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Technological Terror For the discussion of items of technology such as motors, controllers, motion sensors, audio boards etc. Also to discuss how to hack commercial electronic props.



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  #1  
Old 07-08-2012
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Default DIY RGB LED Lights

RGB LED DMX Lights
First, I need to give credit where credit is due. While I (like many haunters) want to believe we were the first to see a pile of junk and become inspired to say “I can make something out of that!” I am not the first to do this type of project. I think more haunters will though if they see how easy this can be. I did see the components of this project in a variety of websites and then only after coming to the conclusion that this was quite doable did I run across Jaybo’s youtube video.
You will need a USB to DMX interface. You also may need a 5 pin male to 3 pin female XLR adapter depending on your interface.
There are many on the market. The Enttec Open DMX is very popular in the haunt community.
Also you will need software, I suggest using XLights (free) to test your set up and Vixen (free) to get your your feet wet.
VSA from Brookshire is a very popular package and is not too pricey for the “hobbyist” version.
Supplies
·LED DMX Module
·RGB 5050 LED Modules
·4 X 4 X 2 PVC Junction Box
·Clear Plexiglas
·Heat Shrink Tubing
·Silicone Caulk
·Solder
·Flat Black Spray Paint
·Hot Glue
·Small screws and nuts x 2
·Category 5 cable
·3 pin XLR male connector
·RJ45 female to RJ45 female connector
Remove the cover from the box


step 1.jpg

Drill a ˝ inch hole in the junction box to allow the connection cable to exit the box


Mark a rectangle on the cover; be careful to preserve enough material for the screws that hold the cover on.

Cut out the plastic to create a window.
I used a rotary tool like a dremel with a cutting disc.

step 3.jpg

Paint the PVC junction box and cover inside and out with the flat black spray paint
Use the scrap that was removed to create the window to mount the LED and DMX modules

Mark and drill holes in the square to allow the DMX module to be mounted

step 4.jpg

Use hot glue to glue the LED modules to the scrap

step 6.jpg

Strip the wires on the LED and DMX modules
Cut the heat shrink tubing into short lengths
Slip a piece over each one of the 4 wires and slide them as far from the stripped end as possible
Twist each of the matching wires together
Be sure to connect the correct wires from the DMX module to the LEDS.
The LED modules I used had color coded wires that were red, green, and blue so it was very easy.
Solder the wires together
Slide the heat shrink tubing over the bare solder joints

step 7.jpg

Use a heat gun to shrink the tubing to cover all the exposed solder joints
Test the unit now so you can easily make corrections
Mount the LED / DMX module assembly in the junction box

Using the silicone caulk, mount the rectangle of Plexiglas to the inside of the box cover
After the silicone cures, run a bead of silicone around the edge of the outside cover
Fill the space around the connection cable with silicone caulk
Mount the cover on the box
Connect the cable and test the unit

step 9.jpg

The units that I used, if the power is connected but not the DMX the DMX module will enter a test mode that continuously changes colors.
You can use an ATX power supply from an old PC to power the lighting. The 12 volt positive is yellow.
Use the Black wire to the negative side and the Yellow wire to the positive side.

You will need am adapter to convert the XLR connector that DMX uses to an RJ45. You will only need one of these for several lights.
Cut a category 5 cable and strip shield off.

Strip each individual wire

Solder the orange (to pin 2on the XLR) and orange white wires (Pin 3 on the XLR)
Twist the green/white, blue, and blue white together and solder them together connect these to the 12 volt positive side of the power supply
Twist the green, brown, and brown/white and solder them together. Connect these to the ground side of the power supply.
DMX uses a daisy chain topology to communicate.

