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How many channels would you like?


Steve Constantino
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Steve Constantino

OK, am I the only crazy one out there? I would love to see LOR come out with some new controllers with more than 16 channels. I think a 64 channel controller would be a good start. But why stop there, a 128 channel, or even a 256 channel controller would be cool. Dose anyone else see the need for more channels in one controller? I have needed more than 64 channels in the same location many times. It's a waist to use 4 or more 16 channel controllers when it would be easy to build a larger controller. I have made my request on the wish list. WishList@LightORama.com

Are these crazy ideas or what?

Steve

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Actually it sounds pretty good to me as well.

I would love to see them come out with either a "more channels" controller or at the least maybe a "package deal" on a multi channel setup for those of us who want to build the boards ourselves.

Another thing that would be nice to see if LOR was to sell enclosures for their boards. A nice Carlon or Hoffman hinged style box would be nice to see with the boards. Or maybe Dan could at least work out a deal with a supply house to give us a reliable source for enclosures that could hold say 1, 2, or 4 control boards.

It would make it a little easier for the folks that don't want to try and search for boxes for their boards.

I wonder if anyone would be interested in an "extension set" of outlets for their controllers? Something along the lines of a weatherproof box with 4 outlets with weatherproof covers and maybe 25 or 50 foot 12 gauge cord that would plug into the controller dongles?

While we are on this, how about exterior fuse holders with a pilot light so you don't have to open the box up just to change a fuse? It would make it quick to see if a fuse was blown on a controller when it is zero out and you are scrambling to get your display back up and running.

Hum, so many fun things to do with this stuff.

Bill

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The only place I use more than 16 channels in the same exact location is in my mega-tree.

I have other places where controllers are only 10-15 feet apart, but if I combined them into a centralized location, it would mean a lot more feet of extension cords.

One of the competing controller companies used to make a 64-channel board, but they weren't popular because they had such a small capacity per channel (unless you're going to have 8 power input cords on the thing...)

For people who run all their channels back to one or two central locations, this might be more practical...

-Tim

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Steve Constantino

Tim,

Your right. BUT I should have been a little more clear on what I think the application would be used for.

Mega trees are a good example. The last few years my tree used 64 channels this year it will use 128 channels ( I added an other color.). 12 7watt C7 lamps per channel .

The amperage per channel needed would be very low. And just think lots of people are using LED's now witch use even less power. In the next year or two I would love to build a mega tree where every light was on it's own channel. Yes I know it's crazy. But think of the cool things you could do.

Back in 05 I used 4 of the other guy's 64 ch controllers they worked grate. I sold them when I changed over to LOR.

Back in the day I used to put all my controllers in the same location, my garage and run lots of cords. Not any more. I know people still do that. That wasn't what I was thinking with the idea of a controller with more channels. It was for things like mega trees, 3 color leaping arches, pixel mapping and lots more.

Lots of people are using more and more channels every year. I think some thing like this would help out a lot. I can't wait for the day when I cross the 1000 channel mark.


Steve
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Richard Hamilton

As for me, I probably would not buy a controller with more than 16 channels or possibly 32. If I did, it would be to put in a location where I am using a LOT of channels in close proximity like in a megatree.

Putting my engineering hat on for a moment, I might make a 32 channel controller, but I wouldn't make one bigger because the quantity of sales would be too low to justify it manufacturing another sku and having in inventory.

Also, I'll bet that the majority of the market will still be for 32 channels or less in one location because only the larger complex installations would likely buy a controller larger than 32 chan.

Having controllers spread out in different areas beats putting long extension cords everywhere.

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Another thing to think about is a single point of failure -- if you fry a 16 channel controller, in a 144 channel display, it's going to take a small dent out of the display. If you fry a 64-channel controller, it's going to take out about half of it, until it can be fixed/replaced...

I'm also wondering if the cost effectiveness is there. There aren't that many 'common' components on the boards: The micro, data jacks, com circuit, etc. Much of the board is copies of the triac circuits. Plus you might need a larger micro (with more I/O pins) which would negate some of those savings...

