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NEWBIE FROM WI NEEDS ADVICE!!


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MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE,

FIRST TIMER TO THE ANIMATED LIGHT EXPERIENCE. I'M LOOKING FOR SOME ADVICE TO GET IN THERE A MAKE MY NEIGHBORS FEEL TO SPIRIT. I HAVE CHECKED OUT THE OTHER COMPANIES AND I LIKE THE LOOK AND FEEL OF THE LOR PRODUCT LINE AND COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE.

A FEW QUESTIONS;

WHAT WOULD BE A " GOOD " STARTER NUMBER FOR CHANNELS?

I WANT TO USE MUSIC SEQUENCES IN MY DISPLAY. THATS A GIVEN. WOULD I BE ABLE TO USE MY PC TO RUN/PROGRAM THE SHOWS. OR DO I HAVE TO USE THE LOR1602W W/ SHOW DIRECTOR AND MP3 PLAYER? OR IS IT POSSIBLE TO RUN IT FROM THE PC AND USE THE UBS PORTS FOR FILE TRANSFER OF MUSIC? IS THIS WHAT THE LOR1600W COMPUTERIZED LIGHTING CONTROLER IS FOR?

WHEN I USE MUSIC, WHICH TRANSMITTER OUT THERE HAS THE BEST DISTANCE WITHOUT BOGGING DOWN THE PC?

IF I WERE TO BUY THE SONGS FROM LOR ARE THEY ALREAD PROGRAMED TO THE 16 OR 32 CHANNEL, BASICLY A PLUG AND PLAY?

HOW EASY IS IT TO SET UP PERSONAL MUSIC AND PROGRAM YOUR OWN SHOW?

IF YOU KNEW WHAT YOU KNOW NOW. WHAT WOULD YOUR STARTER SETUP INCLUDE?

WHAT WERE SO OF THE PROBLEMS YOU MAY HAVE HAD WHEN STARTING OUT AND HOW DID YOU RESOLVE THEM?

THANK YOU FOR ANY ADVICE YOU HAVE TO OFFER!!

BOBASSETT

CHRISTMAS IS'T MORE THAN A DAY, IT'S A STATE OF MIND!!:happytree:

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BOBASSETT_III wrote:

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE,

FIRST TIMER TO THE ANIMATED LIGHT EXPERIENCE. I'M LOOKING FOR SOME ADVICE TO GET IN THERE A MAKE MY NEIGHBORS FEEL TO SPIRIT. I HAVE CHECKED OUT THE OTHER COMPANIES AND I LIKE THE LOOK AND FEEL OF THE LOR PRODUCT LINE AND COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE.

A FEW QUESTIONS;

WHAT WOULD BE A " GOOD " STARTER NUMBER FOR CHANNELS?-

I WANT TO USE MUSIC SEQUENCES IN MY DISPLAY. THATS A GIVEN. WOULD I BE ABLE TO USE MY PC TO RUN/PROGRAM THE SHOWS. OR DO I HAVE TO USE THE LOR1602W W/ SHOW DIRECTOR AND MP3 PLAYER? OR IS IT POSSIBLE TO RUN IT FROM THE PC AND USE THE UBS PORTS FOR FILE TRANSFER OF MUSIC? IS THIS WHAT THE LOR1600W COMPUTERIZED LIGHTING CONTROLER IS FOR?

WHEN I USE MUSIC, WHICH TRANSMITTER OUT THERE HAS THE BEST DISTANCE WITHOUT BOGGING DOWN THE PC?

IF I WERE TO BUY THE SONGS FROM LOR ARE THEY ALREAD PROGRAMED TO THE 16 OR 32 CHANNEL, BASICLY A PLUG AND PLAY?

HOW EASY IS IT TO SET UP PERSONAL MUSIC AND PROGRAM YOUR OWN SHOW?

IF YOU KNEW WHAT YOU KNOW NOW. WHAT WOULD YOUR STARTER SETUP INCLUDE?

WHAT WERE SO OF THE PROBLEMS YOU MAY HAVE HAD WHEN STARTING OUT AND HOW DID YOU RESOLVE THEM?

THANK YOU FOR ANY ADVICE YOU HAVE TO OFFER!!

BOBASSETT

CHRISTMAS IS'T MORE THAN A DAY, IT'S A STATE OF MIND!!:happytree:

1, The # of channels depends on how much money you are willing to spend, and how much free time you have. I started out with 16 mostly because I'm 15 and cant afford the time or money for a bigger show. I'm doing 56 though this year.

