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Thread: I got my LOR controller to interface with DIY Lynx Express controller

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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default I got my LOR controller to interface with DIY Lynx Express controller

    Do you want to know how to make a $60 DIY controller work with $150+ LOR controllers using LOR S2 software--then keep reading?

    It is official. I got my Lynx Express DIY controller and LOR controller to talk using DMX and using LOR S2 software (not Light Show Pro). I used LOR's iDMX interface module using DMX to send the signal to the DIY controller to which was linked by a CAT5 ethernet cable to the LOR controller. It was a learning experience. So, I thought that I would share how I did it. When you power up the LOR controllers, it listens to see if you are communicating with it via LOR protocol or DMX protocol. That part is the key thing to remember, but it does it automatically.

    The LOR DMX channels start at LOR hex address E0 and continue upward from there. DMX channel 1 is actually LOR channel E0. So, you program the controllers to respond to channel 1 but your software is set to E0. Also, the wiring from DIY to LOR requires a changeover connector. I made my own. Here's how to do it. Basically, the LOR and DIY pins on the Cat5 ethernet cable are different. The diagram is straight forward, but in the next paragraph, I'll tell you most of all you need to know.

    http://diylightanimation.com/wiki/in...pment_with_DLA

    If you want to make a cable that will work universally with LOR or DIY, then make this cable.
    LOR iDMX XLR pin 2 is connected to cat5 white/blue stripe and orange wire.
    LOR iDMX XLR pin 3 is connected to cat5 white/orange stripe and blue wire.

    To go from an LOR controller to DIY controller directly, you have to switch the ethernet cable pins so a cable rewire is necessary. Basically, all you need to do is cut an ethernet cable in half and wire twist together white/blue stripe and orange wire. Then twist together the cat5 white/orange stripe and blue wire. That cable will send the signals to the correct pins. I plan on making several of these adapters. I'm sure somebody has come up with an adapter. You don't need more than one adapter if you only switch between the LOR and DIY controllers once. I plan to use the Easy Light Linkers to transmit DMX all through the yard where I will mix together the DIY and LOR controllers several times. You know, I haven't tried it yet, but I may only need to do this adapter one time. I think the controllers will telegraph the wiring changeover. I'll test that out later. If I use ELLs then each network will require an adapter.

    After I found out the info above, the controllers worked great. Now I have a 16 channel controller that works using S2 software for about $60 a controller instead of $150 to $200 dollars. Did I just get your attention?
    Al

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    Professional Net Lurker Jack Stevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: I got my LOR controller to interface with DIY Lynx Express controller

    Al -

    Thanks for that info; now I have a cable question for you. Ok, I come out from my LOR dongle to the iDMX1000 then to an adapter that would put the DMX signal out on pins 1 and 2. If I were to run the LOR protocol on pins 4 and 5, and the DMX on pins 1 and 2, would the signals be carried through the non-applicable controller onto the next controller?

    What I mean is, if the first controller on the cable is a LOR controller, would pins 1 and 2 be carried through to get to the second controller if it's a DMX? And if the third controller on the cable is a LOR, would the DMX controller connect pins 4 and 5 through so the LOR ptotocol could get to controller #3?

    Or would it be more appropriate to just run two sets of signal cables, one for LOR protocol, the other for DMX? Yes, I have used shimmer/twinkle.

    Conversely, I'm also thinking of using a DMX dongle and LightShow Pro that runs both protocols; same question could apply - can you use the same cat 5 cable to carry both protocols.

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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: I got my LOR controller to interface with DIY Lynx Express controller

    Jack,
    Question 1: I don't know yet. I plan to setup a test. You know, I did that today--I think. I will have to think about that. I put the idmx cable into the LOR. THen plugged the other ethernet cable into the second connector and then plug in the DIY board threw an adapter. Yes it does/ might work. I need to make 100% sure though.
    Question 2: Yes you could. I plan to do that as a back up plan.
    Al

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    Registered User mschell's Avatar
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    Default Re: I got my LOR controller to interface with DIY Lynx Express controller

    Two items -
    In order to get that $60 controller working with LOR S2, you had to buy a $250 translator box (or whatever the iDMX costs). That's OK, just an added cost in your equation.

    Wiring - LOR controllers use some of the other pins for things like power for ELLs and the like, so trying to run DMX on 1/2 and LOR on 4/5 probably won't work. In fact, you could fry some components, or damage your DIY board if you connected it directly from a LOR controller with all pins connected. Reason is that LOR controller puts 12V or 5V on pin x, and the DIY board grounds pin x, and your Cat-5 becomes a fancy fuse or the DIY board burns up the RJ45 jack.

    Best practice would be to run two separate cables - 1 for LOR, and 1 for DMX. Yes, you need two dongles - 1 LOR, 1 DMX, but LSP doesn't have a problem with this. As you may recall, that's how I did mine this past year - 1-AL, 1-DMX.

    Or you can go Al's way, by using an iDMX to translate from LOR -> DMX and use S2.

    As for ELL's, I'd be careful. LOR protocol is serial and intermittent. DMX has a higher bandwidth and while still serial, is a constant transmit. I'm not sure ELL's can handle sending DMX. Also, ELL's require an LOR controller to supply power to them over the Cat-5, I believe, so your first controller inline with the ELL needs to be an LOR controller.
    Mark

    New location - new display. Looking forward to 2015 season!

