Jump to content
Did you know?
  • The original Rudolph did not have a red nose. In that day and age, red noses were seen as an indicator of chronic alcoholism and Montgomery Ward didn’t want him to look like a drunkard. To complete the original picture, he was almost named Reginald or Rollo.
  • The Christmas wreath was originally hung as a symbol of Jesus. The holly represents his crown of thorns and the red berries the blood he shed.
  • The three traditional colors of most Christmas decorations are red, green and gold. Red symbolizes the blood of Christ, green symbolized life and rebirth, and gold represents light, royalty and wealth.
  • Tinsel was invented in 1610 in Germany and was once made of real silver.
  • The oldest artificial Christmas trees date back to the late 1800s and were made of green raffia (think grass hula skirts) or dyed goose feathers. Next the Addis Brush Company used their machinery that wove toilet brushes to create pine-like branches for artificial Christmas trees that were less flammable and could hold heavier decorations.
  • ‘Jingle Bells’ – the popular Christmas song was composed by James Pierpont in Massachusetts, America. It was, however, written for thanksgiving and not Christmas.
  • Coca-Cola was the first company that used Santa Claus during the winter season for promotion.
  • Hallmark introduced their first Christmas cards in 1915.
  • The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on that day.
  • Santa Claus's sleigh is led by eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder (variously spelled Donder and Donner), and Blixem (variously spelled Blixen and Blitzen), with Rudolph being a 20th-century inclusion.
  • Outdoor Christmas lights on homes evolved from decorating the traditional Christmas tree and house with candles during the Christmas season. Lighting the tree with small candles dates back to the 17th century and originated in Germany before spreading to Eastern Europe.
  • That big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard didn’t always look that way. Prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. When Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, Santa was a small elflike figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, changing the color of his coat from tan to the red he’s known for today.
  • Christmas 2018 countdown has already begun. Will you be ready???
  • Why do we love Christmas? It's all about the traditions. In this chaotic world we can miss the "good old days." Christmas reminds us of that time.
RiscIt

LOR for the super slim budget...

Recommended Posts

Okay... So I *really* want an LOR system... Really. The problem is that we really don't have the money right now.

What's more discouraging than that is how "disposable" our system seems to be. We spend the same money every year on after xmas sales to buy new net lights to replace the 3 sets (at least) that invariably die over the summer for some unknown reason, half of a life time troubleshooting strings to try and save them and thus some $$$, re-wrapping tomato cage mini trees, and re-lining the roof lines with the chasers

I already intend to invest in a Light Keeper Pro to save on some of the time investment, but we really feel like we're re-doing everything year after year no matter how careful we are about packing and saving things. It's really starting to feel like the stuff we can find that is actually within our budget is disposable by design in the hopes they'll get us to buy again next year (it's working!).

In any case... *if* we can find the cash for a 16ch LOR system, can we expect that if we mount the unit on the side of the house and take it down after the light season it will LAST *many* years? How long do these things last if you take care of them?

*if* it will last....

What is the absolute minimum we are looking at for getting started? I am assuming we need:

A 16 ch unit (we'd need more but can get by starting with 16)

A PC for sequence and music playback (already got that)

An FM transmitter (need to cover about a 100 ft radius, not always line of sight, suggestions?)

2 40' 12g ext cables (house to LOR)

16 40' 16g ext cables (unit to lights)

Ethernet cable from computer to unit (got that)

Some sort of USB adaptor

The LOR software (which in my opinion, is WAY overpriced given that you already have to buy their proprietary hardware - it should be included by default)

I'm assuming that I can use the PC for sequence and sound playback, so we DON'T need the mp3 director card. Is that correct?.

So for you folks who have been doing this forever... If you needed to get all that (assuming it's an accurate shopping list?), where and when would you make those purchases? I've heard of the summer LOR sale.. does that usually include a 16ch unit? How about the DIY kits? I think I can handle the no-solder kit.

Teach me oh wise experienced ones! I really want to get in to this, but I need an accurate picture of what the lowest cost is that we can get away with. I see comments all over these forums and a few other places where people don't want to admit how much this stuff costs, citing things like "what is the value of a child's smile?". Well I don't live in a world where it is sensible to think like that, and we NEED to pay attention to costs.

No offense intended to those who can afford to view things that way. In fact, if you want to make some kids smile in the western mountains of Maine, I know where you can spend some dough. ;-)

Thanks in advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay... So I *really* want an LOR system... Really. The problem is that we really don't have the money right now.

