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I have been researching automating my display. I think I am off to a good start with 67 blow molds, 5 inflatables and about 10,000. Its time to automate. Actually it was my wifes idea (thats a good thing) and she supports me. Now I just need to put the initial design together and make it scaleable. I think I have decided to go with LOR and will most likly start with 32 channels for my new 30 foot dancing christmas tree that is planned for 2006. I have already increased my light inventory somewhat with the after christmas sales :).

My initial plan was to have one large box to hold each 16 channel board and use the pig tails to plug each channel in. I was going to mount this to the wall in Santa's workshop in the basement that is right by the window. Then run all the extension cords from the window out to each of the display areas. My reasoning behind this is because the elecrical equipment is expensive. I have not yet figured out how many feet of wire I would need to accomplish this.

I would like to hear from the experts if I really need to be that concered about the electircal equipment being outside? Does the LOR equipment hold up good in the weather changes Hot to Cold and Wet to Dry? Is the LOR equipment reliable or is it the type of equipment that you need to take care of like a computer?

I do understand that there is also the chance that someone mean could take it or break it. I have had my display valdalized before and its not a good feeling at all.

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thats alot to be putting on a 16 channel controller

because 10,000 lights alone is 33 amps thats if your using minis

edit: didn't see that your using 32 channels

if you plan it right you probbly can get it

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Oh sorry. I am going to use the 32 channels just for the new 30 foot christmas tree. The rest of my display will stay the same for 2006. :) The goal it to have at least 224 channels going for christmal 2008. Have to start somewhere. :)

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I put my boxes outside.. if you put them inside then you got to get lots and lots of long extension cords. I try to keep the boxes as close to the house as I can and hidden behind bushes or blowmolds.

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Steve,

If you'll take a look at our web site (listed in our sig line) we have a few pictures of our Mega-Tree from last year. I mounted my 2 16 channel LOR boards in watertight enclosures, then mounted them to a board which was then mounted at the base of the mast for the tree. The boxes face the house so they were not blatently obvious and the back side had a High Voltage at All Times sign on it.

Living in East Tx we did not have bitter cold or snow, but the cold and rain we did have did not affect LOR at all.

-- Bob

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Bob, nice work thats a great idea. It would save on extensions cords cause I would only need 2 to power the each of the LOR 16 channels and then 1 cat5 cable to connect to the computer. I have book marked your website for future reference tons of good information. I also like your sub panel idea, so you are removing the breakers every season?

thanks

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Steve,

Thank you. Since I did the same thing you are planning, I thought what we did would be helpful.

No, I'm not pulling the breakers, only the box with the plugs. The breaker box (sub panel) is mounted to the brick wall under the main panel. The power to the sub panel is fed by a double 75Amp breaker. Since there are 8 breakers, that comes out to 4-15 amp breakers per leg (60 amps per leg) that I try to balance my load to.

Let us know if we can help.

-- Bob

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This seems to be somewhat of a religious or political issue. I lie on the outside camp, but can summarize it something like:

a) If you keep your boards indoors, you'll have ultimate security and protection from the weather. The cost of this is having to run many cords. If you have a relatively small space to decorate, or don't mind purchasing, storing, and deploying a LOT of wire, this might be an ok solution.

:) As noted, I tend to believe that the controllers belong as close to the lights they control as practical. That's why all the LOR boards I used last year were CTB-08's -- I typically don't have to run more than a 15' extension from any box, except in a few rare cases. There are ways to do security in this case -- if you're really paranoid, use a heavy steel enclosure (crushproof) and bolt it to something solid, or chain it to a tree or the like.

The serial connection gives you the choice, obviously, but I feel that the convenience of being near the lights tips the scale greatly in my opinion. I have enough cords already -- I can't imagine having to home -run everything. Our yard is something like 200' x 200' and that would be a LOT of wire...

-Tim

(argh, corrected terrible typo above which made me say the opposite of what I meant)

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I also put my boxes outside. I keep my boxes closer to my house and run more extension cords. They are kept hidden from view as I place them behind bushes. I find that they hold up very well outdoors. One thing my dad and I did to protect them even more from the elements and from vandals was to mount them onto special wodden post and bury the post about a foot and a half below ground. Once the ground freezes, they are impossible to get out. Plus they make them awkward to even try and steal. I will try and locate a picture of them. Again, it is all persoal prefrence. Indoors means more extension cords but a lot more security. Outdoors means a lot less extension cords and a little less security. Its all a matter of opinion.

Will Sanders

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Tim, your response brings up another good point, is there a performance gain or degradation depending on how far away the LOR boards are from the actual lights?

I would not think so unless I was to use to smaller gage of wire for the lighting amps that are being demanded from that channel. :happytree:

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Will, thanks for the information. This is great to hear what other people have done and some security tips along the way. I am happy to hear that the LOR product is so flexable and could be used in many different ways. Sometimes to many choices causes confusion. :)

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Steve wrote:

Tim, your response brings up another good point, is there a performance gain or degradation depending on how far away the LOR boards are from the actual lights?

I would not think so unless I was to use to smaller gage of wire for the lighting amps that are being demanded from that channel. :happytree:

Not really, if you use the appropriate wire. If the run is really long, you can run into what's called "voltage drop" which basically means you're using energy to heat the wires instead of power the lights. This results in dimmer lights, and can be problematic if you're running things like motors or electronics (and if the wire is coiled or something, can be a fire hazard).

-Tim
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