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What Is Light-O-Rama?
]Light-O-Rama is a system of hardware and software products that allow you to change a static display or sign into a dynamic, animated one that may even be choreographed to music. Light-O-Rama (LOR) manufactures the hardware that controls your lights, servos and motors. LOR also produces the Light-O-Rama Windows® based ShowTime Sequencing Suite software that allows you to design, test and run your shows with or without music. You provide a Windows PC, the lights, servo controlled figures and/or motorized devices that make up your display. You also design how your display will be animated.
How does Light-O-Rama animate a show?
Perhaps you have seen a set of lights that depict an old fashioned steam train where some of the lights blink in a sequence that makes the wheels appear to rotate or smoke appear to come out of the stack. The lights create the illusion of movement. Such simple animations require three or four channels, meaning three or four light circuits that you can turn on and off to simulate the movement. People have used LOR products to create their own animations that are much more complicated and unique, many with thousands of channels. They have created elaborate dancing light shows, building a snowman that melts, a train with waving teddy bears, elves, rotating wheels and steam coming out of the whistle… Just about anything you can imagine can be built.
How does Light-O-Rama control the lights?
Using Light-O-Rama software, a file called a sequence is created. A sequence is a series of steps that the lights will follow. For example, a sequence could be as simple as a loop where a light is on for one second then off for one second. Once a sequence is created it can be sent to a Light-O-Rama controller. As the sequence is executed, the lights connected to the controller follow the series of steps in the sequence. A sequence may contain a series of steps for many LOR controllers. There are two types of sequences: Animation Sequences and Musical Sequences. An animation sequence is a series of steps to be executed by the lights connected to your LOR controller(s). Animation Sequences do not have any associated sound. The PC or ShowTime Ditrector can execute them or they can be downloaded into a Light-O-Rama controller and executed by the controller. A musical sequence is also a series of steps to be executed by the lights connected to your LOR controllers with the addition of a linked audio or video file (MP3, WAV, WMA, MIDI, etc.) The music or video file is played while the lights change. A musical sequence maintains timing with the associated audio file, allowing lights to be illuminated in synchronization with the music. Musical Sequences must be run on a PC or ShowTime Director because the PC’s or Director’s sound hardware is used to generate the sound.
What's the difference between a professional/commercial and a residential light controller?
]LOR computerized controllers come in 4, 8 and 16 channel models. A 4 channel controller gives you independent control of 4 lighting circuits, an 8 channel controller gives you independent control of 8 lighting circuits and a 16 channel controller doubles that. Each of these controllers is available as either a residential version or a Showtime Professional/Commercial version. A ShowTime Professional controller is the same as a ShowTime Commercial controller. The key to remember is these controller are UL approved (in the USA) and are easier to service in the field. Professional/Commercial versions are ready to go, fully assembled controllers in outdoor rated enclosures with power connectors. Professional/Commercial controllers can operate stand-alone, meaning they have an animation sequence downloaded into them. They can be configured to run this sequence continuously when they power up or in response to an external trigger switch. The sequence in a stand-alone controller can also contain commands for other controllers. In this case, the controller is called a Director and controllers it controls are called Companions. Residential controllers are built and tested circuit boards. You typically must supply the enclosure and the electrical connectors. These units require a computer to be connected to them the first time to set their unique ID address. These units cannot run standalone. Controllers are daisy chained together using either phone cables (RJ11 connectors) for shorter cable runs or CAT5E cables (RJ45 connectors) for longer runs. Each controller has an “address” which is a number between 1 and 240. Currently, the largest possible LOR network would have 240 controllers yielding thousands of controllable circuits. Not enough? Add more LOR networks.
How does Light-O-Rama control your controllers?
