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Discussion Starter #1
Hello-

I'd like to try out some light techniques this year--- very basic stuff.

I have 2 attic dormer windows that I want to stage identical ghosts in. I would have a third identical ghost of my front porch....right up by the door, full size.

My idea is: Using 4 different colored 100 watt blue flood lights: Fade in / fade out on ghost #1 in attic window #1. Fade in /fade out on ghost #2 in attic window #2. Then BLAST a shocking light or strobes on ghost #3, standing by the front door.

The thought is that this might look like the ghost is "moving" from window 1 to window 2, then appears full size by the door.

QUESTION IS: Would I be able to accomplish this with a simple 4 channel light controller with fading capability like these products here?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/AMERICAN-DJ-ELATION-DP-415-4-CHANNEL-CH-5-8-DMX-10-POSITION-DIMMER-SWITCH-PACK-1-/360908954938

http://www.environmentallights.com/12908-wl-cont-4-8f.html

I realize these are two different products- so I have no idea which one is best- or if there is something else, can someone help get me in the right place?

I do not want to spend more than $75 for the product.

Here's the house so you can understand what I am thinking of doing:

house 1303.jpg
 

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This seems like a doable project, but there are some challenges with the controllers you posted. The first one, the DMX fader, would do the job nicely, but you would need an external controller to operate the DMX triggers on schedule. You could do that with another commercial DJ/theater product, but that would likely put you out of your price range, or you could go the DIY route, but you'd need to get comfortable with soldering and microcontrollers.

The second one, the Christmas light controller, might be able to light up the lights in sequence, but doing it in a controllable way will be problematic. You likely won't be able to control how long the lights are on for or how quickly they shift from one light to another, and triggering it would have to consist of turning the whole box on and off, which also may or may not guarantee that it will start on the same light each time.

Basically, you'll probably have to either spend more than $75 dollars, or start learning to work with electronics and microcontrollers. I don't know of any cheap, flexible commercial lighting sequencers - if anybody else does, I'd be very interested to see. With an Arduino, a relay board like one of these, and some time, you could do this for about $45 (no dimming, though, just on/off), but again, you'd need to learn basic coding, and be comfortable doing some simple work with mains electricity wiring. If you're willing to spend significantly more for a much more versatile solution, something like a Light-O-Rama box would give you a lot of options.

From this and the discussion here, I get the feeling there's a need for a simple light sequencer that just turns on one light after another, for variable times and with variable gaps. A non-microcontroller version could probably be done for less than $25 in parts. Another thing on the list...
 

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My option is over your budget but I think it would lay a great foundation for what you currently want to do while easily handling any additions you'd want to do in the future.....

1. VSA software (many here can help you because that's what the majority of haunters are currently using)
2. Enntec?sp box so you can go from your computers usb to DMX
3. DMX Dimmer Pack Make sure when looking at these you get a DIMMER pack and not just a power pack so you have dimming capabilities like you want to do....The nice thing about this option is it has 4 channels of standard plug sockets so you can just plug in any lights you already have laying around.....

There are dedicated boxes (still expensive) but you are very limited in expandability by going that route.....The nice thing about VSA is this year you'd only have to learn how to make four channels work....The more you delve into it though the more possibilities you'll see....You could even add a sound track and sync your strobe effect to something like a thunder clap if you wanted....ZR

EDIT - That American DJ/Elation ebay link you have in the OP is exactly what I'm talking about for a DMX Dimmer Pack......So you'd have - PC running VSA>Entec box>DMX Dimmer to your lights.....That's it!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you Zombie Radar!

I will look into these items.

Like I said i have a little bit of coding knowledge, but it's the electronics part that makes me scared.

I am sure I am actually nervous over nothing and will love this once I have done it!

My option is over your budget but I think it would lay a great foundation for what you currently want to do while easily handling any additions you'd want to do in the future.....

1. VSA software (many here can help you because that's what the majority of haunters are currently using)
2. Enntec?sp box so you can go from your computers usb to DMX
3. DMX Dimmer Pack Make sure when looking at these you get a DIMMER pack and not just a power pack so you have dimming capabilities like you want to do....The nice thing about this option is it has 4 channels of standard plug sockets so you can just plug in any lights you already have laying around.....

There are dedicated boxes (still expensive) but you are very limited in expandability by going that route.....The nice thing about VSA is this year you'd only have to learn how to make four channels work....The more you delve into it though the more possibilities you'll see....You could even add a sound track and sync your strobe effect to something like a thunder clap if you wanted....ZR

EDIT - That American DJ/Elation ebay link you have in the OP is exactly what I'm talking about for a DMX Dimmer Pack......So you'd have - PC running VSA>Entec box>DMX Dimmer to your lights.....That's it!
 

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No Problem.....Actually I don't know how to code at all and was able to put together some pretty cool stuff using VSA....It helped to use a gamepad joystick to record the values in real time....Here's the best place to get started to see what it's about - http://www.brookshiresoftware.com/ Terra has a great video demonstrating a VSA setup with one of those dimmer packs you mentioned....But instead of plugging in a pneumatic like she did, you would simply plug in a light....Watch it here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TSbxErzhkI&index=10&list=PLC8595680726D569E Hope that helps.......ZR

Thank you Zombie Radar!

I will look into these items.

Like I said i have a little bit of coding knowledge, but it's the electronics part that makes me scared.

I am sure I am actually nervous over nothing and will love this once I have done it!
 
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