If the Input Pup is employed, then it is assigned a
unique ID on your Light-O-Rama network just like the
controllers (refer to Figure 7).
Making it RGB
The big thing in light displays right now are RGB
lights. These are color changing lights where you can set
the lights to any color you can create by mixing red,
green, and blue.
RGB lights are much harder to deploy than regular
strings of lights. You can buy a prepackaged solution from
Light-O-Rama, or you can purchase lights and
controllers from China or small vendors. The
latter solution requires some decisions and some
homework to be successful.
There are two main types of RGB lights:
1) Pixels – Each light bulb can be
independently controlled. Each bulb
contains a microcontroller that watches
for instructions and passes data on to the
next bulb. These are often used on
megatrees or matrixes, and can even
display text and images.
2) Dumb – All the bulbs are controlled
together. You can set them to any color,
but they all change in unison.
What makes the addition of RGB lights
challenging is the number of options available.
The best approach
for making decisions
is deciding on pixels
vs. dumb, voltage ( 12
or five volts), type of
lights (bulbs, strips,
etc.), and topology.
Based on those
options, you then
decide on which
works best for your
needs (Figure 8).
provides an off-the-shelf solution of RGB
controllers and lights
that sit on your Light-O-Rama network. They also offer their SuperStar software
to make programming them easier. For those wanting to
do it themselves or to have more options, there are many
other RGB light controllers on the market. Most RGB light
controllers speak DMX and do not use the Light-O-Rama
protocol, but Light-O-Rama software and hardware both
speak DMX. This means that you can add non-Light-O-Rama controllers and still use the S3 software to program
and control everything.
Figure 9 shows how you can have multiple light
networks connected to your controlling computer. Here, I
left the existing Light-O-Rama network in place and added
a DMX interface to speak to the RGB controllers. This is a
common configuration since many light displays will have
a mix of RGB and non-RGB lights.
The DMX interface could be multiple DMX interfaces.
One common interface is E.131 which is a DMX over
Ethernet protocol, and the PC and RGB controllers speak
30 December 2014
■ FIGURE 8. RGB
■ FIGURE 9. Light-O-Rama/DMX hybrid
■ FIGURE 7.
Pup used to