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'nother newbie


PaulXmas
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Hi I am a newbie to sequencing Christmas displays. For 2 years we had a box with 6 channels that did all the sequencing. I had no control over songs or what turned on when. Still made a lot of people stop and watch.

This year I was planning on a LOR1602W.
Now I want a radio transmitter and 2 LOR1602W.
Have been playing with the demo software and have 3 songs set for 16 channels.

Picture below is my place in 05 I have since done away with the blow ups (no room).

Have a lot of work a head!




Attached files 173992=9954-Xmas2005.jpg

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PaulXmas wrote:

This year I was planning on a LOR1602W.
Now I want a radio transmitter and 2 LOR1602W.

And after that you'll want 4 controllers, then 8 controllers, then... it never ends.

Welcome to the insanity. It's the the most fun you can have in the winter with your clothes on...
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PaulXmas wrote:

Have a lot of work a head!

The great thing is that it is fun work. When you have cars parked out in front of your house, groving to the lights, it is all worth it.

You have also come to the right place, as well as PlanetChristmas, to learn a ton of information from others who have been where you are. Search all of the forums, and if you can't find an answer to your question, you will find many of us who will jump in and try to answer your questions.

OK, back to winding mini-lights on my vertical posts. Enjoy!
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Hey Paul which side of Edmonton do you live on? You would n be on Candy Cane Lane would ya?

Anyhow this will be my second year doing musical light shows.....I was an Animated Lighting controller user last year and then came to my senses and switched to LOR.

Anyhow here is my two cents.....why not go with the LOR CTB16PC controllers.....they are cheaper in price and they can handle 30 amps......plus if you are running LEDs like I am..... well you can run {A LOT} of LED on 30 amps.

That way you can buy 3 CTB16PC controllers in the June sale. 48 channels is a good place to start. Of course your computer well run the show, unless you are also planning to run the show via a MP3 Player/Director as well.

Last Christmas I ran 48 channels. and this Christmas I am running 144 channels ( I have that now) ..... BUT I may end up with 160 channels ( 1 more 16 channel controller and another MP3 player/Director) ..... during the June sale I may end up buying 1 Show time controller with a build in MP3 player/director. We shall see.

I am having another interactive display again this Christmas, but this time I will let people run the show as well from the outside.

It is great to do your own sequences but do not forget you can rework shared sequences as well. I can help you out in that area....as I have sequences I found that are not found on the .....Lorsequences ...... web site.

You may be the 1st 1 in Edmonton to run LOR controllers. I guess Dan from LOR can say better.

There is 1 fellow in Drayton Valley, and then there is me. We were the only two that I knew of in the Edmonton area.

By the way Paul you can also join us at ...... ChristmasLights.ca Community Forums christmaslights.ca ........ Tell them Scott sent you. I am Scott on that forum.

We can meet and discuss things too if you want too.


Best regards,

Scott

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Welcome Paul!

Similar story here, my static display was about 5,000 mini-lights - last year I bought a six channel controller and had to disconnect 900 lights so I would stop blowing fuses.

That is when I decided to take the leap into LOR, I started out thinking 8 channels would do. Then it became 16, then 24, then 32 - ended up buying 48 chnnels during the Feb. sale.

lightzilla has a point - the CTB16PC is cheaper and the kit even more so. Unless you need the controller to run stand alone, and able to handle 10 more amps - the CTB16PC will save some significant dollars that you can buy another controller with - or use for extra lights and extension cords.

Steve

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Yes you could buy 1 Show Time controller for stand alone and add the CTB16PC controllers to it, but if you went that route then you ought to buy the LOR1602W with MP3 show Directer. It would do a better job. Buy during the June sale and save some $$$$$.

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No I don't live in Candy Cane Lane. We would fit right in.
Do the LOR CTB16PC Do the same things as the Lor 1602W ?
Yes I will be using mostly LED on the controllers.
I have 3 strings out lining the house and windows.


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Guest wbottomley

PaulXmas wrote:

No I don't live in Candy Cane Lane. We would fit right in.
Do the LOR CTB16PC Do the same things as the Lor 1602W ?
Yes I will be using mostly LED on the controllers.
I have 3 strings out lining the house and windows.




Basically, Yes.

They both do the same things except the 16pc cannot do standalone (without a pc or director card).
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PaulXmas wrote:


Do the LOR CTB16PC Do the same things as the Lor 1602W ?
Yes I will be using mostly LED on the controllers.

Well Candy Cane Lane needs some more decorators. Went this year and when you have 10 houses in a row not lite up it kinda ruins the street. Good thing it is 4 blocks long.....or 2 miles.

