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Thread: Wanted: a few LOR CTB16PC controllers.... and a few light linkers

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    Registered User Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Wanted: a few LOR CTB16PC controllers.... and a few light linkers

    I've already been approached by a few neighbors to expand into their yards next year (hurray!).

    That means I will definitely need a few more controllers though :-(.

    Any folks downsizing or moving to pixels that might want to recycle their LOR gear?

    Let me know. I'm looking for several controllers and at least a few ex light linkers.

    Thanks and Happy New Year!!!

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    Registered User Tripplett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wanted: a few LOR CTB16PC controllers.... and a few light linkers

    I have one LOR CTB16PC that's brand new, never been used outside of a bench test. I went with Vixen instead of LOR. However I kept it because I wanted the ability to control some regular lights for Halloween and Christmas. If there are other cheaper controllers for regular lights I may be persuaded to sell it. I don't know what some of these other devices do so maybe I just need some schooling.

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    Registered User Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Wanted: a few LOR CTB16PC controllers.... and a few light linkers

    Quote Originally Posted by Tripplett View Post
    I have one LOR CTB16PC that's brand new, never been used outside of a bench test. I went with Vixen instead of LOR. However I kept it because I wanted the ability to control some regular lights for Halloween and Christmas. If there are other cheaper controllers for regular lights I may be persuaded to sell it. I don't know what some of these other devices do so maybe I just need some schooling.
    Well, I'm sure there's others far more knowledgable, but I think the preferred DIY/non-LOR controller is the Renard series.

    They are a LOT cheaper than LOR gear. for example,

    8 channel controller kit - $71
    16 channel controller kit - $93
    24 channel controller kit- $115

    Now once big difference is that these come in kit form, but the $$$$ delta is pretty huge.
    The absolutely cheapest I could find a ctb16 (in kit form) is like $175- the renards are still half that price!

    I was actually looking at this option pretty closely, but since I already have a sizable number of LOR controllers, I'm leaning towards the KISS strategy and keep with LOR- at least for the AC-controlled stuff.

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wanted: a few LOR CTB16PC controllers.... and a few light linkers

    Some good points Paul. The two biggest differences in LOR controllers is the price and the power handling. For those who use all LEDs, the power is not an issue. I believe 2 amps is the limit on a Renard channel. And you can drive 8 amps through a LOR channel.

    LOR controllers are in the range of $10 to $12 per channel for used (older G2s are cheaper). And even higher - - up to $15 per channel for new G3s. LOR offers a mad grab sale around June where you can buy assembled G3 circuit boards for around $150 each, if you are willing to get your own CG1500 box, crip connectors and pigtail wires for them. I grabbed a few in 2014 and I can show them at the first TASL (if I remember).

    Once or twice per year the cost of the Renards comes way down to around $80 for the 24 channel kit. You can get them by becoming a supporting member of DoItYourselfChristmas.com (aka DIYC). It's about $30 per year to be a supporting member, and then you are allowed to participate in their group buys. If you use SPT2 wires and a CG2000 box, then your cost per channel is about $4.

    Many of our TASL members are using Renards with great success. You have a choice of setting up their firmware for Renard protocol (if using ALL Renards), or you can set them for DMX. I had decided in 2012 to move to Renards for LEDs and keep the LORs for incandescent. But for some (still unknown) reason, I had a lot of trouble with two Renards that I built into a single box. It's an awesome rig, with 48 AC channels in it. They tested out perfect. Jack Stevens set up the chips for DMX for me (which worked fine). But both controllers died in my display after running for two or three nights. I
    have been threatening for the past two years to figure out what went wrong, and then I will sell them. It still bugs me because they should have worked perfectly ..

    Of course, LOR controllers have a warranty and they are known for being near bulletproof due to the high power-handling design. No warranty with the Renards since you build them yourself. LOR offers "build it yourself" kits too .. and they will warranty them.

    As for resale, if you build 24-chan Renard kits in the $100 range (including the case and wires), they are easy to sell for around $120 to $130. LOR tends to lose a little money but has a far bigger market (easy and quick to sell). A lot to think about.
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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    Professional Net Lurker Jack Stevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wanted: a few LOR CTB16PC controllers.... and a few light linkers

    Paul -

    I run a mix of LOR and Renard (in DMX mode) in my display. One LOR network, one DMX universe (for now)

    Keep in mind the ELLs (Easy Light Linkers) won't handle DMX. The data rate for DMX is much higher than that of the LOR default data rate (non-CCR)

    Native Renard protocol is generally the same speed as native LOR, so it should be able to ride over the ELLs for wireless....HOWVER, LOR software won't support Renard protocol - that's why I run my Renard controllers in DMX mode.

