How do you get your computer to talk to Light-O-Rama controllers?  In the demanding world of computerized shows there is a physical device we call an adapter to bridge them together.  Once the physical communications path is in place we use a special language that’s optimized for great shows.  When all this is put together and working it’s called a Light-O-Rama data network.

Why do you need an adapter?

The adapter translates the way the computer talks (typically through a USB port) to the way the controllers talk (techies call it the RS-485 protocol.) Typically, only one adapter is needed. See the diagram near the bottom of the page for how it's used in the real world.

How do you connect your computer into the Light-O-Rama data network?  We have several types of adapters to take the way your computer likes to talk and convert it into the way the Light-O-Rama data network likes to talk.  In most cases it’s plug and play so everything is transparent.

Basic layout showing USB adapterBasic Layout showing the adapter between the computer and the LOR data network

A suggestion...

The communications adapter is key for your computer to communicate with our controllers. Adapters are small and can be misplaced during the off-season. Best practice is to have a spare.

USB485 Serial Adapter (our most popular)

USB485-FrontThe USB485 Serial Adapter converts the short range Universal Serial Bus (USB) output of your computer into the industry standard, long range RS-485 protocol used by the Light-O-Rama data network.  This adapter is our most popular, works at data speeds up to 250K and is typically included in Light-O-Rama starter packages.

One USB485 adapter is required to operate a network of controllers (see item 3 in the diagram below.)  Included is a filtered 6′ USB cable. 5/8” high x 1 3/8” wide x 2” deep.

 

A special note about the USB485 and using powered accessories

The USB485 adapter is designed to connect to a typical Light-O-Rama data network of controllers. This adapter does not directly supply power to accessories such as our wireless Easy Light Linkers. If you want to connect a computer to an adapter and then to an accessory like the Easy Light Linker that will communicate wirelessly with your network, we recommend using the USB485B or the USB485-ISO as described below.
USB485 Manual
On-line Store

USB485-HS High Speed Serial Adapter

USB485-HSThe USB485-HS converts the short range USB output of the computer into the industry standard, long range RS485 protocol. It is used to communicate between the PC and LOR light controllers. One USB485-HS adapter is required to operate a network of controllers (see item 3 in the diagram below.)

The USB485-HS is the choice when you plan to use higher speeds (500K+) for your LOR data network. Other LOR USB adapters are designed for speeds of 250K or less, however they appear to work well at 500K so if you have a working 500K network using one of the other USB adapters there is no need to change. The USB485-HS is designed to work at 500K speeds and more.  Included is a filtered 6′ USB cable. 5/8” high x 1 3/8” wide x 2” deep.

Why woud I need a high speed adapter?

Smart pixel devices (including Cosmic Color pixels, ribbons and bulbs) require a lot of data. If you have multiple smart pixel devices on the same LOR data network you should consider switching to higher communication speeds.

 

A special note about the USB485-HS and using powered accessories

The USB485HS adapter is designed to connect to a typical Light-O-Rama data network of controllers. This adapter does not directly supply power to accessories such as our wireless Easy Light Linkers. If you want to connect a computer to an adapter and then to an accessory like the Easy Light Linker that will communicate wirelessly with your network, we recommend using the USB485B or the USB485-ISO as described below.
USB485-HS Manual
On-line Store

USB485B Serial Adapter with Booster (our second most popular)

USB485BThe USB485B Serial Connector with Booster converts the short range Universal Serial Bus (USB) output of your computer into the industry standard, long range RS-485 protocol used by the Light-(see item 3 in the diagram below.)  Only one USB485B is required to operate a network of controllers.  This adapter is designed to work at data speeds up to 250K but depending on your setup, might work at even higher speeds.  Included is a filtered 6′ USB cable.  1 1/8” high x 2 5/8” wide x 2 5/8” deep.

The USB485B has a built in voltage booster that provides power for LOR accessories such as the Easy Light Linker wireless unit. If you are going to connect a wireless unit directly to a PC or if you plan on future interactive displays you should choose the USB485B.

USB485B also powers accessories

Our Easy Light Linker modules and some of our other accessories require power typically supplied from the nearest light controller. If you connect an accessory directly to some computer adapters (like our USB485), no power is passed through. The USB485B provides power for your accessories.
USB485B Manual
On-line Store

USB485-ISO Isolated Adapter

USB485-ISOThe USB485-ISO converts the short range USB output of the computer into the industry standard, long range RS-485 protocol used by the Light-O-Rama data network. Only one USB485-ISO is required to operate a network of LOR controllers (see item 3 in the diagram below.)   1 1/8” high x 2 5/8” wide x 2 5/8” deep.  The USB485-ISO is designed to work at 500K speeds and more.  The USB485-ISO completely isolates the PC’s USB connection from the RS-485 network. This can be important when you have multiple networks and each network is large.

