Newbie question - am I to late for this Christmas?

Discussion in 'The Family Room' started by aarondwyer, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. aarondwyer

    aarondwyer New Elf

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    Hi

    Newbie question - am I to late for this Christmas?

    I have an electronics background but not a lot of time leading up to Christmas.

    I'm in Brisbane.

    I do a decent static display each year, but have been wanting to automate for many years.

    I've seen those halloween displays on youtube from the USA with the animated signing monster faces and it's spurred me on to get started.

    I've spent the last couple of weeks reading this forum and the wiki and looking around. It's much bigger than I thought, and with more options that I thought possible.

    Simple question. Is there a kit (controller / power supply / sequencer) I can get in Australia just to get started, using some of my existing lights, either AC or DC to have a small something automated for this 2011 Christmas.?

    I'd really like to setup a couple of signing faces for Christmas (like those Halloween ones). Is there a kit for that?

    Nothing fancy just something.

    Thanks
    Aaron
     
  2. Beacy

    Beacy It's so much better on the dark side

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    Welcome to ACL

    Probably the best chance you have is by using the AVD boards - made in Brisbane they are 48 channel DC boards they can also supply you with the power supplies that you need. If you had a bit more time up your sleve I would say use the stuff from China but you may struggle to get it here in time.


    In regards to software you probably have 2 options, Light Show Pro http://www.lightshowpro.com/
    or vixen - sorry havent got the link for that - but its free


    As far as the talking faces, they will have been made from scratch and it would be a big job to get it right in 3 weeks


    Youve got a steep learning curve over the next few weeks but you should get something together, drop into chat and most of your questions will be answered.
     
  3. OP
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    aarondwyer

    aarondwyer New Elf

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    Thanks for the fast response. I'll check it out. Sounds like a good plan.

    I don't mind spending a bit of money on it because I've left my run late for this year, basically buying time.

    I'd hoped there was a full starter kit out there somewhere. Maybe even including lights (even RGBs).

    Get it, program it (maybe even with preprogrammed sequences), plug it in, and put it up.

    Has anyone seen anything like this in the market?

    Aaron
     
  4. Beacy

    Beacy It's so much better on the dark side

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    LOR - Light O Rama does that BUT - no way you will get it this side of Christmas it is over priced and the fact that you have an electronics b/ground you would be wasting your money
     
  5. fasteddy

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

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    Welcome to ACL. I agree with the others here, the 'plug and play units' always have a last minute rush and shipping can take several weeks at this time of the year. There are plug and play RGB available from both LOR and Stellascapes but these are much more expensive than the DIY path but they offer strong support and warranty. Being from an electronics background you already have a better advantage than many of our members as you already should understand the fundamentals so DIY may be a more rewarding and cheaper path for you. If you went down the path of using David_AVD 48 channel DC board and power supply i dare say you could get these in time to be able to do something for this year.
    Just dip your toes in this year as this is a year round hobby and many of the guys spend all year planning and preparing their displays, but no harm in at least trying to get something going.
     
  6. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    If you want to get going fast then DC48 boards from David_AVD is definitely the go as you could get them in a day or an hour or so if you felt like jumping in a car. You'll also need some sort of DMX adaptor and a power supply or 2. David also sells a USB-DMX and may have some power supplies available. As far as getting sequences ready in such a short time I think the best option is to buy the light-o-rama software. There's hundred/thousands of sequences available for download to suit LOR and if you buy the superstar addon for $15 the autosequencing feature will give you something that blinks fairly nicely within minutes. With an electronics background the lights are easy. It can save yourself hours and hours and hours if you can catch 1 of the locals around Brissie for a chat and a demo. I've been using LOR for years now and after the Melbourne mini I tried using both Vixen and LightShowPro. Both are probably easy enough to use once you put in the hours learning how to use them but I found that even after a few hrs playing i was still muddling badly.
    Short answer. If you have enough lights that will run off DC then it's not quite too late for this Xmas.
     
  7. fasteddy

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

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    Personally i would use LightShow pro sequencing software if your intensions are to go down the DIY path in the future as it allows a lot more support of different devices than LOR. If you dont want to spend much time at all with sequencing then the LOR path may be the better option but may not meet your needs for 2012.
     
  8. OP
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    aarondwyer

    aarondwyer New Elf

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    You've got me all geared up now. :)

    I'll source the parts as recommended this week and get started.

    I've downloaded vixen and will grab the demo of the other 2 mentioned to check them all out and see which one I like. But I'm really after speed so may end up with LOR software, I'll try to find where the pre written sequences are. Assuming that it's faster to adjust something already written, than sequence it from scratch.

    I've just extracted all the christmas storage items and will have a beer and do a stock take and check my lights while the kids are busy sorting through everything else.

    Thanks for the great and super fast responses.

    Aaron
     
  9. Beacy

    Beacy It's so much better on the dark side

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  10. toodle_pipsky

    toodle_pipsky Minister of Silly Walks

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    On a side note it's worth mentioning that Vixen is in the middle of an overhaul by it's developer. I believe the "grid" system it uses will be ditched and will follow a more time/event driven system like LightShow plus a whole lotta other stuff will be changed/improved. I think this has been talked about for like over 12 months now, so you're not likely to see it unveiled for christmas! However, it's just a word of warning to not get too used to the grid style of light programming since chances are it will be gone soon. (Don't know about LOR sorry - I've never tried it).
    If your after Vixen sequences have a look in the file library at doityourselfchristmas.com - you'll have to be a member to have a look though, it's free anyway.
    Good luck and hope you get to have a muck about with it in your dispay this year! :)
     
  11. OP
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    aarondwyer

    aarondwyer New Elf

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    Got all my gear today, 8 packs of Big W 200 LED strings, AVD DC48 controller, 30V power supply, USB485 adapter.

    That will do for this year. I'm really looking forward to it. No doubt I'll have more questions, but I'll post other threads.

    Lucky for me David from AVD had everything in stock, and after doing my old light stocktake on previous years, I was in bad need for more lights.

    Aaron
     
  12. fasteddy

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

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    Good luck with it Aaron, I hope to see a video of it when its done
     
  13. David_AVD

    David_AVD Good news, everyone!

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    You must have snuck in and out of AVD without me noticing! Looks like one of the boys got you what needed. Sing out if you have questions. :)
     
  14. OP
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    aarondwyer

    aarondwyer New Elf

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    Good news, teething problems have been sorted and I'm hanging lights and will set the kids programming them this weekend. Was going to do an elf face like the halloween light animated monster heads, but I just don't have the time this year, so I'm keeping it really simple just to get something up and moving. Will post a video of it even though it won't be much. Thank you for your support and this forum.
     
  15. OP
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    aarondwyer

    aarondwyer New Elf

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    First test showing of lights tonight. Only got 16 channels going, the kids are programming their songs with vixen.

    My son chose a techno Christmas mix and I'm almost getting seizures with only 1 minute of blinking. :)

    Big w strings at 32v they are very bright, I think I'll turn the volts down a bit.

    Everyone in the family is having a go and contributing so I'm really impressed with this hobby.

    We are even bigger on Halloween than Christmas so I'm looking forward to learning much more between now and next Oct

    Does anyone know if there are help videos on using vixen?

    Aaron
     

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