Adding pixels to my current LOR setup

Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by PixelNoob, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. PixelNoob

    PixelNoob New Elf

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    Hi everyone. I found this board recently and it has been a great source of information for me, particularly the Lighting 101 Manual.

    I did my first display this past Christmas with 1 LOR 16 channel controller run by a G3-MP3 Director. This year I want to add a pixel mega tree and pixels around the borders of some of my windows. I'm struggling with how I will combine the LOR controller with the pixels which will likely by using the E1.31 format.

    One question is software, I am using S3 now for the regular lights, but is it easy to do pixel tree effects in another program like Nutcracker and import them back into S3? Do timing marks in a particular sequencing program affect how information gets pasted from another program (e.g. pasting from Nutcracker to S3)? Is Xlights/Nutcracker the best program to use for mega trees? Is there one sequencer which is easiest to combine normal lights with pixels? Does Xlights/Nutcracker handle shapes like a window border easily?

    On the hardware side, I am assuming I can no longer run the show from my LOR G3-MP3 Director if I add pixels. If I have sequencing LOR and E1.31 formats does that mean I will have a cable for each format coming out of the computer? Is it possible to have one cable coming out of my PC into the LOR controller then daisy chain it to the pixel controllers (e.g. Pixlite 16)? I have seen setups where people run their show with a Raspberry Pi, will that work when the show is in more than 1 format (LOR and E1.31)? Are there any adapters I would need to run the show with LOR and E1.31 formats?

    I know this is a lot of questions but any help would be greatly appreciated! I want to start getting the pixels and begin sequencing so that I have enough time to get things ready for this year's display. Thank you.
     
  2. ecbailey

    ecbailey Full Time Elf

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    This is exactly what I did last year (starting with LOR controllers and adding pixels).


    A simple setup could be cable from computers ethernet port to a PixLite 16, which will accept the E1.31 signal and output the pixel data to the connected lights, and then convert the data it receives for the LOR controllers into a DMX signal and output that to one of its four DMX ports (which the LOR controller would be connect to, but you do need an adapter in between - see wiki from memory).


    You can assign one universe per DMX output (i.e. you would have one universe for LOR controller) and the controller set to ID 01 would take channels 1-16, ID 02 would take 17 - 32 and so on (they don't have to be connected in ID order).


    Then, you setup the configuration of your Pixel Strings in the pixel controller and (if it is a PixLite16) assuming they are all the same length and configuration it does the rest. Alternatively you can use the advanced option to configure each one different.


    To sequence it I used LOR for the dumb elements (LOR controllers) and Nutcracker for my Pixel Tree. You setup how you have your tree wired in Nutcracker, do you effects and then I exported it as LOR format and added in this output as a subsequence in my main LOR sequence. I know this method is clunky and this year I am going to look at doing it the other way round (LOR sequence imported into Nutcracker, add in the Pixel effects and then play through Nutcracker).
     
  3. bluzervic

    bluzervic 65,768 Channels, 185 Universes

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    Like you I began my journey with LOR AC controllers and the LOR software. Two years ago, I moved to E1.31 to control everything including adding pixels. There are a few options for you and yes, you probably will find that using various software packages will help you get the job done.


    Your 1st option is to continue using the USB dongle to drive your 16 channel controller. You will also use your ethernet card to connect to a switch and from the switch you can branch out to various E1.31 controllers.


    Your second option is to use what is called a E1.31 to DMX bridge. This is what I use and I find it the best solution as your DMX cable to your controller is not tied to another Prop or model. There are 2 vendors of choice with various port counts depending on your DMX needs. The Bridge then connects to the same E1.31 Switch I described in your 1st option. In this case your Dongle is no longer used.


    Your third option is to use a controller that has a DMX port on it. I do not really like this option as you would end up using a cable from this board to run to your AC controller or other DMX board. you will also be passing traffic for your DMX on the same link as your pixels. It is possible it could introduce lag into the display. Not saying it will but it is possible.


