Need help choosing software to run controller

denno020

Apprentice elf
Joined
Nov 22, 2016
Messages
82
Location
Adelaide
Hi all,

I have a fairly straightforward question, but it's going to require a bit of explanation, so I've decided to start a thread rather than ask in chat.

For my display, I'm just using LED "fairy lights", essentially like the 2 wire ones that Big W and Bunnings sell. To control the lights, I've bought a DMX2-18. Now I'm at the stage of controlling the controller, but I'm not sure how I will do that.

As I don't have pixels or advanced lighting like a lot of people on here, I'm not sure if software like xLights, or the other options, are going to allow me to do the very basic animations that I want to do.

Basically I want to mimic the 8 functions that are usually present with fairy lights out of the box; sequential, fade, chase, strobe etc. The reason I'm doing this is so that I can have all of my fairy light strings doing the same thing, not running independently of each other and getting out of sync (and therefore looking terrible!).

So with all that in mind, is anyone able to give me some tips on how to achieve this? Do I need to use xLights or similar, or am I better of using a simpler application/coding it myself? I don't have any experience with DMX, which is likely also a reason for not knowing where to start.

Thanks!
Luke
 

djgra79

My name is Graham & I love flashing lights!
Generous elf
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Xlights is by far the most popular, and it can be a bit of a learning curve and overwhelming because of the vast functionality it offers, however it does have an AC mode which means that it reduces the effects down to just bare minimum of on/off, fades etc.
But As Keith mentioned, all comes down to what you feel more comfortable in. Both Vixen and Xlights are free - go download them and have a play, won't cost you anything but some spare time to play around.
 

denno020

Apprentice elf
Joined
Nov 22, 2016
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82
Location
Adelaide
Yeah I must admit, I opened xLights and thought I was a bit in over my head. I guess I could watch some tutorials. Is it possible tutorials exist for doing these basic effects in either xLights or Vixen?
 

denno020

Apprentice elf
Joined
Nov 22, 2016
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82
Location
Adelaide
Thanks, I'll have a look at them tonight. I found some Vixen videos and that UI does appeal to me a little more than the xLights one, but as suggested, I'll have a play with both and see what feels better :)
 

Martin Mueller

Light Addicted and proud of it.
Joined
Nov 11, 2018
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Newtown CT
xLights OR Vixen can both do what you are trying to do. No matter which one you decide to use, you will need a USB-to-DMX dongle to create the DMX serial data stream that the DMX devices require.
 

scamper

Dedicated elf
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
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collie
I use vixen after downloading both and having a little play with them. I thought of going xlights last year, but the thought of changing and setting everything up again was just too much. Vixen has had several major upgrades which has made it even easier to use than when I started, so am glad I stayed.
I have several old big W props still in my display and control them with Vixen. Like Martin said, you will need some kind of Dongle to control them. You can get a basic Dongle that plugs into your computer or what I used, an ecg-d4 (which I can sell you my old one for $30+postage if you wish ;)) and a dumb controller such as a 27ch controller or one of Alan's @AAH controllers. I now use Falcon f16 controllers which control pixels as well as output DMX (which is why I no longer require the ecg)
 

ChristmasInKaralee

Senior elf
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Feb 15, 2014
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Karalee
Xlights is more popular due to the amount of videos/tutorials and the Facebook page but please do try Vixen as well. Both of them are in active development with myself in Aus developing Vixen 3 and Keith in Aus for Xlights with both also the go to sequencers in the USA and around the world.

They are both great sequencers and can do anything you want so it’s just deciding what feels and looks better to you.

We have been adding many more up to date Videos on the Vixen Lights YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/VixenLightsSoftware so please also check that out.
 
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denno020

Apprentice elf
Joined
Nov 22, 2016
Messages
82
Location
Adelaide
Thanks ChristmasInkaralee!

Just trying to download Vixen from the website now, but it's taking a little longer than I had hoped! Going to have to wait until tomorrow before I have a play around with it
 
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