The USB-485-ISO has a built in, isolated voltage booster that provides power for Light-O-Rama accessories such as the Easy Light Linker wireless unit.  Includes a 6′ USB cable.

USB485-ISO Isolated Adapter also powers accessories

Our Easy Light Linker modules and some of our other accessories require power typically supplied from the nearest light controller. If you connect an accessory directly to some computer adapters (like our USB485), no power is passed through. The USB485-ISO provides power for your accessories.
USB485-ISO Manual
On-line Store

RS-485 Network Repeater

USB485 RepeaterThe Light-O-Rama Network Repeater makes it possible to support an extremely large network of controllers. Perfect for a network that is not simply a wire running from one controller to the next in a daisy chain. The status LED indicates power (flashing) and connection to your computer or ShowTime Director (solid.)  This adapter is designed to work at data speeds up to 250K but depending on your setup, might work at even higher speeds.   1 1/8” high x 2 5/8” wide x 2 5/8” deep.

  • Can extend a Light-O-Rama network beyond the 4,000’ maximum distance permitted by the RS485 electrical protocol
  • Allows complex Light-O-Rama network topologies in addition to the recommended daisy-chain
  • Powered by nearby Light-O-Rama controllers over the network cable so no separate power supply is needed
  • Small enough to fit inside a controller box for outdoor applications
  • Bi-directional to support interactive inputs on controllers
  • No configuration required — simply plug in the Light-O-Rama network cables
  • Has one RJ45 jack on the front and two RJ45 jacks on the back to allow the network to ‘Y’
  • Designed for data networks running up to 250K
RS-485 Manual
On-line Store

SC485 – RJ45 Serial Adapter

USB-SerialAdapterThe SC485 Serial Connector converts the short range RS-232 serial output of the computer into the industry standard, long range RS-485 protocol. It is required to communicate between your personal computer and the Light-O-Rama data network. Only one SC485 is required to operate a network of controllers (see item 3 in the diagram below.)  Check the back of your computer for a 9-pin male connector to match the adapter in the picture.  If you don’t see this connector, you have a newer computer with USB ports so see the choices above.  This adapter works at data speeds up to 250K.   5/8” high x 1 3/8” wide X 2” deep.

A special note about the SC485-RJ45 and using powered accessories

The SC485-RJ45 adapter is designed to connect to a typical Light-O-Rama data network of controllers. This adapter does not directly supply power to accessories such as our wireless Easy Light Linkers. If you want to connect a computer to an adapter and then to an accessory like the Easy Light Linker that will communicate wirelessly with your network, we recommend using the USB485B or the USB485-ISO as described above.
SC485 Manual
On-line Store

Where’s the adapter?  Look at number 3 in the diagram

Light-O-Rama basic layout1.  The Light-O-Rama ShowTime Sequencing Suite works on your personal computer running Microsoft Windows and allows you to design your own shows.  The ShowTime Sequencing Suite then runs your shows and sends the right commands at the right time to the various control channels.  The ShowTime Sequencing Suite can even keep music synchronized to the controller commands.

2.  Speakers to play the music accompanying your show are attached to the computer sound card.

3.  Your personal computer talks with the controllers using a device plugged into your computer’s serial or USB communications port.  The blue line shows the standard serial output of your computer (RS-232 or USB) out of your computer, where it enters our adapter that transforms the signal to the native Light-O-Rama data network protocol (the green line) and then connects to various Light-O-Rama controllers over standard computer network wire.  We recommend Cat 5 LAN cables available from us or off-the-shelf from your local big box store in the computer section.

4.  The Light-O-Rama professional or residential high voltage AC light controllers include special effects such as simple on/off, intensities, smooth fading, twinkling, shimmering.  Over 200 controllers can be daisy chained, mixed and matched on one LOR network giving you the ability to command thousands of channels.  Need more channels?  Add another Light-O-Rama network.

5.  Electrical power is supplied to the controller placed close to your lights so you don’t need to run long extension cords.  Commands from the Software Sequencing Suite are performed on each controller.  Power to each of the attached lighting circuits is controlled independently.