I wish I would have bought a house there.......except I have it good out here and the next LOR user is 50 minutes from my house in Drayton Valley, and then there is you, and you live Edmonton and I am about 1 hour from the west end and about 1 hour from the south end of Edmonton. I do not need to worry about FM interference, I do not get reporters or news station bugging me about my display, and I get a fair amount of visitors (especially last year).

Also I can get away with using the Whole House FM transmitter.......works good up to 300 feet, but I plan on buying a new Fm transmitter from here....... http://www.canakit.com/direct-access-synthesized-pll-stereo-fm-transmitter-export-only-kit-ux100-ex.html .......

The Whole House FM transmitter would never work in Edmonton.....you may need a Ramsey or another good brand.

As for the CTB16PC, if you are using a computer, and/or a MP3 player/director unit then those well work real good.....as was mentioned by others.

The computer sets the ID unit for you, where as the Show Time controller has a dial for you to set. Show Time 40 amps, CTB16PC 30 amps. Show Time is in a steel case and the CTB16PC is in a waterproof Plastic case. Mine held up in the very cold weather last year with no problem. I will buy outdoor cold weather cat5 cable this year......that was a problem last year.

Like I said buy 1 LOR1602W with the attached MP3 player/Director in the June sale and the rest CTB16PC..........that way when you are not home you can slip a SD card in and let it run, or let the people select a SD card of there choice and they can run the show.

I know there is a fellow who is having a Jube Box style interactive display......the people select from a list of say ten songs/ sequences and then push a button and that sequence plays. I just need to ask that fellow how he does it.

As for LEDs and the CTB16PC controller.......look at it this way. A 70 count LED light string is about 0.04 amps....so 10 boxes is 700 lights=0.40 amps and 20 boxes is 1,400 lights and 0.80 amps. So I stop there on 1 channel. 1,400 x 16 channels is....22,400 LEDs....on 1 30 amp controller. That is only 12.8 amps. So stop at 21,000 LEDs on one controller and leave it at 12 amps.

Just thing 10 controllers can run 210,000 lights and your pushing less than 15 amps (PER CONTROLLER). That is why for me 30 amps is enough power. Just think.....if use could use about 24 amps per controller, you could run 420,000 LEDs. With 6 amps to spare per controller.

This year I plan somewhere between 17,000 to 21,000 lights (21,000) most likely and 25,000 will be tops for me.

I want to end my display each night with O Canada and a couple of low height fireworks. I know others have fireworks in there display. I need to go to Planet Christmas for ideas on how to do that. Of course that is my dream, but $$$$ for fireworks for 30 days is another issue. I may buy 2 electric heater coils or something like that.
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I think I have in the neighbour hood of 10,000 light but most of them will be static (I think the correct term is wire frames animals, snowmen and other things)
I will be using a computer to run the controllers.

So I can just buy CTB16PC and the software and I am good to go? (and a more bazillion extension cords)

Normal cat 5 wont work outside?

I was planning on the Whole House Transmitter, why wont it work here?



Thanks

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PaulXmas wrote:


I will be using a computer to run the controllers.

So I can just buy CTB16PC and the software and I am good to go? (and a more bazillion extension cords)

Normal cat 5 wont work outside?

I was planning on the Whole House Transmitter, why wont it work here?

Thanks


The answer to your 1st question is....YES buy the CTB16PC controller(s) and the soft ware package....comes with cat5 cable....you can up grade the software package a bit and get a 25ft cable and make sure you up grade to USB485B adapter, and then yes you are ready to go.

You can read about it on the LOR web site.

Yes you will need more extension cords.

As for the Cat5 cable....the stuff from LOR may work ggreat in cold weather, but some of the stuff I bought here began to crack when we had that -35 degree weather last December and just about 4 days before Christmas my controllers and my Monster Brain/mp3 player started to act up and for 2 days I had no show and several cars out front......I was not a happy camper.......none the less I got it running again on Christmas eve.

So I swore I will buy good outdoor cat5 cable, and have spares. Next year I may go wireless and that is another good reason to buy the USb485B adapter.

I swore to have my file on back up, plus I have my LOR software on another computer too just in case of a malfunction at the junction.....that way the show can still go on.

As for the FM Whole house Transmitter not working well in Edmonton is because ....
A) The Whole House Transmitter is only good for the upper bands 106.9 to 107.9
:D Then there is interference and you well be limited to about 100 feet or less. You may not get pass two driveways. Edmonton may have radio stations in those bands.

I choose 107.7 and when I first used it, there was no radio station for the 1st week of December, then some radio station started in Drayton Valley and so I kept using that band, but this year I will try to find another band and switch FM transmitters.