2, You don't have to use the MP3 card, and you can run the show off of your computer. I personally have a seperate computer seperate from my laptop to runt he show.

3, I used the belkin transmitter and it got about 1/2 a block before it started to break up.

4, If you buy the songs from LOR, you could just plug and play, but if your house isn't exactly set-up like the demo's, it wont look too great. You can get some free sequences at www.lorsequences.com and then just modify them for your house.

5, I had some problems with the show, but that was just the computer. I had a hardware failure with one of my bords, but within 5 days LOR sent me a new one, and paid for the shipping on both the new one, and the return.

Good luck, and start early!

PS, check out PLUS for alot more help!
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Welcome BOBASSETT_III, you have quote a few questions and I will start to address them below, but most of which are all person preference and can’t give to specific of advice. This is also my first year and I will admit PC (Planet Christmas) is a great help and reading through the historical post help me the most. I would set a side a weekend and just read back as far as the board will let you. Well worth your time and money if you are serious about this.

So here I go …

BOBASSETT_III wrote:

WHAT WOULD BE A " GOOD " STARTER NUMBER FOR CHANNELS?

Most people say 16 to 32, this is due to the time that is involved, I will admit again my firs year and I have 96. So this just depends on how much time you are willing to dedicate to this. But also look at what you ‘need’, Draw out you Christmas display and see how much you want to control, if you have 5 bush’s 3 sections of your yard, 4 house peaks, and 7 mini trees. Then you need 19 channels, but this is all on how much you want to control. But also look at you power consumption also, remember each channel MAX is 8 amp’s and ‘bank’ (Side of board) has a max of 15 amps (20 Amp if you use CTB-16D). (AMPS = Total Volts / 110) {Mini = ~0.4 Watts, C9 = ~7 Watts}. This is where Excel is a GREAT tool, there are also spreadsheets floating around here.

BOBASSETT_III wrote:
I WANT TO USE MUSIC SEQUENCES IN MY DISPLAY. THATS A GIVEN. WOULD I BE ABLE TO USE MY PC TO RUN/PROGRAM THE SHOWS. OR DO I HAVE TO USE THE LOR1602W W/ SHOW DIRECTOR AND MP3 PLAYER? OR IS IT POSSIBLE TO RUN IT FROM THE PC AND USE THE UBS PORTS FOR FILE TRANSFER OF MUSIC? IS THIS WHAT THE LOR1600W COMPUTERIZED LIGHTING CONTROLER IS FOR?

Yes you can use a PC to control the show, I would recommend it, a little more control and easier to troubleshoot and ‘tweak’ your display.

BOBASSETT_III wrote:
WHEN I USE MUSIC, WHICH TRANSMITTER OUT THERE HAS THE BEST DISTANCE WITHOUT BOGGING DOWN THE PC?

This question isn’t phrased in a way to give you maybe the answer you want. "The total distance of your LOR network can be 2000 - 4000 feet, depending on the wire type - CAT5E will give you further reach than standard phone cable. Also, if you are using the SC485 Serial Adapter, the connection from the computer to the first controller needs to be under 100 feet. If you are using the USB485 or USB485B USB Adapter, the 100' limit does not apply." - LOR Wiki

If you are talking about transmitting on a FM frequenting this will depend on your transmitter you use. I would recommend the Ramsey FM25B or FM30B (Few more Bucks and WORTH it). These go 800 feetish which is the max FCC allows.

BOBASSETT_III wrote:
IF I WERE TO BUY THE SONGS FROM LOR ARE THEY ALREAD PROGRAMED TO THE 16 OR 32 CHANNEL, BASICLY A PLUG AND PLAY?

Yes, they sell both, they are plug and play but you do have to buy the music separately. All you are paying for is the sequence. You can also download free sequences from the net many people have post them out there and there is a site for LOR sequences but unable to confirm the URL, if someone can help me out there.

BOBASSETT_III wrote:
HOW EASY IS IT TO SET UP PERSONAL MUSIC AND PROGRAM YOUR OWN SHOW?

Well it isn’t ‘Hard’ but it does take some dedication and about 10 hours per minute of song, but does improve the more you do it.

BOBASSETT_III wrote:
IF YOU KNEW WHAT YOU KNOW NOW. WHAT WOULD YOUR STARTER SETUP INCLUDE?

