Light-O-Rama MP3 Directors

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`The LOR MP3 tab of the Light-O-Rama Hardware Utility can be used to download both musical sequences and animation sequences to a Light-O-Rama MP3 director (such as an "LOR1602W with Show Director and MP3 Player"), and schedule when those sequences should be played.

 

Newer Generation 3 MP3 Directors, like the MP3g3 Dual Network Director, can drive both LOR and DMX hardware.

 

Note, that any loops in an animation sequence will be ignored.  Up to nine separate shows can be downloaded to an MP3 director.

 

For details, please refer to the following sections:

 

Scheduling/Show Options
Old Firmware
Select When Show Plays
Select How Show Plays
MP3 Player Showlist
MP3g3 Directors can control DMX Devices
Priority of Networks and Universes
Download the Show
Set the Time

 

HULORMP3

The LOR MP3 tab of the Hardware Utility

 

Scheduling/Show Options

 

This section allows you to select various options about the show:

 

Old Firmware
Select When Show Plays
Select How Show Plays

 

Old Firmware

 

If your MP3 unit has the original firmware (Version 1.0) then you must check this box. To determine if the unit has this old version of firmware, watch the LEDs when you apply power. Newer versions of firmware will chase the LEDs briefly when power is first applied. The Old version of firmware will not perform the chasing of the LEDs.

 

New versions of firmware will provide you with many new scheduling features. It is recommended that if you update your firmware if you want these additional features.

 

Select When Show Plays

 

This section gives three main options for when the show will play: "plays anytime powered", "plays during scheduled time", and "plays when triggered".  Additionally, you can specify that the show cannot be interrupted by input triggers, even if other shows are set up to start on those triggers.

 

Selecting "plays anytime powered" will cause the show to run whenever the MP3 director is powered on.

 

Selecting "plays during scheduled time" allows you to specify a time or times when the show should play. Up to nine shows can be downloaded to a controller, and each will be assigned a number between 1 and 9.  If two shows are scheduled for the same time, the lower numbered show will be played.

 

Selecting "plays when triggered" will cause the show to start whenever some external trigger happens  (such as a circuit being closed or a motion detector being tripped).  If you choose this option, you will be prompted to select the trigger's switch number (up to six switches are supported), and whether the switch is normally open or normally closed.

 

A normally open switch has its contacts open until you activate it, at which point they close; a normally closed switch has its contacts closed until you activate it, at which point they open.  Most switches are normally open; motion detectors, however, are typically normally closed.  This is because they are often used in security systems, where it is important to notice that a wire has been cut.

 

Select How Show Plays

 

In this section, you can choose whether the show should loop continuously (that is, when it finishes playing the last sequence in its list, it will start over at the first), or only one time, or every so often (every hour, half hour, fifteen minutes or ten minutes).

 

If you choose to play the show every so often, you will also be prompted for what the lights should do in between.  You can choose to have all your lights on, or off, or else use an animation sequence as a "filler" that will play continuously during the time in between.

 

MP3 Player Showlist

 

You can add both musical sequences and animation sequences to the show by clicking the "Add Sequence" button.  To remove one, click on it to highlight it, and then click the "Remove Sequence" button.

 

The sequences will be played in the order listed.  You can change the order by clicking on a sequence to highlight it, and then clicking "Move Up" or "Move Down".

 

Sequences with subsequences cannot be added to the showlist.

 

Optionally, you can also specify a "start sequence", which will be played once and only once every time the show starts up, before the other sequences.  This is most useful if you selected that the show should loop continuously.  For example, a show with a start sequence and three sequences in the showlist will, when "loop continuously" is turned on, first play the start sequence, then the first sequence of the showlist, then the second, then the third, and then back to the first in the showlist - not back to the start sequence.

 

Both musical sequences and animation sequences can be used as start sequences.

 

MP3g3 Directors can control DMX Devices

 

In addition to LOR Devices, MP3g3 Directors can also drive DMX devices on one or both output ports.  In order to control DMX devices, your MP3g3 must have at least firmware version 5.28.