For sophisticated displays and any display choreographed to music, the show must be directed by either a Microsoft Windows based PC running the Light-O-Rama ShowTime Sequencing Suite software or one of our ShowTime Directors. The ShowTme Director is a circuit board that can fit inside of a Showtime Pro/Commercial 16 channel controller or is a stand-alone device. See details here. The Director has an SD memory card that you load on your PC and then place in the ShowTime Director. The ShowTime Director then directs all your controllers and supplies a stereo line level output that you can feed into an amplifier or a low power FM transmitter. (This second option is often used by people who want car occupants to be able to hear the music without inconveniencing their neighbors.) Most Light-O-Rama customers currently run their shows using PCs. Connecting the PC to the first LOR controller requires a serial port on the PC or a USB-to-serial adapter. An LOR SC485 adapter or USB485 adapter is required to convert the serial port on your computer to RS485 which is the electrical standard used by LOR devices. Normally, this is provided with one of our starter packages. See more with our typical setups
What about wireless data?
The LOR wireless interconnect (better known as the Easy Light Linker) is available for users who don’t want to run data cables between controllers and/or from their indoor PC to their outdoor display. Easy Light Linkers are powered by the nearest controller it is connected to or a USB485B/USB485-ISO adapter. Find out more on the Wireless page
What is the Sequence Editor (sometimes called S2, S3, S4, S5, ShowTime Suite, etc.)?
You might have heard it called S2, S3, S4, etc, (referring to the generation of the software.) Those of us that like tongue twisters call it the ShowTime Sequencing Suite Software. This program is used to design shows that are animation sequences (no music) or musical sequences (lights are choreographed with the music.) Sequence Editor uses a grid to represent your show. Rows in the grid are controller channels, columns in the grid represent time. Time can be fixed ticks, usually one tenth of a second, or you can play a song and use the “Tapper Wizard” to tap the beat of the song or significant events in the song as timing marks where lighting events will be placed. See more information here.
What is the Show Editor?
This program is part of the ShowTime Sequencing Suite and allows you to arrange your animation sequences and/or musical sequences into a complete show. A sequence is typically just a song. A show is typically two or more sequences. Right click the LOR light bulb in the system tray of your Windows desktop (typically in the lower right corner) and choose Show Editor or Simple Show Builder.
What is the Show Scheduler?
This program is part of the ShowTime Sequencing Suite and allows you to schedule your shows so that they can run unattended. Right click the LOR light bulb in the system tray of your Windows desktop (typically in the lower right corner) and choose Show Editor.
How do I test the hardware?
This program is part of the ShowTime Sequencing Suite is used to configure the hardware, test it, download standalone sequences into controllers and load new firmware. We call it the Hardware Utility or HWU. Right click the LOR light bulb in the system tray of your Windows desktop (typically in the lower right corner) and choose Hardware Utility.
What are the minimum computer requirements?
1 GHz or faster CPU, Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8 / Windows 10 (we do recommend Windows 10 for the best security), Windows Media Player 9 or higher, 200 MB free disk space + space for audio files and sequence files, recommended memory for your version of operating system and at least one serial port or a USB to serial port adapter (adapter is available from LOR). You will NOT need to install any hardware in your PC.
Where in the world do I start???
To get a feel for how everything fits together in the new world of show animation, take a look at our typical setups. We have 4, 8 and 16 channel controllers available to get you started. They all connect and work together so you will be able to build and extend your show each year. You can begin with the 16 Channel Starter Package http://store.lightorama.com/ba16chpa.html Or we also have the DIY line with several different levels of kits. http://store.lightorama.com/diyproducts.html. If you choose this group you will need to purchase the Generic Starter Package to get going. http://store.lightorama.com/spk800.html You may want to download the Light-O-Rama Software demo and try it out to see how you create your personal show. Download the application or you can also purchase pre-built musical sequences at http://sequences.lightorama.com You can also join our forum where there are a plenty of helpful LOR users. http://forums.lightorama.com/ Thanks for considering Light-O-Rama!
My sequence appears to be dropping commands and/or stuttering. What do I do?