    A possible work-around: Do all your sequencing in the LOR environment, then load it into XLights and designate the appropriate channels to be Renard at a speed of 56K. It *SHOULD* work that way, but don't wait until the last minute to try that.

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wanted: a few LOR CTB16PC controllers.... and a few light linkers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Stevens View Post
    Paul -

    I run a mix of LOR and Renard (in DMX mode) in my display. One LOR network, one DMX universe (for now)

    Keep in mind the ELLs (Easy Light Linkers) won't handle DMX. The data rate for DMX is much higher than that of the LOR default data rate (non-CCR)

    Native Renard protocol is generally the same speed as native LOR, so it should be able to ride over the ELLs for wireless....HOWVER, LOR software won't support Renard protocol - that's why I run my Renard controllers in DMX mode.

    A possible work-around: Do all your sequencing in the LOR environment, then load it into XLights and designate the appropriate channels to be Renard at a speed of 56K. It *SHOULD* work that way, but don't wait until the last minute to try that.
    Some very good points Jack. Unless his neighbors only want to stay with AC lights, then going to a different wireless backbone would be a good idea now. But if they just want to have a few controllers in each yard and let Paul's yard be the focalpoint for the fancy effects, then staying with LOR is still the most reliable way to go. I've been using ELLs this year to get to the far right side of the house. And all my "sticking" light problems have gone away over there!

    I know Jack already knows this but here's some background for others: The standard data rate for ELLs is 57.5K but they do offer 115K, most likely for their pixel offerings. The DMX standard data rate is 250K. One of the big differences is because the LOR controllers handle all the dimming and effects onboard (managed by firmware on the controllers). Wheras DMX does not have dimming curves in their hardware. Instead, the settings for channel is sent up to hundreds of times per second. Per the DMX spec, 23ms (approx 44 times per second) is the maximum refresh rate for a given channel. Anything slower than that would cause miscommunication. The net of all this is the DMX pipes have to send hundreds of times more data than LOR does.

    One thing I like with LOR (better than DMX) are their dimming curves. I cannot put any techno reason behind it. The LOR dimming just looks better (to me) than the DMX dimming with the same settings.
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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    Registered User Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wanted: a few LOR CTB16PC controllers.... and a few light linkers

    Looks like my "Wanted" thread has taken a few twists and turns! :-)

    All good points shared re: LOR vs DMX.

    Here's what I'm thinking (at least as of TODAY).
    Stick with LOR for my incandescent elements.
    PERHAPS experiment with a few renard controllers for my upcoming all-LED mid-mega-tree (10ft).
    If I did this, I think I can just run a seperate dongle from the PC for the DMX network, and keep the LOR network seperate.... still researching on this however....

    The extent of my neighbor participation will most likely be tying in their existing traditional lights.... no more than 16 channels worth.

    So, I think that will leave me needing more LOR controllers as I expand to neighbors, and an additional ELL.

    One option MIGHT be as I slowly move to LED, I cold swap in more renards in my yard and save the LORs for neighbors, but Im not there yet....

    More likely I will ride the BACK end of the waves of change and try to scoop up some un-needed LOR AC controllers as OTHERS upgrade their gear :-)

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wanted: a few LOR CTB16PC controllers.... and a few light linkers

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Lowe View Post
    Looks like my "Wanted" thread has taken a few twists and turns! :-)

    All good points shared re: LOR vs DMX.

    .................................................. ...........
    PERHAPS experiment with a few renard controllers for my upcoming all-LED mid-mega-tree (10ft).
    If I did this, I think I can just run a seperate dongle from the PC for the DMX network, and keep the LOR network seperate.... still researching on this however....

    T:-)
    I stopped using my DMX USB adapter this year. Instead I pulled DMX off of one of my Sandevices e682 outputs. It is very clean and simple to run DMX from the ethernet port, instead of using a DMX dongle. It ran great for me, and no special serial device drivers are required. LOR S3 software can support DMX either way.

    If you don't have any Sandevices controllers, you could buy a simple E1.31 DMX bridge. Those cost about the same as buying the DMX dongle. Your computer can much better handle the DMX traffic over the thernet instead of the USB port...
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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    Registered User Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wanted: a few LOR CTB16PC controllers.... and a few light linkers

    Quote Originally Posted by kidcole View Post
    I stopped using my DMX USB adapter this year. Instead I pulled DMX off of one of my Sandevices e682 outputs. It is very clean and simple to run DMX from the ethernet port, instead of using a DMX dongle. It ran great for me, and no special serial device drivers are required. LOR S3 software can support DMX either way.

