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INFO - GOING WIRELESS ON LOR


Oscar
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Currently I do not have a LOR - but am planning on purchasing a 16 channel for next year Christmas 2009. About 95% of my lights are LEDs. There are a couple of questions I would like to know in operating the LOR.

1. Currently my computer is operating Vista 64 Ultimate, with 4 gigs of ram. This computer is also wireless using a Linksys wireless adapter and router. I am planning on going wireless with a LOR on this machine. In that being said - in connecting a FM Transmitter and a Linker, will I have any problems with my machine since its wireless. That is, would I have radio interference with my LOR wireless devices? Do I need another pc to operate a Wireless LOR setup?

2. In using a FM Transmitter and Linkers, does the light show stay sequence with the music? Are there any recommended brands of FM Transmitter and Linkers beside what LOR offer?

3. I had downloaded the demo of LOR "Light Automation Control Software". I had created a couple of musical Sequence. Will I be able to use these musical Sequence in the full version of the "Light Automation Control Software"?


4. The lights I currently have are 90% LEDs. Can the fade command from the light control software be applied onto LEDs. I had read somewhere, that applying less current (fade) on LEDs can lower their life span. Correct me if I am wrong.

Regards,

Oscar

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1) You may or may not have interference problems. FM transmitters are sensitive to having electronics surrounding them. Mine sounded poor until I moved it into the garage. Others seem to have have good luck sitting it on top of their tower!

2) Should be no problem with staying synced. The transmission speed difference would be too small to see. I think you have to use LOR linkers (if there even any others). EDM appears to make very nice transmitters. Ramsey also makes some good stuff. Both will require some assembly. I would stay away from the wholehouse unit sold by LOR. There is a huge section on transmitters here: http://talk.planetchristmas.com/forumdisplay.php?f=11

3) Yes. When you purchase the softeware, you will be going from version 1 to 2. Your sequences will update when you load them.

4) I have several brands of LED's that dim just fine. This is year 2 for most of them. Time will tell. I have many strands of CDI leds that have only been used for a couple of weeks. These have a tendacy to burst into flames (literally) when dimmed. Here is a good forum on all things LED: http://talk.planetchristmas.com/forumdisplay.php?f=11

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i have had no problems with using the linker, the Ramsey fm100b and wireless modem ( i might have some mental damage with all of this RF going through my head ( no one would notice )) i have them all sitting within 5 foot of each other. the only problem i see in your near future is the need for more channels. :D

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Richard Hamilton

Oscar wrote:

1. in connecting a FM Transmitter and a Linker, will I have any problems with my machine since its wireless. That is, would I have radio interference with my LOR wireless devices? Do I need another pc to operate a Wireless LOR setup?

2. In using a FM Transmitter and Linkers, does the light show stay sequence with the music? Are there any recommended brands of FM Transmitter and Linkers beside what LOR offer?

4. The lights I currently have are 90% LEDs. Can the fade command from the light control software be applied onto LEDs. I had read somewhere, that applying less current (fade) on LEDs can lower their life span. Correct me if I am wrong.

Oscar, I'll put in some additional clarification here on portions of your questions above....

1. Keep in mind that LOR and your computer LAN are using different wireless frequency bands and different protocols. They don't see each other and don't interfere with each other. In fact, to test my system, I often use my laptop outside to wirelessly connect to my server in the home that contains the LOR software and sequences.

2. When you say FM transmitter, I'm thinking FM radio and I wonder if that is really what you mean because you mention LOR. I don't know that LOR offers any FM transmitters. As for the LOR wireless ability, you need to use their linkers for wirelessly connecting the LOR controllers. As for FM radio transmitters, there are many choices available from many places.

