bought one yet) but I'm confused about something. I will have 3-5 props in my graveyard display that I want to control as part of the show. The props will have a combination of lighting, sound and motion. The motion will be by pneumatic, linear motor and windshield wiper motors. I want sound to eminate from some of the props like it is actually talking/screaming/groaning. There will be an overall graveyard soundtrack playing pretty much full time. I don't know how to get this to happen. I've looked at all of the "prop controllers" such as is found on frightprops.com and Hauntbots.com and they all appear to be DC. Is there a way to control my props by just using the LOR system and if so how? Would it be better to have the props operated by a pre-programmed controller w/sound that is triggered by the LOR system and if so how? I'm 99.9% convinced that LOR is the way to go but I'd like to know for sure if this can be done. I know this is probably a very simple question for most of you, but I'm pretty new to "show" controllers. Any info would help.

Thanks,

Matt

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First and foremost, WELCOME MATT!!! Welcome to the great group of just-not-right people on the planet!!

ok, are the props AC or DC powered now? If they're 120vac, then something like the CTB-16PC AC controller will work for you, enabling whatever sound file you want to use (.wav/.mp3). You can use the channels of the -16PC as an On/Off controller to purely turn on/off the AC power, or as a means to enable a relay to power a high-current item (wiper motor ps) or to fade/shimmer/twinkle lights, either incands or LEDs around the display.

If the props are 12vdc, then the CMB-16QC DC Controller (works the same as the AC type) is what you'd use. It would require a AC to DC power supply (or car battery/etc). It too can run 12v LEDs or 12v props, If either are really high-current items, then something like a DIO32 and Relay Board would be needed so as not to run all the current thru the main board.

With either you'll need the software to run the board, S3 is the program that will tell the lights to begin with the sound, will tell the props to turn on/off (no dimming).. About the only other thing you'll need.. the digital interface, the RS-485 either USB or serial..

ex: sequence begins with a moaning file, a few seconds into it, a wiper motor opens a coffin lid.. lights flicker, the moaning sound file fades into chains creaking, a crow head spins, a skeleton turns its head, to sing "IIIiiiiiiii Aint Got NoBoddddddy".. more lights flash, noises, guilotine. etc..

As this seems like a random sequence, it'd actually be pretty easy to make the files. And as it isnt a song youre trying to cue to, making sequences like this wont take more than a couple days.. (You've got 90) Construction would be the toughest thing..

Others can chime in and add anything I've forgot.. prob a lot :)

Edited by TJ Hvasta
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My two cents...as always, everything TJ says is great information and usually the best to go by...lol. I do an eloborate halloween display as well, and last year used LOR for the first time for Halloween. I have a handful of props that use the wiper motors, and I just used the power supplies i got with the motors and didnt hook any these to the LOR controller (CTB16PC is all I have).

I did however use the controllers for different effects. I used to use a lightning controller, but realized that I could do so much more using the LOR controller to accomplish the same effect, and better. By creating a "musical" sequence, using a thunder sound file, you can essentially enable much more lighting opposed to what the standard lightning machines can handle.

Another use, effective for halloween, for the LOR controllers are the ability to run flood lights as well. Again can be accomplished with a creepy graveyard music/sound file, or even as an animation sequence (which is just controlling the lights) without an associated sound file.

Never tried using the LOR for prop control, maybe something I should consider as well. Thanks TJ and hope this helps a litle more....Also, I dont know where you are at MSJones, but I am in the Springs if seeing the equipment or software prior to purchase would be beneficial to you...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks T.. I'm not really the go-to guy, just hope I can help =) Like I say about my flying, it isnt talent, its just repetition :D

Good stuff there, going with a controller / floods for lightning.. just biggest thing to remember is not to run any transformers (wallwarts) with anything other than On/Off.. no fading, shimmer, twinkle effects.. guarenteed to burn up the wallwart and put a stop to your prop. :blink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

just biggest thing to remember is not to run any transformers (wallwarts) with anything other than On/Off.. no fading, shimmer, twinkle effects.. guarenteed to burn up the wallwart and put a stop to your prop. :blink:

TJ,

I've been using wallwarts for 5 years, fading, shimmering, the whole nine yards. I have never had one fail on my. Never.

