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we need an Idiot's guide or computer control for dummies.


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I have tons of questions and I am having difficulty figuring out what I need.

Obviously, you can just go buy the entire set-up (big bucks and LOR is sold out)

or you can piece it together on your own but if you are clueless (like me) it is very difficult to understand what you need.

There are wonderful examples of how to make things but I haven't found a link that walks you through everything you need.

there will be a page about SSR's or control boxes or digital i/o cards but I haven't found a page that says, Okay, you need a digital i/o card and it has to do X or be type Y, then you need a Z that hooks to your D.

There are a number of digital i/o cards on Ebay but some seem to be for testing equipment, some seem to be for high end audio, other appear to connect to electric guitars, I am completely confused, not that it is difficlut to confuse me.

I would like someone to explain it to me like I was an idiot.

After this expalnation, my conclusion might be, STAY OUT OF THE DEEP END OF THER POOL and just wait until LOR restocks.

But I am incredibly interested in doing it myself but I don't have enough information to know if I have enough ability to tackle the job.

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You need to consider some things:

You need to consider:

1 – Are you capable of working with the voltage inherent in these pages without getting yourself or someone else killed or injured?

2 – Can you solder and make your own PCB boards if needed or do you know where to look to have them made for you?

3 – Do you know how much current a 14AWG wire can handle and do you need to consider the length as part of the factor?

4 – Can you figure out what size and type of fuse to put on your system?

5 – Is a GFI really worth it?

If you can not answer a resounding ‘YES’ to all the questions you do not need to be building your own equipment. I am sorry, I know of a family who lost a son due to not knowing what he was doing. They found him outside tangled in his display, been there all night. He was making adjustments on something and electrocuted himself. No fuses, no GFI, dead at 17. Please don’t think I am mean or uncaring, I do.

Spec

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That is why I answer some of the questions like I do on here. I hate to seem harsh or anything, but I guess I figure if you have to ask very many questions about wiring, call an electrician. We all have little questions every now and then, as all workers in all fields do, but electricity is dangerous, if you don't understand...don't touch.

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I've got what could be a stupid question, but goes along with the other poster in terms of connecting his D to his Z.

I do have a background in EE (but haven't really used it). butmy question concerns the software to controller interfaces. I know there are many different software packs LOR, DMX, Dasher, Comet.... and whatever other clever christmas allusions might be out there. I also know there are many different types of controllers from LOR, bsoft, x10, many homemade 'blue', 'black' etc boxes not to mention the whole line of DMX controls.

Is there any documentation available concerning the technical signalling/logic of the computer to controller interfaces. LOR has documentation concerning supported hardware and COMET seems to be a straight parallel cable channel control. What about all the other homemade stuff. What software is used to control them?

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There is very little information on any of the serial protocols. The serial protocols that support dimming LOR and AL are not published. There are several protocols that do not support dimming and most of this info is on http://computerchristmas.com

Be sure and do your homework before you jump into one of these Olsen 595 or other quick parallel designs. These designs only do simple on/off control and can costas much or more thanboards that do dimming. What I see happeningmany times ispeople look at a board like the Olsen and think it is a very cheap way to do computer control and it can be if you are just planning on using it today for a few channels.Then they realize thatthey want some of the dimming, ramp fades and other special feature the the canned system preform.

A lotof people don't look at all the cost before they jump in and buy a bunch of parts only to find out they spent almost as much for minimal operational control system as they would have if they bought a canned system. These systems are great if you just want to play with some light control and build your own stuff. But if you are looking at controlling over 50 channel be sure you have considered all your options and that the design you choose meets your needs now and the next few years.

We make a Circuit board kit that supports dimming and is a nice platform to use with canned systems or if you would like to developer your own procotol http://www.d-light.us/

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I would also like to know some answers on what boards are need to get started. And what an ssr is and other boards mentioned. I would like to buy it already done but it is much more expensive and i contacted D-Light and never even recieved a reply. But anyway i would rather do it all myself learn how to do it and keep building from there. So this way i could tell people i built this from start to finish not store bought. This is my kind of project and i have a whole year to learn because i could never get it done i a couple of days. PLEASE HELP US NEWBEES you where there once yourself. And im an electrician so i can wire just not to good with make pcb's yet.

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  • 1 year later...

Just remember everyone has done something they shouldn't, and knew better not to take proper safety precaution where they should. Any time you take on projects, use safety all the time. Your family wants you to. And to the professional people, do you best to inform the forum of the pro and cons along with dangers of doing this type of project. Your mistakes you made, may educate others from your lessons. There are too many minds here not to come up with safe ideas for everyone to enjoy.Share the news and promote safety.:smile:

P.S I'm truely sorry to about the young boy who lost his life.May God be with him:tree:

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If you want to learn about diy go over to www.computerchristmas.com and start reading the how-tos. It is not the nicest or easiest board to navigate but you will find what you need. Also go to www.vixenlights.com for the free software. Register at both those boards and you have gained the ability to ask some of the most tech savy christmas decorators anything about electronics and they will have the answers.

Brian

128 channels of on/off for around 500.00 Add dimming for less than another 100.00

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967andy wrote:

I have tons of questions and I am having difficulty figuring out what I need.

Obviously, you can just go buy the entire set-up (big bucks and LOR is sold out)

or you can piece it together on your own but if you are clueless (like me) it is very difficult to understand what you need.

There are wonderful examples of how to make things but I haven't found a link that walks you through everything you need.

The thing about home built controllers is that everyone does it a little different. This is probably why there aren't how-to articles that take you through the whole process. When I first started reading the forums on computerchristmas my eyes nearly crossed at the technical information. After reading there for nearly a year one day it just hit me and I finally understood exactly how the 320 port parallel controller worked. By this time there were people working away on the Olsen 595 controller. Also by this time I had realized that if I was going to build something I wanted it to be able to do dimming. My point is that it takes quite a while for all the technical information to soak in to where you can understand it. I have a pretty good understanding of how a lot of things work but I still feel like I'm miles behind those people (both here and on computerchristmas) that I think of as geeks, oops I mean as gurus. :shock:

You may want to investigate what is available in kit form. I think the most channels per $ in kit form is available from D-light (http://www.d-light.us/). Otherwise just keep reading until things start to make sense. There's really no shortcut. Until you understand and know which route you want to go,you aren't ready to build.

TED

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Boarder3,

I can not send you an email if you do not have one listed in your profile. My email is listed so send me a questiona dn I will send you and answer.

Also please update your profile to reflect your location. It is very useful on this board if others know where you are.

Brian

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