Check the USB cable between your computer and the USB485 converter. It should have the big ferite filters at each end like in this picture: http://store.lightorama.com/cableusbusb485.html. If it doesn’t, you will see the oddities you experience because electrical noise is getting mixed into the data we’re sending to all the controllers.
I have serial port adapter/converter issues. Help!
Make sure all LOR program are stopped and shows are disabled. Unplug the USB adapter. Use this link to get the USB driver installer. Download it and save it to your Desktop: http://www.lightorama.com/downloads/CDM20814_Setup.exe Once you have downloaded it and saved it to your desktop, double click the file which will run the driver installer. (make sure that the USB adapter is unplugged). Once the installer has completed, Run the LOR hardware Utility, In the “Setup Comm Port” section (Top left of screen) click on the “Manual Select” dropdown, Make note of which comm ports are present, Stop(Exit) the Hardware Utility Program, Plug in the USB adapter (wait 15 seconds for it to be recognized), Run the Hardware Utility Program. Check the Manual Select dropdown and a new com port should now be present. Select that new comm port as your show port
I seem to have a stuck channel on my light controller. Any suggestions?
Some quick tests. Power off the controller and plug a different light load into the stuck channel. Power up and run your tests again. We’ve seen too many lighting products that behave out-of-the-normal because they weren’t designed for animation environments. Another trick is to ‘reverse the polarity’ of the lights. Where the lights plug into the extension cord or power dongle, turn the light plug around 180 degrees and plug it back in. AC power is non-polarized but some light strings will act normal again by turning the plug around (we know it makes no sense… but it sometimes works.) One more trick used by the pros is to put a small incandescent light load on the troublesome light channels, usually at the end of the light string. Typically one incandescent C7 bulb does the trick… LEDs will then take on most of the dimming characteristics of the incandescent. If the problem is still there, let’s do a board reset: If it’s a 1600 series Generation 1 or 2 (metal enclosure and no LED display inside)), disconnect the power, set the unit ID switches to 0-0, and reapply power. The status light will blink very fast. Wait a few seconds, remove power, change the Unit ID switches back to where they were and reapply power. You’ve reset the board. If it’s a 1600 series Generation 3 (metal enclosure with LED display inside), disconnect the power, press the up and down buttons simultaneously and reapply power. The display will show ’0000.’ Wait a few seconds, release the up and down buttons, the controller will be reset and return to normal operation in about two seconds. If it’s a CTB-16PC series Generation 1 or 2 (plastic enclosure and has a jumper block to the right of the data cable connectors), disconnect the power, remove the jumper next to the data connectors (usually in the second position (or J2)) and reapply power. The status light will blink very fast. Wait a few seconds, remove power, replace the jumper on the J2 position and reapply power. You’ve reset the board. Go into the Hardware Utility and make sure the board is assigned to the correct physical location where it was before the reset. If it’s a CTB-16PC series Generation 3 (plastic enclosure and has a jumper block to the left of the data cable connectors), disconnect the power. On JP3, counting from the left, move the jumper on pins 4 and 5 over one notch to pins 5 and 6. Reapply power. The status light will blink very fast. Wait a few seconds, remove power, move the jumper pack to pins 4 and 5. Reapply power. You’ve reset the board. Go into the Hardware Utility and make sure the board is assigned to the correct physical location where it was before the reset. Now, run your tests again. If the channel is still stuck on and there’s just no turning it off there are a few options. If you have any unused channels, remap that channel to another location (in the sequence editor, click the channel description in the left column and change which controller and circuit is being used.) or… If you are handy with a soldering iron, we can send you replacement parts by contacting our help desk.
What do those lights mean on the ShowTime Director (mdm-MP3)?