 

Network and Universe Priorities

 

New advanced Directors, like the Dual Port MP3 G3 Director, can drive 2 separate physical networks of devices.  These advanced directors can control LOR devices, DMX devices, or a combination of them on separate ports.  The Hardware Utility will automatically select which networks and/or universes in your sequence will be used by the director.

 

Only the ADVANCED level of the LOR software will allow for the creation of DMX output for a director.  All other levels are limited to creating LOR output only.

 

Older Directors, like the DC-MP3-SHOWTIME, are limited to ONLY the LOR REGULAR network.

 

For Advanced Directors, the Hardware Utility uses a ‘priority system’ based on the contents of the FIRST sequence added to the show list.  In order to prevent confusion, all sequences that are part of a single show should use the same channel configuration.

 

1.LOR networks have priority over DMX universes.
2.The LOR REGular network has the highest priority, followed by AUX A through AUX O.
3.A lower number DMX Universe is higher priority than a higher number.
4.If the sequence contains more than 2 networks, universes, or a combination thereof, those Networks and Universes are silently discarded.
5.If your director only has one port, then only the PORT 1 column applies.

 

Examples assuming that you have the ‘Advanced’ level of the software:

 

 

Your sequence contains....

PORT 1 on the director controls

PORT 2 on the director controls

Notes

1.LOR REG

LOR REG

(*)

Only one network, so it is placed on port 1. See note for port 2.

1.LOR REG
2.LOR AUX B

LOR REG

LOR AUX B

Both ports active with LOR

1.LOR REG
2.LOR AUX A
3.LOR AUX B

LOR REG

LOR AUX A

Aux B is silently discarded.

1.DMX Universe 1

DMX Universe 1

(*)

DMX on port 1. See note for port 2..

1.LOR AUX A
2.DMX Universe 1

LOR AUX A

DMX Universe 1

LOR devices have priority over DMX, so AUX A is on port 1.

1.DMX Universe 1
2.DMX Universe 99

DMX Universe 1

DMX Universe 99

DMX Universes are assigned in ascending order.

1.LOR REG
2.LOR AUX A
3.LOR AUX B
4.DMX Universe 1
5.DMX Universe 99

LOR REG

LOR AUX A

LOR Devices have priority over DMX. REG has highest priority followed by AUX A.  Others are discarded.

 

*  Please note that the MP3g3 dual network controller will mirror the output of Port 1 onto Port 2 on a per-sequence basis.  If you wish to have all controllers on port 2 stay dark during certain sequences, ensure that ALL of the sequences in that show use the same channel configuration.  That is to say, ensure all of your sequences contain channels for BOTH ports, even if those channels are all OFF for the duration of the sequence.

 

'Startup' sequences as well as 'Filler' sequences can also use LOR or DMX devices on advanced directors and the same rules apply to them.

 

Download the Show

 

When you have selected the show's options and the sequences to be played, you can download the show to an SD card (which can later be placed into the MP3 director).  Make sure that you have your SD card reader/writer hooked up to your PC, and click on the "Create Show" button.  This brings up a final options screen:

 

HULORMP3FinalOptions

The final options for downloading a show to the SD card

 

There are several steps to specify the options you need to set up the SD card properly, depending on your hardware, preferences, etc.

 

Step 1

Select the show number that you want to use for this show.  Each show on a card must have a unique number assigned.  If multiple shows are scheduled at the same time, the lowest numbered show will take priority.

 

Step 2

Select the drive that contains your SD card.

 

Step 3

Here is where you can specify different options that your show or hardware may require:

 

Lock Step: If you have a very large display, selecting "lock step" may help the different controllers used in the display react with a higher degree of synchronization.  This is not supported on all controller types, and the level of firmware in the controllers must be 3.0 or higher.
 
Set MP3 player's internal clock: If you wish to add a file to the SD card to set the MP3 director's internal clock, check the box that says so.  Note that there are also other ways to set the director's clock.
 
Strip MP3 Header Information:  Some MP3s may have a large data block before the actual music data.  For example, an MP3 may have several high-resolution pictures in its ID3 Tags.  The MP3 director will correctly ignore this data, however it does take time to find the actual start of the music file.  Stripping this data will allow the MP3 director to start playing the sequence faster.
 
