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I Heart Lights - Tacky Light Tour (Ball Jersey)
You might be tacky if municipal planners and engineers consider building a new off ramp from the highway to your neighborhood, and install temporary traffic lights at each intersection around your house from Thanksgiving to the new year.
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computerized display

How to do it yourself Christmas displays
Kim Alejandro
Kim Alejandro
Posts: 2
7/12/2011 10:40:14 AM
I started out many year ago just installing your basic lights around the yard an
Tom Lawrence
Tom Lawrence
Posts: 3
7/12/2011 1:40:22 PM
Hi, My name is Earle and my family and I are interested in upgrading to computerized lighting displays, if you would could you recommend a system and how many channels we may need. My display is listed under TOM in Cottage City, MD 20722. There are so many options I dont know where to begin.
Kent Vosburg
Kent Vosburg
Posts: 152
7/13/2011 3:57:52 AM
Hi Earle, and welcome to the madness.

You will find that you have MANY options at your disposal. So many that it can make your head spin. When I was searching for a product the one thing I wanted was a great product, and one that was well used so if I did have questions I was able to get answers. With that, that is why I choose Light-o-rama (LOR). You can find cheaper, or more expensive products, but you will find that LOR has a large market share.

As for how many channels you should use, only you can answer that. You will find that most people use hundred of channels or their displays. The key is that you don't want to go 100% animated in one year. You will find you will be spending all your time sequencing from now on if you did. I would recommend starting with 2-3 controllers which would give you 32-48 channels of control. I haven't seen your display yet, but that is a good place to start. LOR is getting ready to have their summer sale, if it hasn't started yet, so you have great timing. Another reason to come in slowly, is you will find that SO many options are out their for controllers, and that many things are changing right now. Many people are either using, or starting to use DMX for more control of part of their display. Nice thing is that LOR can control AC, DC, and DMX all together.

READ read read. Watch video's on Youtube, and Vimeo. Get ideas about what and how you can control. Find what you like from others displays that would work great for you.

Don't hesitate to ask questions, I may not have the perfect answer, but I am sure I may know someone who will.

Kent
Tom Lawrence
Tom Lawrence
Posts: 3
7/14/2011 10:38:39 AM
Kent,
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I think I may be overwhelmed with the controls and the programing, with any luck the directions will be through but its doubtfful..lol. What have you heard on the mega-brain, master-brain...i forget the exact name but they are really expensive. I do have a lap top that i plan to use exculsively for christmas displays, will that help reduce the cost?
Kent Vosburg
Kent Vosburg
Posts: 152
7/15/2011 6:15:09 AM
Tom Lawrence wrote:
Kent,
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I think I may be overwhelmed with the controls and the programing, with any luck the directions will be through but its doubtful..lol. What have you heard on the mega-brain, master-brain...i forget the exact name but they are really expensive. I do have a lap top that i plan to use exculsively for christmas displays, will that help reduce the cost?


I have talked to several people are working on the latest and greatest things. So far, what I have heard is... "this is the next step in the progression, anyone who can sequence can do this". So with that I would start with the basics if you want to go animated this year. The other thing is that EVERYONE is attempting to make the next great thing this year. I have a feeling that some of these will end up folding next year, and we will find out who the 2-3 real contenders are. Only time will tell.
Kent
Allison Alerine
Allison Alerine
Posts: 128
7/19/2011 5:44:45 AM
I started off with no electronics background and figured it out pretty easy.. seems the upgrades and software problems I am having are getting tougher for me to deal with .. might be time to change stuff up
Kent Vosburg
Kent Vosburg
Posts: 152
7/19/2011 3:04:30 PM
Allison, I think you are in the majority.

Most of us started with little to no electrical experience, and just started doing a bit here and there. So many projects require just a bit of electrical work. So many projects, so little time.
Allison Alerine
Allison Alerine
Posts: 128
7/19/2011 7:05:39 PM
wish I had a buddy that can walk me though this stuff.. or wish I had time to take some classes.. beyond clueless
Erin Spindler
Erin Spindler
Posts: 79
7/31/2011 5:49:18 AM
Allison Alerine wrote:
wish I had a buddy that can walk me though this stuff.. or wish I had time to take some classes.. beyond clueless

