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Thread: Rainbow Floods hookup

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    Member davecw's Avatar
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    Default Rainbow Floods hookup

    I'm planning to buy 6 rainbow floods sometime in the near future. But I'm still trying to figure out the best way to run them and can use some advice. My show runs from the MP3 Director out to my LOR controllers. So I want to add the iDMX to that setup versus moving everything to a dedicated computer. So that seems like the easy part. Next is the controller. The rainbow brain seems like an obvious choice which they offer bundled as a kit including the power supply. This allows a central point where all the lights plug in to. 4 of the lights would be near the controller (within 20 feet) and the other 2 would be around 30-35 feet away. Since I plan to use 6 and the brain only has 5 jacks, I would chain two of the lights together so it would be 20' to the first light then another 15' to the second.
    So my first question is how far away can the light be from the brain before it starts loosing intensity (ie voltage drop becomes bad)? I could just use another cheap power supply at the lights further away if need be. The next question is should I instead go with each flood having it's own controller and power supply like presented here: If I calculated everything right, that last option comes out a little cheaper actually. It also seems it would be much more flexible since each light is independent. Thoughts?
    David - Wilmington, NC
    http://www.wilmingtonchristmaslights.com
    with over 5400 channels using 8 x LOR CTB16PC, 1 x Falcon F16V2, 1 ECG-P2, 1 ECG-D2, 1 x Raspberry Pi 2 + FPP

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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rainbow Floods hookup

    Nancy and I bought some DMX floods from China and they are excellent. If you are interested I can help you with them. I think we paid about $125 each which are totally self contained and you only connect 120 volt cord and DMX cable. These lights are several times more powerful than the floods that you are wanting.

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    Official Lurker mmais68569's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rainbow Floods hookup

    Al would you post a link to the site you bought your floods from.

    Mike

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    Registered User mschell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rainbow Floods hookup

    Dave,
    Here's another option:

    Buy some LOR DC cards and just run the Rainbow Floods with those controllers. If you get 6 floods, you'll need 2 DC cards to cover all the channels. Depending on when you buy them, you could get those for just the price of the iDMX.

    Now, of course, if you're looking for a reason to buy the iDMX, that's a separate issue.

    I have a feeling that down the road, the MP3 director will need to be expanded to handle the number of channels that RGB and pixels are bringing in...or folks will start running their shows from a computer again. When we get there, you'll be able to run DMX right out of the box.

    The $8 DMX controllers work fairly well, BTW.
    Mark

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

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rainbow Floods hookup

    I don't recommend the Rainbows due to better options available running DMX with controllers inside.

    Those Rainbows are similar to the Mighty Mini Floods, but the Rainbows are not quite as powerful as the MMs. Several of us built MMs for the 2010 season, using the LOR DC controllers (16 channels since the MMs are RGBW). And we found the MMs to be very weak. And compared with the more recent Chinese DMX floods, they are not in the same "universe." I see Al mentioned some that were over $100 but I think we have also found some that are less than $100 - - particularly in a group buy situation.

    You can see my MMs between the windows in my videos on my website, and on my GIF file here on this post.

    The Rainbow coverage is not very wide because you need to put them really close to the house to get much color to show up. Four of the China Floods would cover more than two dozen Rainbows AND give you solid bright color! We did a live experiment at a TASL meeting last year where I put my four Mighty Minis about 1 foot from a white wall full intensity. Then Al stood back about 25 feet with his one China flood and shined it at the same wall. The "color spots" from the MMs were completely wiped out from the solid color wash from the China Flood. He got a width of at least 30 feet compared to the width of about 1 foot for each MM. Dramatic difference. I will attach pics of my 4 MMs mounted about 20" apart and how close to the house I mount them, to get decent intensity.

    I think it boils down to spending a little more, but ending up with something that you can use as a great effect for as long as you like. Since LOR is coming out with their own flood (which we believe will cost closer to $200 each), you would always be able to sell the China Floods for what you have in them ...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -mm-1.jpg   -mm-2.jpg   -mm-case.jpg  
    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: Rainbow Floods hookup

    Dave -

    You have to figure out what you want to accomplish with the floods, no matter which one(s) you go with.

