1. New to Christmas lighting? Get started with the AusChristmasLighting 101 Manual:
    auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/AusChristmasLighting-101

Hello fellow crazy people

Discussion in 'New Members Say Hello' started by andrewl1963, Aug 7, 2015.

  1. andrewl1963

    andrewl1963 New Elf

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    Hi Community. After many year of simply adding more and more lights to the same real estate I have decided that this is the year I start fresh. I have constantly been amazed at the possibilities of controlled lighting and now I plan to start my own. Any help and direction greatly appreciated.
    Thought I might start with a LOR 16ch Controller and learn as I go. So where does one buy one from? 240v Vs DC?


    Looking forward to learning from the experts.


    Cheers
     
  2. Benschristmaslights

    Benschristmaslights Dedicated Elf Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    hi Andrew have you looked at the 101 manual here as it has many links of places we get out lights from. also a great way is to jump into chat.
     
  3. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    Hi Andrew.
    Welcome to ACL.
    The 101 is a great resource for finding out information on lights and controllers etc. The wiki has a lot of info and http://auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/Controllers#Feature_Comparisons is an easy reference to compare the various AC and DC controllers. Don't buy an AC controller unless you have to. 240V bites and I spent part of today helping ShellNZ find lights that don't have bities in them. Her 240V lights are colloquially known in chat as "babykillers".
     
  4. DrNeutron

    DrNeutron Just starting in this crazy hobby

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    Ok.....from a non-Aussie, what the heck are bities?
    :D
     
  5. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    Hi Andrew1963 and welcome to ACL

    I echo the same advice against getting a 240V controller (or any hardware directly from LOR). No-one here thinks the 240V controllers are good value at all and there is only a very limited range of lights that they control well. Even the DC controllers from LOR are relatively expensive. The term LOR usually refers to LOR software on this forum and there are other software options too.

    Try looking through the video section and show off arena on this site. You'll run into videos of pixels left, right and centre. These look the same as LOR's cosmic colour products but at a fraction of the price. Once you understand them they're the ultimate way to go especially if you want to start from scratch. They let you individually control the colour and brightness of every light (or 3 lights for 12V strip). They are most commonly strings (nodes) or strips which look like single-sided ropelights.

    Don't be deterred by everyone advising against your first plan; we're glad you asked about it before buying. If you absolutely can't manage without a 240V controller then you could save some money by posting a "wanted" thread in the trading area. They're not that hard to come by with everyone upgrading to pixels.\

    You've come to the right place to learn everything you need to know about computer controlled lighting.
     
  6. Fing

    Fing Full Time Elf Generous Elf

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    Hi Dr N,
    Bities are things that bite, and in particular, things that hurt or are potentially fatal, which in Oz is most of our wildlife, including, sharks, snakes, spiders, jellyfish, cane toads, green ants, and drop bears. Electricity also contains bities. Most of our children learn to avoid the bities at an early age….as for pronunciation think "cookies " only with a bite (very small pun intended )


    hi Andrew from another noobie… jump in and join the chat, there are a lot of clever people here who are very generous with their time and knowledge.
    Cheers
    Fing


    PS Dr N just kidding,…. green ants don't kill you, they're harmless, similar to a rattlesnake bite...... :D
     
  7. Bird

    Bird Proud LOR user

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    to ACL Andrew

    First the disclaimer
    Joining these forums and entering the chat room can give you CLAP!!! :D
    Christmas Lighting Addiction Problem

    As already mentioned, the new revised 2nd addition AusChristmasLighting 101 manual is a great resource for all things RGB and more. :)

    I also agree about not using 240v unless you must. Here in the USA we get away with 120v fairly easily. Not super dangerous outside with a little common sense. This forum was founded on the idea of finding and sharing low voltage safer ways to do outdoor holiday lighting.

    Lots of very friendly folks will help you get started. Just read through the 101 manual a couple of times and some minor things will start to make sense. My advise, do not buy anything until you run thoughts and configurations past the very smart folks found here. :D :D
     
  8. bluzervic

    bluzervic 65,768 Channels, 185 Universes

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    Welcome to ACL, I would suggest moving to RGB and smart Pixels. You could always phase out the AC as time goes, so if you choose to do any AC do it sparingly.