To connect lights together, use 3 way category 5 splitters and standard category 5 cables to run between

The DMX modules and 5050 RGB LED modules are available from CheapDMX.com and Holidaycoro.com. I purchased the DMX module and the LED modules from CheapDMX.com for about $13
The bulk of the other items came from Home Depot and totaled about $6 for the light.
Holidaycoro.com has some great info on this idea; they have a product called the mega ball that is essentially this exact combination of components in a plastic ball rather than a J box. They now offer an LED flood kit since I started this project.
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  #2  
Old 07-08-2012
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Strange how just last night I was talking about needing to learn more about DMX in chat, and this gets posted today...
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  #3  
Old 07-08-2012
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I'm learning as I go...
It's not cheap but very flexible.
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Old 07-10-2012
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I have built some floodlights that use 10 of the 5050 RGB modules in a work light housing.

Right after I built mine David at HolidayCoro came out with a kit to do the same thing.

Yesterday I saw on his website that he has the kit on sale for $19.95. All you need to add is power and a work light housing that you can get at Home Depot. You can get one fro0m him, but that will kick up the price of shipping.

That is a pretty darn good price.

Here is the link: http://www.holidaycoro.com/product-p/163.htm

David also has very good instructions for building it. Plus he has some good, basic information on using DMX and RGB on his site.

I have done business with David several times and had good service in the past.
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Old 07-10-2012
typoagain typoagain is offline
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Oh, the Entec open is a good solid dongle. However, the Entec Pro puts less of a workload on your computer.

I use the dongle I built from a kit you can get in a group buy at DIYlightanimation. The kit for the dongle runs about $50. You can also buy the printed circuit board and get the parts from Mouser. It can be mounted in just about any box.

They also have a new one called a Eather Dongle that has a lot of bells and whistles that you probably not use in a haunt, but would find very useful in a Christmas display. It starts at about $85 dollars. Things like built in conductor cards, wireless connections, etc.

However, you might be able to get the basic dongle already build and used by other members of the forum for around $40 as many of the members who are upgrading this year to the new Eather Dongle.
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  #6  
Old 07-11-2012
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I have become a fan of Holidaycoro.com...
I was trying to build something at a slightly lower price point since I wanted to build several.
The work light runs around $15 (Home Depot or Lowes) so I wanted to try to see if I could do better.
This one came in at around $19 including the enclosure about $20 less than the kit plus work light.
I really like the Holidaycoro.com idea it is what I wanted to do originally but I have a very limited budget...
I have some other ideas for other form factors I just want to play with materials... I will share the results of my experiments.
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Old 07-15-2012
typoagain typoagain is offline
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Since I did not use his kits, I was able to use a different housing. I bought 6 of them at the Black Friday sale at Home depot for $6.00 each. If they have them again this year I'll buy a dozen more.

I think the biggest difference is that Davbids design uses ten of the 5050 modules, so it will but out a lot more light. It really depends of what you need. For a haunt with low light levels, Your design c mould easily be better.

If you were to use his kit and put it in your housing you would pay what, $7 more. But you would end up with six more modules, the cat 5 cable, and the splitter. As a package the cost of parts is lower-if you have use for the parts.

Oh, most of the parts I use I have bought fro Harris from CheapDMX. He was there first, has given me great service, and I try to be a loyal customer when I can.
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Old 10-31-2012
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Do have an example of how this would be configured and controlled in VSA?
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  #9  
Old 11-21-2012
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Sorry for the delay in response, I didn't see this until today.
I don't have a VSA example.
I did not get VSA purchased this year.
We had a flood at our house this Summer and that has consumed all my time (and budget) for the 2012 haunt.
I did test it with Vixen (available for free) and all I had to do was set up 3 tracks on DMX channels 1, 2, and 3 and plop in an audio track and start adding light...
I plan on building more after the Winter Holidays when I will have n=more time and budget available...
I still need VSA, an Exorcist board and DMXorcist software to round out the control side.
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  #10  
Old 11-27-2012
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Default Took the plunge

Thanks for the reply.

I decided to take the plunge. But bought a 16ft strip of 300, 5050 rgb's and cut it into strips of 6, with 5 strips per flood. Much cheaper ($35 for 300), but lots of soldering. I found flood lights at Home Depot for $6.88 a piece. Bought one HolidayCoro DMX module to test out with VSA and that went well. So now I'm waiting on HolidayCoro to ship the remaining DMX modules and programming dongle.
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