What's more discouraging than that is how "disposable" our system seems to be. We spend the same money every year on after xmas sales to buy new net lights to replace the 3 sets (at least) that invariably die over the summer for some unknown reason, half of a life time troubleshooting strings to try and save them and thus some $$$, re-wrapping tomato cage mini trees, and re-lining the roof lines with the chasers

I already intend to invest in a Light Keeper Pro to save on some of the time investment, but we really feel like we're re-doing everything year after year no matter how careful we are about packing and saving things. It's really starting to feel like the stuff we can find that is actually within our budget is disposable by design in the hopes they'll get us to buy again next year (it's working!).

In any case... *if* we can find the cash for a 16ch LOR system, can we expect that if we mount the unit on the side of the house and take it down after the light season it will LAST *many* years? How long do these things last if you take care of them?

*if* it will last....

What is the absolute minimum we are looking at for getting started? I am assuming we need:

A 16 ch unit (we'd need more but can get by starting with 16)

A PC for sequence and music playback (already got that)

An FM transmitter (need to cover about a 100 ft radius, not always line of sight, suggestions?)

2 40' 12g ext cables (house to LOR)

16 40' 16g ext cables (unit to lights)

Ethernet cable from computer to unit (got that)

Some sort of USB adaptor

The LOR software (which in my opinion, is WAY overpriced given that you already have to buy their proprietary hardware - it should be included by default)

I do not have the LOR system, so I can't help you there. (this year I have the Lights & Sounds of Christmas-- hoping to get the LOR for next year) But, I do have an FM transmitter... the Ramsey FM30b. I am very happy with it! I personally am not into purchasing the kits and doing the soldering. I bought the Ramsey FM30b from Glenn @ Christmas in Cruces. I believe it cost me around $250.00 for the FM transmitter.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ok, you can get a LOR board assembled without the cords and enclosures for about $122 (and closer to $100 during the summer sale in June - be sure to get the high power heat sink though

http://store.lightorama.com/caasaop.html

then you'll need cords and an enclosure, you can get regular 6' 3way cords for $1 and can build an enclosure with a rubbermaid box for under $10

http://talk.planetchristmas.com/showthread.php?t=24571

you can go with the DIY(no solder, screwdriver needed kit), will be about $180 during the sale

or course you will have to buy the software and one of the connector for about $100

http://store.lightorama.com/spk800.html

the "starter kit" will come with a short Cat5 cable, but you can get longer ones on sale at walmart and target during the year or you can get them online too, I got mine here

http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10208

before you start buying extension cords, figure out a preliminary layout of how you want your display to look when done. Map out you yard and measure how many of each varying length cord you will need. Invariably you will need a few 40' or 50' cords but you may also be able to get by with some 8' - 15'ers too

I buy a cord or two every time I go to the dollar general (they're about $6 for 20' at my store (when it's not Christmas))

pick up cords all year long in several different lengths

as for the cords to connect power TO the LOR go with 12 or 14 gauge - my walmart has mid length 20-25' 14 gauge cords for around $15

as for a transmitter, there are many options

many around here start out with a belkin with the antenna mod which can increase the range to around 100' or so (results GREATLY vary though)

of course you have several other options - many here at PC user these...

http://www.edmdesign.com/

http://www.wholehousefmtransmitter.com/

or a Ramsey (I'd personally recommend the 25B for your distance and beginner needs)

you can get them to build

http://www.hobbytron.com/FMTransmitter.html

http://www.ramseyelectronics.com/hk/default.asp?page=amfm

or buy one built on ebay or from Glenn (he does great soldering)

http://www.christmasincruces.com/store/transmitters.html

You have made the very wise choice to start now for your 2009 display, plan out what you hope to accomplish and spread the expenses out over the entire year

also pick up a walmart, lowes, or home depot gift card for about $10-$20 in January and slowly over the year add a few bucks here and there, so that when the time comes next year and you think "Man, I really need 8 more boxes of red lights" you can buythem that way

good luck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the planet christmas ctb16pc unit (I think that is the name or close to it). It is the one with the board all soldered and all you have to do is mount the board to the enclosure and plug in the plugs. It comes with very easy directions and I think the only thing you need is a screwdriver. Any person should be able to do it. A perk of getting the card assembled and tested is that you get a one year warranty with it. I bought it last year and mine just broke (My fault, overloaded it) and they are sending me a new board within like 2 days and all I have to do is send the old one back with the return shipping paid. If you get the diy kit, just remember to label the plugs with a white sharpie or something so you know what channel you are plugging stuff into. I think the diy kit took me an hour to an hour and a half to put together. Again, very easy, just pay close attention to the directions.

