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Which controller to choose?


vcand
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I am looking at 3 different controllers options and I am trying to decide what the difference is. I realize that 2 of them are DIY where I will be soldering, not a problem.

 

The kits are:

(1) CTB16PC-KIT-OPTIONS  104.95

(2) CTB16PC-KIT-PACKAGE 184.95

(3) PC-CTB16PC-OPTIONS   155.95 (assembled board)

 

This is where I am getting confused. Option 1 and 2 both say: "These are early controllers". Then option 3 says "It is designed to be used with all Christmas Lights including LEDs".

 

So does this mean that ONLY option 3 will work with LED lights and that option 1 and 2 dont?

 

Also, aside from possibly LED, is there anything features or capabilities lacking from option 1 and 2?

 

I wasnt sure if it was the early controller warning was just simply "hey, this has through holes" or if it meant that it was an older version that is lacking.

 

Last question, does anyone know how long shipping usually takes, I'm on the east coast as well, FL, I wasnt sure as I read something about 10 days, then "ships next day", so I'm confused

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

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I'm guess you are looking a the Light O rama store?   http://store.lightorama.com/ctb16pcpage.html

 

The CTB16PC is the Planet Christmas controller.  It is suitable for hobbyist displays.

 

Option 1 is a kit that you will need to solder the components on the boards.  It does not include a case, heat sinks, input power cords, or output power cords.

Option 2 is also a kit that requires soldering.  The differenct is that it includes the extra items mentioned above.  The included high power heat sinks gives it the 30 amp capabilities.

Option 3 is a completed board, so you wouldn't need to solder it together.  It does not include the case, heat sinks, or any power cords.

 

If you click option 1 or 2, you will see a screen that allows you to add any or all of the heat sinks, case, etc... 

 

I'm not exactly sure what is meant by an early board....  LOR changed the CTB16PC to a generation 3 awhile back.   It sounds like these may be the generation 2 boards.  I have a number of these and they work fine with LED lights.

 

The newer boards have something called a dimming curve, and I think a snubber circuit that is helpful with LED's

 

I don't have any of the Generation 3 controllers so I can't comment on it.  This may be the difference between the Generation 2 and 3 boards.   I believe the dimming curve was developed for LED lights.

 

You can get by without the snubber feature on the board.  Sometimes LED strings don't fade well without a snubber.  A small incandescent light or an air freshener on the same channel as the LED light string will work as a snubber.

 

Hope this is helpful

 

Jerry

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Shipping is usually as soon as your order is placed, when I ordered mine {and I'm in Orlando, FL}, I believe it was about 3-5 days from the time I ordered until I received my controllers.   But that was in January and February. 


Now it also depends on the time of year, usually around this time of year {October through December} LOR tends to get more orders from folks waiting to get into this hobby at the last minute, so shipping could possibly take a little longer than expected, and also depends on how many they have in stock ready to go out the door.  


Like Jerry recommends, you may want to call LOR directly and talk with them, they do have excellent customer service bar none and will be more apt to answer any questions you have concerning all options in each controller type, how long it may be before your order gets out the door, etc..

 

EDIT:  P.S.> This time of year and just getting into the hobby you may want to consider the fully assembled CTB16PC controllers.  Also note, if these are your first controllers and first year, you're getting into the hobby a little late to possibly pull off a show for this year. 

 

The Sequence Editor takes a little time to learn and none of this is a Plug and Play environment, it takes a lot of hours and a lot of work to put together and do these lightshows. 

 

And this time of year, any help on the forums may be very sparse, it may take 2-3 days or more to get an answer to a question.  As most of us are now putting up our Halloween or Christmas displays, checking everything over, making tweaks to our sequences, etc.   

 

So don't get discouraged if you don't get an immediate answer, again, we're all just busy with our own displays this time of year.

 

Good Luck!

Edited by Orville
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Thanks everyone for your answers, there were a lot of good points. I did hear back from LOR and the DIY do work with LED's, but like was pointed out up there, may have some problems, may not. I found diagrams for snubbers, so if I were to run into a problem with LED's, I ill try that.

 

I am going with the DIY, Im pretty sure I can have it assembled relatively quick with my electronics abilities.

 

The previous poster talked about getting into the lobby kind of late... I actually have been in the hobby, minus LOR controllers, for a few years. I've been using one of those random light flashers that kind of automatically do a mini show. The good part is, I already have everything wired and set up on multiple channels, just need a better controller. My intent is to step up my already elaborate holloween (then xmas) display that extra bit more.  I use to do lighting professional for concerts and events, so I'm pretty sure programming should be relatively similar to the systems I'm used to.

 

My plan, for this year, is just basically every evening have it run a 15min eerie noise loop with basic crossfades, a few pops of white flood for lightning, some jittery power effects, etc. The lighting is more for background to my pneumatic props.