4. You don't control the "current" to any AC device with LOR. The lights draw whatever current they need. When LOR controllers dim the lights, it is changing the voltage, not the current. I have never heard that applying less voltage could damage incandescant or LED lights. Motor? yes.... Lights? no. Compact Flourescant bulbs are the only type of light that I know of that can be damaged by trying to dim them. I think the information you saw is incorrect. If someone knows otherwise, I will be interested to hear it.
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Richard Hamilton wrote:

When LOR controllers dim the lights, it is changing the voltage, not the current. I have never heard that applying less voltage could damage incandescant or LED lights.

LOR doesn't actually change the voltage, it just turns it on and off really fast (120 times a second). This is what damages motors, transformers (I destroyed one last year by dimming it by mistake), and CFL bulbs.

Many C7 and C9 replacement LEDs, such as these, use capacitors instead of resistors to limit the current. When LOR switches the voltage on and off to dim, this actually causes more current to flow through the capacitor, which will eventually destroy the bulb.

(By the way "replacement LED" means an LED bulb made to replace an incandescent bulb.)

Edit: Here's another site that sells replacement LEDs. They clearly say:

NOTE: As of Aug. 2007, LED Replacement bulbs are still not dimmable with computerized display outfits (e.g. Light-O-Rama, Animated Lighting, etc.). Our manufacturer is working to resolve this issue.
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Richard Hamilton

Good info Steven. I was under the impression from some other postings that the voltage was varied. I never tried it. Doesn't make sense that dimming is done by turning on and off the triacs, but I'll take your work on that. I never looked at it that closely.

It makes sense that an LED string can be damaged if they use a limiting capacitor instead of a resistor. Beats me as to why a manufacturer would do something like that when a resistor is cheaper and will allow dimming.

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Richard Hamilton wrote:

Beats me as to why a manufacturer would do something like that when a resistor is cheaper and will allow dimming.

A typical replacement LED bulb has 5 LEDs inside. In series, the voltage across the LEDS is 3.4v * 5 = 17v. Therefore the voltage drop across the resistor is 120v - 17v = 103v. If the LEDs are driven at 20mA, then the power dissipation is 103v * 20mA > 2W!

Not only is a 2-watt resistors bulky and more expensive than a capacitor, but using a resistor would make the bulb use much more power.

We don't have this problem with LED Christmas light strings because a typical string will have 35 bulbs in series: 3.4v * 35 = 119v. This leaves very little voltage across the (small) resistor, so little energy is wasted.
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Richard Hamilton

Steven wrote:

Richard Hamilton wrote:
Beats me as to why a manufacturer would do something like that when a resistor is cheaper and will allow dimming.

A typical replacement LED bulb has 5 LEDs inside. In series, the voltage across the LEDS is 3.4v * 5 = 17v. Therefore the voltage drop across the resistor is 120v - 17v = 103v. If the LEDs are driven at 20mA, then the power dissipation is 103v * 20mA > 2W!

Not only is a 2-watt resistors bulky and more expensive than a capacitor, but using a resistor would make the bulb use much more power.

We don't have this problem with LED Christmas light strings because a typical string will have 35 bulbs in series: 3.4v * 35 = 119v. This leaves very little voltage across the (small) resistor, so little energy is wasted.

Oh, I misunderstood. I thought you were talking about a capacitor in an LED string. I see, and it makes sense.
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Richard,

Sorry if if stir things up. What got me into about this dimming situation is what I had read in Animated Lighting. If you scroll down at the very bottom page you will see what I was - some what talking about. I was wrong about the type of LEDs that are NOT suppose to be used for dimming. They are the C7 and C9 replaceable LED bubs. I should had been more specific on the type of bubs.

http://www.animatedlighting.com/products/customshowprogramming.asp#On/Off_Shows_for_use_with_C7/C9_LED_Replacement_Bulbs

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Oscar wrote:

1. Currently my computer is operating Vista 64 Ultimate, with 4 gigs of ram. This computer is also wireless using a Linksys wireless adapter and router. I am planning on going wireless with a LOR on this machine. In that being said - in connecting a FM Transmitter and a Linker, will I have any problems with my machine since its wireless. That is, would I have radio interference with my LOR wireless devices? Do I need another pc to operate a Wireless LOR setup?