As for how long they last, I am not sure since I have only had mine for a year. I know Light-O-Rama take repairs and will fix them. They also have very great technical support and will stay on the phone with you for hours if need be to help you find the problem. I think that it is a great product and I would recommend you getting it at some point!

Kirk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can afford it, buy the starter kit know. There is talk of a software price increase for next year. Buying now will save you some do.

I would second monoprice for cat5.

Can you solder and/or splice wire? Building your own extension cords is a big money saver. Like Philip mentioned, buy 6' lamp cords and splice wire too them.

If you are in this for the long haul, start with a descent transmitter. Buy once, cry once. I'd stay clear of wholehouse. Look at EDM and Ramsey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's an old saying "you get what you pay for."

Then again, you can take that to an extreme. A $9 watch from Walmart keeps the same time as a $10,000 Rolex.

Don't go into computerized lighting with a "minimalist" attitude. Buy a solid base product now knowing you'll be adding to it for many years as your abilities and income grow. Always keep your eyes open for a sale... and there will be some after Christmas. LOR has been around long enough where I'm also seeing perfectly good used pieces up for sale.

I like the PlanetChristmas versions of the LOR hardware line... but I might be a tad biased :o. Good value... and if you can solder, the kit versions allow you to save a little money while at the same time have a "bonding experience" as you bring each board to life :).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Longevity. I've had D-Light controllers now for over three years. I have *never* had one fail or act up. They're running strong.

One nice aspect of having assembled them myself is that I can *repair* them myself if something breaks. I wasn't careful while moving a 16 channel controller around last month and hit the power rectifier and broke a lead on it. I got the replacement part from Mouser for a whopping 35 cents and fixed it myself in a matter of minutes. (once the part arrived)

Keep an eye out for people selling off the pre-assembled controllers. Personally (no insult intended to anyone out there!) I would not recommend buying home-built controllers from others. You have no guarantee of the job the did soldering and unless you're willing or able to repair it yourself, it's a crapshoot.

It doesn't take much of a PC to actually run the show.

When you take a look at how you want to setup your show, you may find that there's a central location where you could place the controller that would greatly reduce the amount of extension cord you need to reach the fixtures. Check around on PC and you'll find some great ways to put controllers out *in* the yard and still hide them well. The best one I've seen is a pair of giant sized kid's alphabet blocks with the controllers and connectors all hidden inside it.

If you find that minilights from the big-box and discount stores keep failing on you every year, well then I'd strongly recommend you consider buying more "commercial grade" lights. Sure, they're more expensive, but if you have to replace your bargain lights yearly, besides all the time you spend trying to fix them, that has to add up cost wise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep an eye out for people selling off the pre-assembled controllers. Personally (no insult intended to anyone out there!) I would not recommend buying home-built controllers from others. You have no guarantee of the job the did soldering and unless you're willing or able to repair it yourself, it's a crapshoot.

That's my opinion as well. Was just looking on the LOR web site and the prices have been raised from last year already. Speaking of new products, a 16 ch starter package from LOR including the software is just over 400; however, if you build it yourself, expect to pay 300 (incl the software) plus something for the housing and pigtails (plugs). Honestly, LOR builds a bullet-proof box - the quality is outstanding. I have had them for a few years now and they have never failed (they are outside during the Christmas Season). They will be having a sale sometime next year, but I am not surehow much you would save as opposed to buying it now.

A lot of people arond here use the Belkin FM transmitter, its cheap but I hear about many problems with them. Again a little pricer - but it will save you in the long run - use the Ramsey 25 or 30, about $200 or so.

Lights are inexpensive if you get them during the after Christmas sales, sometimes $1 per 100ct string of minis. If you use indoor extension cords, you can get them as low as $2 for 15'. I use LEDs which are one peice construction so I do not have the problems of lose or missing bulbs anymore. Again, they are a little more expesive...

For about $650, you can have a real nice, maintenance free setup, that's expandable. Try not to shortcut the equipment - like Chuck said: You get what you pay for - And I'll and this: You'll pay now or you'll pay later.

