1. New to Christmas lighting? Get started with the AusChristmasLighting 101 Manual:
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Hi from a New Guy- Victoria, Australia

Discussion in 'New Members Say Hello' started by pookie, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. pookie

    pookie New Elf

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    Just like to say hello. Found this site on Saturday 28th November, have been lurking ever since. Said hello in chat this morning.

    What am I after? I have a small display, using Kmart/Aldi LED lights (would be embarrassed to show here after seeing some of the displays). Have done this for a few years, the 8 year old daughter loves it. I would like to morph (slowly) into the world of RGB LEDs.

    Having said that money is limiting factor, I would like to start using a controller to run the standard LEDs that I have, I have read that it can be done, as having four sets of Icicle strings doing four different functions is a bit off putting, I would like to be able to have them all co-ordinated. Then slowly add in RGB LEDs as money permits.

    I have read through the '101 A reference for Everyone' a few times and was looking at starting with LOR controllers, but after 5 minutes in 'chat' put me off that. I would like to use free software such as Vixen and start a system that can be added to in the future.

    I think that is enough or I will bore everyone to tears.

    Keith
     
  2. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    Hi and welcome from an old guy also in Victoria.
    Several choices of free software that will do the job. Xlights 4, Vixen 3 and HLS are the 3 biggies.
    Not that much required to get you going. A sequencer, usb dongle, a dmx board and a power supply or 2 to suit the voltage lights you've got.
    Sequencers are free. I sell dongles and dmx boards (though I only have 1 in stock atm as I need to build some more). Power supplies can be sourced from all over depending on the voltage and wattage.
     
  3. dale82

    dale82 Senior Elf

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    Welcome to ACL
     
  4. kel

    kel Dedicated Elf

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  5. battle79

    battle79 Full Time Elf

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    Welcome Pookie,

    Are you looking to try to do something this year? If not I will have a 60 channel DMX controller perfect for your kmart/aldi strands and icicles available after xmas. (Excuse to upgrade my icicles to pixels next year) Might even still have one of AAH's USB-DMX dongles lying around too. Only thing you need to make sure of is that your currect LEDs have three wires going from the controller box to the first light. Some of the really new ones only have 2 and are not usable with current controllers that we commonly use.

    Would be good to know someone is making use of it next year. Happy to have a chat if your in the area looking at lights too. It's a bit of a drive, though much shorter than to Alans Place.

    Regards,
    Rowan
     
  6. OP
    OP
    pookie

    pookie New Elf

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    Rowan

    I am looking at Christmas in 13 months time, bit late to start this year. All lights I have are three wire from controller, they are not new, have not bought any for a few years.

    Would be interested in talking re second hand equipment, just that cost is the limiting factor, on very tight budget. But would be happy to talk after Christmas is over and if I had it, it would be put to use.

    You never know, may get over your way sometime over the xmas period to see the lights.

    Regards
    Keith
     
  7. gerry

    gerry Senior Elf

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    Hi and Welcome to ACL !
     
  8. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    It is a good move not to try to get computer control in time for this year. I agree with AAH that you won't need to order much hardware to get it going but this does not mean that it will be quick and easy to get it working. As you have more than one type of light set, they'll probably want different voltages so you'll need to test them and modify them to reduce the number of different voltages that you require. I did this in 2013 and I have now added some pixel lights as well. There were still a lot of little things that I required though - soldering iron, heatshrink, solder, CAT5 cables, figure 8 cable, power supplies, enclosures, cooling fans, etc.
    Another reason to wait is to build up the required knowledge to avoid buying the wrong things. Common mistakes include buying from LOR, buying 24V DC power supplies (24V is usually too low) and/or buying cabling that is too thin. Cable thickness is less important with store bought lights except between the power supply and controller.

    Check the firmware version on the second hand 60 channel controller. 1.7 is the oldest that I can confirm will work if you just leave off the voltage selection jumpers instead of using the 32V setting which actually gave you 28V with version 1.7 and earlier. There have been issues with the voltage settings plus the board locking up. AAH will know more and I'm sure he'd update it if there are problems. New boards sold now have these issues already fixed and AAH provides very good service and support.

    USB dongles are great for testing purposes but I recommend having an E1.31 to DMX bridge in case the USB dongle intermittently misbehaves. Mine did approximately every 4 hours and I think other people had problems but my computer was old and slow too and the exact dongle I have isn't sold any more. My dongle could be the same as the second hand one. USB dongles are still an important thing to have because if your display with a bridge won't work, you can use the dongle to help narrow down the cause of the problem. They're also a backup option if you can't get the bridge working for any reason. Many pixel controllers have a bridge built in so these would be worth investigating now if you plan on adding pixels in future. You could just use the bridge feature (DMX output) until you're ready to add pixels.

    Good luck
     
  9. OP
    OP
    pookie

    pookie New Elf

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    Thank you for all of the tips.

    I understand that this year is out of the question, and starting now will give me 12 months to work on a system, test and configure. I am doing a lot of reading on this site, and that is why I am here, to learn. Any information is useful.


    I have an electronics background (10 years RAAF), and have worked in IT for the last 10 years. Hopefully this will give me a bit of a help with the start up.


    The idea is to start small and hopefully build it up in the future.
     
  10. Bird

    Bird Proud LOR user

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    to ACL Keith
     
  11. bjpc2716

    bjpc2716 need more lights to light up the world

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    welcome aboard to the mad house great to see other victorian
     
  12. fasteddy

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

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    Welcome to ACL, its an all year hobby, so now you have an excuse to play with lights all year around
     
  13. Jamie

    Jamie Lighting up the night.

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    Welcome to ACL. :)
     
  14. firebug

    firebug Senior Elf

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    Welcome to ACL Keith... 8)
     
  15. Benschristmaslights

    Benschristmaslights Dedicated Elf Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    welcome to acl
     

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