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Need Some Advice For Next Year.


jagipson

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Greetings. I didn't feel like putting this in the newbie forum as I've been doing LoR for nearly 10 years. Before that, I even programmed a Siemens PLC to animate lights. But my display hasn't changed much from year to year. I only have 32 channels. I moved from one house to another after Christmas last, and I only have a $1000/yr budget to improve the show. I've been thinking about installing smart RGB ribbon under the eaves (permanently) to wall wash the house year round with white just for regular exterior illumination with the option to set colors for several holidays and then animate during Christmas. I can just barely do this with the budget using SanDevices and ribbon from Ray Wu's store. What I'm concerned with is that, while for most of the year, I can employ my Raspberry PI to set the ribbon color, I believe my LoR MP3 gen2 will not handle the 50 meters of ribbon along with the 32 channels of LoR AC control. If this is the case, then I need to acquire a dedicated computer for Christmas lights which will run a few hundred. Another concern is that I'm still running incandescent bulbs because I can't afford the 5-6 hundred needed to purchase all new LED lights to cover trees. So my dilemma is whether to put the RGB ribbon up and enjoy RaspPI-based exterior illumination the rest of the year but keep the ribbon static during next Christmas due to a lack off a controlling computer, or whether to do a tech refresh on my existing lights (replace them with LED) and purchase a dedicated computer that may sit unused until some future date, when I have the RGB ribbon. I also suppose this is a false dilemma if there are options I have not considered.

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Greetings. I didn't feel like putting this in the newbie forum as I've been doing LoR for nearly 10 years.

 

NEWBIE!  NEWBIE!  Oh, wait.  We don't harass newbies here so don't worry!  ;)  Besides you've been posting in the blowmolds forum so the 'molders will look out for you.

 

I don't really know the complete answer to your dilemma but some thoughts came to me while I was reading your post.  First off I don't think it takes a very hefty computer to run the LOR software.  (I could be wrong but you can check the LOR website and/or LOR forum.)  You could pick up a used computer cheap or possibly free.  A lot of people buy a new computer even though their old one is still pretty good.  You could scrounge around and see what you can find from friends, relatives, Craig's List, or small independent computer shops.  If your budget for what you want to do (with the wall wash) is just barely enough, maybe you should wait until next year.  It seems like most projects end up needing "a few more things" before they are finished.  You might run out of budget before you run out of project.  I can think of a few advantages of waiting.  You could save part of this year's budget and combine it with next year's budget to be sure you can get what you need/want.  You could save some money if you buy some of the things you want when the vendors start having their annual pre-sale events (usually January/February).  There are some sales going on now too.  If you decide to buy lights check out this thread:

 

As for the prospect of switching to LED lights you don't necessarily have to do it all at once.  (You don't have to switch at all if you don't want to.)  The main thing to keep in mind is that incandescent lights and LED lights generally don't look good together.  If you have both keep them separated to minimize the clash.  The most important ones to keep apart are clear incandescent and cool/pure white.  Those look terrible together because the incans will look brown.

 

TED

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I second TED's post.  Most people I know use an older computer to run the LOR show....nothing fancy.  If you buy your LED lights when they have sales you can usually get pretty good deals.  Buy in bulk if you can to get good prices.  I used to buy all my lights from http://www.christmas-lights-online.com/ but I just started buying them this year from http://www.holiday-light-express.com/ because their prices are a little better.  Christmas Lights Online is typically very responsive and if you have issues with sets are good about replacing them.  I have about 700 sets of lights from Christmas Lights Online that I've purchased over a period of 3 or 4 years.  This year I had about 15 sets fail (I think they were all apart of the original purchase I made back in 2011.  I emailed the company and they sent me replacements.  The great thing about the lights from these companies is that the bulbs are all 1 piece and sealed.  Moisture doesn't seep into the sockets and cause corrosion.

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Just did a quick price check and Christmas Lights Online is cheaper right now.  I also take a permanent marker and writer the year and month I bought each set.  This helps me to figure out how long sets are lasting and how old a set is when it fails and I need to contact the company.

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