There are four LEDs on the left side of the card above the Reset Button and Selector Switch. These LEDs are used as follows: E: Steady blink if there is no SD card inserted into the DC-MP3. Steady ON if the Hardware Utility is attached to the DC-MP3 – no SD card may be inserted while communicating with the Hardware Utility. Blink twice, pause, blink twice, pause, … if the show selected by the Selector Switch does not exist. Fast blink if the selected show is not present on the SD card or the SD card is invalid. Random blink during a show (SD card inserted) if the DC-MP3 falls more than a tenth of second behind in getting lighting controller commands out on the RS485 network link. R: Steady blink if the DC-MP3 is waiting for a scheduled show to start. Blink twice, pause, blink twice … if waiting for an input trigger to start a show and/or waiting for a scheduled show. C: Not currently used except during startup to indicate the firmware version present in DCMP3. P: This green LED is lit when the DC-MP3 is powered.
I can't save my show schedule. Should I panic?
Using Windows Explorer, open up the LOR data directory. This is the directory ABOVE the default sequences directory, so for example if the Sequence Editor saves your new sequences (by default) to C:UsersRandyMy DocumentsLight-O-RamaSequences, then use Windows Explorer to open up C:UsersRandyMy DocumentsLight-O-Rama. In that directory, there will likely be two files called “weeksched.lsc” and “yearsched.lsc” (they may show up as just “weeksched” and “yearsched”, depending on how you have Windows set up). Rename those files out of the way, or delete them. Now open up the Schedule Editor again. Your schedule should now be blank. Add a show to it, and save.
How do I reset my light controller?
If it’s a 1600 series Generation 1 or 2 (metal enclosure and no LED display inside), disconnect the power, set the unit ID switches to 0-0, and reapply power. The status light will blink very fast. Wait a few seconds, remove power, change the Unit ID switches back to where they were and reapply power. You’ve reset the board. If it’s a 1600 series Generation 3 (metal enclosure with LED display inside), disconnect the power, press the up and down buttons simultaneously and reapply power. The display will show ’0000.’ Wait a few seconds, release the up and down buttons, the controller will be reset and return to normal operation in about two seconds. If it’s a CTB-16PC series Generation 1 or 2 (typically in a plastic enclosure, red status light and has a jumper block to the right of the data cable connectors), disconnect the power, remove the jumper next to the data connectors (usually in the second position (or J2)) and reapply power. The status light will blink very fast. Wait a few seconds, remove power, replace the jumper on the J2 position and reapply power. You’ve reset the board. Go into the Hardware Utility and make sure the board is assigned to the correct physical location where it was before the reset. If it’s a CTB-16PC series Generation 3 (typically in a plastic enclosure, green status light and has a jumper block to the left of the data cable connectors), disconnect the power. On JP3, counting from the left, move the jumper on pins 4 and 5 over one notch to pins 5 and 6. Reapply power. The status light will blink very fast. Wait a few seconds, remove power, move the jumper pack to pins 4 and 5. Reapply power. You’ve reset the board. Go into the Hardware Utility and make sure the board is assigned to the correct physical location where it was before the reset. If it’s a CTB-16 series controller board, disconnect the power, set the unit ID switches to 0-0, and reapply power. The status light will blink very fast. Wait a few seconds, remove power, change the Unit ID switches back to where they were and reapply power. You’ve reset the board. If it’s a CTB-32 series controller board (typically with a green status light), disconnect the power from the controller. On reset header JP3 (just to the lower left of the data cable connectors), counting from the left, remove the jumper between pins 4 and 5. Power up the controller and the Status LED should flash rapidly. Disconnect the power from the controller and put the jumper back on between Pins 4 and 5 of the reset header JP3 (MAKE SURE OF ITS LOCATION). Power up the controller. Now, run your tests again.
How do I reset my Cosmic Color Ribbon?
Press and hold the reset button when powering up the controller to totally reset it. After resetting, the controller will run a simple pattern on the ribbon. If the ribbon is still acting odd, we’ll figure out what to do next. Try pressing this help desk button.
I don't seem to be getting any power to the controller. What do I do?