    How much area do you want to light up? The unit Al mentions is very bright and covers a large area. If that's what you want, it's very cost effective, as a single unit will replace having to put in multiple Mighty Minis or Rainbow Floods.

    If you want to do small areas, the MM or Rainbow Floods would probably be better....i.e. alternating colors of 6-10 foot wide areas.

    For some reason, I think the Rainbow Brain is constant current, which does a good attempt at overcoming the voltage drop due to cables.

    I'd like to do a mix; one or two of those bright floods that Al has, plus several Mighty Minis (because I have several already) to do various effects.

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    Member davecw's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rainbow Floods hookup

    Al, I saw the demo you did at the convention of those. They are VERY bright. I actually think they will be overpowering for my needs of just some subtle light against the house. Mark, I had considered using the LOR DC controllers, but I'm also looking at various other DMX options like those offered on holidaycoro.com and so would like to have the DMX universe there. I know down the road I may have to switch over to a computer, I'd just like to keep it simpler for right now. I was just thinking the newer version of the rainbow flood looks to do a good job and is reasonably priced.
    David - Wilmington, NC
    http://www.wilmingtonchristmaslights.com
    with over 5400 channels using 8 x LOR CTB16PC, 1 x Falcon F16V2, 1 ECG-P2, 1 ECG-D2, 1 x Raspberry Pi 2 + FPP

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    Trying to behave here-NOT John's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rainbow Floods hookup

    David,

    There seems to be some spectulation and/or misconceptions in some of the above posts.

    In my display, I have and use both the Rainbow Floods and the Mighty Minis. and feel that I can comment based on my personal observation and tests rather then rely on 2nd or 3rd hand information.

    The Generation 1 Rainbow Floods (from 2010) are MUCH brighter then the Mighty Minis. I can use 2 of the Gen 1 Rainbow Floods to get the same coverage that it takes 3 Mighty Minis to provide. (I am sorry I wasted the money on the Mighty Minis, each one cost almost 3 times the price of the Rainbow Floods in 2010, however I built the MM before the Rainbow floods were avaliable)

    The Gen 2 Rainbow Floods currently being sold are even brighter still then the Gen 1 version.

    The Rainbow Brain is NOT constant current.

    Unless you just want DMX for something else right now, and where you say you just want to keep it simple for right now, I agree with Mark, use the LOR DC cards. That is what I do. The distances you mentioned are very similar to what I use with no problem.

    That way you can continue to use the MP3 Director (I use it also) to run your display and avoid for right now the extra expense of the iDMX, Rainbow Brains and the dedicated PC.

    Speaking of the MP3 Director, an upgrade and/or replacement of the MP3 Director is scheduled for this year (should have been last year, but the earthquake in Japan caused parts and supplier issues) that will have greatly enhanced capabilities. Just what those are hasn't been publicly announced yet, but native DMX output sure would be nice.

    I also have around 20 of the $7 DMX modules, and they are very nice.

    .
    John (The Mascot)
    www.tennholidays.com

    480 LOR Channels + 2 CCR + 8 Mighty Minis + 10 Rainbow Floods+ 1 vdrive and vflood, Lynx Express and over 40,000 LEDs

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    Member davecw's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rainbow Floods hookup

    John, thanks for the information. I was thinking the rainbow floods sure look bright enough for my uses. I'm glad to see you have some good comparisons to base on. Anyway, I certainly have looked hard at just going with the DC cards. Cost wise in the short term would be cheaper since I wouldn't need the iDMX. I'm just thinking more long term I would like to experiment with the $7 DMX controllers with some other parts of the display. So my guess is I'm going to end up buying one anyway. Of course, if native DMX might come out of the new director card that would be cool too! But I have my doubts as if it would support more than one universe. I could convert all my controllers to DMX and run everything off it, but I would run out of DMX channels rather quickly like that.
    David - Wilmington, NC
    http://www.wilmingtonchristmaslights.com
    with over 5400 channels using 8 x LOR CTB16PC, 1 x Falcon F16V2, 1 ECG-P2, 1 ECG-D2, 1 x Raspberry Pi 2 + FPP

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    Official Lurker mmais68569's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rainbow Floods hookup

    David

    Here are 2 videos of my show using the Rainbow Floods to wash the house. I 5 set about 8-9' from the house. I used the Rainbow Brain to control them & no problems at all. Yes they were run using DMX.

