I apologize for the poor video/sound quality of these, but I thought you all might like to see what Light Show Master is capable of. I don't have any Halloween music sequenced yet for this year. I need to get cracking on that!
I'd like to think it's not too difficult. It's a visual editor. A LSM sequence is kind of like a piano roll on a player piano. A column represents an instance of time and a row represents a channel with 1 or more Insteon devices assigned. You just click on the cells to add an effect. You can download the unregistered version and try it out for free. Basically you can't play sequences longer than 1 minute with the unregistered version. The manual for the new version isn't available yet, so it might be a little confusing if you don't know how things work. I can email you a quick guide if you want.
The software is called "Light Show Master" and it is available for download from JLTSoft. As a disclaimer, I am the actual author of this software.
Light Show Master works with Insteon technology, which is a very popular home automation technology created by SmartLabs/Smarthome. I have no affiliation with SmartLabs/Smarthome other than they do carry the full version of my software in their retail store. I don't make or sell the hardware. I basically make the software that takes a technology normally used for home automation and push it to the limits to make it do realtime light shows.
Light Show Master is sending commands to a PLM (PowerLincModem) which is connected to a serial port on your computer. The PLM is plugged into an outlet in your home. The commands it receives over the serial port are then transmitted over the powerline of your house using the Insteon protocol. These commands are picked up by the LampLinc modules which are plugged into outlets anywhere in the house. It is these LampLinc modules that the lights are plugged into. The cool thing with this technology is you could have your PLM plugged into an outlet in your office, and your LampLinc modules could be outside in a weatherproof container plugged into a outlet(s) on the outside of your house. The data is actually transmitted over the powerline. So you don't have to drill holes in the wall or snake cords out the window to your lights.
The demo videos are using 7 channels with 7 LampLinc modules. I could have easily scattered the LampLinc modules all around the house and they would have still worked.
Also note that you could use almost any Insteon-enabled light switch or device with Light Show Master. I have a couple of users that have modified fog machine trigger controllers so that they can trigger the fog machine with Light Show Master.
Insteon is similiar to X-10 in that it uses the powerline to communicate between devices. But it is a far superior technology. It is much faster, more reliable, and far more consistent and advanced than X-10. According to the whitepaper on Insteon at http://www.insteon.net/pdf/insteoncompared.pdf, Insteon is 16 times faster than X-10. I have an offset setting in Light Show Master which allows the user to fine-tune the timing of the commands sent by Light Show Master. This is a simple slider that allows you to change the offset in 1/1000 of a second increments, + or -. This allows you to make Light Show Master send the command early to account for delays in communication so that the lighting commands appear right on time and in sync with your music. I have mine set to -0.1 seconds.
X- that was a terrific explanation. The is going to be my next project. The ideas are already flying around in my head. I guess I really only need to purchase your software, the PLM and the Lamplinc modules. One for each lamp or device. Thanks again!
No problem, happy to help. You might also need 2 AccessPoints to couple the communications between the 2 phases of your house if all your devices aren't on the same phase. All the circuit breakers on one side of your circuit breaker box are usually on 1 phase, and all the breakers on the right side of your circuit breaker box are on the other phase. If you use only outlets that are on circuits on one side of your breaker box, then you probably wouldn't need AccessPoints. AccessPoints also allow you to use Insteon RF. There is a wireless Insteon motion detector that's supposed to be available any day now. I have a feature in LSM that allows you to trigger a show to start playing when it receives a signal from any Insteon device that you specify. You could use an Insteon motion detector for this.
The access points are just plug-in modules. You just plug each one into any outlet in your house, as long as the outlets are not on the same phase. They do 2 things. Any Insteon signals on the powerline received by 1 AccessPoint is transmitted over RF to the other AccessPoint, which then retransmits the signal back onto the powerline so that any Insteon devices on the other power phase will also receive the signals. The other thing the AccessPoints do is to take Insteon RF signals received from the RemoteLinc, motion detector, wireless thermostat control, or other Insteon RF device and retransmits those signals on the powerline. You can actually just use a single AccessPoint if that's all you want to do.
That makes sense. I think I would like to put this system to use with a narration or something with more of a soundtrack feel than just music. Do you have any experience with that and are there any time limits or number of modules you can connect with LSM?
You can certainly do that. You can play any audio that you want, Light Show Master doesn't care. It is important to understand that Light Show Master doesn't create the sequences for you. You have to place the lighting commands on the sequence using the visual sequence editor. It doesn't place the commands for you.
If you are talking about the unregistered version of Light Show Master, then the limits are as follows:
You can create sequences longer than 1 minute, but playback is automatically shut off after the 1st minute. But there's nothing stopping you from creating or loading longer sequences, you just can't play more than the first minute.
You are limited to 16 channels in the unregistered version. Usually this isn't a problem unless you actually plan to control 16 Insteon devices individually. There is no limit to how many devices can be assigned to a single channel, but remember that all devices assigned to that channel will always respond to every command in that channel.
And finally, you cannot have more than 3 sequences in your show in the unregistered version.
That's it... there are no other restrictions or limitations in the unregistered version.
There are limitations in the Insteon protocol that I have no control over. One such limitation is that there are only 254 unique group number addresses that can be used. Each channel uses at least one of these group numbers, and each channel could use up to 20 group numbers if you enable all 20 fade intervals on that channel. Once you use up all 254 group numbers, you won't be able to add any more devices or fade intervals on channels. But that's more than most people will ever use. Fortunately, you can choose to only enable the fade intervals you know you will use on a channel. Light Show Master handles on the group management for you so you don't really have to worry about it. It will also show you how many groups are being used.
I will purchase the registered version, but probably not until after Halloween. I have too much to do as it is! At that point I will have to figure out exactly what you mean by sequences, groups and channels.