Take the controller to a different part of your venue and plug it in. Often the problem turns out to be a bad wall plug or popped circuit breaker. If the problem is still there, unplug the controller and swap the fuses. Power up again. If something is different, you know one fuse is bad.
The music is jumping around or seems out of sync with the lights. Now what?
Make sure your audio file is an .MP3 digitized at 128Kbps and at a constant bit rate (CPR). Some music files are digitized at a higher bit rate that doesn’t sit well with us. You can check the audio file by locating it on your computer, right clicking, click Properties and then Details. In the Audio section it will tell you the bit rate. I’m betting it says 192kKbps. There’s a program called Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) that’s free and is quite good at converting audio to the standard output we prefer at Light-O-Rama. The program is a bit geeky and you need to read the screens carefully, but it gets the job done.
What is the Light-O-Rama software directory structure?
First, close all of your running LOR programs. Not just things like the Sequence Editor, but also the LOR Control Panel. You can close the LOR Control Panel by right-clicking on it and selecting “Unload Light-O-Rama” from its pop up menu. Next, use Windows Explorer to open the directory that contains your Light-O-Rama program files. This is typically, but not always, C:\Program Files\Light-O-Rama. In that directory, there should be a file called “LORPost.exe” (although it may show up as just “LORPost”, depending upon how you have Windows set up). Run that file. It will step you through a few screens, including one in which it will ask the directory that you want to store your LOR data in. Tell it the directory ABOVE where you want your sequences. For example, if you want your sequences in C:\Users\Max\My Documents\Light-O-Rama\Sequences, then tell it C:\Users\Max\My Documents\Light-O-Rama. After LORPost finishes up, try installing those sequences again.
Light-O-Rama is disabled. I'm discouraged. What does it mean?
Ever clicked on the little Light-O-Rama light bulb in the Windows system tray (typically in the lower left of your screen)? You typically see Light-O-Rama x.x.x is DISABLED This is exactly what you would expect to see if there are no shows running. It usually indicates that the system has been installed correctly, the control panel is running and the Show Schedule is disabled thus preventing scheduled shows from running. You may need to create/test your sequences using the Sequence Editor and/or use the Hardware Utility to test your hardware. When using the Sequence Editor or the Hardware Utility, you need to have schedule disabled and make sure you use only one of those programs at a time. One you have Sequence Files, Setup and Scheduled a show you can use the LOR Control Panel to Enable the Schedule and start running shows. There are some quick start guides on this page that can be helpful.
I'm popping fuses and breakers. What about load testing with a 'Kill-O-Watt' meter?
When a fuse blows, channels hang, transformers get too hot or you smell something ‘not-so-good’ in your controller it’s typically a giant red flag too much current is being drawn. You might see just a few amps on each channel but when all channels are on at 100%, adding all those small loads together end up being one big load that might be more than you imagine and cause grief. I keep a Kill-A-Watt in my tool kit at all times. Find them at Radio Shack or your home center. Go to their website and search for ‘Kill-A-Watt’. Pricing is $20-40 USD and well worth the investment. Plug the power lead causing trouble into the Kill-A-Watt, fire up the LOR Hardware Utility, goto the ‘Console’ (old fashioned light board) and start turning on the circuits one at a time while watching the Kill-A-Watt watts or amperage display. You’ll find out quickly what’s going on.
My sequencing grid is blank or things look mis-aligned?
This issue usually has to do with your computer’s video drivers. Please see the “Troubleshooting FAQs” section of our user forums for several suggestions of things to try to resolve this issue.
FM transmitter optimization tips, please?
