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Ruapente

Convince my wife to Animate our Display

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I gotta agree with (the other) Chris to start with 16 or 32 channels AND with a good FM transmitter.This was my first non-static display with 'only' 16 channels.I dumped my LineX USB transmitter for a Ramsey FM25b and couldn't be happier. Next year I'll add an external antenna butstill hade audio for 5-7 houses on each side even with a brick wall on the front of the house! I seldom broadcast the audio outside viaspeakers since there area number of infants/young children in homes nearby. Folks now understand the lights are to the music andtune to the station posted on the sign so that's catching on.

The key thing is to get her involved in some aspect of the project and grow the display slowly and with purpose. That's what I did for Halloween and now for Xmas. The Mrs loves to hear the compliments and comments from neighbors and that helps a LOT!Santa brought me a 2nd controllerso Ican expandthe display some more but with a fairly small yard I have to really plan carefully and figure out what works best and gives the bang for the buck.

Cheers

Chris (in Virginia)

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I think 32 channels is the perfect start. Reasons being you are dealing with more then one board. So when you do go to expand you already know the rule and tweeks to having more then one board. Also it gets to the complication point at 32 channels, not really bad but just enough that you satrt to think about adding more boards in a conservitive way.

I used to run DIY systems then this year I switched to D-light boards with Aurora software. It is okay, I keep my wife in the operation as much as she want;s to be. Take her advice when it is offered and repeat the good comments from folks. She has grown to love it. Not quite as much as I but she loved seeing our 9 month old light up the first time she seen the display. I have about 13k lights this year on 32 channels and it really looks good.

Lee

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Well, I'm starting to do my homework. In reading all the posts, I'm wondering if I'm going to get in over my head. Money-wise I'll have to start with 16-32 channels. But it's starting to sound more complicated than than just buy a box, program the show and plug in. I'm reading about Cat 5's, and people talking about which board to use, and a whole heap of overwelming stuff.

1. Is it that hard?

2. Is there something else I need other than a computer, Software, and channel box?

3. Is there an alternative to Light-o-Rama? What do you use or recommend?

Thanks in advance!

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1. Is it that hard? No, it is juts time consuming and requires a plan ahead of time, trust me on that. Look at the lights you have up now and think of how you would control each string of lights, or group of lights/objects if you had 16 or 32 channels. Think about any changes you would make to the display if you had those channels. Then get the demo software and start sequencing songs, trust me on this one too.(Unless you want to hear the wife complaining about spending all that money and not having the show done :) ) Go through your Christmas cd's and pick the songs that you would like to sequence.

2. Is there something else I need other than a computer, Software, and channel box? Yes, time and extension cords! You need to think about where you will locate your controllers and then realize that you need an extension cord for each channel to each item you will be controlling. If you are like a lot of people you daisy chain items together right now with 6 or 9 ft extension cords and maybe have one long extension cord going to that part of your yard. You will now need extension cords long enough to reach each item that you want to control.

3. Is there an alternative to Light-o-Rama? What do you use or recommend? There are other companies, D-Lite and Animated Lighting are both on this board. However, after spending many years reading this board the one thing that came up time and time again was the wonderful customer service from Dan and the folks at Light-o-Rama. That was the deciding factor for me when all was said and done. For the most part each companies product will do the same effects and you can get different packages that aren't to far apart in cost. It was the continued posts from members of this community about how Dan took care of them in time of need that set LOR above the rest for me. Do your research though, each company has something slightly different to offer but you can't go wrong with LOR.

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kenj30 wrote:

2. Is there something else I need other than a computer, Software, and channel box? Yes, time and extension cords!

Don't forget about the two most important ones: patience and perseverence

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You do need a few Items.

1. Software - I use Aurora! It allows me to not only sequence and schedule my show. But gives me the added bonus of being able to display vidoe via movie projectors. Not to mention it is a pretty dang good price! and the best software I have used those far.

2. You have to connect via a USB 485 (or something like that) so that is an additional 30.00 Don't forget about that.

3. I use D-Light boards becuase the cost per channel is good. you can pick up a gold edition (no soldering required) for 129.00 However if you are savvy at the solering you could pick up 2 - silver editions for 99.00. Now you'll still need 100.00 or so in parts from mouser.com but that gives you 32 channels for about 200, can't beat that.

4. You'll need to plan what you want!!! Don't worry you might have time for 2008 but it is cutting it close! :waycool: I found for the first year to decide my channel count first then (32) then design out my display. This helped due to cost!!!

5. Cat5 cable to the controllers (or cat 3 depending on vendor)

6. Songs you'll need these too

7. Alot of spare time in your working space to work out your show.

8. A decent computer nothing to big but something bought with in the last 3 years

9. lots of paper for notes on your display and mappings of wiring

10. An understanding wife. This is not a hobby, granted it does start that way but will become an addiction! Quickly too.

11. and last but not least a positive attitude and the ability to let problems roll off your back like a duck.

This is fun, I love seeing the little ones faces light up. This is expensive!! there is never a time when it is not. Even these 50% off sales require my bank account to open the flood gates. But again, when you see the kids light up, all is forgotten.

Lee

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Kenny Greer wrote:

kenj30 wrote:

Don't forget about the two most important ones: patience and perseverence

Darn!! That's me stuffed then! Oh well, static again next year. :laughing:

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Personally, I would download a FREE (Yes!:)) demo of the Light-O-Rama software(maybe other companies do this?),make a easy sequence with an animation (you'll figure it out) to show your wife not only how responsible you are about commiting, and to show her how good it looks :D! If you do go with Light-O-Rama,(as somebody else mentioned) I would buy a basic 16 channel starter pack (software and cables)(oh yeah theCONTROLLER BOX!:laughing:) of LOR I because LOR is comming out with LOR II soon (it will be more expensive). Come Spring, LOR has its annual SALE(Yay!) on DIY products. I would then buy an EASY 16 channel kit (LOR I or LOR II,they are compatible with each other) BTW, the software in the LOR I gets a free upgrade to LOR II. Just my opinion!

-KAN

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Personally, I would download a FREE (Yes!:)) demo of the Light-O-Rama software(maybe other companies do this?),make a easy sequence with an animation (you'll figure it out) to show your wife not only how responsible you are about commiting, and to show her how good it looks :D! If you do go with Light-O-Rama,(as somebody else mentioned) I would buy a basic 16 channel starter pack (software and cables)(oh yeah theCONTROLLER BOX!:laughing:) of LOR I because LOR is comming out with LOR II soon (it will be more expensive). Come Spring, LOR has its annual SALE(Yay!) on DIY products. I would then buy an EASY 16 channel kit (LOR I or LOR II,they are compatible with each other) BTW, the software in the LOR I gets a free upgrade to LOR II. Just my opinion!

-KAN

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