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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: I got my LOR controller to interface with DIY Lynx Express controller

    The IDMX costs $190. If you buy 10 DIY controllers you would spend $600 + $190 for IDMX. The total cost is $790. For LOR it $175 (per controller) x10= $1750. $1750 (LOR cost) -$790 (DIY and IDMX cost) =$960 savings. That gets my attention. I can buy one or two CCRs and not have to steal them from Mel, John, and William.

    What I wanted to show, was that LOR and DIY can work together. I didn't want to complicate it with new software or strange things. Mark clearly demonstrated that LOR and DIY play nicely together this year with his display. His yard was a laboratory. I presently own 17 LOR controllers that I am mostly happy having. I plan to buy LOR DC controllers and Servodogs in the future. I also own 3 DIY controllers and plan to add 20 more in the future. I don't want to reinvent the wheel. I like S2 but would like the flexibility and horsepower of LSP (Light Show Pro software). As I mentioned, I have the flexibility to drop back to LOR networks and DMX networks if need be. However, I plan to run my display with DMX this year. I very well might have to eat the words from that last sentence, but if I do then I drop back and run a separate network--not separate software and hardware. It takes me another hour.

    This hybrid arrangement is and will work. Mark proved it.

    One last thing, Mark is correct. The DIY controllers should only see the 2 data lines and nothing else. The adapter will take care of that. The ELL power can be derived using LOR controllers. The power for the ELLs from the DIY controllers can be derived with power bricks or regulators. I am working on that. A custom adapter could take care of that function. I am getting older and becoming more forgetful. I prefer less complication and will find an easy way to solve these problems. The bandwidth for the ELLs could be an issue. In normal operation, the controllers are silent, slave modules meaning no parity checking. If the transmission frequency is high enough, the bandwidth might not be an issue. Testing will tell. The distance may be limited some and mutual interference could be a problem but LOR networks and ELLs suffer from relatively the same issues. I plan to test this stuff before I put it in my yard in a big way.

    Mark is a smart cookie and an advocate of telling all sides--regardless. I truly respect that.
    Al

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    Professional Net Lurker Jack Stevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: I got my LOR controller to interface with DIY Lynx Express controller

    Al - or Mark -
    I have a co-worker on the phone right now who bought two of the Lynx Express kits; he's asking about the PIC programming - does it come already programmed, or will he have to get that done?

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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: I got my LOR controller to interface with DIY Lynx Express controller

    If he bought it through the coop it comes programmed. If he bought the individual components from a commercial supplier, then he will need to program it.
    Al

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    Professional Net Lurker Jack Stevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: I got my LOR controller to interface with DIY Lynx Express controller

    Al -

    Thanks. Roger will be very happy to know that.

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    Registered User jnealand's Avatar
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    Default Re: I got my LOR controller to interface with DIY Lynx Express controller

    I ran LOR and Lynx together last year but used the Lynx Dongle and translated my sequences from LOR to Vixen. In fact I used some of the Holdman sequences translated to Vixen and just remapped them to my channel layout. Lots cheaper than buying an IDMX adapter. I sold off half of my LOR controllers and was able to double my sold off channels and use Lynx Wireless controls for just about what I sold my LOR controllers for. It was the wireless part of Lynx that really go me going down the Lynx path. I had never soldered a board before I got my first expresses which was after the Carolina Mini last year. It was very enjoyable assembling the boards and seeing all the components work together the first time.
    Last edited by jnealand; 03-13-2010 at 06:31 PM. Reason: clarity
    Jim Nealand
    Kennesaw, GA

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    Registered User mschell's Avatar
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    Default Re: I got my LOR controller to interface with DIY Lynx Express controller

    If someone needs a PIC programmed, just let me know. I have a PICkit 2 and a set of sockets to handle just about any MicroChip PIC. I also have an AVR programmer for those Atmel chips.

    There are other folks in the area that have programmers too, so it shouldn't be an issue.
    Mark

    New location - new display. Looking forward to 2015 season!

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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: I got my LOR controller to interface with DIY Lynx Express controller

    Thanks Mark. Walter has a PIC programmer too. I may have an Atmel programmer in the garage underneath the 16 millions strands of lights that I don't know that I own. Inventory day is past due.

    Jim, so did a lot of other people. As I pointed out twice in this thread, I wanted to show the LOR camped folks they don't need Vixen, Light Show Pro, custom dongles, and a variety of what can be very confusing things to make this system work. Furthermore, your method will not work with standard LOR software. If they want to use LOR standard stuff, the method I used will work nicely. We may have a soldering workshop as part of the TASL workshops. I am really good at soldering and might be able to teach how to do it properly. Populating the boards can be very rewarding.
    Al

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    Registered User mschell's Avatar
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    Default Re: I got my LOR controller to interface with DIY Lynx Express controller

    re: soldering at TASL

    Al, You're just looking for some cheap labor to assemble those 15 SSR4 you're planning to build...
    Mark

    New location - new display. Looking forward to 2015 season!

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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: I got my LOR controller to interface with DIY Lynx Express controller

    Nope Mark, I have child labor in third world countries to handle that.

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