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

Hello from rural Pennsylvania, USA

Discussion in 'New Members Say Hello' started by Klayfish, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. Klayfish

    Klayfish New Elf

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    Wanted to stop in and introduce myself before I start doing all kinds of poking around to try to learn RGB lighting. A bit of background on myself, as it relates to Christmas displays:
    I live in rural Pennsylvania. I'm in a very small town, about 60 miles (100km) north of Philadelphia. It's a lot of farm land out here, nice and peaceful and quiet. We have 3.5 acres of land, so lots of room to decorate. Downside to that is we live on a "main" roadway, which has no shoulder or anywhere to stop. So people who want to see our display have to pull into our driveway. We set off an area in our grass for parking each year.
    I've built up my display over the past 15 years. Started with about 300 static lights on our bushes and has grown every year since. It was always a static display until 2012 when I tried LOR with 16 channels. Last year I got a second controller, so I had 32 channels. They controlled about 8000 lights. My display had another 10,000 or so static lights. It also had 7 blow ups, some wire frame pieces and some other odds and ends. I even put an old car in the display. I painted it to look like a Hot Wheels toy car and put a big bow on it (cars are my other hobby) with a blow up Santa next to it.
    My display last year was almost all regular incan lights. I went to all the stores after Christmas and picked up as many LEDs as I could, so I could start converting my display. I bought about 20,000. This year I'd also like to dip my toe into RGB, which is why I'm here. I have absolutely zero knowledge of it at all, heck I'm still very much a novice at learning the basics of LORs Sequence Editor. To make it more of a challenge, I'm not highly skilled in computers or electronics either. I don't know how to solder or build computers. I realize with those limitations, it's going to be challenging. I was pointed here from LOR, as it was suggested to look into a Sandevice controller and 2811 strips...but I didn't even know what those were. :-[
    So I know I've got a lot to read and a lot to learn. My goal isn't to have a wild RGB display this year, but just to have one prop that uses RGB. I'm hoping to learn enough that I can do this myself and sequence it myself. I'll ask your patience while I ask some really silly questions and show my complete lack of computer and electrical skills.
     
  2. Mcas4380

    Mcas4380 Apprentice Elf

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    Welcome Glad to see you mad it.
     
  3. cenote

    cenote Suburbs of Philadelphia

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    Hello, welcome, another PA'er here too ;)
     
  4. jcmarksafb

    jcmarksafb Hello from Christopher Creek Arizona

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    Welcome to ACL! A good place to start is here ... http://auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/AusChristmasLighting_101
    Don't be put off by all of the info out there, you will pick it up fast enough. LOR is a great place to start. You will need to upgrade to advanced S3 to be able to do pixels. But before you even think of buying Superstar, give xlights/nutcracker a go. Nutcracker is free and a lot of fun to play with. The SanDevices 682 will take of your needs to get started and is pretty straight forward in getting it set up. Feel free to stop by chat anytime and ask any questions you might have. We all started out not knowing much (if anything) about lighting and are glad to lend a hand to new comers.
    Again, Welcome
    John
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Klayfish

    Klayfish New Elf

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    Thanks guys. Cenote, yep I know we're nearly neighbors. I apologize I was never able to attend the breakfast meetings you guys do...I'd still love to meet up with the group one day. It's just tough to get up that early on weekend mornings and my kids usually have activities.

    Now is as good a time to learn as it could be. I had hip surgery just a few weeks ago so I'm stuck working from home for 6 weeks. Gives me lots of time to read. I'm reading through the Lighting 101 manual as we speak. I was doing OK until I got to the interface pages that go into DMX512, etc...that and the electrical components discussion totally go over my head. I'm hoping to get through the rest of it today or tomorrow and try to figure out how the 682 works and what the physical layout and set up is. I'll find the Nutcracker too and see if I can fool around with it. How would that work in conjunction with the LOR stuff I'm already using?
     
  6. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    Welcome to ACL, you will find all the help and information you need to get you started, if not just ask and you will find you will get the answer.
     
