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Is it just me or ......


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Posted (edited)

Am I really that dense to not be able to figure this stuff out?  In late 2013, I broke my neck and wound up in a halo for 3 months.  Unable to do much of my normal activity, I discovered the world of synchronized Christmas light shows.  After very little research, I jumped in and bought a single LOR AC controller and was able to set up a real basic 16 channel display.

Long story short, in the intervening years we have moved twice and I gradually added 3 more AC controllers and built several displays, each year getting a little better and better.  Last year I added 3 singing faces, all using incandescent lights.  While my simple 4 controller display was the hit of our small community here in SW Florida, not too far away is “Over the Top Christmas Lights” display.  This year his display had almost 50 LOR controllers running over 140,000 lights with about 750 channels, 50 some LED flood lights and 700 RGB pixels.  Needless to say, I was a bit jealous.  

I contacted the owner Paul and he was kind enough to invite me to tour his display and command center.  The pixel seeds were thus planted for me.

So in January, I decided to try to add a pixel singing face to my display for 2021.  After much research this time, I decided to buy the parts needed to build my very first LOR Pixie 16.  While that was not too difficult, it became increasingly more difficult from there.  I knew I had to upgrade my LOR S4 license and get the latest version in order to run the pixels.  No problem there.  The plan was, and still is, to run this years show using S5.

So I bought the 200 pixel Singing Bulb from Holiday Coro.  I figured 2 strings of 100 pixels would do the trick and I went about building the prop in that fashion following their wiring diagram.  Now the trick was to get the Pixie hooked up to run the lights.  After much hand wringing and pulling out what little hair I have left, with the help of JR Dibble, I discovered the Pixie 16 cannot handle the prop wired in such fashion.  I would need the PixCon 16.  Nope.  Not going to go there.  JR said the Pixie 16 would be able to handle the various face movements if I re-wired it to have 8 separate channels.  So I went about cutting and splicing and created 8 separate channels for the face.  With a LOT more help from JR, I discovered the world of Unit ID’s, ports & hexi-demical (I vaguely remember that word from junior high school!).  Eventually, I was able to get the face to sing a sequence and now it was time to move on to S5.

Well, I watched a lot of videos and figured “Let’s give it a try”.  Without too much difficulty I was able to convert all of my sequences and visualizations from my 2020 show.  (Keep in mind I did not have pixels in the display yet.)  I knew I had to build a Preview first with all of the components of my display before I start to sequence.  Although basic Preview was done during the conversion from S4 to S5, I had to add the Singing Bulb prop.  Absolute nightmare!  With S5 being COMPLETELY different in look and feel, searched for hours on end trying to get the Bulb into the Preview.

While I’m quite certain S5 is here to stay, there are so many bells and whistles built in, it is virtually impossible to find what you are looking for.  No doubt the system was built by talented engineers but you have to be a talented engineer to figure how to use it!  The user guides on line and even the video series on YouTube are helpful but they dive so quickly into the weeds the average user like me gets lost beyond belief.  If LOR expects to grow their customer base, they have to re-engineer the software with the average user in mind.  (Hexi-decimal is a prime example).  Carl Langford the former mayor of Orlando once remarked that airports should be “designed for people, not for airplanes”.  The result is the new south terminal currently under construction in Orlando.  It has to be user friendly…….S5 is not.

Thanks for hearing me out and thanks again to JR for his unending support.  I’ll get off my soap box now and wander over to X-lights to see if that may be the route to go.  If not, it’s probably time to dump all the stuff and go back to my former hobby of woodworking!

Don

 

 

 

 

Edited by Donl1150
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Your poll on question 2 requires an answer even if the answer to question 1 is yes.

 

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1 hour ago, Donl1150 said:

I guess it is just me Jim.  I have deleted the poll.

Remember every software will have a learning curve and if you think S5 is difficult yoi will have a rude awakening with xlights.

You can use 2 ports in S5 for the entire prop on a pixie controller. As in xlights you will have to build it custom.

You just can’t do it in S4 is what I had said from the beginning. 
 

Your main issue in S4 was the prop has more that 50 pixels in a fixture and with that you can build it in the Vis.

I built it in the animation for you so you could use it at face value.

I  will leave xlights alone now.

You are just trying to rush the process. Crawl, walk and then run.

It takes time to build props especially going outside the box but once it’s done you get that feeling of accomplishment.

Do you think Over the Top Christmas learned or built his in a couple years? 
 

This stuff takes time and each prop yoi add you get better at it.

Just don’t compare yourself with anyone else. Who do you light up the lights for? Hopefully it’s mainly for you and family and all others are just bonus’s.