A time machine and 30 hour days, oh ya unlimited cash flow.

BOBASSETT_III wrote:
WHAT WERE SO OF THE PROBLEMS YOU MAY HAVE HAD WHEN STARTING OUT AND HOW DID YOU RESOLVE THEM?

The pure number of extension cords need, time, and monetary demands. Well one the first one I decide to use SPT and vampire plugs saved about $150. Second I now have ‘LOR – Xmas’ time on my calendar and carry my notebook with me everywhere. Started to imbesal funds from myself back in January and hiding it.

Now the follow up question most n00b ask ‘When to buy?’ Well the answer is during the sale. Which for the PC board is now (Would Recommend), but starts June 12th for the rest of LOR.
Again welcome and feel free to contact me if you have any other questions. All my contact info is on my profile or if you want to talk on the phone feel free to PM me and we can workout a time.
Again Good Luck and Welcome.
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Great advice above.

One correction: I bought the musical sequence package and down loaded the free TSO sequences.

The package of 5 songs come with the music and already sequenced. They tell you how to set up your lights so the sequences of 16 or 32 ch. works great. The info is on the LOR website. The 2 TSO sequences are the ones that are only sequenced. You will need to acquire the music. I highly recommend this package if you are just starting out. It saves you a ton of time and gives you a professionally looking show right away.

The biggest advice is to read everything you can on PC and LOR. Watch the LOR tutorials. Go to Don's WIki. Plan like crazy. Sketch out a plan. Count amps.

I have to go walk the dog. I will add more.

Michael B

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The sequences from LOR can me adjusted by you to fit your display if you so desire. Just save as a separate file from the orginal.

Here are some threads that will help:

Making big light jump. There are a lot of good threads in this one.

http://planetchristmas.mywowbb.com/forum13/12978.html

Amps per channel

http://planetchristmas.mywowbb.com/forum25/12573.html

Good luck!

Michael B

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Here's two on other PCer's 16 channel displays:

http://planetchristmas.mywowbb.com/forum25/6166.html

http://planetchristmas.mywowbb.com/view_topic.php?id=10893&forum_id=25&msg=3

To answer another question:

I did 16 ch. last year. I am glad I did. That was a great starting point.

Things to think about:

This wonderful hobby will take a lot of time, energy, and money. There was times I was wore out. Read and plan like crazy. Have all your lights checked and ready to go. Have all elements of your display ready to go before you start hanging lights. have a staging area for this. For larger displays start hanging lights in early Nov. You might want to have roof lights up even sooner because of weather. You will use more extension cords than you can imagine.

I loved doing my display, but it is not easy. Take breaks when they are needed and be safe.


Michael B

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Also another note if you are serious and want to go nuts with it (Like I did), just don’t count amps of you lighting display, start on your house to see if it can handle the extra load. A decent clamp meter will become your friend very quickly.

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I would agree with everyone's advice and add my own $.02. I originally bought 32 channels last Oct. Within a couple weeks I had decided on what display elements I was going to use and had to go back for 16 more channels. Consequently, I would recommend laying out your display first and then seeing how many channels you need for the elements. I had a first song in mind when I did this and had an idea of how I wanted it too look.

Once your display is set, you can look for ways to economize on the number of channels and get the most for your money.

Also, watch the videos of other people's displays. You can pick up some good ideas and modify them to your set-up.

Don't underestimate the amount of time you will spend. I would suggest downloading the free demo and sequencing an entire song before you spend a penny. You can lay out the display in the animation and get a great idea of how it will look and what you will need.

Shop early for the display elements. I had decided that I would spend the extra money for LED lights to cut down on the amp requirements. I bought ALL the small size LED strings at two local Home Depot stores. They never received any more stock for the whole season. When I bought strings from other stores, the colors didn't match. Also, I had to keep going back for extension cords. For a 48 channel display on a 1/4 acre lot, I had more than a 1/2 mile of cord. (3000+ feet)

Since you are in the great state of WI (as am I), plan for problems with the weather. Last Christmas, from 28-Nov to 1-Jan, we had bitter cold, driving rain, a couple feet of snow, and some 50 degree sunny days. I took very few steps to keep water out of connections as I had never so much as put up a string of lights before, and I paid for it.