Its a great hobby to be in - I can't begin to tell you all of the reasons why. Take your lunch to work; Ride your bike and save gas; turn your heat down; take advantage of sales; take $15 a week and set it aside; Before you know it, you'll be ready to begin sequencing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Riscit,

I think a lot of us that get into computerized displays for the first time try to come up with a how much is it going to cost. Honestly it really is hard to say. You have already been giving some great advice. A big key I always do is know what your going to need, and watch for sales. Personally if you plan on using one of the PC kits, I highly recommend using the cases that LOR sales. I know that you can pick up a piece of Tupperware for about $10 but there cases are only $24 and they are all ready set up for mounting the controllers as well as they come with the wire stress relievers. Oh and you can put a lock on the box for a deterrent.

For the female ends, you will find that a huge portion of us use 6' or 9' indoor extension cords and cut the male ends off. You can pick up the 6' cords for 97

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i started new this year. bought a 1602w prebuilt showtime LOR controller. bought a bunch of LED string, this that and the other. blowmolds, extension cords, wiring outlets. of course i mowed other folks grass and worked saturdays, went without expensive dinners (and gosh i like to eat lol) cut back on the heat, cut down on air conditioning use, and even hauled scrap metal to pay for it!! a smile on a childs face or ANYBODYS face= PRICELESS!! the feeling you get from people standing in the street cheering and clapping .. 1500.00 bucks lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tons and tons of good advice here

this hobby will cost you more than you ever expected in the long run

cut costs where you feel comfortable and spend a few extra bucks when you can

you'll find that in 2010 you'll want to go much bigger and learning NOW how to expedite the hobby without blowing the budget is something difficult to learn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, the cost of LOR controllers turned out to be nothing compared to the cost of everything else (lights, cords, etc.).

Properly assembled (and, barring any unusual stuff like lightning strikes or water damage), I'd expect the components in a LOR unit to easily operate a decade or more before giving you any problems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been there... a little over 4 years ago myself, so I can appreciate your sentiments.

The LOR software is actually an amazing value... free updates, even to new versions... it works... and support? Almost unheard of nowdays it seems!:P

(take advantage of the "package" of software, rs 485 adaptor, and cable.)

Everyone else has already described things pretty well.

I would only add that the LOR hardware (as well as the software) is an investment and they aren't disposable (like some light sets).

Pick up a Light Keeper Pro on clearance (most folks don't know what they are..so they are usually still there on the shelf). Heck I would send you one but the shipping would be as much if not more that finding one on clearance!

I would steer clear of net lights personally... they seem to be more problem prone, expensive, and harder to troubleshoot.

Pick up different SOLID color lights if you can find them.. you will probably want them after you get going with this.

Cords and cables... keep an eye out for deals all year long!

The summer sale would probably save you 10 to 20 bucks depending...based on what you are talking about getting. The software package is usually NOT included in the sale, so it would only be the controller.

If it was me...in your shoes, http://store.lightorama.com/ctkitcpa.html complete solder req kit for $179, and software package $99, plus shipping.

$25 bucks more if you want it soldered.

It is a good value since it has all the parts, heat sinks, short cord dongles, enclosure.

If you try to break it down to go cheaper...buying just the board... you really won't save too much on the controller in the long run... trust me!

Oh... and you want those short output cords... if you attach the 4 footers to the controller... it will be FUN trying to move and store 16 foot cords at once! :eek:

Pick up a 5 or 6 dollar belkin 2 on ebay and do the mod...see if you get the range you need (feel free to PM me I will answer questions if you like).

So about $286 before shipping if you solder (less extension cords and lights) to get "in".

There are plenty of folks here that will more than happy to help you out as much as we can...

I hope you can figure out how to budget it in! ;)

Terry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The idea of putting the controllers in the yard is a good one, I have my megatree controller inside the megatree, run two 50 ft 15 amp 12 gauge extension cords to the GCFI breakers I had installed on the outside of the house...that alone should save you cash on ext cords. BUT make sure you do something to protect those cords from the elements (esp rain), keep them off the ground, trust me, feeling that pain this year...

I have seen some folks make boxes, decorate them as a wrapped Christmas present and hide the LOR and ext ends inside the box, thus protecting them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A quick thanks for all the feedback so far.

I'll post more later (a LOT more), but I've been super busy this week and wanted to at least say thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't worry about the LOR controller lasting, that will be fine. I'd probably buy the software early, due to the changes coming, there will be several editions. You may be able to get by with a lower edition, but if you don't mind spending $100 now (and we don't know what the lower editions will cost), you'll get the highest when it comes out, and would cost more than $100. The others are right, you can't get better support from LOR staff. Shipping on fuses is a bit much, but fortunately they are easy to find at Radio Shack. They just gave us new features like last week, including new controller effects. In about 15 minutes after that nights show ended, I had updated my controllers and put twinkle fades into a sequence.