I will make a video, start to finish about how to build a HC singing RGB face in S5 for a pixie controller using 2 ports. Pixel Packing without DMX ie; for controllers such as a pixie.

I just have to find one I do not have in DMX Config.

I have the RGB HC Pumpkin but I built that one early 2019 when I first planned on using S5
 

when I get on a computer I will

make the video.

 

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Thanks for the words of encouragement JR.  Helpful but I am just not getting it.  I was able to create the hanging bulb as a prop with 8 channels and did manage to import into the Preview of my old show.  I think I even had the channels named properly and then copied and pasted the sequencing from the singing tree face in that Preview.  Sure enough the Preview worked and the Hanging bulb was singing along with the Singing Tree!

I am sure I saved it properly since I could close and open the sequence and it was still there working fine.  then I tried to get that Preview to work with a different sequence and now I have lost the one that worked!  I think what happened was, when I opened the different sequence, it presented me with a series of questions relative to 'matching' some things.  I must have hit the wrong button and consequently the one Preview that had the Hanging Bulb is now gone and I don't know how to re-create it.

I think I will take some time away from this as it has become too frustrating for me.  I'll give it another try in a couple of weeks.

Thanks

Don

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1 hour ago, Donl1150 said:

I am sure I saved it properly since I could close and open the sequence and it was still there working fine.  then I tried to get that Preview to work with a different sequence and now I have lost the one that worked!  I think what happened was, when I opened the different sequence, it presented me with a series of questions relative to 'matching' some things.  I must have hit the wrong button and consequently the one Preview that had the Hanging Bulb is now gone and I don't know how to re-create it.

During the import process, there is no provision to delete an existing preview (I just checked to make sure).  So I guarantee you did not not delete your preview when using the import process.  Sounds like you need to have a remote session with either one of the LOR developers, or one of us.  There are several of us that should be able to walk you through most of that.  Do you have TeamViewer loaded on your sequencing computer?

 

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If you are comfortable with S4 then stay with it while you learn S5. I am still using S4 and I have singing faces and thousands of pixels. Don't change until you are comfortable with S5 whether that's a year, two years or never, S4 will still work very easily.

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5 hours ago, k6ccc said:

During the import process, there is no provision to delete an existing preview (I just checked to make sure).  So I guarantee you did not not delete your preview when using the import process.  Sounds like you need to have a remote session with either one of the LOR developers, or one of us.  There are several of us that should be able to walk you through most of that.  Do you have TeamViewer loaded on your sequencing computer?

 

I do have TeamViewer but never used it.   That would sure help me enormously!  

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3 hours ago, Mr. P said:

If you are comfortable with S4 then stay with it while you learn S5. I am still using S4 and I have singing faces and thousands of pixels. Don't change until you are comfortable with S5 whether that's a year, two years or never, S4 will still work very easily.

How do you deal with the 50 pixel limit in Viz?  Doesn’t that cause you problems?   Or do you use Animator?

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Donl1150 said:

How do you deal with the 50 pixel limit in Viz?  Doesn’t that cause you problems?   Or do you use Animator?

S4 VIZ does have a 50 pixel limit for LOR controllers.   S4 SE and player can control 100 pixel lights, you just can not visualize them.   BUT S4 does visualize 100 pixel strings defined as DMX with no problem.   For my S4 config I use a DMX arrangement to visualize and also a LOR arrangement to play. 

The newest big advance for S4 is the PixieLink hardware.   PixieLink only works for DMX configs!  And it translates that for non-dmx LOR controllers.  If you get a PixieLink you can visualize the longer strings in S4

Edited by ItsMeBobO
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As explained there are ways around the limits. Personally I don't use pixels on a LOR RS485 network as I don't like the low channel limits and I don't want to have 5-6 networks. I use all pixels on E1.31 and all my LOR controllers, CTB16 and CMD24, on a LOR network. This keeps me at two networks, one LOR and one E1.31 to run all my controllers.

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As for the Visualizer, I have one created for my show but I rarely use it. On the other hand I love the Animator, I use that 95% of the time.

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12 hours ago, ItsMeBobO said:

S4 VIZ does have a 50 pixel limit for LOR controllers.   S4 SE and player can control 100 pixel lights, you just can not visualize them.   BUT S4 does visualize 100 pixel strings defined as DMX with no problem.   For my S4 config I use a DMX arrangement to visualize and also a LOR arrangement to play. 

