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

Lighting novice

Discussion in 'New Members Say Hello' started by Pooch, May 29, 2018.

  1. Pooch

    Pooch New Elf

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    Hi everyone , in my long search for information on Christmas lighting I have finally found this forum and I'm eager to get started.

    As someone who only changes the light bulbs at home when they blow, I think my plans are above my capabilities and would appreciate any info to get me started.

    My ultimate goal is to have music and lights play together to a song list that I will make up.

    Again any info on music editing software, lights controller or where the best place to buy stands and ornaments is welcomed. I will be going through the threads but just incase I miss anything I will check back here.

    Thanks everyone
    Bryce
     
  2. AAH

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

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    Grabbing a copy of the ACL101 is a great starting point as it has massive amounts of info and links to sequencers, lights, suppliers and all sorts of stuff.
    If you happen to be in Victoria the Melbourne mini is running this weekend and getting to a mini is great for getting lots of info into you real quick and seeing lights and stuff in person.
     
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  3. OP
    OP
    Pooch

    Pooch New Elf

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    Thanks AAH.

    I'm in W.A but I'll keep an ear out for any shows over this way.
     
  4. djgra79

    djgra79 My name is Graham & I love flashing lights! Generous Elf

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    HI Pooch, welcome to ACL!
    The Perth mini details are here:https://auschristmaslighting.com/threads/2018-perth-mini-june-16-17-rsvp-here.10529/
    You may be able to sneak in if you're quick!
    If not, plenty of info on the forums, or jump into the chat room at any time for some instant info.
    Videos of previous minis and other useful stuff is also available in the media section.
    And this weekend's Melbourne mini should be streamed live, so you may even be able to tune in to that too.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Pooch

    Pooch New Elf

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    Thanks Djgra79.

    Really appreciate all the info guys.
     
  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 information and help here to help you achieve your goals. Don't be overwhelmed at first as the pieces do finally start to fall in place with some research and questions. Most people here have been where you are at now when they first started, so some dedication and you will be amazed at what you will learn and achieve
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Pooch

    Pooch New Elf

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    Thanks fasteddy.

    Look forward to doing some reading this weekend and watching some videos.
     
  8. kinglights

    kinglights Apprentice Elf

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    Welcome to ACL, Heaps of great stuff on this site and plenty of people to help and answer questions..
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Pooch

    Pooch New Elf

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    Thanks kinglights.
    Look forward to getting into it all.
     
  10. scamper

    scamper Senior Elf

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    Welcome, and yes like everyone says, download the 101 manual and read.... I printed it out so I could make notes and had it to refer back on.
    https://auschristmaslighting.com/threads/auschristmaslighting-101-manual.1889/
    When you watch videos, be aware of the dates on them also and things have changed a lot in the last few years as regards lights, software and controllers. The basic concept remains the same however.
    Where abouts in WA you from?
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Pooch

    Pooch New Elf

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    Hi Scamper
    I'm in Eaton, just outside of Bunbury.
    I'm really an absolute beginner so I'm learning nearly everything that relates to putting on a display.
    I have downloaded the manual and have looked through it ( probably not in depth) but I'll have a better look soon.
    I have read that members use raspberry pi as controllers so I've decided to try and teach myself how to code so I can put together a decent show together with music.
    I figured if I can learn that then the rest should be straight forward. (fingers crossed)

    If I can code well enough that I can make lights blink at least then I'll be happy.

    Bryce
     
  12. scamper

    scamper Senior Elf

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    If you need some help at any time, I am up the hill in Collie :)
    I use a Pi also and some people way smarter than I have done all the hard work and written the code to run the lights.
    http://falconchristmas.com/forum/index.php?board=8.0
    I personally use Vixen to program my display, but xlights is gaining in popularity (much like the old vhs vs beta, or windows vs linix) , both of which you can output the data from your computer to run on a Pi.
    Have a look at some displays, work out what you would like in your display (it doesn't matter if you don't get to it all to start with) Download one of the software packages I mentioned (they are free) and start mucking around with that. That is one of the biggest learning curves.
    You can do a display, without doing a display, meaning you can program what you think you will have and then actually build the props and add them to the program later.
    If you have got some spare money, order some lights, it doesn't need to be lots at this stage, get a controller and power supply, and then when you work out the software, you can hook up some lights to the controller and to the supply and get them blinking to the music.
    Once you have achieved that, you will be hooked, and it will all fall into place.
    Until then it is all theory :p
     
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  13. OP
    OP
    Pooch

    Pooch New Elf

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    Thanks for the website attachment.
    I was looking at getting a new pi 3 in the next few weeks. I ordered a 5m strip of rgb I68 Leds so hopefully i can muck around with them and get some effects working using xlights or vixen.

    Did you go through a lot of trial and error to find a good controller for your first setup or did you just decide to get one capable of controlling a lot of lights and then fill in the spots available?

    There are just so many options.

    Thanks for your help.

    Bryce
     
  14. scamper

    scamper Senior Elf

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    I ordered a j1sys ecg-d4 for my first year and then some 27ch and 12ch dumb controllers as I only used dumb rgb leds the first year. The price difference back then was a lot more than now, and cost was a big factor.
    Now I use the Pi to output the data to a Ethernet switch and then to 2 falcon f16v2 boards. Each of those boards have dmx outputs so I can still run all my dumb strings through them.
    So... My suggestion is get your hands on a falcon f16 either a v2 or the new v3 if you can get one.
    Ask in the members trading area and someone may be able to help as they usually are only available through bulk buys.
    They are the ducks guts :thumbsup:
    Are the strip led's that you ordered dumb strips? or ws2811 or similar pixels?
    If they are dumb, you will need a dumb controller, I can probably find one here you can have cheap, if pixels, then you will need the board as I suggested or something similar.
    http://nutcracker123.com/nutcracker/rgb_controllers/
    This is a comparison table for the different controllers, the f16's as I said are some of the most up to date and therefor supported ones out at the moment, which is part of the reason I believe why they are so good.
     
  15. OP
    OP
    Pooch

    Pooch New Elf

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    I googled what I bought and they are dumb Leds. I actually found a thread on here by another guy who was just starting out and he had the exact same questions that I have so that thread is a good starting point. I'll also look at that Falcon controller as I've seen it come up in lots of threads.

    Thanks for your help
     

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