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First time, looking for tips


aaronwilmoth80911

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So after a few years of using the Mr. Christmas setup, we will be upgrading to a LOR package this year. I am thinking of starting off with a 32 channel controller, because I think 16 will be too small. I have a pretty good sized house. I am looking for any tips on getting started. I have searched the internet and browsed some of the forums, so I'm not completely dumb to getting this up and running, but any tips for a beginner would be greatly appreciated.

 

I would definitely like to know how easy/hard it is to add controllers (for future years), tips for making extension cords (vampire plugs), and are there any certain brands of lights to stay away from; i.e. non-dimmable LEDs, any known problems? I'm going to be using majority LEDs, but will have some incandescents. I do unsderstand not overloading circuits and stuff like that, but again, any tips on anything for a newbie would be greatly appreciated!!!

 

Thanks!!!

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Welcome to the big time!

 

My newbie advice is to read, read, read.  Everything you asked above has been covered in numerous threads.  Too numerous to mention, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding them.  You only have to look back a few pages to get most of those answers.

 

There are plenty of people here to help you out of a jam or help solve a problem, but first you've got to put some effort into learning the basics.  Don't hesitate to check out the tutorials linked at the top of your forum screen.  Check out the plethora of threads in the newbies section, check out the LOR users group on Facebook, check out some of the excellent tutorials members have on their personal websites... there's help everywhere.

 

Good luck and get busy.  It's June already.

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You're going to need 2 16CH controllers plus another one as a spare. Extremely easy to add new controllers in the future. Full wave LED's are where it's at. Search youtube on how to use vampire plugs.

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well, I feel a little silly because I didn't even see the tutorial section at the top of the page. Thanks for pointing out the obvious to the oblivious!

 

Thanks for the info!

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This too is my first year with LOR. Starting with 7 controllers. If I would have spent a little more time researching all the hardware options that LOR has to offer, I would have ordered more RGB controllers and less standard ones. Also, the standard light controllers packaged with pre-wired cables are of no use to me and should have ordered just the boards and mounted in my own enclosure. I am learning everyday and the forums and tutorials are very helpful.

 

GOOD LUCK....CHRISTMAS IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!

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one  thing you can do is download the software(if you haven't already) AND play around with it in demo mode.cool thing is, if you like your work,you can save it with the demo, and you will be able to use it in your show.You will have to buy the license first to control your lights. Above all have fun with it.

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This is my second year and I can tell you you will always need something else. Zip ties, vampire plugs and wire, lights, cat5 cables, time....the list will be endless. Download the software and get busy, take a picture of your house and get going on your layout in Visualizer. There are plenty of places to download free sequences, download a few and use them to get a feel for sequencing. I'm going from 64 channels to 112 this yr and its June and I feel like I'm behind, sequencing, building trees and getting the things I need to be ready Thanksgiving night for lights on.

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1. Where do I get the demo software?

2. Since I will be using pre-made sequences, is it basically just a matter of figuring out which circuits I want to control certain lights on the display? I assume that the visualizer will be of great help on this, but any extra help is appreciated.

3. I'm going to start with a 32 channel this year since I am new to this and don't want to be incredibly overwhelmed. How hard is it to add extra contollers for years to come? Is it more or less a plug and play deal?

4. I don't fully understand why some LEDs are dimmable and others are not. Any info, or links to info for this would be great. I just want to make sure that my LEDs are going to work. I'd really hate to be even further behind than what I already am by not having good lights.

 

Thanks!

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The demo sw is just the s3 sw without a license. Go to the LOR web page and just download the s3 suite. Almost everything works but you will not be able to control the actual physical lights. You will be able to see it work on your PC though.

The visualizer is the tool you will want to get up and running. That is where you will see how the lights look. There are video tutorials on how to set this up.

Go here and click the link under the sw box picture to download the sw: http://store.lightorama.com/sopr.html

Edited by sax
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LED's come in flavors as such just like everything else. Some are cheaper than others and LEDs are no exception. The cheaper ones have half-wave rectification as opposed to full-wave rectification. LEDs are DC devices, being run on AC. Each string has its own little power supply or similar construction to get the AC into DC to run the LEDs. You'll find that some light strings will not smoothly dim or some will just flat out only do off, %50 on or %100 on. Those are the ones you don't want. There's lots of comments here in the forums that will help you to know which are which. I can personally tell you not to waste your time on Home Depot's "Martha" LED strings. They don't work unless you are wanting them for a place in your display where they are either just on or off. I've had no trouble at all, so far, with any from BigLots or Target but truly, the better manufacturers have better strings that last longer and cost more. Lots of opinions out there. Most of us buy strings at the after Christmas sales.