The newest big advance for S4 is the PixieLink hardware.   PixieLink only works for DMX configs!  And it translates that for non-dmx LOR controllers.  If you get a PixieLink you can visualize the longer strings in S4

Thanks for the input everyone.  So now you have me thinking I should forget about S5 (at least for now) since I am very comfortable with S4.  But I would appreciate some guidance going down this route.  Remember, my current setup is 4 - CTB16 AC controllers.  I have built a Pixie 16 and a Holiday Coro singing bulb with 200 total pixels.  I have built the face with 8 separate pixel strings, the longest being 68 pixels.  I have come to learn that VIZ has a max capability of 50 pixels but not so with Animator, which I have never used.

You have pointed out there are ways to run the singing bulb in my display using DMX & a PixieLInk, again new items for me.  If you could spell out the steps I need to take - or if there are videos somewhere I could review - I would greatly appreciate it.  Thanks much!

Don

 

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Have done that already.  I am stuck right now getting all the pixels to light on a sequence.   The HU shows that all 8 ports and all 200 pixels on the hanging bulb are working properly.   In my Preview, I also have an AC controlled singing tree with the same face components.  That one works properly in the sequence. 

I simply copied each of the 8 tree sequences and pasted them to the pixel bulb face sequence.  When I play the sequence, only some of the face movements on the bulb light up.  I have no idea what to check to figure out the problem.  Any clues for me?

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Don’t forget that the animation in which I built you is IMO actually better for singing faces and works with 100+ pixels in S4.

It can also be imported in to S5, I have helped other learn how to import an S4 animation to S5.

It is also in the S5 help menu

JR

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  • 2 weeks later...

ok.....I am going to give this another try.

I have my hanging bulb in the preview.  The 8 face components of the bulb are hooked up to ports 9-16 on the controller.  The controller has an ID unit number of 05 since my display has 4 AC controllers (01-04).  When in the HU utility, I can get all the pixels to properly light up and change colors on the individual ports 9-16.  So that tells me all the electrical work is correct.

When playing the SE with this preview, only 3 of the 8 channels light up…..ID 05, circuit 9; ID 06, circuit 1; ID 07, circuit 1.  I found this information out when right clicking on those items in the SE under Prop Definition.

Clearly I have a problem defining the items and an improper understanding of ports, ID’s and circuits.  Most likely if I can get things identified properly, I will be able to get the bulb to sing properly.  Is there a video somewhere that focuses only on these items?

 

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5 minutes ago, Donl1150 said:

ok.....I am going to give this another try.

I have my hanging bulb in the preview.  The 8 face components of the bulb are hooked up to ports 9-16 on the controller.  The controller has an ID unit number of 05 since my display has 4 AC controllers (01-04).  When in the HU utility, I can get all the pixels to properly light up and change colors on the individual ports 9-16.  So that tells me all the electrical work is correct.

When playing the SE with this preview, only 3 of the 8 channels light up…..ID 05, circuit 9; ID 06, circuit 1; ID 07, circuit 1.  I found this information out when right clicking on those items in the SE under Prop Definition.

Clearly I have a problem defining the items and an improper understanding of ports, ID’s and circuits.  Most likely if I can get things identified properly, I will be able to get the bulb to sing properly.  Is there a video somewhere that focuses only on these items?

 

Pixie16 or Pixcon?

Smart pixel ports use an ID per port you set the Start at 05 (port 1) ,06(port2)... 0e (port10), 0f (port 11), 10 (port 12)...  You did remember to count in HEX

Also, Did you properly power BANK2 (both + and - )?

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It is a Pixie 16.

Not sure what you mean by power BANK2.  I do have 2 power supplies.....one for dongles1-8 and the other for dongles 9-16.

So here is where I get confused......you say start at 05 (port1).    Since my bulb is connected to dongles 9-16, does that mean dongle #9 should be identified as ID 05, port 1?  Then dongle 10 should be ID 06, port 2?  and so on and so on, using HEX counting?

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Posted (edited)

If your Starting ID is 05 - then the rest of the port are numbered to the next ID (As Seen in Last Column)

So Dangle #9 would be ID-0D in your preview

Image203.jpg

Edited by Jimehc
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ohhhh....great!  I will change things around and see what happens.  I assume things will work.  Thx!  I will let you know.

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Nope.  Didn't work.  Attached is how I labeled them all in the preview.  I copied/pasted the sequence from a singing tree with the same 8 face movements and I only got a few lights scattered about on the bulb prop to light up.  And they lit up in different colors when I was expecting them all to be white for this test.  Still confused obivoulsy.

1695725283_ScreenShot2021-05-20at1_23_13PM.png.cd00a805788150ffea2d955968d0c448.png

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Boy, that certainly isn’t logical since each of the 8 are separate electrical circuits.  I’ll give it a try though.  

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