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Just some basic questions


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I am totally new to this, but I was tasked by my principal to help put together a Christmas light show fundraiser for our middle school. I have ordered the TSO starter package with 2 extra controllers for a total of 48 channels. Right now we have a mix of about 30,000 lights to use, mostly LEDs. We live in the Christmas tree capital of the country or at least the east coast so we have asked for Christmas tree donations from the local tree farms. I am hoping to use the trees as most of our props but I would like to add some other things as well. First I am wondering if there is a certain way that I have to set the controllers up. Do I just hook up 48 channels to 48 different elements and go from there? I also ordered the preprogrammed TSO card with the 13 songs and sequences already programmed in. I was watching the demonstration and the sequences for those songs are using 6 or 8 controllers. I only had enough funds to buy 3, will that work? I would also love to hear some ideas for simple props that can be built and installed quickly. I am hoping to get the students involved in the prop building and set up. Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.

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You can use up to 4 16-channel light controllers with the TSO starter package.  Your 3 controllers should be configured with controller IDs 1, 2, & 3.  I think you can change the controller ID number using the LOR Hardware Utility, but I can't remember for sure.  I specified that I wanted my 3 controllers configured that way when I ordered them.

In regards to hooking up your lights to the 48 channels, on the following webpage read the 2 sections carefully titled Laying out your channels and Here's the easiest way to remember what the different channels do to help you plan your setup.


Unfortunately I don't have the LOR software installed on my new PC and I'm not sure how to perform some of the steps that I did in order to setup my TSO show in 2017.  One thing I remember about the TSO SD card is that there's a 1-minute break between each song where there's no music playing but the lights slowly fade on and off.  You'll want to create a new SD card without that annoying 1-minute filler.  If you're able to do that, you'll also be able to add additional songs/sequences that you purchased. 

Here's a thread from 2017 where I was helping someone extract the mp3 files and sequences from their TSO SD card so they could create a new SD card: 

I think LOR and most lighters recommend Kingston SD cards (and Lexar too, I think) as other brands can sometimes be problematic and can cause freezing and skipping.

And you can definitely put on a decent show with only 48 channels.  I only have 48 channels, but using triple-tap adapters I'm able to control more than 1 set of lights on a channel.  For example in my video below from last year, the 8 sets of lights on each of the 3 horizontal "firesticks" on the front corners of our house and the 8 snowflakes above the left window are controlled with channels 1 - 8 of controller ID #3, and the 8 sets of lights on the 2 leaping arches are controlled with ch 9 - 16 of that same controller.


If possible, it's best to situate each controller as close to the lights that they control as possible so you don't need too many long extension cords.  I would suggest making your own extension cords instead of spending a fortune on ext cords from the store.  SPT Wire & Plugs can be purchased directly from LOR:  http://store.lightorama.com/sptwire.html

If you plan on using the same lights/props in the same place year after year like a lot of us do, label each end of every ext cord (1-1, 1-2, 1-3, etc for controller 1 channels 1, 2,3) to save time for future setups.

Oh, and don't buy Martha Stewart lights because in the past there have been reports of them catching on fire when dimmed/flashed. 


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Note that you are showing that you have a Basic level LOR software license.  In order to control the additional two controllers, you would need to upgrade your LOR software license to at least Basic Plus.


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  • 2 weeks later...


Thank you so much for the advice and the videos. I feel like I am so far over my head that I am going to go crazy. We have been hanging lights on the school for the past 2 weekends, and now we are ready to start on the backlawn where the actually LOR equipment will be used. I got my first 15 Christmas tree donation this morning and I am hoping to get some more trees in this week. Several of the local tree farmers have pledged to donate us some trees to use. I know that you have to try and balance the amp load from one side of the controller to the other, but do you have any idea how many miniature LED lights that one channel can handle? The community has been donating lights for us to use, but a lot of them are incandesent lights and we are just going to use those as static lights on the building and try and save most of our LED's for the light show. Thank you for any help.

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