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Thoughts and Reflections on first year display


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A couple thoughts after my first year with LOR and my new addiction to the Blinky.  A little long, but everything below is a result of my own experiences.  Your own experiences may differ.


My addiction started small and slow with a couple 2013 episodes of Christmas Light Fight and a neighbor a couple miles away who already was running 171 channels of incandescents timed with music.  I spoke with him in front of his display and he mentioned LOR.  I thought I could create something different (and better) and started with the concept of a 180 small mega tree, 2 colors, 8 strips of Red/Green LEDs that would sweep back and forth and change colors to WoW.  I delved deep into the forums and realized that a $3000 12 strip RGB pixel tree from LOR could actually be done for $500 from Ray Wu and San devices.  That was the turning point and everything cascaded from there.


LOR service and support:

Outstanding.  I blew a Triac during testing on a brand new CMB24 and LOR took it back and repaired it for free.  Totally my fault, but it was repaired quickly, no questions asked.  Thanks guys!


LOR videos:

Short, concise, informative.  A perfect way to learn the basics, and get an idea of what is possible before you spend your first dollar.  If you have a question, there's a good chance that a vid will cover it.  Hopefully LOR will add and update their library as this hobby evolves.


Brian Bruderer and Superstar Software: 

Expensive, but the support is unmatched.  Brian responds to emails quickly, responds to forum posts quickly, and made modifications to SS to accommodate my need for 300+ channels in a single line to cover my gutter line.  He asked me to test his modifications and the result came out in the latest version of LOR software.  There is a learning curve, and once I thought I had gotten a pretty good handle on how to create cool effects, I watch someone else's display and realize I need more practice.  Maybe more of a creative problem in my brain than learning the software.  Thanks Brian!


Forum users help and support:

A huge help - I could not have done my display without the continued support of forum users.  There are enough users out there to help with anything - even if you don't understand how to ask the right question.  No need to re-invent the wheel - let others help and guide you.  Thanks everyone!


Light strips:

I outlined windows and doors of my house with IP68 silicon enclosed dumb strips this year.  These strips are FRAGILE and even though supported on PVC pipe and no damage whatsoever, I had groups of three pixels lose red or green or blue randomly across my display.  Very annoying to me even if no one else noticed.  I'm swapping out all my lights strips for pixels next year - order already placed.



My gutter line of 350 pixels was mounted permanently in J-channel following another forum users excellent vids (wish I could remember your name to give credit).  These pixels are IP68 resin filled 5V ordered from Ray and are indestructible.  At $13/string of 50, the price was well worth the impact on my show.  I'm going full pixels in 2015.



I used 3 controllers from LOR, and 1 San Devices 6804 for my pixels.  Except for one of the LOR controllers, I saved as much money as I could by mounting controllers myself in CG1500 enclosures and running all the wiring in a 10 month long DIY project.  LOR and San Devices controllers are easy to use, high quality, and both have excellent support.  No need for me to buy from anyone else.


The Aussie Christmas light guide:

Read it.  Know it.  Everything you wanted to know about RGB in one place.  Extensive detailed info clearly written for newbies like me.  Nicely done Aussies!


Sequence Editor software:

Easy to use, easy to create some terrific blinky in time with the music.  But severely limited when it comes to RGB.  LOR was absolutely terrible at promising to give us updates to new versions of software.  But new software is coming with the promise of new ways to handle RGB and the addition of Nutcracker effects.  Fingers crossed that the new software version will deliver.  Final thought to LOR:  Either deliver on your promise to give updates, or don't promise at all.  No one asked for any more than was stated.


Nutcracker, Vixen, Superstar software, etc.:

All have their advantages and disadvantages.  Creating effects in one and combining with the other is tedious, but possible, and a combo of all of the above delivered some very cool sequences.  The new version of LOR software should help.  And the cost of SS really should come down since NC and Vixen are free.  We'll see what happens in the open market as more people make the switch to RGB.


Nearby Light displays:

There are others nearby who have a couple years experience with the Blinky.  It was well worth the effort and drive to see their work and have a conversation about how they did it.  Let them know who you are and what you are doing and I guarantee you'll walk away with a new friend and valuable tips on how to put it all together.


My first year show reached more people than I knew.  It hit home one night when my daughter needed a ride home from a sporting event and when she told the other parent where she lived, that parent replied "near the house with the really cool Christmas lights?"  Yes, the house with the Blinky lights.  My daughter was beaming.


That pretty much sums it all up.  I'm already working on next year's display and looking forward to another 10 month long DIY project.





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