This hobby can get expensive, but there are things that will help. The LOR summer sale on controllers, some places give a PlanetChristmas discount on items, like Ramsay controllers or have a special light sale just for us. Keven, The Demented Elf, who is a popular voiceover artist, runs a sale I believe. We also sometimes have group buys that someone coordinates. Keep an eye on the Heads Up forum in Dasher's Diner. People find all sorts of deals, everything from a free Christmas track on Amazon to extension cord sales.

You can also get some ideas from howto videos online, like Richard Holdman's getting cheap artificial trees after Christmas and using them in his display. When you get something for 70% off, you can save some bucks. Just be careful, some lights are better made than others. LED is nice, but watch out for the white, many have a blue cast. Also some don't fade. I'd say don't buy LED until you can test the fade on a controller.

You're in the right place for help. There are a lot of experts here, many who were in your place at one point. I'd also check out the Light-O-Rama forums for stuff specific to their products. LightoramaDan is the owner of the company and posts a lot. Not many companies where that happens. I believe another admin is a lead programmer of the software.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So yeah.. Thanks folks. Now I finally have some time to actually reply.

Re main ext cords: I just purchased 2, 45ft 12 gauge cords to reach the LOR box on the side of the house.

Re placement of box - "the side of the house" IS in the middle of everything, because most of our stuff is either on the house or on a bush right in front of it.

Re 2ndary ext cords - I do plan to make my own based on the suggestions I've seen here. Thank you. The need for 16 40ft cords was unrealistic. My bad.

Re ethernet cable: - I'm a programmer and IT/Networking Consultant - I won't be buying any cables. I've got a few roles of Cat 5e on hand at all times. If one happens to come with the LOR unit I'll most likely just add it to my collection of spares which get sold or given to my clients.

Re software pricing: I'm not arguing price vs the quality of the software (although the demo version on the LOR site, which is of the old version 1 is painful to use if you want to do anything remotely complicated with it. I *really* wish they'd put a demo of the s2 stuff up. I am very much NOT impressed with the demo that is there now, and the changelog I've read for S2 sounds like 90% of my concerns have been addressed). My issue is that it is all proprietary. You need the software to program the LOR boxes. You need at least 1 LOR box to anything productive with the software. (* - see below) They are essentially the same product. It's a system which you can expand by adding more units, but they are joined at the hip. Charging separately for the software is double dipping. THAT is what I have an issue with. It's a moral issue. I've read that with the s2 stuff they are planning on having different tiers. That's great. I can comprehend that. If they bundled a basic starter version of the software with the units I wouldn't have any issue at all for charging extra for more advanced versions of the software that only power users need (more tracks, etc).

This whole situation would be different if there were other companies writing sequencing software. Now that the sequence files are XML, essentially an open format, that may happen someday. But right now I feel taken advantage of by the added cost.

This doesn't need to be a big debate. It's a relatively small hurdle in getting things moving for my setup. As a software developer myself I have a unique perspective, however, and I just wanted to clarify my stance. I'll most likely try to find the $$ for the software in the next couple months. I want to get started sequencing (the 1 song I did with the demo came out great, but was a huge pain when I started working with counter-rhythms), and I want to do it with the separate event tracks.

(* - yes I realize you can get pre-made sequences and an mp3 director card thus bypassing the need for software. You're paying somewhere, however)

Re going in to things with a "minimalist attitude": I'm not - I think big. Very big. My budget, however, is very small. I'm not asking "how can I stay small?", I'm asking "How can I go big while spending as little as possible?" We are a very low income family (Don't let the job title fool you - here is Western Maine there isn't much of a tech market), and short of an actual job change, it won't be changing anytime soon. our 6-8 feet tall charlie brown lawn display cut outs are hand made. Our mini trees are cheap tomato cages. Our flood light mounts were gifts. The only thing we've paid for recently are strings of lights, flood light bulbs, a new 15 amp 3 outlet timer, and a Light Keeper Pro. We've spent $70/year at most for the past 3 years. I'm willing to dig a bit deeper, but there isn't TOO much left to dig in. Hence the reason for this post...

Re fading LEDS: Is there a list here anywhere of brand/models that we KNOW are voltage level fade-friendly? I will not have a LOR unit to test with until next fall, so I would need to know ahead of time to take advantage of this year's after Christmas sales.

Re FM Transmitters: Anyone use the one that LOR actually sells? The stated range of 150' would be enough for us if it really got it reliably. How about the Ramsey FM10C ?