G3 Advanced Director: New Generation 3 MP3 Directors can control LOR devices or DMX Devices.  If you are using one of these new directors, be sure to check this box.  Otherwise, leave it unchecked.
With Dual Ports: Some advanced directors, like the MP3g3 director hardware can control two separate networks of LOR controllers, two separate universes of DMX devices, or a combination of the two.  If you have a dual network director, please select this box.
 
Advanced Options:  The advanced options button will bring up an additional window that allows you to change parameters which relate to how data will be transmitted from your MP3 Director.  Unless a specific issue is preventing your MP3 Director from working correctly, you should not change these options.
 

Step 4

 

Here you will see exactly which networks or universes will be written to the SD card for each port.  The Hardware Utility automatically selects which network or universe to use based on the ‘Network and Universe Priorities’ described above.

 

Depending on the type of equipment you have, your LOR license level, and/or the contents of your sequence, one or more of these options may not be available to you.

 

If a port is using LOR devices:

Select the communications speed that will be used to broadcast lighting commands.  The recommended setting (57.6) will suffice for many users' displays.  If you have many controllers that are far distances apart, a slower speed may help; if your sequences use many rapid lighting commands, a faster speed may help.

 

G3 directors (and higher) have an additional speed of 500K available.  This speed is approximately four times faster than the previous high speed of 115.4K.
 
Since the MP3g3 and director has two ports, you can additionally specify a different speed for port 2 if your show will use both ports.  Single network directors do not have a second port and so these options are not available.
 

If a port is using DMX devices

DMX Universes run at a fixed speed, and therefore the options to change port speed are not available.

 

Once you have completed the form, press the "Place Show on the SD Card" button.  After this completes, you can move the SD card to your MP3 director.

 

Set the Time

 

If any of your shows are set up to run on schedules, it is important to set the MP3 director's clock appropriately.  There are several ways to do this:

 

First, you can directly hook your MP3 director up to your PC, and click on the "Set to PC's time" button (in the lower right-hand corner of the LOR MP3 tab).

 

If you cannot (or do not wish to) hook the MP3 director up to your PC, you can instead create a "time file" to be placed on an SD card.  The first time that SD card is placed in the MP3 director, the director's clock will be set to the time specified in the time file (which you can choose, so that you have enough time to move the card from your PC to your MP3 director).

 

There are two ways to build a time file: First, you can click on the "Only place SET TIME file on the SD card"; this will create a time file and download it, without downloading a show as well.  Second, when you create a show, during the final options dialog, you can request that a time file be created and downloaded along with the show.

 

Finally, you can manually set the time on an MP3 director.  See the director's user's guide for details.

 

Advanced Parameters

 

While writing your show to the SD card for an MP3 player, the Hardware Utility will automatically monitor how much bandwidth is required by your sequence every centi-second.  When the bandwidth is exceeded, the program can 'compress' your data so that your music and lights stay better in sync.  The advanced options window allows you to turn this functionality on/off or adjust its parameters.
 

HULORMP3AdvancedOptions

The Advanced Parameters window
 

Throttle Data Output for Improved Performance:  It is recommended that this option remain ON (checked).  When checked, your sequence is monitored.  For each centi-second that passes, the program will compute the amount of bandwidth required and compare it to the amount available.  If unchecked, no throttling is done - this is the same mode as versions previous to 3.12.0.
 
Minimum Throttle Time in CS:  If throttling is enabled, this is the minimum amount that the sequence must be behind before compression starts.  For example, if this is set to 5 CS, then once the sequence is 5 or more centi-seconds behind the audio, compression will begin.   Setting this higher will allow for more complex areas of your sequence to remain uncompressed at the expense of lagging further behind your audio. The default value is 1, and this means that as soon as the sequence falls behind, compression should begin.
 
Buffer Flush Time in CS:  This can be thought of as the 'resolution' that your MP3 Director will run at.  Setting the value lower will increase resolution as well as network load.  Setting the value higher will decrease network load at the expense of having more commands be compressed.  The default value of 2 most closely emulates what a computer produces for output, either in the Sequence Editor or the Show Player, when running a sequence on your hardware.  For versions before 3.12.0, this value was 1.