-Tim

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Richard Hamilton

Tim Fischer wrote:

if you fry a 16 channel controller, in a 144 channel display, it's going to take a small dent out of the display. If you fry a 64-channel controller, it's going to take out about half of it, until it can be fixed/replaced...

That's a great point.... one I didn't think about. Hmmm, it sounds like Tim has experience with frying something other than just food :shock:

I suppose that one day we should all be so lucky as to afford one of Dan's 10,000 channel controllers that powers a megawatt of lights and plugs directly into the electrical power grid !!!
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Richard Hamilton wrote:

Hmmm, it sounds like Tim has experience with frying something other than just food :shock:


Fortunately, not really. It's just I've been thinking about it ever since someone started the "do you have backup controllers" thread last year.

I choose not to buy extra 'backup' controllers just to sit on the shelf. My "plan B" in case something fails would be to reorganize the display to use fewer channels. For example, it would be pretty bad if 16 channels on my mega-tree failed, but I could live without some of the segments on our arches.

But it woudl be hard to "make up" for 64 missing channels, unless you did have a 1000-channel display...

-Tim
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I built a couple of cases for 64 channels each. I also keep a spare 16 channel board in inventory. If I need to swap a board in one of these cases, it takes less then two minutes.

http://s141.photobucket.com/albums/r55/johnbullard/?action=view&current=8x6NewStands.jpg

http://s141.photobucket.com/albums/r55/johnbullard/?action=view&current=8x6CtrlStandBlueMT.jpg

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Steve Constantino wrote:

In the next year or two I would love to build a mega tree where every light was on it's own channel. Yes I know it's crazy. But think of the cool things you could do.

Actually, you can do this now with Firefly, which comes with the controller and is reported to work with LOR. Let's see, for a 12 segment tree, you would need 12 Fireflies at about $160 each. Each Firefly is considered as three 16 channel controllers by LOR. Boy, look at the channel count you could use in your advertising!
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I actually would like an 8 channel PC version controller which does not require soldering, but can either be purchased fully assembled or with just some limited assembly (cords only).

Less channels in a controller makes for better distribution options and thus less extension cords, which equals less money (esp. with price of copper and cords these days).

When you get into these mega channel controllers, it seems that the DIY boards have that covered already (i.e. the Renard24, Renard64) and are very cost effective for the true DIY'r ... but also require vixen (I think).

It would be nice to have a Renard to LOR convertor perhaps?

Scott

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taybrynn wrote:

I actually would like an 8 channel PC version controller which does not require soldering, but can either be purchased fully assembled or with just some limited assembly (cords only).

Less channels in a controller makes for better distribution options and thus less extension cords, which equals less money (esp. with price of copper and cords these days).

When you get into these mega channel controllers, it seems that the DIY boards have that covered already (i.e. the Renard24, Renard64) and are very cost effective for the true DIY'r ... but also require vixen (I think).

It would be nice to have a Renard to LOR convertor perhaps?

Scott


I agree, I use a lot of CTB-08's. But I'd like to see a firmware-downloadable version...

8-channel controlers work great for things like rows of mini-trees, just plop one with 4 trees on each side and you hardly need any extension cords...

-Tim
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On the other hand, I always imagined a simple in line controller maybe one or two channel box you simply plug in line with a string of lights that accepts commands from a light linker.

Would be great for windows on the second or third floors of a house you could have your the "remote mini controller" pluged into the wall and plug the lights into it, no need to have extension cords runing up to the windows.

Kinda for those stand alone items in your display, not sure if the cost to build would be feasible but I thoght it would be a cool item to have.

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taybrynn wrote:

(esp. with price of copper and cords these days).

Scott

Not that copper is cheap, but our two local Lowes have come down to $58 for 250ft 12/2... which is down from a high of $78.

Not awesome, but it's getting there slowly. I think if it gets to around $40 for 250ft, I am going to buy 1000ft just to have around. I had ~200ft of 12/2 sitting here from the "under $40" days and it was great using it when copper jumped to above $60/250ft. :D

-Jeff

p.s. I actually like the controllers at 16 channels. Not too awefully big, but not small enough where I'd have to "stack" them in one location.
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