 

I go out of town next week for my job and will have a lot of down time sitting in a hotel, so I'm planning on spending the week programming from my laptop and hopefully knock out a couple songs for a weekend type show. Halloween really isnt my holiday, I do it for my kids. I will be taking the next 2 months though adding controllers and programming my Xmas show, I just wanted to get a start towards xmas, via halloween.

 

Anyways... thanks again everyone!

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Good Luck.  The DIY kits are very good.  They have great instructions.  If you can solder, you should have no problems.

 

I built all my controllers from kits, and, I was able to get them all working without much difficulty.  Made a few boneheaded mistakes, but was able to correct them fairly easily.

 

It took me about 8 hours to assemble my first board, but, it seems to take less time with experience.

 

There are some parts that have to be oriented correctly, the instructions will alert you to these.

 

Jerry

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Thanks everyone for your answers, there were a lot of good points. I did hear back from LOR and the DIY do work with LED's, but like was pointed out up there, may have some problems, may not. I found diagrams for snubbers, so if I were to run into a problem with LED's, I ill try that.

 

I am going with the DIY, Im pretty sure I can have it assembled relatively quick with my electronics abilities.

 

The previous poster talked about getting into the lobby kind of late... I actually have been in the hobby, minus LOR controllers, for a few years. I've been using one of those random light flashers that kind of automatically do a mini show. The good part is, I already have everything wired and set up on multiple channels, just need a better controller. My intent is to step up my already elaborate holloween (then xmas) display that extra bit more.  I use to do lighting professional for concerts and events, so I'm pretty sure programming should be relatively similar to the systems I'm used to.

 

My plan, for this year, is just basically every evening have it run a 15min eerie noise loop with basic crossfades, a few pops of white flood for lightning, some jittery power effects, etc. The lighting is more for background to my pneumatic props.

 

I go out of town next week for my job and will have a lot of down time sitting in a hotel, so I'm planning on spending the week programming from my laptop and hopefully knock out a couple songs for a weekend type show. Halloween really isnt my holiday, I do it for my kids. I will be taking the next 2 months though adding controllers and programming my Xmas show, I just wanted to get a start towards xmas, via halloween.

 

Anyways... thanks again everyone!

 

If you are doing just annimation (no music) then you should be fine.

 

BUT if you want to sequence to music you have a lot of work a head of you!

1 minute of music takes about 8 hours.

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Thanks everyone for your answers, there were a lot of good points. I did hear back from LOR and the DIY do work with LED's, but like was pointed out up there, may have some problems, may not. I found diagrams for snubbers, so if I were to run into a problem with LED's, I ill try that.

 

I am going with the DIY, Im pretty sure I can have it assembled relatively quick with my electronics abilities.

 

The previous poster talked about getting into the lobby kind of late... I actually have been in the hobby, minus LOR controllers, for a few years. I've been using one of those random light flashers that kind of automatically do a mini show. The good part is, I already have everything wired and set up on multiple channels, just need a better controller. My intent is to step up my already elaborate holloween (then xmas) display that extra bit more.  I use to do lighting professional for concerts and events, so I'm pretty sure programming should be relatively similar to the systems I'm used to.

 

My plan, for this year, is just basically every evening have it run a 15min eerie noise loop with basic crossfades, a few pops of white flood for lightning, some jittery power effects, etc. The lighting is more for background to my pneumatic props.

 

I go out of town next week for my job and will have a lot of down time sitting in a hotel, so I'm planning on spending the week programming from my laptop and hopefully knock out a couple songs for a weekend type show. Halloween really isnt my holiday, I do it for my kids. I will be taking the next 2 months though adding controllers and programming my Xmas show, I just wanted to get a start towards xmas, via halloween.

 

Anyways... thanks again everyone!

 

I see you're also in Orlando, if you might want to meet up sometime, maybe we could get together over coffee or ? and discuss our displays.   I'm doing a limited show this year, usually run it the entire month of October, this is the first year I've cut it back and will probably only be doing it the last week of October, unless I can get more done, possibly last two weeks.    Hopefully in 2014 I'll be back to running it the entire month. 

 

PM with whereabouts your located in Orlando.  Would also love to see your Halloween display as well.  My location is near the intersection of Colonial Drive {Hwy 50} and North Chickasaw Trail, if you're familiar with Orlando.

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If you are doing just annimation (no music) then you should be fine.

 

BUT if you want to sequence to music you have a lot of work a head of you!

1 minute of music takes about 8 hours.

Have to totally agree with Paul on this one.    Even though you do have professional lighting experience, even those folks coming from that avenue still had a bit of a learning curve with how the LOR stuff works, as it's not the same as what you're probably used to doing and could throw a curveball at you.

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