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Getting started and nervous!


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Hey guys,

Australian here! 

looking at at getting started and nervous about how it’s all going to! Thinking about getting the starter pack and looking for some opinions on how everyone has gone on their first time around. Looking at getting some basic dumb RGB strips and giving it a go at this stage, nothing to technical. I have older Christmas lights that have in built in controllers, am I able to utilise these as well? They have a memory hold function so if they are set to the setting I like can I use them to just basically flash on and off?


any guidance or help would be greatly appreciated :) 

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Santas Helper

Welcome aboard Matt.

Many options to choose from when starting now days but think about where you want to go concerning the type of lights. This will help in knowing what kind of controllers to get. If going smart or dumb strips/lights, there is a major difference in the two so choose wisely from the beginning.

As for the Christmas lights with built in controllers, I haven't seen/heard much success incorporating those into a LOR light show.

Good luck and ask any question you might have.


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Lots of past thread on getting started.  Do a thread title seach all all words 'getting started" and start researching. 

As you decide what type s of light to add and if you can used some existing lights, keep in mind that there are AC an DC controlelrs.  If looking at RGB, they used 12v DC controlers while lights that plug into normal outlets are 110v and need AC controllers. 







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7 minutes ago, mpageler said:

As you decide what type s of light to add and if you can used some existing lights, keep in mind that there are AC an DC controlelrs.  If looking at RGB, they used 12v DC controlers 


be careful with making that assumption. RGB typically uses 5v or 12v and you need to make sure that your power supplies match your RGB strings.

Edited by gc75067
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The only thing you have to be nervous about is the huge amount of money you are going to spend.  😁

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Lights with controllers built in.   I had some Snowflakes and Stars that were like that.  As long as the memory functions holds to what you set, even when they are off, using them in your display is just fine as long as you use 100% ON and 100% OFF functions in the sequence.

I used lights like those for years in my display until I retired them and saved the old snowflakes and stars to make stand alone items for other things now.   I recycle ALL my old light strands like that, cut off the male and female ends and use them to make extension cords, cut out old light sockets for replacing failed ones{if I still use that style light}, cut off the light controller and sometimes rewire the strand so it can be used without a controller or, as stated earlier, cut the parts, like the snowflakes and stars apart and make them as a stand alone by wiring up some sockets and bulbs to match the number of bulbs needed on the prop to light it up.

I try and find a use for everything, even after it quits working, parts or parts and sometimes you have to get creative since you just can't buy replacement sockets for those that might rust out in a strand, for those replaceable type light strands.

But as long as you're using 100% ON, 100% OFF commands, those built in controller lights will work fine, but I would not recommend them be a main part of your show, more like something you'd want to either keep on or be on at specific times in the background in your display.   That's how I used mine.

Edited by Orville
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This year was my first year with smart leds. 

I feel I learned a ton in a short time and I wish I knew back in the beggining of November what I know now. (and I still have a lot more to learn with sequencing)

Smart pixels are not hard and I feel was worth my time. After the learning curve, Your imagination will become your limit. (any pixel any color at any time) but you can still make them act light a dumb rgb light (as I did a lot this year)

If you do go the smart pixel route, get a good soldiering station, learn all about power injecting and null pixels. and be creative my 4 arches cost me around 120.00  to build including the lights.

I would stay away from 5v.

Also I found setting up my props in fours, eights, sixteens was essential as I put 21 light ribbons on my roof and it bugs me to know end how I had to sequence around that. (next year there will be 32 strings )

If you look through my posts you will see a video of  what I accomplished in my first month. 

Good Luck

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