    As far as software I use LOR S3 Advanced. Your need advanced to run E1.31. I also had purchased the Superstar add on. This might be pricey, but to me it was worth it. In a nut shell I use LOR S3 Advanced, Xlights/nutcracker and Superstar to do all my effects. They all give you that bit of edge you may need to have a crisp looking display.
    Most people do not opt for the superstar add on and just use xlights with LOR.


    It is best you do a bit of research and do definitely jump into chat and ask questions. This site and chat is where you will learn and get the best info.


    -Blu
     
  4. OP
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    PixelNoob

    PixelNoob New Elf

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    Thanks, I wasn't aware of subsequences. I looked on the LOR page and saw some info on that as well as the Paint Sequence tool. I'll do more research on both. Thanks for the answer!
     
  5. OP
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    PixelNoob

    PixelNoob New Elf

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    Blu, thanks for the response. To make sure I understand, in this option you have one network cable coming out of my router and connecting into the E1.31 to DMX bridge? Then connect a network cable from the bridge to a switch which is already connected to the PCs network card? Can the cable to the switch come from the router as well as the cable going to the bridge? Do all outgoing signals need to be set up as DMX or just the connection going to the LOR controller?

    Sorry for all the questions.
     
  6. bluzervic

    bluzervic 65,768 Channels, 185 Universes

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    Blu, thanks for the response. To make sure I understand, in this option you have one network cable coming out of my router and connecting into the E1.31 to DMX bridge? Then connect a network cable from the bridge to a switch which is already connected to the PCs network card? Can the cable to the switch come from the router as well as the cable going to the bridge? Do all outgoing signals need to be set up as DMX or just the connection going to the LOR controller?

    Sorry for all the questions.



    The ethernet comes from your PC to a switch, which is your E1.31 network. One side of the bridge would also plug into the E1.31 switch. All other E1.31 boards/controllers would also plug into the E1.31 bridge.
    On the other side of the DMX Bridge would be your DMX controllers such as LOR or any other DMX controller such as those that run dumb RGB like the 27 channel Ray Wu controller


    Basically the pixels are run on smart controllers which are E1.31 and the dumb RGB or AC controllers are usually DMX


    My old obsolete network diagram should help you see were the bridge is and dumb controllers as well as the E1.31




    http://auschristmaslighting.com/forums/index.php?topic=5808.0


    -Blu
     
  7. OP
    OP
    PixelNoob

    PixelNoob New Elf

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  8. starzen

    starzen New Elf

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    I started 3 years ago with LOR only. 2 years ago I started adding some dumb RGB using DMX

    Last year I added pixels just like you are talking about. One mega tree and window outlines. Also added more dumb RGB using DMX

    so my hardware setup was a PC running LOR S3 with a LOR dongle (6 LOR controllers) and a entec pro DMX dongle and then I was using two J1SYS P2 E1.31 pixel controllers

    For sequencing I am using LOR S3 and Nutcracker/XLights. Still had my old S3 sequences so I decided to just sequence the pixels in xlights and export/import them back into LOR

    I noticed some lag on the pixels sometimes not bad but it was there and I also really wanted to synchronize my projector to the lights so I decided very last minute last year to switch to using a raspberry Pi and the Falcon Pi player as my show computer and a second Pi to control the synchronized projector

    this year I will be adding more pixels and will look into using DMX for the LOR boxes to eliminate the need for the LOR dongle. also want to try to add some wireless Pis across the street
     
  9. jonnyci

    jonnyci New Elf

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    Starzen
    Was it easy to get your Pi built and configured to run your show? I purchased a Pi recently, but want to use it to control a Matrix that I want to add for next years show.
     
  10. OP
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    PixelNoob

    PixelNoob New Elf

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    Thanks Starzen. How will you have your connections from your Raspberry Pi to your LOR and pixel controllers this year?
     
  11. bluzervic

    bluzervic 65,768 Channels, 185 Universes

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    My Pi just sits on my E1.31 network and controls it all, just like LOR would.


    You have to make sure your channels all match up in Xlights, the Pi and LOR


    Then you convert your .LMS files to .FSEQ files.


    Then on your Pi you import the .FSEQ files and your MP3


    You will need to make sure the .FSEQ is matching the MP3 you want it to play with in the Pi setup


    -Blu
     

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