Some suggestions when using an FM transmitter to broadcast your audio to FM radios. First, keep your range expectations realistic. The FCC has very strict rules on how far a non-licensed radio station can transmit. The manufacturers will brag about hundreds of feet but read the fine print and it says in optimal conditions. We’re thinking that means the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Check www.radio-locator.com for the best unused stations in your area. Try using the lowest channels as they transmit best (88.1 through 99.9). Theoretically, the lower the frequency the further your signal will travel. Verify with an FM radio that the suggested channels found above are truly the best unused channels (static on and around the best channels). We don’t want to over-modulate the transmitter so make sure the audio output of your computer is set to 50-75% of its maximum. If you’re using the audio output of a ShowTime Director, you should be fine (especially since there’s nothing you can adjust.) You can use the volume control on the transmitter to fine tune what’s actually heard on the radio. Read the instructions that came with the FM transmitter carefully. Placement of your transmitting antenna is most important. Get it as high as possible and make sure the antenna wire is fully stretched out either horizontally or vertically. A vertical orientation seems to work best for most since the majority of car antennas are vertical. Make sure everything is plugged in properly and the transmitter and the FM radio are on the same frequency. Confirm your transmitter and radio are not on mute. Start a musical sequence and run your tests to see how it sounds on an FM radio. If you are getting a hum on the FM radio then try powering the unit with fresh batteries or the USB cable since these are the two cleanest forms (the others work well but AC and DC adapters can pick up and cause interference). If you are still getting a hum on the FM radio, make sure the audio cable from your computer or ShowTime Director to the transmitter is as short as possible and away from all power cables. Also make sure you’re using a high quality audio cable and not a simple headphone extension cable. If you’re using the WholeHouse FM Transmitter 2.0, remove the battery cover and peek under the QC sticker where there’s a very small switch. Slide it to the other position, replace the sticker and battery cover and run your tests again. Your range should change. Some final pieces of advice: Experiment a bit with the transmitter location because there’s almost always interference in/around your environment. Also try adjusting the antenna positioning and volume settings until you get the best sound possible on your FM radio.
I can't locate a controller. What should I do first?
Your controller might be in a location you aren’t looking for. Open the Hardware Utility, change the ‘Max Unit ID’ to ‘F0′ and refresh your controller list. ‘F0′ is hexidecimal for ’200′ decimal (software programmers love to confuse us normal people by talking in a very strange language) meaning the Hardware Utility will now search all 200 possible locations for your controllers. Wait a couple of minutes for the search to complete and check the list results to see if the missing controller pops up in a place you don’t expect. If it does, change the odd acting ontroller Unit ID to where you want it and you’re good to go.
I get an Error reading 'setup initiation file. Now what?
Error reading setup initialization file’ typically means that you didn’t receive the full download of the installer. It could also mean that your copy of the installer somehow became corrupted. In either case, we suggest downloading the installer again. Start at Software Download Page. The latest version of the software is at the top of the page and previous versions are at the bottom. When downloading, if you’re asked, make sure to ‘save to disk’ rather than ‘run from here’. When the download is complete, locate the file on your computer, double click on it and the install process will begin. Please see the ‘Troubleshooting FAQs’ section of our forum for more information.
I've got Easy Light Linker (wireless) irritations. Any suggestions?
The higher you can place an ELL, the better. People walking around absorb radio signals and can cause erratic operation. ELLs above the heads of people works the best. Make sure you have power to both Easy Light Linkers. You can look through the cable access hole in the bottom of each unit and if you see any lights on or flashing, that’s a good thing. Assuming both ELLs have power, start the Hardware Utility (right click the LOR bulb icon in the system tray and pick Hardware Utility.) If the Hardware Utility is already running, restart it. If the ELLs are communicating, you’ll see an animated icon at the bottom of the Hardware Utility page that says ELL. Search for your controllers and all is good. If the ELLS still do not work, in the Hardware Utility, click the ‘LOR RF’ tab and check both ELLs to make sure they’re on the same frequency. When doing this make sure only one ELL is connected to a nearby controller, that controller is connected to your computer with a data cable and the ELL has power (it typically grabs power from the nearest controller). When adjusting the parameters of an ELL, make sure a pair use the same frequency. Using less transmit power is better (too much and you get distortion). These simple tweaks typically resolve the problems you’re having.
