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

Newbie - First Setup, what to buy? (Have read, am confused)

Discussion in 'How is my display put together...' started by anakaine, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. anakaine

    anakaine New Elf

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    Hi all,

    So lets jump straight in to this: I've read every bit of material that I can around here, including the 101 guide, and the E1.31/DMX guide, and every time I think I have the hang of something, it's like there's another spanner / option thrown in the works.

    I like the look of how E1.31 works since it's all CAT5e based, and hardward is cheap, as is cable.

    (Question 1) Would I be right in assuming a pixel free setup would happen like:

    Buy a E1.31 compatible controller (I'm thinking a TigerDMX48, would you use it? Value for money here..)
    Buy a DC power supply (Switched Mode Power Supply - Voltage appropriate for TigerDMX48, eg SP-320-24)
    Purchase LED lights - ((Question 2) Any good recommendations? I have plenty if BigW lights, but they dont dim :p)

    Connect computer to network switch (Cat5e)
    Connect TigerDMX48 to network switch (Cat5e)
    Strip wires on xmas lights, wire in to TigerDMX48
    Connect TigerDMX48 to Power Supply

    (Question3) I see people talking of dongles from the PC to the TigerDMX48 boards. Do I need this if the boards address is known and the computer is on the same subnet?

    At this point, if I have lights connected to Tiger, connected to SMPS - if I turn the lot on, will the lights turn on? Or, do I need to install Vixen (etc) and tell them to turn on?



    Many thanks all!
     
  2. toodle_pipsky

    toodle_pipsky Minister of Silly Walks

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  3. SmartAlecLights

    SmartAlecLights Im a SmartAlec what can i say! Community Project Designer

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    Firstly the Tiger boards are no more..
    but David_AVD an AAH both have 24ch/48ch an 60ch boards

    these boards are dmx controlled..

    to get DMX out of the computer you would use a dongle (usb to DMX) or a E1.31 adapter like the D2,D4,DR4

    Big-w lights are best around a voltage of 28v-30v DC

    I hope this helps
     
  4. OP
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    anakaine

    anakaine New Elf

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    Righto, thanks
    I had a look at these boards but kept going as I guess I'm not understanding how they connect to lights.

    I'm looking at the j1sys product matrix andfeeling a little lost.

    Computer --RJ45--> Pixel controller --> ?

    RS-485 looks like RJ45, but isn't. So we need a man in the middle to convert ethernet data in to RS-485 data, no?

    I guess the big part where I'm gettig lost, is what happens on the other side of the j1sys product? If I'm not looking at RGB control, and just want to switch strings on and off, how is that done? Many of these boards seem to offer 2000+ channels of output, but only have 2 output ports.

    This is where I got hung up initially, and is why I leaned towards the tiger boards. But, I'd rather use the new gear if it opens up more options!

    Thanks
     
  5. toodle_pipsky

    toodle_pipsky Minister of Silly Walks

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    On page 37 of Lighting 101 manual are 2 diagrams that illustrate the connections well. You can connect an E1.31 controller directly to your computer (as you've described) or connect many through a network switch. The E1.31 controller then "talks" to each individual pixel depending on how you configure the controller and sequencing software (the hardest part as it takes planning and being precise). The connection for pixel to the E1.31 controller can be anything you like, usually it's screw terminals for bare wires (someone will correct me if I'm wrong).
     
  6. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    There's a couple of options of going from the computer to DMX. They are J1sys e1.31 devices like the DR4 or D4 or alternatively you can use a usb-dmx dongle. There are some diy equivalents that give you e1.31 to dmx but I know nothing of them. A fair portion of the dimmer boards (controllers for dumb lights like the big w leds) use cat5 cable with rj45 connectors which are basically network cables. The dmx specification allows either cat5/cat6 cable or audio cable with cannon connectors. The cat5 is an easy and cheap option.
    DMX is transmitted in RS485 format regardless of the type of cable or the source (dongle/dr4/etc)
     
  7. toodle_pipsky

    toodle_pipsky Minister of Silly Walks

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  8. OP
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    anakaine

    anakaine New Elf

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    Thanks very much all,

    Toodle_pipsky - I was acytually just reading through that. Seems to have filled in a few gaps.

    I think I'm getting it - just have to work out which cheap little dimmer board to go with and how to connect it for a trial run before I decide on a larger, more expensive project.

    Once again, thank you all :)
     
  9. SmartAlecLights

    SmartAlecLights Im a SmartAlec what can i say! Community Project Designer

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    if your lucky enouth there might be a house close to you thats doing computerised lights an most will be glad to show off there setup
     
  10. OP
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    anakaine

    anakaine New Elf

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    So,

    All of the above granted - are there any preferences to lower end E1.31 compatible devices with inbuilt SSR's? I'm thinking simplicity is a good starting point, but because the'ye in e1.31 territory it will be easy enough to upgrade later.

    AAand, Can the j1sys pixel controllers be used to illuminate ordinary string lights?
     
  11. Slite

    Slite Full Time Elf

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    No, Pixel controllers control pixels. If you wanna do "regular" strings, you need somekind of (preferebly) DC-controller.

    The ones Dave and Aah sells (24, 48 and 60 channels) comes as premade kits. If you want to build your own, you could go with the Renard 64 with DC-SSR's, or if you want "all-in-one", Renard 48 LSD's (which i am running my show on this year)

    They can all be used in conjunction with a E1.31 to DMX bridge... which there are a bunch of different ones available.

    Ren 64 is nice since it can use either DC-SSR and use low voltage strings, or you could go SSR and use regular AC based lights.

    The Ren 48's are nice (as I said, I am using three of them this year) as they are able to run 5 volt, 12 volt and both regular leds and RGB. I have 1 of mine setup to run 12 volt RGB strips and one for 5 volt ledstrings, the third is for "regular" single color LED strings.
     
  12. OP
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    anakaine

    anakaine New Elf

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    Slite,

    Thank you!

    That's an excellent little bit of knowledge. Much obliged. Now... to go research a bit more :)
     
  13. Slite

    Slite Full Time Elf

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  14. fasteddy

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

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    Yes there is a whole section that describes the differences between the types of lighting and control with pictures and layout drawings, so well worth you downloading
     
  15. OP
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    anakaine

    anakaine New Elf

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    Thanks guys,

    I have read the PDF, although was still struggling to put together the picture in regards to specific hardware compatibility.

    I think I've got it figured out though.. I'd like to stay with cat5 cabling, as I have excess network equipment, and can produce the cabling with crimping etc that I already own. Also I don't need USB dongles etc.
    So, In my head this works:

    Network switch --> J1sys ECG-D4 --> AVD DC24 (or 48) --> Lights

    That way I can run e1.31 over the network from a computer, the ECG-D4 interprets the e1.31 to DMX, The AVD DC24 reads the DMX and subsequently controls the lights.
    I'm assuming I need the ECG-D4 as I've never seen e1.31 mentioned in regards to the AVD DC24 Controller

    I get myself 2 power supplies - a 24v and a 30v, as my light sets are generally either one of the two. Then I run one off either side of the AVD board.

    Then, if (more than likely) later on I want pixel level control I can grab a j1sys pixel controller (ECG-P12R) and plug it directly in to the network switch, configure IP's etc, and run.


    Sounds about right?
     

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