Hi Oscar,

You shouldn't need another pc to accomplish this. But be aware that even though these pieces of equipment utilize different frequency ranges, there is still a chance of interference occurring here. The key to fixing any interference issues you may have would be separation of the transmitters themselves. If you have the FM transmitter like some of the high powered ones on Ebay, there is enough power coming out of them to overload the front end of just about any type of receiver so that could cause issues.

As long as you don't stack everything on top of each other, you should be fine. If you have to stack everything on top of each other, you might want to try grounding whatever you can!:D

Oh and don't expect your cell phone to ring if you're sitting next to one of those Ebay 10 Watt transmitters either!

Steve
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SBontempo wrote:

You shouldn't need another pc to accomplish this. But be aware that even though these pieces of equipment utilize different frequency ranges, there is still a chance of interference occurring here. The key to fixing any interference issues you may have would be separation of the transmitters themselves. If you have the FM transmitter like some of the high powered ones on Ebay, there is enough power coming out of them to overload the front end of just about any type of receiver so that could cause issues.

As long as you don't stack everything on top of each other, you should be fine. If you have to stack everything on top of each other, you might want to try grounding whatever you can!:D

Oh and don't expect your cell phone to ring if you're sitting next to one of those Ebay 10 Watt transmitters either!

Steve



Hi Steve,

Thanks for your input. The type of FM Transmitter I am planning to get is a EDM or Ramsey FM TRansmitter. I will have to flip a coin on that! I am planning on setting the FM transmitter approx 25 ft away from my computer into another room on top of a window sill inside the house. I am sure this will aid in not having all frequencys interfere onto one another in one room - thats the wireless computer adapter, linker, and FM Transmitter. The transmitters will be on the 2nd floor, just like the computer is now. That said - I expect or hope for good receptions from my outdoor receivers. :D

Oscar
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Steven wrote:


Many C7 and C9 replacement LEDs, such as these, use capacitors instead of resistors to limit the current. When LOR switches the voltage on and off to dim, this actually causes more current to flow through the capacitor, which will eventually destroy the bulb.

(By the way "replacement LED" means an LED bulb made to replace an incandescent bulb.)

Edit: Here's another site that sells replacement LEDs. They clearly say:

NOTE: As of Aug. 2007, LED Replacement bulbs are still not dimmable with computerized display outfits (e.g. Light-O-Rama, Animated Lighting, etc.). Our manufacturer is working to resolve this issue.


Hi Steven,

You are right about the C7 and C9 replacement LEDs. I got my info from Animated Lighting. The LEDs are ment to turn "on" and "off". The link to Animated Lighting about these bubs is listed below.

http://www.animatedlighting.com/products/customshowprogramming.asp#On/Off_Shows_for_use_with_C7/C9_LED_Replacement_Bulbs
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Richard Hamilton

Oscar wrote:

I am planning on setting the FM transmitter approx 25 ft away from my computer into another room on top of a window sill inside the house. I am sure this will aid in not having all frequencys interfere onto one another in one room - thats the wireless computer adapter, linker, and FM Transmitter. The transmitters will be on the 2nd floor, just like the computer is now. That said - I expect or hope for good receptions from my outdoor receivers.

Oscar, your plan should work. Physical separation of devices is important only to a certain degree. Steve makes a great point about separating the transmitters and receivers, especially if the FM transmitter is a crappy one that produces lots of harmonic radiation. Keep in mind that omnidirectional radiation follows a "Square Law" ... Every time you double the distance between two potentially interferring devices, the power levels reduce by a factor of 4. Example, just separating the devices from 1 foot to 8 feet will reduce interrence levels by a factor of 64. So you don't need huge separations. A few feet is fine. To my point, a friend of mine lives works in a building that is 1,000 feet from a 50 KW transmitter up in the city, and they have no trouble with any wireless devices.