Using Comm Port 16 and higher. ow do I do it?
The problem has to do with the com port selected by the USB drivers. Com ports higher than comm17 are not supported by the Hardware Utility. You will need to change the port number to a lower value. The process to change the com port has a number of steps but it is pretty straight forward. There may be slight differences depending on the version of the Windows Operating System that you have (XP, Vista, etc… ) but it very similar. Stop ALL LOR programs and make sure that the LOR USB device is plugged into the PC. Click the Windows Start button or the Windows “Ball”. Right Click ‘My Computer’ and select ‘Properties’. Click Hardware if you see a hardware tab. Click Device Manager. Expand Ports (COM & LPT). Double Click the Com Port that you want to change. Click Port Settings then Click ‘Advanced’. On the ‘Advanced’ page you will see the COM Port Number. Select a value less than COM17 If all COM ports seem to be in use then pick COM16. Click OK , OK …. To get out of the Device Manager. Reboot the PC.
Can I repeat my channel layout with other sequences?
Pick a sequence and manually change all the channel descriptions to what you think is best for your venue (color, words, etc.) Now do Edit/Export-Import Channel Configuration/Export Channel Configuration. Save the file with a name like MyMasterSetup.lcc. Create a new sequence or open another one. Go to Edit/Export-Import Channel Configuration/ Import Channel Configuration. Find MyMasterSetup.lcc and watch the magic. Super timesaver!
I can control the lights with the Hardware Utility but not the actual sequence. What do you suggest?
To control the lights with the Sequence Editor, confirm the following: Make sure the software is registered and is not the DEMO version (Look at the top line of the program)… No other LOR programs are using the comm port. (Stop Hardware Utility and Disable Shows on the LOR control Panel. The small box at the bottom right of the Sequence Editor is blue (not red or orange)… Blue means you have opened the comm port successfully. (Status box not present in earlier versions of software). The channels in the sequence are configured as LOR controllers with the correct Unit IDs. Control Lights is enabled ( in the Play Menu)… If the Sequence Editor cannot get the communications port open then most likely it is a configuration problem or another LOR program is running. Confirm that the Sequence Editor has the same comm port setting that is working in the Hardware Utility. The comm port is displayed in the top left of the Hardware Utility Screen. In the Sequence Editor you set the comm port by clicking Edit->Preferences->Network Preferences and then making sure the Regular Network is set to the same setting as the Hardware Utility. To make sure the channels are configured correctly in a sequence click the channel name on the left side of the screen and make sure the settings are – Type=Light-O-Rama Controller and that the Unit ID and Circuit are correct. Make sure that the Controller’s Unit ID as you tested in the Hardware Utility matches the Unit ID displayed in the Sequence Editor. In short: If you can control the lights in the Hardware Utility and Not in a show or in the Sequence Editor then More than one LOR program is running, Communications Port is set wrong in the Sequence Editor, Channel configuration of the sequence does not match the Controller.
What is Audacity?
There’s a program called Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) that’s free and is quite good at converting audio to the standard output we prefer at Light-O-Rama. The program is a bit geeky and you need to read the screens carefully, but it gets the job done.
Each song seems to be a different volume. Now what?
We have no control over what volume the artists records their work. There’s a process called ‘normalization’ that you can sometimes even out the highs and lows of a tune. Use an application like Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) that’s free and is quite good at converting audio to the standard output we prefer at Light-O-Rama as well as normalizing the volume. The program is a bit geeky and you need to read the screens carefully, but it gets the job done.
Can I use Light-O-Rama software on an Apple based system?
Kinda… but with some help. We have to use some very low level device drivers to communicate between the computer and the various types of controllers available. The Windows environment allows us to do this relatively easily… not so much in the Apple world. Most of our Apple users use their Mac in a Windows environment via Parallels (http://www.parallels.com/products/desktop/) or VMWare Fusion (http://www.vmware.com/products/fusion/overview.html). A good article showing how well these products work can be found at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704140104575057251096106096.html
How do I start SuperStar?
