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Newbie - LOR and RBG


jeff.francis84
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Hello All,

 

I am new to this LOR hobby.  I haven't purchased anything but am looking at getting into the fun.  I'd like to be able to use RGB on all of my outline items so I can put lights up year round and utilize them for the holidays other than Christmas.  Then for Christmas I would add led light strings and sequence them in.  However I am just not sure what I need exactly?  I see LOR has a controller for RGB's but can someone explain.  How many dumb RGB's can I plug into that and how many channels does that eat up on my 16 channel?  Any and all help is appreciated.  Thanks.

 

Jeff

 

O H I O

 

 

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I'll probably venture into RGB next season as well. From what I've read here in the forums, DC board, will give you control of 8 RGB channels (each uses 3 channels therefore the 24 channel DC card). You'll need 12V DC power suppy(s) to power the strips. You'll also need a weatherproof box for the controller card and lastly, you'll need whatever strips are appropriate. It appears there are many types out there and I've not yet figured out which work the best. Some guy named Ray Wu has apparently the best prices and many people said emailing him directly saved shipping costs as opposed to his online store. Don't forget, you'll need an advanced license for LOR and I'm not sure about SuperStar license for RGB. I know its needed for CCR's.

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Superstar is not needed for any rgb or CCR. You can program in the sequence editor and make very nice shows that way.

However, I haven't programmed anything in sequence editor in weeks since switching over to superstar. Once you get the hang of superstar, and it took me a week or two, I found that being able to nudge my scenes and morphs to get them better in sync to the music, being able to increase or decrease time of the effect and keeping it in sync and doing whatever it was doing without having to redo the entire thing over again (chase in a beat, for example) is priceless. I have every element in my yard, CCR, rgb, single light props, rope light props, signs, you name it in my visualizer file imported into superstar. And it works very good.

Today I actually made an instant sequence for a song and was pleased with it so much it went straight in the show. 5 minute song...sequenced in 15 minutes. 10 minutes was the import time.

Now I'm not saying instant sequence is easy or will work every song. But if you take some time learning how it works and get your elements lined up in visualizer, it will work for some songs.

Anyway, you don't have to have superstar for CCR or rgb. But after using it for 5 weeks, I highly recommend it to everyone. Rgb, CCR or not.

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Phew my head's spinning.  This is all new to me as I haven't even installed a LOR system but before I plunge in with lights and all, I want to make the best choice and it seems like RGB is the best choice (at least partially in the display) just because you can control the colors on them thus not installing so many light strands.  

 

1) I will need to get from each strip or flood back to my board (the cmb-24d if I go with LOr product)?  Is this for power or does each strip and/or flood need a power adapter?

 

2) How do these who up in the LOR software?  If I go with a 16 channel LOR Controller and the cmb-24d would I then have 24 channels show up in the LOR Software to sequence?

 

3) DMX or LOR RGB Hardware?

 

4) Do you leave any RGB strips up year round?

 

5) Any other tips/tricks etc.  I read your post on the other forum and am going to re-read that as well, very useful!  

 

6) Forgive my newbieness :)

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Yeah, it is overwhelming when you first start. For me it is all about not wasting money and/or doing something twice due to poor planning or worse not knowing any better. Knowledge = power.

First, RGB is definitely a wise solution. I love Halloween. My goal when I started planning last October was to have a decent Halloween show this year. My hope was that I could carry it over to at least Christmas. My desire was to have minimal work for putting up the lights for the holidays.

Halloween was great. After a year of planning and soldering and reading, you tubing, reading trying things with successes and failures it was so much fun to see the kids mouths drop when they saw 'ol Jack Skellington singing "this is Halloween" to them. Yes, I smiled largely and felt like a kid again when the first car stopped to watch. It was shear joy when people said they traveled 30 miles just to see my display...and they sat outside the car with the music playing. And now as my Christmas show just started I would say that 2 of my goals were easily met.

So, read, try, succeed and learn from my failures.

Each flood or strip or "element" you need the signal to turn on. In the AC world this is just a power cord. Plug it into outlet #1 on your controller and when you program the sequencer it turns on, off, fades, twinkles or shimmers. As long as the element you plug in can do this. You also need to worry about how much current it uses so you don't burn your controller or pop circuit breakers. A kill a watt meter should be in any sequencer's toolbox. In the DC world it is pretty much the same. Except you don't have a 3 prong extension cord. And if you are using RGB it takes up 3 channels instead of 1.