    Mike
    Short video close up

    Second video of full show from across the street


    As you can see the camera did not pick up the red that good but it was as bright as the green.

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    Member davecw's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rainbow Floods hookup

    Quote Originally Posted by mmais68569 View Post
    Here are 2 videos of my show using the Rainbow Floods to wash the house. I 5 set about 8-9' from the house. I used the Rainbow Brain to control them & no problems at all. Yes they were run using DMX.
    Thanks Mike. This is exactly what I'm after also. I may give some pan type movement across the floods as well.
    David - Wilmington, NC
    http://www.wilmingtonchristmaslights.com
    with over 5400 channels using 8 x LOR CTB16PC, 1 x Falcon F16V2, 1 ECG-P2, 1 ECG-D2, 1 x Raspberry Pi 2 + FPP

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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rainbow Floods hookup

    David, the flood that you saw was a 17 deg flood which is more of a spotlight than a flood. Nancy and I bought flood lights with 45 degree angle and the light is dispersed in a wider angle. You can use the light at a lower intensity as well. It does not get any simpler than a DMX light. No controllers, no special power supplies, and it is totally waterproof. DMX lighting has a 120v cord and a cat 5 cable. If you go DMX you will not go back.

    Mike, I will post the location but can't for another week for a reason I wont go into now.

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rainbow Floods hookup

    Quote Originally Posted by Al in Raleigh View Post
    David, the flood that you saw was a 17 deg flood which is more of a spotlight than a flood. Nancy and I bought flood lights with 45 degree angle and the light is dispersed in a wider angle. You can use the light at a lower intensity as well. It does not get any simpler than a DMX light. No controllers, no special power supplies, and it is totally waterproof. DMX lighting has a 120v cord and a cat 5 cable. If you go DMX you will not go back..
    I agree strongly with the self contained DMX solutions, and getting away from the controller and wire methods we all use today. I think it's pretty obvious.

    Mike's videos show a pretty decent color splash from the Rainbows ! After all the disappointment from the MMs, I guess I went away with the wrong memory of the Rainbows. And with the little three channel DMX controllers built in, they sound even better.

    Mark/John, if using the little 3 channel controllers, how much spacing you can get, and still be able to parallel the DMX cable (looping from one to the next) ? Since you have to get DC power and a DMX control wire into each unit (assuming the controllers are mounted inside) .. this would be 4 wire. Would it not be simpler to group the little controllers with the power supplies, and just send 4 wires out for the R G B and Ground ? Or will the lights perform better if collocated with the controllers ?

    I want to wire up some large ornaments with the same little controllers and curious how much I can space them out.
    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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    Official Lurker mmais68569's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rainbow Floods hookup

    The Rainbow Floods I posted above are the Version 2 Floods not the new & even brighter Rainbow Flood - EXTREME.
    I would say the new Extreme is twice as bright as the ones I used.

    Mike

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    Professional Net Lurker Jack Stevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rainbow Floods hookup

    Dave -

    Just keep in mind what you want to do with it. It sounds like you do.

    Don't buy a tool then find a use for it; define what you want to do and get the most cost effective tool that fulfills that need.

    The unit that Al is talking about is very cost effective for larger areas. For multiple spot coverage, not so much.

    Mike's videos up above shows whole-house washing, which would be done well with the unit Al mentions, if you can put them where the trees near the house won't cast shadows. I get the impression the Rainbow floods are between the trees and the house.

    Last Memorial day, I did a red-white-blue "march" across the front of my house with my mighty minis; it worked fairly well, with each one covering about a 7 to 8 foot wide wash area. I think the unit Al mentions would cover too large an area to do that effectively without throttling it way back, but I could have used 3 of them to do the whole front of the house.

    As I said, define your use first, then find the tool, not the other way around. That's true of anything you do, not just this.

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