What type of control box is best for me

Discussion in 'New Members Say Hello' started by Michael Patching, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. Michael Patching

    Michael Patching New Elf

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    I have never set up a control box before but I do want my Christmas lights this year to be synchronised with music through a radio channel, I don't have much electrical experience.
    Can some one please tell me the best way to go about getting this outcome. I have about 40 sets of led lights with rain deer hanging off cable to look like there flying etc.
    I have been told to go for a commercial as they are more user friendly and quicker? Would I be able to set this up in 2 months? Would my current LEDs be compatible with the commercial controller box? and what is the recommended brand I should go for.
    I have 2 kids aged 3&6 and they adore the lights I put up every year & so does every one else in our street.
    Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. ShellNZ

    ShellNZ Senior Elf

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    For a plug & play solution that you will likely get up & running in time I would go for LOR 240v controller, assuming all your lights are NZ/AUS 240v.

    That way you plug each string directly into the controller then sequence using their software.

    This package is pricey and only has 16 channels but may work for you.

    http://store.lightorama.com/rese16chstpa.html
     
  3. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    [me=AAH]slaps Shell for suggesting someone goes with 240V control.[/me]
    240V control is the "plug and play"est but has lots of issues including being the most expensive way to control your lights. Unless you have elements like 240V rope lights or 240V rope light ornaments you shouldn't really consider 240V control. Any lights that run off a 240V to low voltage transformer shouldn't be controlled off a 240V controller as the controller and transformer could be damaged by the dimming process. The newer lightweight electronic transformers used on some lights would potentially even be a fire risk if they were attached to a LOR AC dimmer.
    The good news is that it is quite easy to run Big W and similar style lights off a DC dimmer and there is a big range of them available. AC and DC ones are both on http://auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/Controllers . Make sure you grab a copy of the ACL101 from http://auschristmaslighting.com/forums/index.php?topic=5803.0 .
    Realistically if you have any sort of electronics knowledge you should be able to have your lights under PC control within a few days if you wanted to. Using a DC dimmer is pretty easy and configuring the software can be done pretty easy. There's a bunch of members around Perth who could give you a hand and the newly "blinking" Christmas_Lights_Perth went from being a noob a few days ago to blinking some lights in no time.
     
  4. nzlongfellow

    nzlongfellow Dennis from NZ

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    Sorry AAH but for "simple" Plug-N-Play" I agree with Shell.
    What LOR offer is the songs, the sequencing and the controllers.
    BUT if there is help available for hands-on help then yes there are better ways but needs more experience to Build" and sequence a show.
    Anyway my 2 pennies worth.
     
  5. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    It is simple and LOR AC is where I started out and I still use 1 of my original 8 AC boards. In Australia however most Xmas lights are low voltage lights that come with a transformer. These should never be dimmed off a LOR board. There are some people that use simple on/off controls to them but it's still a risk. Shell herself is still using a little bit of AC but over the last few years she's gone a noob who knew nothing about electronics, soldering etc to having 1 of the bigger displays around. When the North Island on NZ turns turtle due to the crowds she pulls there are those of us who remember her humble roots and will know why the North end of NZ sunk into the sea.
    Not only are the AC boards expensive but later in the year they get hard to get out of LOR due to demand. The good thing is that lots of them get offered for sale on the forum from people upgrading to DC or to pixel.
     
  6. fasteddy

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

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    Ask Shell how much time she has invested in learning and creating her display, unfortunatly most dont have the time and experience to learn this in a decent time frame as the learning curve is very steep at first. But what Shell has acheived in her time here is amazing and is testament to the online community and the help it provides.
    In my opinion though its not too hard to use a DC system with a DC controller to control your lights, its not plug and play but its at a level where you shouldnt find it too challenging and will be a good stepping stone for you in the future if you decide to expand to digital pixel lighting in the future.
     
  7. kel

    kel Dedicated Elf

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  8. dale82

    dale82 Senior Elf

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    Welcome to ACL, To further what Eddy has said, I have now gone all low voltage display and I had no knowledge at all in wiring etc. This community is great for the DIY'er and there is also the option that if you are not sure it is just a matter of asking a question and you will get a response. If I can get a show up and running DIY anyone can.
     

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