But let me add, if we're talking DC controllers, I've never heard of anyone using a wallwart on a DC controller, no need to right?

But AC controllers, no problems at all.

I use about 12 of them each year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some clification might be needed from the OP. Are you wanting each individual prop to have it's own sound eminating from the prop, or just an overall soundtrack with LOR controlling the props. Individual sound tracks can be done, but pricey, individual controllers with director cards would be needed I believe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the Lunacy!

I gotta turn you on to automationdirect.com

I've bought valves, power supplies, relays and linear actuators from them. Cheap, fast, top quality stuff.

Enjoy.

tj

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the Lunacy!

I gotta turn you on to automationdirect.com

I've bought valves, power supplies, relays and linear actuators from them. Cheap, fast, top quality stuff.

Enjoy.

tj

They also have an inexpensive PLC with free software.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tom, nope, you're not supposed to fade / shimmer / twinkle AC transformers.. never ever ever.. the fact that yours still work is puzzling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tom, nope, you're not supposed to fade / shimmer / twinkle AC transformers.. never ever ever.. the fact that yours still work is puzzling.

TJ, Maybe so but I have gone against that rule that someone made up and used them for Rainbow floods, Rainbow Wall Runners, Chauvet LED Techno Strobes, LED strips, RGB strings, Chauvet LED floods, CDI Floods and even use them to run some of my LOR DC boards.

I've been doing this for over five years.

So I don't get the concern when I haven't had any problems with such a variety of LED products. It's the same LED products anyone else uses in their displays.

So again, I'm not sure where this myth started.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

TJ, Maybe so but I have gone against that rule that someone made up and used them for Rainbow floods, Rainbow Wall Runners, Chauvet LED Techno Strobes, LED strips, RGB strings, Chauvet LED floods, CDI Floods and even use them to run some of my LOR DC boards.

I've been doing this for over five years.

So I don't get the concern when I haven't had any problems with such a variety of LED products. It's the same LED products anyone else uses in their displays.

So again, I'm not sure where this myth started.

...Too many TJ's...

This tj is also surprised you have not had any problems. I'm no electronics wiz, but I know a little.

AC to DC transformers really aren't transformers at all. They are bridge rectifiers (diodes) made for a specific input.

That being said... you're not powering someones life support... just lights. so if it has worked for a long time, and continues to work,

I wish you well. Please be cautious though... I have heard of fires caused by wall-warts.

(I bet if I tried it, I'd smoke it immediately) LOL

tj

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That being said... you're not powering someones life support... just lights. so if it has worked for a long time, and continues to work,

I wish you well. Please be cautious though... I have heard of fires caused by wall-warts.

(I bet if I tried it, I'd smoke it immediately) LOL

tj

Since the lights aren't fading and all the other effects 24/7, I feel confident the wallwarts will be, has been and are fine. I mean over 5 years of using these, I feel safe. Too much judgement is being said without actually using them and most being hear-say.

But being an electronic tech at FAA, I know what to look for if failure is on the horizon (things over heating and such).

When is comes to electronics, you respect it, not trust it.

Thanks for the advice though,

One more thing. Try it. You might like it. :)

Tom

Edited by Santas Helper
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome Matt.

I've been using LOR for halloween control for years. Ive used the DC controller for Props, But What I found works the best was the DIO-32

As for multiple sound locations I record my sound effects in Quad sound, this gives me four outputs with out any complicated switching of speakers. I just put a seperate channel/speaker in each area...LOR controlls all my timings and effects. Last year I had 10 inputs, One DIO-32, One dc Card, Four 16 channel controllers, and one DMX-1000

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...Too many TJ's...

This tj is also surprised you have not had any problems. I'm no electronics wiz, but I know a little.

AC to DC transformers really aren't transformers at all. They are bridge rectifiers (diodes) made for a specific input.

That being said... you're not powering someones life support... just lights. so if it has worked for a long time, and continues to work,

I wish you well. Please be cautious though... I have heard of fires caused by wall-warts.

(I bet if I tried it, I'd smoke it immediately) LOL

tj

Wall cubes are small transformers that have a bridge rectifier or if center tapped 2 diodes. Usually with a filter cap and maybe, just maybe a regulator.