    If you don't have any Sandevices controllers, you could buy a simple E1.31 DMX bridge. Those cost about the same as buying the DMX dongle. Your computer can much better handle the DMX traffic over the thernet instead of the USB port...
    Will e1.31 bridge still be able to coexist with the LOR running off the usb dongle?

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    Senior Member mpurser's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wanted: a few LOR CTB16PC controllers.... and a few light linkers

    paul im running e1.31 off of an added either-net port and using the rs485b on usb with no issues
    are you sure we checked every pixel?The Home of North Carolina's Largest tomato cage pixel tree.http://www.thelightsonpurserroad.com

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    Registered User Tripplett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wanted: a few LOR CTB16PC controllers.... and a few light linkers

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Lowe View Post
    Will e1.31 bridge still be able to coexist with the LOR running off the usb dongle?
    During testing earlier in the 2014 year (when I was still using LOR) I was running E1.31 and the USB dongle at the same time. I also had DMX coming off my Sandevices going to my floods.

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wanted: a few LOR CTB16PC controllers.... and a few light linkers

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Lowe View Post
    Will e1.31 bridge still be able to coexist with the LOR running off the usb dongle?
    Yes, LOR S3 software is designed to run Ethernet E1.31 perfectly co-mingled with the LOR networks. LOR had to create that capability or face extinction. There is a LOR Network Preferences where you define DMX and E1.31 connections. On that page, you tell the LOR software which universes will go out as E1.31 commands, over the Ethernet pipe. Then on the E1.31 devices themselves you define those same universes (so both ends match) .. That is how everything gets tied together.

    The only difference in physically connecting the E1.31 controllers is they only have inputs .. whereas with LOR controllers have inputs and outputs that can be daisy chained .. passing one to the next. All you do to connect multiple E1.31 controllers is use simple Ethernet switches. I standardized on Dlink Gigabit Ethernet switches that cost about $20 with 5 ports each. There is nothing to configure when using an Ethernet switch. They just fan out the broadcasting of the E1.31 data.
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control
    Thanks michaelvhunter thanked for this post

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    Professional Net Lurker Jack Stevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wanted: a few LOR CTB16PC controllers.... and a few light linkers

    Paul -

    Click "Edit", then "Preferences" and lastly, "Network Preferences" You can have up to 16 LOR USB dongles, and 16 DMX USB dongles, but I wouldn't recommend it, unless you have one of the 8 core 8 processor computers we use at work (64 cores) with 32 gigs of ram. You're still asking for problems there; the USB ports would get overly busy. That's why E1.31 is a good idea; offloads a lot of the I/O processing power to an external controller in the E1.31 device.

    Denny implies, but doesn't actually come out and say, that you should run the E1.31 network separate from your home Internet access network. I'll say it; your show Ethernet network needs to be separate from that which can get out to the Internet.

    Mike mentions an added network card. I suspect the computer's original built-in card (if it has one) goes to the Internet, and the added card runs his show network. That's good as well.

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    Registered User Samj435's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wanted: a few LOR CTB16PC controllers.... and a few light linkers

    Once you go E1.31, you don't go back. Seriously, I got rid of all my USB dongles it's that good. No more COM port errors!
    2014: Lights - 75,000; Channels - 500 Renard AC, 75 Renard DC, 10,000 Pixels; Vixen 3.0

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    Registered User Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wanted: a few LOR CTB16PC controllers.... and a few light linkers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Stevens View Post
    Paul -

    Click "Edit", then "Preferences" and lastly, "Network Preferences" You can have up to 16 LOR USB dongles, and 16 DMX USB dongles, but I wouldn't recommend it, unless you have one of the 8 core 8 processor computers we use at work (64 cores) with 32 gigs of ram. You're still asking for problems there; the USB ports would get overly busy. That's why E1.31 is a good idea; offloads a lot of the I/O processing power to an external controller in the E1.31 device.

    Denny implies, but doesn't actually come out and say, that you should run the E1.31 network separate from your home Internet access network. I'll say it; your show Ethernet network needs to be separate from that which can get out to the Internet.

    Mike mentions an added network card. I suspect the computer's original built-in card (if it has one) goes to the Internet, and the added card runs his show network. That's good as well.

    I run my show from an older laptop. It has an Ethernet jack, but I'm not using it (I connect to Internet wirelessly when needed).

    So, if the built in network jack will work- that would be great. Can I get an external
    E1.31 device to run off the laptop Ethernet connection?

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