Now if your FM transmitter is going to be 25 feet from your computer, you'll need to run a very long audio cable. It better be good quality or you may get some inductive noise along the route.
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Richard Hamilton

Oscar wrote:

You are right about the C7 and C9 replacement LEDs. I got my info from Animated Lighting. The LEDs are ment to turn "on" and "off". The link to Animated Lighting about these bubs is listed below.

http://www.animatedlighting.com/products/customshowprogramming.asp#On/Off_Shows_for_use_with_C7/C9_LED_Replacement_Bulbs

I got some about 20 units of C7 & C9 bulbs in the mail a couple weeks ago that came out of nowwhere. I certainly did not ask for them, but I was glad to get them. The compnay claims the bulbs to be dimmable. I tried them and they were surpringingly nice. They are supposed to be available in January. I bet they are going to be expensive just from my gut feeling of looking at them.
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Richard Hamilton wrote:


I got some about 20 units of C7 & C9 bulbs in the mail a couple weeks ago that came out of nowwhere. I certainly did not ask for them, but I was glad to get them. The compnay claims the bulbs to be dimmable. I tried them and they were surpringingly nice. They are supposed to be available in January. I bet they are going to be expensive just from my gut feeling of looking at them.


Richard, you must have been good this year and not naughty to recieve those free lights.:D I had ordered some C9 warm white LEDs a couple weeks ago, also not knowing if they were dimmable. To my surprise I check the box they came in today and found out they are dimmable and Full-Wave . :cool: I bought 4 of these from Christmaslightect.com website (Artificial Christmas Tree). They are commerical lights, 25ft length x 12 inch bub spacing and require a special adapter to operate the lights. The bubs on these strings are also replaceable. They are expensive! I got them on sell at 19.99 each + 8.95 Led Power Adapter + X-Power Tap + 2 commerial Spacer Wire 10.95 each (12 feet). Whew!:shock: I am lucky that my wife approve of this and I do not want to add those up again. For the money I spent, they better be dimmable. They look nice on the house at night. I will try to take picture of my static display tonight and post it.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Richard H.

Will try to keep this simple but with enough info that you will understand how triacs work.

First there is timing circuits in the front end sending a signal to the gate of the Triacs turning them on. What you would see if you had an O' scope is that when fully turned on is what would look like an "S" turned on its side. Now cut the "S" in half and we will call the first half the Negative half and the second half the positive half. Now each half is devided into 180 degrees. So when fully on, both halfs will conduct for 180 degrees each. But at 50% on, both halfs will conduct for only 90 degress each. So what you would see on the scope is what looks like a quarter piece of pie. Now I need you to help me some as I discribe this. Take a sheet of 8 X 11 paper and turn it so the long sides are at the top and bottom. Draw a line from L to R in the middle of the paper. Now abt 2" from the left edge, draw a curving line down and towards the right, this line should curve like the outside edge of a 1/4 pice of pie. Now come straight up towards the middle line. Ok that is the negitive half of the wave. Now trace the middle line to the right for the same distance as from where you went down from the middle to when you came back up. At this new point, draw a line up and to the right (a mirror image of the one you did a minute ago in the negitive direction, but this will be in the positive direction. and once again dive back down to the middle.
Another way of saying this is to say that the middle line should be devided into 4 equal length pieces. First going down and returning to the middle. 2nd section is a flat line in the middle. 3rd section is going to the top and returning to the middle. 4th section is also flat along the middle.

Buy changing the point on the positive and negitive curves that the triac turns on, changes the amount of power that is available to the load during the cycle.

BTW I made a mistake in my visual of whats going on. It is actually when in the cycle that the triac turns on, not turns off as I discribed above. Sorry about that.

Worst comes to wrost. I will just have to learn how to post pictures here and make a little drawing to illustrate. Then too, google Triac. Lots of good info..

Max

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