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Rgb Nodes V. Strips


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I'm looking into entering the RGB world and I'm not quite sure where to start.  Here are a few of my first questions that maybe the more experienced members can help with.  I'm an 8-year LOR user and currently running an 128 channel display that connects 4 houses in a row.  So I'm not a total newbie, but I'm not nearly as smart or as good with bare wires and circuits like most of the DIY folks on these boards (I'm jealous of your talents :))

 

  1. Strips v. nodes?  Which do you prefer?  I saw some nodes in person on a Halloween show and they were pretty cool.  Is one easier than the other to install?  Does one look better than the other?
  2. Best vendor to purchase RGB strips/nodes from?
  3. Has RGB strips/nodes been out long enough to know who offers the best quality product for the price?
  4. Do you have to know how to solder to work with RGB strips/nodes?
  5. Does anyone offer non soldering required product?
  6. I have LOR Advanced S3 software license, do I have to purchase the SuperStar add on to program?
  7. How difficult is it to program the RGB elements?  I'm pretty good with the basic sequencing features and can program fairly quickly now, but the RGB world looks intimidating to program.
  8. Dumb v. Smart - What is everyone using?  It seems like you have a lot more flexibility with the intelligent product, but then again, is having all of those individual nodes to sequence pretty difficult to program?  

Thanks in advance!

Brian

Edited by mcnamara9
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I'm looking into entering the RGB world and I'm not quite sure where to start.  Here are a few of my first questions that maybe the more experienced members can help with.  I'm an 8-year LOR user and currently running an 128 channel display that connects 4 houses in a row.  So I'm not a total newbie, but I'm not nearly as smart or as good with bare wires and circuits like most of the DIY folks on these boards (I'm jealous of your talents :))

 

  1. Strips v. nodes?  Which do you prefer?  I saw some nodes in person on a Halloween show and they were pretty cool.  Is one easier than the other to install?  Does one look better than the other? I prefer to use strip because I have found it to be more reliable because it doesnt have the same potential water ingress issues that strings can have. But saying that the strings have become a lot better. I find strip is better for outlines because you really only want to direct the light to the audience. But when using strip as an outline you then dont get the colour wash back onto the house. So you add in flood lights and then this gives you the ability to control your wall colour wash, so you could have an outline one colour and your wall wash another colour.
  2. Best vendor to purchase RGB strips/nodes from? Ray Wu Aliexpress store and look for the 2811 and 2812 IC type pixels which is most commonly used now days
  3. Has RGB strips/nodes been out long enough to know who offers the best quality product for the price? Rays quality has definetly improved over time but for $32 for a 5 metre digital strip, then thats hard to beat for price and value.  Many of the community have been using Ray for  years now, ive used him for the last 4 years and he understands our hobby and community
  4. Do you have to know how to solder to work with RGB strips/nodes? Not really, you can ask Ray for custom lengths and with cable and plug attached on the end (will cost more and take longer to ship)
  5. Does anyone offer non soldering required product? There are a few vendors that do offer this
  6. I have LOR Advanced S3 software license, do I have to purchase the SuperStar add on to program? No but it may help you with sequencing RGB lighting depending on the elements you may have
  7. How difficult is it to program the RGB elements?  I'm pretty good with the basic sequencing features and can program fairly quickly now, but the RGB world looks intimidating to program. This varies with software, I use LightShow Pro because I think its the best when dealing with RGB lighting
  8. Dumb v. Smart - What is everyone using?  It seems like you have a lot more flexibility with the intelligent product, but then again, is having all of those individual nodes to sequence pretty difficult to program?  Most will use smart nowdays because the price is not trhat much more for the added control you get. RGB will definetly add additional complexity to your system and sequencing, but there are tools and software that can assist with this.

Thanks in advance!

Brian

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Brian--one general thought--this is my first year to synch and I decided about 2 months ago to go RGB also.  This might be a bit late to jump into the RGB world, unless you have a LOT of time to devote to learning a lot of new stuff related to the RGBs.  I don't know a lot about networking, etc so it has been a pretty stiff learning curve for me.  I am glad I am getting into it though, as the RGBs are basically infinitely capable.  It is amazing what you can do with RGBs.   Looking forward to going with more RGBs next year.

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I've been using RGB for awhile and there is still lots to learn.  Ray Wu is the supplier that most folks use for lights.  Expect to wait since this is his busy season and expect to pay more than you thought for shipping.  I have been using TM1809 flexstrips starting last year and I ordered some WS2811 flexstrips recently, but to my surprise and continued learning I discovered that the WS2811 lights up 3 nodes at a time versus the TM1809 which light up 1 node at a time.  So everything depends on what you are going to use the products for.  I use nodes on my eaves and windows and porch columns.  I use TM1809 for a 7ft pixel tree.  I just built arches using the WS2811, because having 3 nodes lit at a time is not a problem there, but I had more that I was going to use to try to build a small matrix.  The 2811s would never work for a matix since you need individual node control.  I use standard LED strings on my mega tree and my mini trees because I think they look better that way than with RGB.  YMMV, but my point is that you have much to learn and I would not think about doing anything this year, at least not if was to be an important part of your display.  If it is one small minor element that lets you play with RGB and learn then go for it.  Last year was the first year for my pixel tree, but I did not get it up until mid Dec and then I only had it in one sequence.  But it was a great learning experience.

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