The SuperStar Sequencer is a module in the SuperStar Sequencing Suit Software (3.x and later). If you have the Light-O-Rama light bulb in the task bar in the lower right of your screen, right click on the light bulb and “SuperStar” will be on the list of programs you can launch. You can also launch SuperStar by clicking on the Windows Start button/orb in the lower left of your screen, click on “All Programs” and find the “Light-O-Rama” group of programs, SuperStar will be in there.
Where do I begin with SuperStar?
Click on the “Tools” menu and select “Scenes.” Select some pixels in the green sequencing grid. Click on the “Add” button in the “Scene Setup” dialog box. Click on the “Play” button in the toolbar at the top. The pixels you selected will light up during the time they were selected to be on. You can learn more by watching the “Basic Scenes” video tutorial and the “Morphs” video tutorial found on our video tutorials page.
How do I load a song into SuperStar?
]Make sure you have SuperStar open. Click on the ‘File’ menu and select ‘Open Audio File’
Why does SuperStar only play 8 seconds of my song?
The ‘Play’ button in the middle of the SuperStar toolbar buttons row that look like tape recorder buttons only plays eight (8) seconds of the song. To play the entire song click on the ‘Play All’ button that is to the right of the tape recorder buttons and looks like a movie camera on a tripod.
I've created a sequence using SuperStar. How do I get ot to control the lights?
The SuperStar Sequencer is a “front end” to the Light-O-Rama Sequence Editor. To play your sequence to your Cosmic Color Ribbons, click on the “File” menu and select “Export”. This will create a file that you can open with the Light-O-Rama Sequence Editor and play to your Cosmic Color Ribbons. For further info, watch the SuperStar Export video tutorial on the video tutorials page.
I've exported my SuperStar sequence but how do I get it to control the lights?
You can run a sub-sequence, paint in a sequence or use the trusty Copy/Paste command. Checkout ‘Getting Superstar Sequences into Main Sequences’ on the video tutorials page.
When I try to export a SuperStar sequence I get an error saying export is not supported in the demo version
The free demo version of the Sequence Suite Software that include SuperStar is functional in every way except that you cannot export. To be able to export you must purchase a SuperStar license.
How many Cosmic Color Ribbons can SuperStar handle?
The maximum number of cosmic color controllers SuperStar can handle is based on your license level. A Cosmic Color Ribbon includes one 150 channel controller. Why 150 channels? The ribbon can be broken up into 50 logical sections we call pixels. Each pixel can be individually controlled, meaning you can make it almost any color of the rainbow based on how you set the red, green and blue channels. Each pixel needs three channels. 50 pixels. 150 channels. Cosmic color pixel and bulb sets (100 bulbs or pixels) include a 300 channel controller.
I've got a bad triac. What should I do?
When a channel refuses to turn off after a board reset and insists on staying turned on at about 50% it means half the triac for that channel is cooked. If the channel stays on at 100%, the entire triac is zapped. The triac is the gizmo that switches the high voltage to your lights. Three options. If you have any unused channels, remap that channel to another location (in the sequence editor, click the channel description in the left column and change which controller and circuit is being used.) or… If you want to save shipping/repair time and you’re handy with a soldering iron, we can send you a replacement triac. It takes 15-30 minutes to replace the component on your controllers. All you do is remove the controller board from the enclosure, remove the appropriate heatsink on the side of the board with the bad triac, replace the triac on the bad channel and put everything back together. It’s not hard, but does take time. The other option is to return the controller to us and we can fix it for you… though there is typically a 2-3 week turnaround time once we receive the unit.
On how many computers can I install my Light-O-Rama software?
You can install our software on up to five (5) computers
Can I sell my licensed Light-O-Rama software to someone else?
When buying Light-O-Rama software you are purchasing a license for your use only. You cannot transfer or resell the license to anyone else.