Re the LOR unit: We're currently considering the CTB16PC if we can get it in the summer sale. According to this matrix, however, it comes with either low or high power heat sinks which change the capacity. According to the LOR store, that is not an option.

http://store.lightorama.com/ctascpa.html

It says 30 amps there, which would suggest it has the high power heat sinks. Since it doesn't actually SAY that, however, or give me a choice, I am hesitant. What's the deal?

We will not be buying a kit that requires soldering. I certainly CAN solder, but the quality of my own solder jobs it nothing to write home about, and I'd rather trust their job over my own. We will not be making our own enclosure. We think the LOR price for their enclosures is a fair price.

Thanks again to everyone for their feedback!

We appreciate it!

Edited by RiscIt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Software: As you correctly pointed out, the demo is LOR 1. S2 adds more features but the basics of programming is still the same. As for their business model of charging for the software? I have no problem with it. Pay once play always. If they did not charge for their software directly, they would just pass the cost onto the controllers.

Minimalist attitude - You will find all kinds of folks here. Everything from displays that have to be in the 6 digits to folks just happy to hang a string of lights. This hobby lends itself well to the DIY crowd.

Fading LED's. You should spend some time here. My experience with many different brands (Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, Cosco) have been real favorable with LOR. The only problem LED's were the ones purchased from CDI. It appears that this problem has been resolved and CDI is standing behind their product and allowing an exchange.

Transmitter. LOR sells the wholehouse brand transmitter. While there have been a few that have posted good results, most comments have been negative. Definately want to spend time in this forum. I don't recall reading anything about the FM10C. An apparent good low cost option is mobileblackbox.

The PC controller in ready to go or complete package (solder or assemble) come with the high capacity heat sinks. If you order just the card, you have the option of low power heat sinks. If I recall correctly, it's the ready to go or complete package deals that go on sale.

Hope that helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks iresq.

Quick followup for anyone:

If my total display only draws 12 amps when everything is on, can I plug BOTH of the leads of a 16 channel LOR unit into the same 15 amp circuit? I'd rather not have to install a new circuit breaker until I'm actually drawing more than 15 amps.

It seems silly to me to take a total of 12 amps and then split it on to 2 15 amps circuits.

And if it *is* okay to do that, is there any reason I can't run a single 12 gauge ext cord to the LOR unit, split it AT the unit, and plug both leads in to that? It seems to me that the 12g cord should be able to handle the 12 amps.

Of course I realize that down the road as soon as I start drawing more than 14 or so amps I should absolutely give each bank of 8 their own circuit.

Thanks in advance.

- Phil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If your handy with a soldering iron and technical, then check out something like the Renard24 over at doityourselfchristmas forums. The 2008 cost via group buys for the board + parts was around $55 per Renard24. The vixen software is freeware. Support is via. the forums and from fellow DIY members. Not for the timid or non-technical crowd. I prefer LOR myself, but for the right persons, you can't beat the price of the DIY boards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks iresq.

Quick followup for anyone:

If my total display only draws 12 amps when everything is on, can I plug BOTH of the leads of a 16 channel LOR unit into the same 15 amp circuit? I'd rather not have to install a new circuit breaker until I'm actually drawing more than 15 amps.

It seems silly to me to take a total of 12 amps and then split it on to 2 15 amps circuits.

And if it *is* okay to do that, is there any reason I can't run a single 12 gauge ext cord to the LOR unit, split it AT the unit, and plug both leads in to that? It seems to me that the 12g cord should be able to handle the 12 amps.

Of course I realize that down the road as soon as I start drawing more than 14 or so amps I should absolutely give each bank of 8 their own circuit.

Thanks in advance.

- Phil

To add a safety margin, it is recommended to use 80% of the outlets rated power. In this case, 80% of 15 amps is 12 amps. You are fine here. However, if you get closer to pulling 15 amps, a separate circuit would be recommended. The key here is to understand what your actual load is (as not all the lights will be on all the time). Do you have the amp draw tool to show what each sequence actually draws? It can be found here.

As for the extension cord, 14 gauge would be ok to 50', 12 gauge to 100'.

I have 4 controllers plugged into two 14 gauge extension cords. It's really all about knowing your draw.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a Kill-A-Watt P3 meter, which says that my total draw is ~10.5 amps. That is *everything* on and no animation. I can't imagine that a sequence would ADD draw (aside from some overhead for the LOR unit), so that's why I said the max would be 12 amps.

Thanks again!

Edited by RiscIt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...