In the AC world you plug your controller into the wall outlet and away you go. In the DC world you have to get 12vdc or 5vdc to your elements. You start having to worry about how far the voltage can be sent (AC travels further then DC and that is one reason it is used for houses over DC). Things like wire size, current capacity and voltage loss start to become important.

If you use dumb strips, power loss becomes less important. If you use 12 vdc then distance becomes more manageable. And if you use LED power usage becomes very low allowing more lights to be used.

Ok, so to answer question 1, you need a cord on the flood to supply power. If you are using the LOR dc card. If you set your DC card up like this, or buy this from creative lighting then you only need the one power supply for the entire card up to 8 RGB devices.

http://store.creativelightingdisplays.com/CMB24D-RGB-DC-Controller-ReadyToGO-No-Assembly-CMB24D-RGB-RTG.htm

DMX floods you may need to send the DMX signal and power to the flood. My floods have built in DMX controllers in them and work this way.

2) each controller is programmed by you in the seq editor. If you have 2 controllers, a DC and an AC for example you would have 16 + 24 (40) channels to program. If you have 8 RGB elements you would typically combine those in the seq editor to RGB channels which would take the 3 channels and combine them into 1. I use the color fade tool for my RGB channels. So now you would see 16 + 8 (24) program lines in the seq editor. Yes, I would call them channels but it is actually still 40 channels.

3) LOR or DMX. That is the question. Yeah, that is always the question. I say don't fight it and have both. They are 2 different protocols and require 2 different networks. So that is an upfront cost for DMX. Also, you must have the advanced license for DMX to work even in the visualizer. Then you have to worry about something DMX calls universes and the limit of devices on each universe. Be aware that LOR software integrates nicely with DMX and once you have it all setup it is just another program line or channel in your seq editor. My other post touched on this so I won't elaborate much more. With dumb strips one universe is a lot of elements. Pixels, different story. I would then look at a Sans device personally if I went the way of pixels. In fact that is my next direction. I am sure to have lots of trials and stories for the upcoming year on this.

4) way back at the start of my post I said I wanted to minimize my install time. This leads me to this question. Lights up all year? I am keeping my CCRs up forever. I put them on the house in late summer and never plan to take them down. Good luck to me. I used glazing tape to put them on the house, my eaves are wood, and so far so good. No, I will never paint my eaves. You can't make me!!! :) Anyway, that is my plan. I put the rgb lights on the bushes and trees for Halloween using Velcro and plan to pull them down in January.

5) the S3 software from LOR is free to try. Download it now, use the visualizer import a picture of your house and start adding elements. Dream big and try things out. Play with the sequence editor. There are free sequences out ther to see how people do things as well.

If you are looking at getting started for good next year i would say look at pixels...because I wish I had started there. I hate to spend twice but I thought pixels would be too much. Nah. After I learned RGB I could of used pixels as dumb by coloring the whole string and then slowly learned to control each bulb later and would of saved money. But...you would have to look at a controller like the sans device now. Possible but more of a challenge.

Look at youtube for how to's. There are a ton of videos to learn from. And don't forget to look at people's shows. Man, there are some talented people in this forum. Those videos inspire and teach as well as entertain.

And keep asking questions. This is one fun hobby. Not cheap, but what hobby is?

Good luck,

Sax

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If you buy dumb ribbon, prefer to go with IP68 rated.  IP65 rated is not weather proof even when not directly in contact with rain and sun.  With IP65, you need to lay it in a bead of silicon.  Ribbon that I haven't done this with fails at least partially, in a couple months.  I get my ribbon from Ebay.

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Jeff,

 

This is my first year doing LOR display. I incorporate both Lor, and DMX. I use DMX stage fixtures (yes you have to build a waterproof container) but they do things that christmas lights could but are cost prohibitive.

I used this Globe this year to project stars onto the side of the house. There are 3 of these that are on the deck railing facing the house. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AMFVAAC/ref=oh_details_o08_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) I did get the waterproof containers from Container store.  SOme of the DMX lighting is really awesome, and you can also use a laser show if desired using DMX. I do want to also get into the Pixelnet stuff as it draws some neat things.

 

Kip

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