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Have had good luck with www.holidaylighting.com as well as www.ledholidaylighting.com.

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Plan-plan-plan. then stick to your plan. Too many folks get enamored with what can be done and they lose sight of the goal.

Double the amount of time (minimum) you think you will need.

Make all your connection cords, SPTx and vampires. Buy good quality 14/3 gauge extension cords for your power grid. Plan for your power. A good tool I started using many moons ago is a spread sheet from Quartz Hill Christmas. I could not do my display without it. I modified it a bit for my own use, but the baseline XLS is a must. I have a link on my website in the How-To section, to QHC for the spreadsheet, as well as an example of mine from a few years ago.

One other tool I find invaluable is Microsoft's OneNote. Everything that cannot go into a Spreadsheet, I put into OneNote for reference. I store links, documents, websites, plans notes etc..... Anything I see online that I think is worth it goes into OneNote.

I have a some material I am working on for Christmas Expo for Newbies. I can't post that publically till after the show in July, It will have a lot of good basic newbie advise. PM me and I might be able to flip you an early version.

Edited by zman
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1. Where do I get the demo software?

2. Since I will be using pre-made sequences, is it basically just a matter of figuring out which circuits I want to control certain lights on the display? I assume that the visualizer will be of great help on this, but any extra help is appreciated.

3. I'm going to start with a 32 channel this year since I am new to this and don't want to be incredibly overwhelmed. How hard is it to add extra contollers for years to come? Is it more or less a plug and play deal?

4. I don't fully understand why some LEDs are dimmable and others are not. Any info, or links to info for this would be great. I just want to make sure that my LEDs are going to work. I'd really hate to be even further behind than what I already am by not having good lights.

 

Thanks!

Pre-made sequences from Lor are done in the Lor 4x4 or 6x6 design. So you would basically set up your display like you see in the Lor design.  If you use Wowlights sequences then you could set up your display similar to their setup design, & if you use borrowed/share sequences then you have a fair amount of copying & pasting to do. 

 

With the Lor 4x4 design you can take those 4 three coloured mini trees & make 8 one coloured mini trees & a 8 channel mega tree. Instead of making your house blink for this year keep the house lights stay on. That way you could make three 5 channel arches, or two 7 channel arches, or two 8 channel arches. Your choice.

That is one way to make use of 32 channels.

 

Add another controller only takes another cat 5 cable but now you have more sequencing to do, however I can sequence 160 channel easier than I can just monkeying with 32 channels. (that is me & may not be the case with other decorators)

 

As far as dimmable Leds go......well {I never had that problem} on any version of PC controllers nor on my 8 channel controllers. However our Christmas light wire in Canada is thicker & that I am sure helps, but others have had some issue where some led light strings do not dim. I cannot answer how they solve that but others will chime in.

 

On a side note give this musical lighting adventure some thought for the rest of this year before you add anymore regular Lor channels just in case you want to start adding RGB for 2015. 

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Totally agree with lightzilla. ALL my future lights will be RGB or Cosmic (if I can afford it).

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Newbie here also, from reading the posts on here I have learned about investing in "full wave" LED's as opposed to regular LED lights.  I have tested some of my current led lights and found them to flicker when below 50%.  That being said I am currently replacing all my incandescent lights with full wave led's.  I have even found retro fit full wave led C9 bulbs to replace my old C9's with.  Hope this helps, Good Luck with your display!

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The first thing I would do would be to watch John Storm's youtube videos on using/setting up the sequencer.  I also watched quite a few 'behind the scenes' type youtube videos to wrap my mind around how everything is set up and works together.  After that I would just keep reading/watching everything and anything you can get your hands on.  Posts, price lists, LOR articles.

 

After you get a feel for it, I would start in on attempting to create your own sequence.  Going through the process of setting up the visualizer along with a sequence helped me to show how everything ties together. 

 

Good luck. 

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The first thing I would do would be to watch John Storm's youtube videos on using/setting up the sequencer.  I also watched quite a few 'behind the scenes' type youtube videos to wrap my mind around how everything is set up and works together.  After that I would just keep reading/watching everything and anything you can get your hands on.  Posts, price lists, LOR articles.

I second the John Storm's approach. Just as an FYI, John is teaching his sequencing approach at Christmas Expo this year. You can experience it live and ask questions real time too.......

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Any links for his videos? Or just a youtube search?

 

All my stuff should be arriving today via UPS. I'm pretty freakin excited about it and can't wait to get started. I have already started doing a setup on the visualizer, I just need to get the sequence part of that figured out. Thanks for all the help everyone!!

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