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How to use existing lights (newbie)

Discussion in 'Lights - Store Bought and Home Made' started by Adanac00, Sep 28, 2018.

  1. Adanac00

    Adanac00 New Elf

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    Hello all

    Just found this site about a week ago and have already learned so much.

    I have been building a static display for the last 5 years and have purchased dozens (close to 100) strings of LED Christmas lights C-6, thinking this was the best way to go. Now I am learning about Controllers and programs like Vixen or LOR, but I am confused and Frustrated, as far as I can tell digging through my massive pile of light boxes I don't believe any of my lights are dimmable (as far as I can remember I don't think I have seen any lights that say Dimmable)

    So my question is, is there no way for me to use the Current C-6 LED lights that I have spent so much time and money on to use them with a controller program like LOR?

    I am sure this has been asked in the past but I have had no luck finding the answer.

    Thanks for your time and Bright lights!
     
  2. algerdes

    algerdes Al Gerdes

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    There are many ways to use them. Though RGB (and derivatives) pixels are all the rage, there are many controllers out there that connect to AC based lights. You will hear a lot of talk about Renard based controllers. These, and others, are mostly for AC control.

    I'm in Illinois, so the list of the exact ones available to you may be different, but many above the line are doing just what you ask.
     
  3. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer Generous Elf

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    Welcome to ACL.
    No lights are going to say dimmable on them despite a fair portion being able to be dimmed. The type of dimmer required to dim the lights will depend on whether they are a true mains voltage 120V (or 240V in Aus and some other places) or are a low voltage light that has a transformer or power supply between the mains connection and the lights. For true mains voltage lights the only real options are Renard boards which are a DIY variety or LOR. In both cases mains voltage leds can be a bit finicky when dimming as they often don't pull enough current for the triacs or scrs that do the dimming to turn off all the time. This can mean that they will "stick" on sometimes. For low voltage leds there are lots of varieties of DC dimmers. If you pop up some pictures showing details of the lights then people can advise better as to what to do with them.
    Make sure that you grab a copy and read the ACL101. It's an amazing resource.
    Also have a look at Xlights before you think of spending money on LOR. It's a much more powerful sequencer and it's free like Vixen.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Adanac00

    Adanac00 New Elf

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    Thanks for that info...

    They are 120v true main power as you call them straight plug with a small fuse inline.
    I was looking at the LOR more for the controller as its more my level as I am not ready for a DIY board at this point, I had also intended to look at using Vixen but will now check out Xlights.

    Is there a way I can test my lights before I spend a pile of Cash on the controllers to make sure they will work? I thought maybe a dimmer switch like something you would plug into a lamp?

    Thanks again
     
  5. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer Generous Elf

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    I don't know of any easy way that they could be tested. There's often secondhand LOR AC boards for sale with people who are going away from the older style lights and moving to pixels. Possibly worth having a bit of a look around and seeing if you can get 1 to try with your lights. Popping up a wanted post will potentially get some interest as well.
     

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