Dasher Controllers


In addition to Light-O-Rama controllers and various other types of controllers, Light-O-Rama can control your lights that are hooked up to Dasher controllers.


Limitations of Dasher Controllers


Not all of Light-O-Rama's lighting effects are supported on Dasher controllers; to use effects other than "on" or "off" (such as twinkling, shimmering, fading, and brightness intensities other than "totally off" or "full brightness"), you must use Light-O-Rama controllers.


The Dasher Port


All Dasher controllers that you will use must be hooked up to your computer over a single COM port, known as the Dasher Port.  You can select which COM port is the Dasher port in the X10/Dasher tab of the Network Preferences program:



The Network Preferences dialog, with the Dasher Port set to COM8


Unit IDs


Each Dasher controller has a unit ID, identifying which controller it is.  A controller will only react to lighting commands for its unit ID.  For a Dasher controller, the unit ID is a number between 1 and 106.


Circuit IDs


Each Dasher controller has eight circuits, each of which can control independent strings of lights.  A circuit is on a Dasher controller identified by a circuit ID between 1 and 8.


Assigning Circuits to Channels


When a sequence is created using the Sequencer, each of its channels can be assigned a string of lights using the Channel Settings dialog or the Channel Configuration screen (the former may be more convenient for modifying a single channel, and the latter for modifying multiple channels at once).


For a Dasher controller, these allow you to set the unit ID and circuit ID assigned to a channel.  Without these being set, controllers will not react to lighting effects that you have put into your sequence.


For example, the following shows the Channel Settings dialog for a channel assigned to circuit 7 of a Dasher controller with unit ID 37:



Channel Settings for a Dasher controller


The Channel Settings dialog can be accessed by left-clicking on the channel's button, or by selecting "Change Channel Settings" from the channel button's right-click popup menu.  The Channel Configuration screen can be accessed by selecting "Channel Configuration" from the Tools menu.


Importing Dasher Files


In addition to being able to use Dasher controllers, Light-O-Rama can also import sequences created using the Dasher program, and convert them to Light-O-Rama sequences that can be used in your shows.


To convert a Dasher sequence to a Light-O-Rama sequence, simply open the Dasher sequence using the Sequencer (for example, via "Open" of the File menu).  Light-O-Rama will detect that it is a Dasher sequence, and prompt you on how to import it:



The Dasher Import dialog


The reason for this dialog is one of the differences between Light-O-Rama and the Dasher program: Dasher sequences must always be associated with an audio file, even if you don't want any sound to play while the sequence is controlling the lights.  Often, people who used Dasher but did not want sound during a particular sequence would therefore create audio files that had no sound in them.


Light-O-Rama, on the other hand, has no need for such "empty" audio files.  A Light-O-Rama musical sequence is associated with an audio (or video) file, and a Light-O-Rama animation sequence is not.


When you ask Light-O-Rama to import a file that was created using Dasher, it does not know whether the audio file used by the Dasher sequence is "empty" or not.  If it is, then Light-O-Rama has no need for the audio file.  So, the Sequence Editor displays this dialog asking you whether it really needs this audio file or not.


Finally, after importing a Dasher sequence, make sure to save it.  It will be saved as a Light-O-Rama sequence.  Only the new Light-O-Rama sequence can be used in your shows; the old Dasher sequence that it was imported from cannot.