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A Newbie's Journey


Paul R
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I started very late this year, obtaining my first controller (LoR 1602W starter package) 3 weeks ago as an early Christmas present from my wonderful wife. I had stumbled across the LoR website, thought it looked pretty cool and started researching. She saw me reading, asked what it was and when I told her, she asked if she could get me a controller for Christmas.

 

After playing around with the LoR software for a few days while waiting for my controller, I realized that this can become very complex very quickly. Decided I am going very small this year, concentrating on learning to do things the right way. I am going to do 8 channels, wrapped horizontally around our family Christmas tree.

 

After some reading on the forum about full wave vs. half wave LEDs, ordered a few strings of M6's from HLE. Further reading led me to order some vampire plugs and a small spool of SPT2.

 

One day UPS arrived with my Controller. Wooo Hooo!!!! Got the software and all drivers up and running, Connected the controller and got it working through the HW utility, then built a test jig out of 16 nightlights mounted onto a board. Made 16 very short extension cords using my newly arrived SPT2 wire and vampire plugs, hooked it up and it worked! This test jig is very handy to test out sequences and the controller. I later learned that the Visualizer made this unnecessary, but I may have a use for it later as a HW tester. Now, time to turn to sequencing.

 

Obtained 2 free 16ch sequences off a website, opened them up and started playing around. Picked out the channels doing most of the animation and moved them up to the top 8 channels ( I will just leave the bottom 8 channels alone,,,they won't be used). Fixed some timing issues and started making small changes I thought would make the sequences look better to me. Set up the visualizer for the 8ch tree and tried playing the sequences. Looked OK.

 

Now ready to take off the training wheels. Ripped TSO's Wizards of Winter off CD, converted to constant bit rate mp3 and created a new sequence. This song seems to be an easy one to sequence as it has a good strong beat, well defined elements, etc...I see why so many people have used it. Started squencing from scratch. With only 8 channels and no RGB it was not too difficult. Got real familar with the "play 1/4 speed" option and the "highlight/spacebar segment play" method going over each small section repeatedly while trying light sequences. Finished in about 6 hours. Played what I had done on the visualizer for my wife and she was floored. The feeling of accomplishment and pride was unreal.

 

I just sequenced a 45 second intro last night using the THX intro music from theatres.

 

So I now have 1 original sequence, 2 modifieds, and my intro. I will continue adding more sequences in 8 channel between now and Christmas and adding to my show. I know it is small (8 channels on one tree), but I am learning so many things.

 

Already dreaming of buying some pixel strings or ribbons from Ray Wu after Christmas and jumping in whole hog for next Christmas. Looking at Sandevices E682 boards and various power supplies and such...there are so many possibilities! I have already imported a picture of my house and begun drawing in strings and pixel trees trying out different possibilities.

 

Thank you to all on this forum. I have not been posting much as I figure you are all pretty busy this time of year and figuring things out for myself has led to a much deeper understanding of how things work. I will get more active and ask some questions once things settle down. Although I have not conversed much with anyone yet, reading your posts and the many threads with advice, how-to's, links to documentation, etc... has made all of this possible for me.

 

Thanks again,

Paul

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Welcome to the hard core addcition called LOR or as some may call it CLAP, Paul.  Sounds like you really did your homework, research and have a very good in-depth knowledge of how this all works.

 

I know a lot of the old timers here are really proud of your accomplishments, because you took the time to really read, use and learn the software and hardware before jumping in with both feet, then drown, like so many that come into this hobby this time of year, thinking it's going to be a walk in the park {i.e. plug and play},  it isn't!

 

So I say cudos to you for all your preliminary work and learning all this on your own, you're a rare breed in this hobby today.

 

So congrats on getting into the exciting and wonderful world of musical animated holiday light displays!

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Thank you. It means a lot to hear confirmation that I am heading in the right direction. Best of luck to you both this season...I look forward to becoming an active, participating (and hopefully contributing) member of this forum very soon.

 

I am hoping to get at least 2-3 more songs sequenced in the next couple of weeks. Doing them for only 8 channels makes this doable and will continue giving me experience with the SE. Next year I plan to use these as a base and add more channels to them as I grow my hardware base. I am hoping that progressing in this way gives me both the quick gratification of seeing fruits of my work for this Christmas while building a solid base of experience and material to grow into a solid show next year.

 

Don't know how I'm going to convince the wife to let me cut down the huge oak tree in our front yard that blocks half the house from the street... :unsure:  I don't think the "Unfortunate chainsaw accident" line is likely to fly..."Honest honey, I was just trying to trim some stray branches..."

 

-Paul

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Don't have an oak tree, but I don't think the manufactured home park I live in would take too kindly if I ran into the light pole that lights almost the entire side of my house and knocked it down, which unfortunately is also the best side for the display.   When it burned out last year, my Halloween display was awesome for a few days :)  That is, until someone informed them it was out and they fixed it. :(

The "dark side" of the house would be great, but no good viewing on that side, display side has a vacant lot, so it's the best side for everything, if that pesky street lamp was on the other side of my house, my display would be in the perfect spot.   Ah well.

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