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Steps to convert to DMX for running a larger group of controllers


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Okay, so I have been searching to no avail about this so am going to ask.

I have 288 channels of LOR in my current setup of sequences.  I have not had a show since 2014 due to health and income issues so am way behind with the newer things.

I always ran my show with my controllers just set up as a standard LOR network of 1, 2, 3, etc. for my shows but now I am hoping to get going again this year with shows and possibly adding in pixels to the mix in the next year as well.  I have seen and read that the show controllers should be run in DMX mode to make things work better as it gets larger although I have never had any real issues with 288 so far.

So in looking at things, I come up with a couple of questions for folks.

1.  Do my sequences need to have the controllers set up in the config file in a sequential order for things to work with DMX or more so to allow the sequence to be imported into S5 or Xlights?  Seems that it needs to be for Xlights but not sure about S5.  I seem to read that I need them in order as well for DMX control?  Right now my sequences have them in very random order of controllers and channels.  A lot of work to change but if so I want to do it now before adding anything else!

2.  Would I be better off to continue to run my sequences the way they are on the LOR adapter for 485 and then add in DMX on another dongle and ethernet for 1.31 pixel stuff?


I would be in debt if anyone could point me in directions for videos or reading on running as a DMX setup, please!  As well as to going forward with things.  I will more than likely be getting a Falcon controller for pixels later on as it is the way to go from what I read now?

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Welcome back Beeiill !     The 288 are, I presume,  18 AC 16 channel controllers.    There is no need to do any changes with them.   When you add new pixels they will be capable of faster network speeds so a new dongle or network would be my suggestion.   Keep the slower AC on their own network no matter what protocol you use for the pixels.    

As far as the order of your channels.   I tend to think everyone has channels all out of order because we add more over time to make existing groups bigger or have mates or whatever.   In S4 you can make tracks to reorganize channels into more logical groups.    S5 is a whole new world which is too much to explain here.   I two sentences which are probably not exactly correct.  S5 attempts to free the sequences of the channel order and lets you change the preview of the prop when you need to add or remove channels.   In S5 you will always see the channels arranged and grouped by the prop they control.    

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Thanks for the reply!  Just so many ways to do things and everybody has their own idea or way to do it!

Yes, they are 18 CTB16K controllers although I do have 3 more or them, 1 PS controller, and 2 CMB16 controllers yet to use out there!

I just seem to remember that when shows start to get a lot of channels (even AC), that lags can develope in the shows with the straight LOR network setup?  I would guess that newer versions of software have helped with this if it was even a problem at all in the first place!  I am really behind on most of this stuff.  Heck, I last sequenced with S3 software!

That is why I was thinking of going in and cleaning up my current sequences before getting into pixels.  Or maybe I just need to change things to tracks for different parts of my display such as the blowmolds, arches, spinners, mega tree and such?  At least then I could group things a bit and make it a little easier to manage?  Always looking for ways to improve and yes I do need to do some studying and get up to date with the software and what it can do!

I downloaded the S5 demo this morning and have been playing with it today for a bit.  I was surprised that is could import my sequences although all I get are a bunch of stars which I understand why it is so right now.  I guess I have to redo my picture and layout in the S5 version for all my LEDs and props?

I also "assume" that I should make each prop (ie, blow mold, spinner, mini tree, etc.) into their own separate models?  I move things around in my display each year (or at least I did :( when I was doing it) so I still want to have that capability with things.

Can I make up several different layouts for the basic display and use a different one when I want to change things around?  I think that is something that Xlights allows people to do?

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There is absolutely zero reason that you need to change your LOR controllers to running via DMX as you get larger.  If you need to run some stuff on a DMX network (for example if you are running DMX only spotlights), you CAN run a DMX network for the stuff that requires DMX and your existing LOR controllers via one or more LOR networks.

Like Bob said, there is no requirement to any of this stuff in order - with one exception.  SOME pixel controllers require that the inputs be in order.  For example if you use the LOR Pixie controllers, you tell it was the first ID is and it assumes the rest.  In other words, if you have a Pixie-8, and you give it an ID of 05, then the 8 strings will be IDs 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 0A, 0B, 0C.  Some E1.31 controllers also require things to be in order (or at least partially), and some don't.

As far as S5, yes, it can read your S4 files.  In fact, for my year round landscaping show, all the sequences were created in S4 (mostly as intensity files from SuperStar), and the computer running the show every night is running 5.0.18.  NOTHING was required to make it work.  My landscaping show uses two LOR networks, and a couple universes of E1.31.  Christmas 2017 added about 20 E1.31 universes and another LOR network.  2018 re-arranges the show quite a bit and ups the E1.31 universe count to about 125 (I'm only adding 61K channels this year).

I can't help you with X-Lights (never used it and have no plans to do so).


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