Allison, I agree with you. I am trying to get people together in my area that have Christmas light displays. It is hard to look at your own work and say does that look good. For some reason nobody wants to have a cup of coffee or anything in the area. We have probably 8 electronic displays in the area. I wish i could get some help in person. Just would like some feedback or other ideas on my sequencing. I wish you luck.
Allison Alerine
Allison Alerine
Posts: 128
7/31/2011 6:16:42 AM
Thanks... and you as well... believe it or not we set one of our security cameras with sound down by the street.. can spy on what people are saying.. when they did the judging for our town contest.. we heard the one lady call it tacky (which we love that).. and a guy said "Christmas is supposed to be tacky".. LOL.. just got excited someone was agreeing with us :)
Lee Alder
Lee Alder
Posts: 9
7/31/2011 1:38:03 PM
Several forums like http://doityourselfchristmas.com/ have tons of information and people to answer questions.
Lee Alder
Lee Alder
Posts: 9
7/31/2011 1:41:56 PM
Allison: What would you like to know? I am a programmer and a hardware hacker so I can do a bunch. Draw? Not so much.

I am currently using an open source systerm called Vixen (http://vixenlights.com/) it allows me to build mine own controllers thus cutting down on cost. I am sticking to the DMX system just seams to work
Erin Spindler
Erin Spindler
Posts: 79
7/31/2011 2:27:59 PM
Tom Lawrence wrote:
Kent,
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I think I may be overwhelmed with the controls and the programing, with any luck the directions will be through but its doubtfful..lol. What have you heard on the mega-brain, master-brain...i forget the exact name but they are really expensive. I do have a lap top that i plan to use exculsively for christmas displays, will that help reduce the cost?

Tom, This is my first yr using LOR it takes a while to sequence a song. But the final results are worth it. I would recommend LOR.
Allison Alerine
Allison Alerine
Posts: 128
7/31/2011 5:00:18 PM
guess I have to take the plunge and try the software.. thanks for your posts
Allison Alerine
Allison Alerine
Posts: 128
7/31/2011 5:05:41 PM
Lee Alder wrote:
Allison: What would you like to know? I am a programmer and a hardware hacker so I can do a bunch. Draw? Not so much.

I am currently using an open source systerm called Vixen (http://vixenlights.com/) it allows me to build mine own controllers thus cutting down on cost. I am sticking to the DMX system just seams to work

thank you very much!!!... I am not even sure where to begin asking questions about it.. just lost .. right now we have a few 16 channel d-light boxes and a servo controller.. have a bunch of songs programed with aurora .. and we do own a dmx fog machine for halloween .. don't even know how to hook that up.. LOL
Lee Alder
Lee Alder
Posts: 9
8/1/2011 6:26:24 AM
Wow a mix of items.
Well first off Vixen should talk to your D-lights boxes and your DMX fogger (with proper interfaces) and the price is right... FREE. Not sure about the servo controller. The Aurora files do not convert (yet) as the format is proprietary and is not likely to be made available to the public.
Vixen (vixenlights.org) is open source and 10,000 geeks can't be wrong!
Kent Vosburg
Kent Vosburg
Posts: 152
8/1/2011 3:41:08 PM
Erin Spindler wrote:
Tom Lawrence wrote:
Kent,
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I think I may be overwhelmed with the controls and the programing, with any luck the directions will be through but its doubtfful..lol. What have you heard on the mega-brain, master-brain...i forget the exact name but they are really expensive. I do have a lap top that i plan to use exculsively for christmas displays, will that help reduce the cost?

Tom, This is my first yr using LOR it takes a while to sequence a song. But the final results are worth it. I would recommend LOR.


many people are making many different ideas so hopefully some come out with a good price.
A laptop should be able to handle it. As you do more songs you will see it gets faster the more you use it.
Allison Alerine
Allison Alerine
Posts: 128
8/1/2011 6:07:57 PM
Kent Vosburg wrote:

As you do more songs you will see it gets faster the more you use it.

I totally agree with that.. the first few were painful.. after that.. piece of cake
Lyman Rate
Lyman Rate
Posts: 1
8/28/2011 4:32:39 PM
Hello - I just want to pipe in and say that Light o Rama - LOR has some very good tutorials available that has helped many... one thing I recommend is if you have someone who you know that does a animated/synchronized display is to talk with them and ask questions. It never hurts to see exactly what you are getting into. In fact I have a couple of articles that I've done on getting into a computerized/synchronized display. Go over to www.planetchristmas.com and look for the magazine. There is an article in the spring 2010 and september 2010 issues. Both of them are on synchronized lighting displays... I took a large amount of information and put it into a article for everyone to be able to use!
Allison Alerine
Allison Alerine
Posts: 128
8/29/2011 3:57:06 AM
thanks will check it out

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