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I will feel you guys in on a little trick with these that us that use AL or LOR do. We connect them to FM transmitters that will transmit to guests radios by turning there radio to a certain station. This will make it to where you don't have to use the speakers so it won't matter what it sounds like. This way people can hear the music that is synced to the lights from there car stereo.
People did this last year to the Mr. Christmas units and it is a very cheap $5 dollar hack and you can even use a Belkin iPod transmitter if you don't want to use a FM transmitter. I will look for the hack and post it.
For us that use AL or LOR we just connect the transmitter to our computers since the computer is what is playing the show. Marks display being the perfect example except he is using the Monster Brain, but it can be connected straight to it through the audio outputs, if using LOR then the MP3 Director if you are running stand alone and not from a computer with both companies.
Thanks for the input Daddy, it probably is something wierd like that.
And tks Texan for the nfo,
Finished business, I brought it back to the store. Last night I undid my lights from MR C and hooked it up with my mp3 player, the only one that worked, and it does not keep up with the sound of full music, it looks like the lights are just blinking, there is no choreographed blinking, at the beginning of a song with a few notes, more than have the lights light up together. Whatever processor they have inside does not handle the full music as well as its 10 onboard midi type music. So no more fighting with it. I will stay with MR C for now.
Texan, help me out, I had read some of your post on another forum and sounds like you are well informed about LOR. If I can scrape up the funds I may take a shot at it instead of trying stuff like this and getting discouraged.
This is what I am trying to do. Basically I have a small display of about 2500 - 3000 lights (I am guessing about that many), with more than half being LED. At this point in time I am trying to stay around that amount as not to overload my 20 amp outside GFI outlets. I dont foresee, at least in the near future, of going more than that and adding some more circuits for my Christmas lights. Me and my family are content with that amount and we live in the rear of some property away from the main road so I decorate mainly for my family and friends.
I currently have the six channel MR C that does a good job for what it is playing midi music, however there does not have mp3 capability and even if it did I dont believe it could handle full music and separate it properly.
I saw they have an 8 channel and 16 channel LOR box and would like your opinion on this trying to spend as less money as possible, 8 channels would suffice, however I am sure 16 would be better.
My idea is to use one of these boxes, without a computer, and use their mp3 director box, the mini one that is I think $129. I see that there is an audio plug on this little box which I assume is where you would plug in for the external speaker to play the mp3s from the programmed media card.
Can you give me your opinion on what I would need to buy to accomplish this.
I already have a mulitcard reader on my computer to program the media card for the director box.
Your minimum LOR purchase would be the software with the RS485 adapter (either the serial or USB version), and a controller. If you want to use the controller as a stand-alone, without a computer, you're going to have to get a director controller or the mini-director and a separate controller, not the inexpensive CTB controller. The mini-director, if you haven't noticed, is designed to trigger on a button (or PIR), and does not have a clock to automatically turn on the shows. You may find it unsuitable for your application due to this ommission.
I guess the issue is how handy are you? You can buy the controllers as solder-parts-onto-the-board-kits, assembled-board-screw-in-the-18-power-cords-kits, or as fully assembled units. There's a largish price differential in terms of % of total purchase price, but not a whole lot of difference in actual $ if you count your time as being worth anything. The top end here is over $700 to start. The bottom, about $250 (16 channel kit) or $300 (16 channel assembled board kit) if you've a computer to use to run the show. For the most bare-bones kits, see this page:
I, personally, would NOT recommend running the show on a director card. I run 96 channels at Halloween, and 160 at Christmas, off of a 600mhz Dell GX-1 of 1998 vintage. The cost of a dedicated or surplus computer is typically less than the cost of the MP3 director units. And, I find it's a lot easier to sit down at the computer, make a few tweaks to the programs (while they're running!), and save them than to have to deal with transferring the entire show back onto the SD card and putting it back into the mini director.
LOR has an annual sale in May/June, where everything is 20% off. Unless you're gung ho to convert from MR-C this year, you can save yourself some bucks by waiting to buy then. Sign-up for their mailing list at Light-O-Rama. Control lights, music, and special effects. to hear about the sale.
Tks for the nfo, Craig, I was looking at this one:
Card Assembled (Complete Package)
is says its now shipped with the controller card, so there is another type of controller that I would need to get to go with the mp3 mini director?
I had read about no timer but I was planning to manually turn on the unit daily, basically just trying to turn on the Lor and let it play then turn if off.