MobileBlackBox.com - Home A number of people say that this FM transmitter (Black Box) is no good,..... not a good track record, other say that it works very well for them. There are pros & Cons on most FM transmitters.

Get the controllers and software 1st....worry about the FM transmitter a bit later.

If you could afford to buy 3 CTB16PC controllers during the LOR June/July sale I would recommend you do that.......the least you should go is 32 channels.

I can get you you sequences for 32 channels......I can get you sequences for 320 channels.

My display is 1 mega bigger ( two now), 12 mini trees this year instead of 8 like last year and two leaping arches...(well I am designing my own style of arch)....it wont be the normal leaping arch. Basicaly my display is the same as last year and I wont be changing things all the much. More controllers, more lights doing basicaly the same routine as last year. (small front yard)

I am now done 2 re-worked sequences. I don't just do Christmas sequences, I go outside the box too. I even do comedy songs.....Christmas or otherwise. I did "Flash Dance What A Feeling" by Irene Cara and it was accepted by the people.

You can just see my 8 foot Ferris Wheel on the left, my mini mega tree on the front porch, my animal wood cut outs on the right. People love my wood animal cut outs.

The lights along the roof line etc. are C7 screw in LED lights. Costly I did the 3 of the same colour in a row for better effect.


Attached files 174062=9961-100_0992.JPG
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Thanks for the info. If the prices are close to what they were in Feb I should be able to get 3 or 4 CTB16PC. But shhhhh wife doesn't know yet :)

100 feet is enough for the transmitter. I want people to hear the music without having to roll down their windows. I am going to have speakers outside so people walking by can hear the music.

I have a concern about the cat5 cable now...If the controllers are side by side I think the cat5 cable should stay protected.

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As for the sale in June/July.....Dan said they would not be as low as the Feb. sale but close.

As for the Cat5e cable.......Home Depot has 100ft of out door cable for $25.00.......I also have good quality cat5 cable down stairs that I got when I worked at a car rental company.....big company's leave all kinds of equipment like that in rented vehicles.

I think the cat5 cable you get from LOR will work fine. Next December may not be as bad as it was this pass December.

I just don't want that same embarrassment I had just 4 days before Christmas last year. Cars outside and no show, I lost 20 very good sequences......thank God I still had about 12 good shared sequences saved and I found about 5 more. I managed on Christmas eve and Christmas day to have a decent light show.

I also lost 9 out of the 14 stock shows I bought from the dealer.


I can have 5 controllers under the front porch this year.....but the other 4 for sure need to to be in the yard. Two controllers well be inside the mini trees (out of sight from viewers, and out from the snow) plus there well be 1 controller for the left arch and 1 controller for the right arch. They well be inside those gift like wooden boxes.

I said all that to says I need 4 x 50ft cat5e cables directly in the weather....BUT I am going to wrap insulation around the cable.

Some of the problem last Christmas was human error.... perhaps the cat5 cable I bought just wasn't good enough quality, plus one controller malfunctioned as well as effecting the MP3/ player Director. ....causing my dealer stock sequences SD cards to malfunction, and that problem went as far as to erase my good sequences.....via Show Director/Mp3 player.

So do not let this cat5 issue be a concern......just get the good stuff right from the go.....and hope all the equipment works good for all 30 days.

PS like others did and advised.....I will have 1 controller (I do not need an enclosure) as a spare in case of issues. I will take the bad controller out of the enclosure and replace with the spare.

So if you buy 4 keep 1 as a spare.

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  • 3 months later...

Are you still around my Edmonton friend?

Sent you a private message but I basically wanted to know if you bought your LOR controllers during the July sale.

Also are you interested in trying to get a Christmas mini going? Had one a few weeks ago but only two of us showed up......nonetheless it was fun just the same.

Perhaps we can have a second one and invite some folks sometime in the very near future say in September or sooner if you want.

Come and visit us at Christmaslights.ca and lets share some ideas.

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I ordered 2 PC-CTB16PC plus one board as a spare.
The Whole House FM transmitter.
USB-RS485 adapter.
Plus the software.
I am still waiting for it to,arrive but have been sequencing a bunch of songs.
Send me a PM with your email address.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've just started out with a 16 channel controller myself this year. I got the Whole House FM transmitter and in the instructions it said if you want more range to extend the antenna. I opened up the transmitter and soldered a 110" antenna to it. Now I can get just about 2 blocks from my house and still hear it in my car. I'm just glad there is not a lot of radio stations in Calgary in those bands. I didn't realize it only transmitted in the upper bands.

Ryan

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My Whole House Transmitter works great for my needs.
I still can hear it fine for about 6 houses .
I didn't really extend the antenna so I don't know what the max distance would be.

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