RGB lighting is coming at us like a freight train. Light-O-Rama kicked off the trend years ago with their incredible Cosmic Color Ribbons. What newbies don’t realize is that 16 foot (5 meters) ribbon of light with 150 little LEDs is broken into 50 pixels (think sections) and each pixel requires three control channels, one for red, one of green and another for blue. 50 pixels means 150 control channels. 12 ribbons means 1800 channels. Good gosh. Creating a sequence for a 16 channel controller is a challenge for most people.
Now I’m seeing RGB displays approaching 100,000 control channels. Any bulb, any color, any time. My head hurts just thinking about that monster!
There’s got to be a better way. Most decorators don’t have unlimited budgets and rocket scientist minds. It needs to be simple enough for my mother to use.
Looks like Light-O-Rama is ahead of the curve again as they introduce their geeky sounding CMB24B RGB controller. It’s an eight pixel controller board. 3 channels for each pixel means 24 channels. More than 16 but certainly less than 100,000.
The trick is a new breed of RGB devices called single pixel (aka: dumb) lights.
A good example is an RGB flood. It looks like your typical small incandescent flood light but it’s RGB and LED based… meaning the light produced can be any color of the rainbow and all controlled by the computer. Cool. A 10 watt (at 12 volts) RGB flood light is about $30 and outdoor rated.
Then there are the RGB based single pixel (dumb) light ribbons. Each is 16 feet long and has 150 LEDs… just like the Comic Color Ribbons, but all the LEDs are wired together meaning the entire ribbon is one color, but since it’s RGB based, it can be any color you want. Now we’re talking. I should probably mention a single pixel ribbon is only about 25% the cost of a 50 pixel ribbon.
Did I mention RGB lights use 12VDC so you don’t have to worry about zotting yourself? I’m feeling safer already.
Now you can start thinking about leaving the lights up year-round. Since RGB pixels can be any color, you can theme your venue. Pink for Valentines, orange and purple for Halloween, red/green/white/gold for Christmas. See where I’m going? I’m getting pretty darn excited just thinking about this one.
The only gotcha right now is the Light-O-Rama CMB24D controller board doesn’t include a case or 12VDC power supply. No big deal if you’re a DIY type. It’s a semi-big deal for my mother… at least right now.
The Light-O-Rama store has a new RGB section. Check it our at http://store.lightorama.com/rgbdevices.html
You might also check the September 2013 issue of PlanetChristmas for an article on how to deploy this ‘Simple RGB’. Start at http://a2.planetchristmas.com/Magazine/September2013