  7. jcmarksafb

    jcmarksafb Hello from Christopher Creek Arizona

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    As far as nutcracker and LOR, nutcracker is an effect generator that will directly import pixel effects into LOR. There are a lot of great tutorials out on it on the doityourselfchristmas forums and plenty of advice and information here.
    Stop by chat and say hi.
    John
     
  8. arw01

    arw01 Full Time Elf

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    Welcome to the RGB side of the hobby.


    I'll offer a counter point, Lor is expensive and their software for pixels is lacking. Since you are not deeply investing in LOR, take a serious look at alternatives now. Many of use run different hardware here, and a large percentage use the Light Show Pro, which will import those LOR sequences and let you add pixels at your leisure and whichever kind of controller you want.


    That's a whole lot of ands!


    Alan
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Klayfish

    Klayfish New Elf

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    All I've ever know in the world of non-static displays is LOR. I've been thrilled with them so far, but that doesn't mean I'd completely turn away from trying other things. What has been attractive about LOR is the relatively near "plug and play" user friendly nature of them. I bought my first controller completely assembled and ready to plug in. I bought my second one with all the components in the box, all I had to do was screw it together. I don't have a ton of free time, so user friendly is very attractive to me. That's not to say I'm not interested in DIY, otherwise I wouldn't be here. But I'm also balancing that with the reality of my life.

    I e-mailed SanDevices earlier today asking about the 682 and what their S1 package offers. They told me that with the 682, I need to add a power supply, the wires to go from the 682 controller to the power supply and wires to go to the RGB. Is that easy to do? Where do you get the wiring? Is the power supply the ones in the tutorial (from either Ray Wu or Meanwell)?
     
  10. firebug

    firebug Senior Elf

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    Welcome to ACL... [​IMG]
     
  11. arw01

    arw01 Full Time Elf

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    The E682 is really flexible on power supplies. Ray can get Meanwell's as well, pun there catch it? :eek:


    Your pixels you choose will drive the power supply more than the controller will.


    Falcon christmas has a little interest drive going now for a 12v adapter pcb that would let you use a PC power supply and use all the different connectors they power 12 them from. Dollar for amp, pc power supplies are the cheapest solution I know to a lot of amps.


    Alan
     
  12. Mcas4380

    Mcas4380 Apprentice Elf

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    If you like seasonal entertainment is offering a 682 power supply and everything including 16 2811 strings of pixels in a package deal pretty close to plug and play. Check them out.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    Klayfish

    Klayfish New Elf

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    Thanks, I took a peek. It looks really cool, but out of my price range. I'm trying really hard to keep my initial spend on RGB to $400 and under. After all, I've got other things to buy for my display... :D :p
     
  14. jcmarksafb

    jcmarksafb Hello from Christopher Creek Arizona

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    Just my suggestion given your circumstances.
    LOR S3 advanced $140.00 max unless you have a license already, then it would be cheaper to upgrade.
    San devices 682 controller
    ws2811 pixel strip http://www.aliexpress.com/item/5m-led-digital-strip-DC12V-input-WS2811IC-256-scale-10pcs-IC-and-30pcs-5050-SMD-RGB/568458133.html
    12 vdc power supply http://www.aliexpress.com/item/FreeShipping-350W-LED-Display-Power-Supply-Output-12V-29-2A-Switch-Power-Supply/590985012.html
    This will get you started. As far as wiring you can find the info on the wiki here and diyc. If you need help, just pop into chat and your questions will be answered if there is someone there to help. If not, check back a little later and ask again. The power supply is more than you need but will let you expand easily. As far as ordering, I would use aliexpress's shopping cart. They put your money in an excrow account until you receive your purchases. You then have to release the funds only when you are happy. The power supply is not through Ray, but I couldn't find one at his store. China is celebrating their new year now and most won't be back until the 7th of this month. You will have to be patient for your orders, but generally you will get your stuff in 3 weeks or less.
    Again just a suggestion to get you started. Hope this helps. This is a nice little system to get you up and running and will work with LOR as well as any other sequencer you might want to use later.
    John
     
  15. kel

    kel Dedicated Elf

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    [​IMG]
     

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