Tks for the tip on the off season, I will definitely sign up.
Craig is dead on and I agree with everything he says. I run 48 at Halloween and 112 channels at Christmas. I use the same controllers you are looking at and it is the best bang for the buck IMO....
Card Assembled (Complete Package)
Keep in mind though, that controller can NOT run standalone which means it will not work with the MP3 Director. You would have to get one of the showtime controllers in order for it to work with the MP3 director. It is pretty much the same controller, only fully assembled and can run stand alone, that is it. The savings for buying the controller above far outweighs using a stand alone one and using the MP3 director. I also echo what Craig said, it is easier to just connect it to your computer you have not via CAT5 cable or you can buy a bare bones computer from lets say Wal-Mart for like $300 which is cheaper to do it this way and gives you more flexibility. LOR S2 doesn't take much resources to run so you can run it from your computer now. I would recommend this method over the MP3 Director for many reasons, one being the cost savings.
Seeing that you are only running about 2500 - 3000 lights and most of them are LED you can easily run these with one 16 ch controller. I would go 16 ch just so you can expand later if you want, and you will want to, trust me. I am going off the top of my head but if I remember correctly it its 2 amps per channel, 15 per side and 30 amps total for the entire controller.
The trick to broadcasting your show is easy. You do not need speakers and this method is a lot easier and nice for your guests and your neighbors so they do not need have to hear it. This is also another advantage to using a computer, but it can be used with the MP3 Director if you trust your transmitter being outside, I know I don't. What you would need to get is a FM transmitter. The transmitter of choice is a Ramsey FM-30 or FM-100, or you can go really cheap but lose some quality and use a Belkin iPod transmitter. This will allow you to broadcast your show directly to the guests car stereo so they can hear it and won't drive your neighbors nuts. The transmitter would plug directly into your computer and it will play the music as your show runs on S2.
Since you are going with a simple 16 ch set up. LOR sequences.com has a TON of free 16 ch sequences ready to go for free that you can down load and open in S2 and the just move things around to what channel you want things on, if you want to move anything at all. Also LOR sells them as well, or you can sync your own shows.
So here are your options, only depends on your budget and what you want to spend. This is the min to get you started.
If you want the MP3 Director and a controller combo you can go with this one and it has the timer for it built in....
LOR1602W with MP3 Show Director
You can add on more controllers to this and have this one above as the master, but keep in mind you will have to buy the showtime controllers which cost a bit more because they are fully assembled and they can run standalone. Then you would need the S2 software so you can program shows to load to SD card. So you are looking at $800 for that package if you want to run standalone.
Now the best option and the cheapest to get started to run from your computer would be this one....
Card Assembled (Complete Package)
The you would need the S2 software and the adapter to convert CAT5 to serial.
SC485-RJ45 Serial Adapter
So with this package you are looking at $330 out the door and you are ready to go, but it has to be run from your computer. As you can see the better package and better savings is the one above.
Craig is right also about the sale, if you plan on waiting until next year I would want for the sale if you really want the showtime and run standalone with the MP3 Director. They don't mark down the CTB16PC kits very much if any at all. They also have wireless options to connect from your PC to your controller if you are unsure how to run a CAT5 to your controllers.
So the concensus is that Gemmy lightshow with mp3 hook up dosent really work?
I am mostly about halloween. But I did consider the LOR last year. I decided to spend that extra mony on halloween and a skulltronix.
I did buy gemmys light show tree trio. Limmited songs, poor quality audio. But really nice light syncing / choreographing (sp?). No work in programing a cool show.
Cool chaseing lights up and down trees , around trees and alternating detween the 3 trees
Only needed a mp3 hook up.
this year they have a new tree trio with mp3 hook up. I assume it will suffer the same drawbacks.
but then I assume it would randomly flash lights. It woulnt know when a "chase" would be appropriate.
In my opinion no, it did not work for me and I have read many posts that have come to the same conclusion, thats why I am basically finish with the all in one store bought stuff and going to go with LOR.
Tks both of you, Craig and Texan, ya'll have been a big help to this newbie, I do beleive I will take your advice and go with a computer to control the show, I have an old laptop with win 98 on it, I will try using that with the software.
Texan, I know this may sound stupid but on the transmitters, where do you hook it up, off of the computer?
edit: I got it, I found some pics of the rear of the Ramsey and the I saw the RCA jacks