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I am looking at getting started, want to start out with the showtime central w/ 32 channels.  My question is this, is that a good way to start out and can I use my existing lights???

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Yes, and are the lights you want to use LED or Incandescent?

 

Some LED strands don't play well with LOR ~AC~ Controllers, that is you can only turn them full on or off, can't dim, can't shimmer, or twinkle.   You would have to connect your current lights to the controller and use the Hardware Utility to test the lights to see if you can use any of the special effects that the controller sends out via the sequence you would program.

 

Incandescents won't be a problem here, this issue only seems to be with LED strands or LED bulbs, as many LED bulbs {Floods, Spotlights} are not dimmable or able to do the neat special effects that LOR utilizes.   However, LED bulbs are starting to appear that you can dim and do the effects with, just make sure any new LED's you buy, as in the spotlights, floodlights, etc. say they can be dimmed and you should be good.

 

Unfortunately Christmas light  {LED} manufacturers usually don't put anything on their boxes stating if the strand can be dimmed, so that's a hit and miss.

 

Many folks here can give you names of companies that make dimmable LED's and where to buy them.

 

Good Luck and welcome to the addiction, er, hobby. :)

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That question is sort of like asking what kind of car should I buy.   There are lots of options and most will work just fine if you put in the time understand them.  Your option is probably the most expensive route to go, but is easiest as far as plug and play. 

  What kind of lights do you have?

 

Steve

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Agreed....what kind of lights do you have? As suggested already, you can test what you have, if LED, using the Hardware Utility in LOR. LED will draw very little current so they cost a lot less to run whereas incans do cost more to run and you run into hardware limits on how many you can run. The example is the standard residential controller is 15 amps max across all 16 channels or 8 amps on each side of the 16 channels.

    You are running out of time to get things going but it can be done! If you are buying pre-made sequences or free ones donated to you, you still need to lay them out to your house so lots of work in the sequence editor regardless if creating the sequences or purchasing them. This takes TIME and you need to get on it right away. Once you get to doing this, you'll figure out the SE pretty quickly but there's lots to learn in there. I strongly suggest the video tutorials from LOR.

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 The example is the standard residential controller is 15 amps max across all 16 channels or 8 amps on each side of the 16 channels.

    

Actually have to disagree with you here, my "Residential Controllers" are all V2 CTB16PC controllers and are all set up as 30 amps maximum with 15 amps across each bank of 8 channels.   I use the two power cord option as my display is mixed incandescent and LED.  And I just prefer to have more amps than less for my displays.

 

BTW: wouldn't 8 amps on each side be 16 amps?   I always figured it at 15 amps would be 7.5 amps per side maximum using the single power cord option.

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I have a mix of LED and Incans, I was planning on running a couple editable premade sequences to start while tweaking as I learn the software and how to make it do what I want.  The upside is, I work 2 weeks on and have 2 weeks off.  I think I have a pretty good chunk of time to get going and get something done yet this year.  If I'm dreaming, please let me know now.  Thanks!  You guys are awesome!!!

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Paul is correct. LOR controllers are rated either 30 amps or 40 amps total depending on which LOR controller. Each channel can handle up to 8 amps on their own though it is best to use only 80% of the max amps so you don't fry a triac. I might have fried one or two in my day. Lol

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Actually have to disagree with you here, my "Residential Controllers" are all V2 CTB16PC controllers and are all set up as 30 amps maximum with 15 amps across each bank of 8 channels.   I use the two power cord option as my display is mixed incandescent and LED.  And I just prefer to have more amps than less for my displays.

 

BTW: wouldn't 8 amps on each side be 16 amps?   I always figured it at 15 amps would be 7.5 amps per side maximum using the single power cord option.

Oops...I messed up....a brief moment of "mental pause". Thank you for catching that and correcting me. No clue what I was thinking at the time.

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I have a mix of LED and Incans, I was planning on running a couple editable premade sequences to start while tweaking as I learn the software and how to make it do what I want.  The upside is, I work 2 weeks on and have 2 weeks off.  I think I have a pretty good chunk of time to get going and get something done yet this year.  If I'm dreaming, please let me know now.  Thanks!  You guys are awesome!!!

If you're tweaking or modifying someone else's sequences to your display, depending on your channel count, timings you may use, LOR Software version, and {possibly, not sure about this one}: their license level in creating the sequence, you should be good.  Higher license levels allow for additional things, and software versions may have some differences that you couldn't use a newer sequence with a lower level version of the LOR Suite.

 

All you can do is download sequence, load in the SE and see if it works, as long as you have the audio file to test it with.   Older version sequences can be loaded into newer versions, and the SE will ask if you want to do this, as it will be converted to the current versions format, but can't go the other way, not backward compatible as far as I am aware.

 

Again, really depends on how many channels you have and how many channels the sequence you download has, for example I've cut back from 80 to 48 channels this year, so if you have 16, 32 or 48 channels, conversion may be a little easier, but if you have 64, 80, 128 or more, then converting those smaller sequences to a higher channel count could prove more of a challenge to you in getting something re-sequenced, as you'd have to do a lot of adding in{sequencing} for those additional elements in your display..

Edited by Orville
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