And I have to agree with TJ, strange your wall warts have been able to do all of this without failing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aye, wallwarts, or transformers, as it were.. fadingly, shimmery or twinkly collapsing magnetic fields in a transformer.. naught good, naught good at all..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh boy, where did you take your electronics course? Wall cubes are small transformers that have a bridge rectifier or if center tapped 2 diodes. Usually with a filter cap and maybe, just maybe a regulator.

And I have to agree with TJ, strange your wall warts have been able to do all of this without failing.

With all due respect Sir, I was using the word "transformer" literally.

tj

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To all, thanks for the info. In response to scubado, yes my plan was to have sound eminating from the prop itself. I have a vision of a grim reaper speaking and thought that if his voice came from multiple speakers/locations throughout my graveyard that it would make the prop less convincing. One thing I had in mind was to use an individual prop controller that has a pre-programmed routine on it (i.e. movement/sound/fog) that would be "triggered" by a command from the LOR controler. I do have to admit that I don't completely understand everything you guys are talking about, like I said I'm very new and worst of all not very computer literate! I did order the 16 CTB PC the other day but after spending several hours on this forum, I'm beginning to wonder if I bit off more than I can chew. I played music for years, so I understand that aspect and have a basic understanding of lighting/electrical/show production but haven't ever really done any computer programming. Watching half a dozen or so of the LOR instructional videos it didn't seem overly impossible.

Again, thanks for all the info!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My two cents...as always, everything TJ says is great information and usually the best to go by...lol. I do an eloborate halloween display as well, and last year used LOR for the first time for Halloween. I have a handful of props that use the wiper motors, and I just used the power supplies i got with the motors and didnt hook any these to the LOR controller (CTB16PC is all I have).

I did however use the controllers for different effects. I used to use a lightning controller, but realized that I could do so much more using the LOR controller to accomplish the same effect, and better. By creating a "musical" sequence, using a thunder sound file, you can essentially enable much more lighting opposed to what the standard lightning machines can handle.

Another use, effective for halloween, for the LOR controllers are the ability to run flood lights as well. Again can be accomplished with a creepy graveyard music/sound file, or even as an animation sequence (which is just controlling the lights) without an associated sound file.

Never tried using the LOR for prop control, maybe something I should consider as well. Thanks TJ and hope this helps a litle more....Also, I dont know where you are at MSJones, but I am in the Springs if seeing the equipment or software prior to purchase would be beneficial to you...

Well, I already pulled the trigger on the CTB 16PC. I wanted to take advantage of the sale!!! That being said, I'm in Denver but would definately be interested in seeing the software being used by someone who knows what their doing. It sounds like your lighting is similar to what I have in mind. Nothing terribly elaborate, just some LED floods and a couple of strobes for general lighting/effects. I do plan on growing every year though and would like to also start a Christmas show.

Thanks for the info.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now TJ (not tj), tis a good thing this collapsing of the fields. Tis tat makes fer ta lightening thous zaps ye in ta secondary windings. Nae wishy washy of ta field, nae lightening savey? Tis ta caps nae liking all of ta fussing. Ana they will bluster and burst into flames like from hell. Stinks to, dis do.

With all due respect Sir, I was using the word "transformer" literally.

tj

Why of course you where using the word "Transformer" literally. What else is there? Figuratively? And you are transforming the voltage from 120VAC to say 12VAC. That's what transformers do. The A.C. to D.C. is a converter. Though in most non technical speak. We call wall warts a transformer even when it has the extra electronics in it to convert the A.C. voltage and current to a D.C. voltage and current. Now I think I remember hearing something about the signal out of the triacs is a PWM signal? If so I wonder what the base frequency is? If it is much different than 60 Hz. The transformer could get hot due to the XL or XC causing the impedance to change to a lower value. Now if it is just a simple % of phase that is turned on. Then the transformer should not care, but as I said above. The cap does not like large changes and it will heat up and pop. Might even catch on fire if combustibles are near by. That sir is the long version of my earlier comment. What you posted sounded strange to my way of thinking. Thus the reason why I commented. So, my comment was directed to your comment, not at you personally.

dis true.

Edited by Max-Paul
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...