    Jump into chat, we are all in chat from time to time and it is a great place to have a great discussion


    -Blu
     
  9. OP
    OP
    andrewl1963

    andrewl1963 New Elf

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    Thanks for the welcome and advice so kindly given so far everyone. Please assume I have hit the "like" button on each of your comments.
    I have opened the 101 manual on another screen and will start trolling trough it as suggested. I asked about 240v Vs dc as it seems a shame to put aside all the boxes of existing lighting I have and start collecting again from scratch but do certainly understand the safety aspect. I suggested LOR as what I have seen on YouTube has almost exclusively been their stuff so will now spend some time looking at the video section as suggested.
    Having previously worked for DSE for over 20 years I have a very basic understanding of electronics which I'm hoping will help in the dc arena.
    Would really like to have a test run of a singing pumpkin face up and shining by Halloween so had better get cracking. Again, thanks for the warm welcome.
     
  10. scamper

    scamper Senior Elf

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    You don't have to do away with the lights you have collected over the years, you can use them in various ways, such as cut them up and rewire them, where possible, or use them as background fill.
    Most of the lights you have (this is a big assumption) will probably have controllers on them and don't lend themselves well to switching with ac anyway.
    If you want to find out how to cut them up and rewire, there are pages on the "wiki" section that will help you out.
    Also, when you are done reading the 101 manual.... Read it again.... and then keep it with you so you can refer back to it.
    This is my second year of doing this and I still go back and read it again.
    Have fun
     
  11. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    I kept over 90% of my existing lights when converting to computer control without a single AC controller (although I have seen a display controlled with them). I use DC DMX controllers. This worked even though the low voltage plugpacks originally on the light sets had 24V (or somewhere near that) AC outputs.

    There aren't many things to check to see if your light sets will work with DC controllers:
    They must be low voltage (but can still originally be low voltage AC)
    There must be at least three wires between the multi-function controller and the lights (2 wires is ok if there is no multi-function controller)
    Resistors within the light set are preferable but you can add them if this becomes a problem. They are often hard to find.

    I suspect the YouTube videos are American where the postage and dollar value are less of a problem with LOR. I have read the LOR forums a lot and it's clear that so many of the members just don't know any different. Another reason the AC controllers are more practical in America is that (as far as I know) their 110V light sets usually don't have a low voltage plugpack. Some types of low voltage plugpacks are a fire hazard if dimmed with AC controllers and they can have a delay between their input and output. DC control gets around these problems.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    andrewl1963

    andrewl1963 New Elf

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    Thanks Scamper and i13. I will pull them all out over the next few months and see what can be used within a low voltage set up. There are certainly plug packs galore but I never took any notice if their output was DC or AC. I have been building up my "kit" for only a dozen years but there is a bit to go through. It would be nice to keep using some of it.


    Having read the 101 a first time (and I plan to do it again this afternoon) I'm thinking of diving in with a E1.31 set up. If I'm reading correctly this will work well with an ethernet network I have already running around my home.


    I have already been offered a Pixlite16 card for sub $200 which seems like reasonable value and which, to my understanding, means I now only need a power supply, software (Vixen reads like a good place to start) and a string/ strip of lights to start learning.


    If nothing else, after a day of reading now I know just how much I don't know.


    Andrew
     
  13. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    I was really just trying to say not to worry if the plugpack output is AC or DC; they will all work with a DC controller if they meet the points I posted yesterday.

    Your PixLite 16 will only output directly to pixels plus DMX512 controllers. The DMX512 feature is likely to come in handy if you want to keep your store-bought lights. The store-bought lights require a DC controller that switches the power to them while pixel controllers send data to the pixels which then switch themselves. Most DC controllers take DMX512 input. The PixLite 16 can not directly control store-bought lights but it's easy to include in a setup with DC controllers that can. You'd have E1.31 signal between the computer and PixLite 16 (which also runs your pixels) and DMX512 signal between the PixLite 16 and DC controllers.

    It's possible but not recommended to use your existing network for your lights. The reason for this is the traffic caused by the E1.31 stream, especially if it is multicast. It's also a security issue if someone out the front plugs their laptop into your network. If your only E1.31 controller is the PixLite and you're running the display directly with your computer then I would try just plugging a CAT5 cable between the two (not guaranteed to work but it's worth trying first).
     
  14. kel

    kel Dedicated Elf

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  15. bjpc2716

    bjpc2716 need more lights to light up the world

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    welcome aboard
     

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