Lastly, don't get frustrated. I went from nothing to 48 channels starting at the beginning of October. If I had known what I was in for, I never would have started. I was ready to throw in the towel toward Thanksgiving, but I stuck with it and got my first song complete. I connected everything, took my laptop outside at about 11:00 at night and ran my first sequence. My jaw dropped. I was absolutely stunned. It was the single coolest thing I had ever done in my life. I think I stayed up until about 3:30 am tweaking, adding and planning for the next sequences. My wife, who had been getting on my case for all the time and money saw the display the following night. She was impressed. She went from complaining about the time I was spending to pushing me the get the rest complete so she could tell everbody she knew to come see it.

The one memory that sticks in my mind is the second or third night it was running, I stepped out to walk my dog just as TSO's Christmas in Sarajevo ended. There was a SUV across the street. A boy, probably 6 or 7 years old yelled out his window with the enthusiasum of a child: "That was AWESOME!" I thought so too.

Last night, we had friends over for dinner. They noticed the one string of lights that has mysteriously appeared, running from the gutter to the lawn. When they asked what that was for, my wife gave me a sideways glance and asked what I was up to... I shrugged my shoulders. Fourth of July is coming up and I've always liked the 1812 Overture....;)

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THANK YOU TO ALL FOR YOUR TIME AND SUGGESTIONS.

I HAVE A GOOD IDEA OF HOW I WANT THE DISPLAY TO BE SETUP. MY PAST DISPLAYS HAVE MAINLY CONSISTED OF BLOW MOLD FIGURES AND I AM GOING TO INCORPORATE AS MANY AS I CAN INTO MY FIRST DISPLAY. I WILL PUT THE PAPER AND PENCIL TO WORK HERE TODAY. MY BIGGEST PROBLEM WILL BE IN THE PROPERTY LOCATION. I LIVE ON A CORNER WITH A MAIN STREET AND A SIDE STREET. WHERE DO I PUT THE MAIN FOCUS OF THE DISPLAY. I DON'T WANT TO HINDER THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC BUT I DONT WANT VISITORS ONLY TO SEE HALF OF THE DISPLAY. ALSO I LIVE WITHIN A BLOCK OF THE LOCAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. I'VE NEVER HAD TO MANY PROBLEMS IN THE PAST AND HOPE IT REMAINS THE SAME.

I'VE ICED THE CC IN HOPES TO JUMP IN THIS YEAR. A LOCAL HOME IMPROVEMENT STORE HERE IN WI HAS EXTENSION CORDS ABOUT ONCE A MONTH FOR FREE W/ REBATE UP TO 99 CENTS SO I'VE BEEN COLLECTING THEM, THAT WAY.

I WILL NEED TO SIT AND CALCULATE THE AMPAGE FOR THE DISPLAY. IT WOULD BEEN TOTALLY EMBARRASSING TO HAVE PROBLEMS IN THAT DEPARTMENT BEINGS MY FATHER IS A ELECTRICIAN. HE WOULD NEVER LET ME LIVE THAT DOWN.:laughing:

PEOPLE FROM THE MIDWEST ESPECIALLY WI HAVE TO KEEP THERE EYE ON THE SKY!! THIS LAST YEAR HALLOWEEN WE HAD WARM HUMID WEATHER, BY THANKSGIVING IT WAS BITTER COLD, BUT I WAS RIDING MY CYCLE AROUND TOWN LOOKING AT LIGHT DISPLAYS IN A TSHIRT UP TO X MAS EVE. YOU NEVER KNOW.

THANKS AGAIN, IF YOU HAVE AND OTHER SUGGESTIONS I AM ALWAYS OPEN FOR THE HELP. HOPE TO BE UP AND RUNNING BY THE DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING (IT WILL KEEP ME FROM SPENDING NEEDED MONEY) IF NOT BY DEC 1. :rudolph:

THANKS AGAIN TO ALL.

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As common curtsies don’t type in all CAPS, I write in all caps for easy of read. But online it is equal to screaming. It is also harder to read, MUCH harder.

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I live on a busy/side street corner also, and i have most of the attention focused on the busy street, but my "tune to signs" are placed on the side street. I only had one car last year that stopped on the busy street, but this year we're having sidewalks put in so the front will still get the attention.

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Read, read, read, and read some more. View as many video's as you can. There is no such thing as planning to much. I layed mine out and still found mistakes in it. I'm not saying your layout should be perfect but let me tell you it sure helps. The PC family is the greatest, if it wasn't for them I would not have gotten as far as I have. Make frends and be a frend, if you need me let me know, we all welcome you to our family.

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