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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,

I'm ready to start purchasing the thunder and lightning components for our haunt. I've read the other threads on this subject and have looked at some of the effect units mentioned. I've decided to try the I-Zombie SC-1201 controller, which costs quite a bit more money and can be viewed here.

http://www.i-zombie.com/pages/sc1201-lightning-controller.php

Originally I wanted to have the thunder & lightning effects just in our grave yard, but decided to make it over the entire front of the house. I really don't want to spend the extra money for the stereo unit they offer, but does anyone know if this will be a mistake not to get it as opposed to the mono unit that flashes all lights together? Flashing them all together seems very authentic to me, just like a real storm anyway.

I also decided not to go with the six (6) Par-38 light cans due to them not being rated for outdoor use, so I'm going to put together about 6 blue flood lights available at home depot. I think they are either 100w or 150w each. At least with those, I won't have to worry about them when it rains. I wasn't looking forward to having to cover up the Par-38 cans with plastic when it rains. Any thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I ordered the mono unit this morning with their CD. Hopefully they ship quickly and I won't have to wait months to get it. I'm going to get my hands on some blue flood lights this week and set the system up in my basement with an amp and speakers. I'll let everyone know how it works once I'm able to test everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Hi folks,

I came home from work today to find my I-Zombie lightning controller waiting for me after placing the order only 2 days ago. Service like that is something any home haunter can appreciate.

I set it up in my basement with about 400 watts of lightning and was blown away by it. I don't regret not getting the stereo unit at all. This mono unit, which flashes all lights together is perfect.

I was also very impressed with how easy the hook-up was to my stereo. Just two RCA connectors from the CD player, and two RCA's back to the receiver input. The thunder CD, which is included with the unit came with 25 tracks of amazing thunder audio that put to shame all the thunder tracks I've been collecting from the internet over the last few months.

There is a control knob on front of the box that enables you to dial in how bright the flashes are and how long they stay on. I just can't imagine anything being easier or better and you get a one year warranty with it. It isn't designed to be water proof or weather proof or anything, but that is okay because it'll be set up in my garage with one outdoor extension cord run to all the effects lighting which will be across the entire front of my house outside.

Yeah, at $119.00, it isn't cheap. But being able to use as much as 1,200 watts of lighting, this thing is definitely a professionally made effects unit.
 

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That's cool. That's good to know the mono works. I used the unit that Target sold a couple years ago with a sensitivity dial to make one light in the living room window flicker to their Sound FX CD and a clock radio CD player that worked well. But this is more heavy-duty and looks like you can really put on a nice show. Are you going to set this up inside or outodoors for Halloween? Or speakers outside? The one thing about putting my quick cheapo unit indoors is you couldn't hear the thunder sounds outside. And actually the lights react to any sound or music on any CD or even clapping your hands. (Calp on Clap Off LOL)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Hi Fright,

This I-Zombie unit will be located inside my garage which will also be connected to a 100 watt stereo system. The 6 or 8 100 watt blue outdoor spot lights will be placed outside the length of my house as well as several outdoor speakers. I'll have the volume turned up just loud enough to hear the thunder sounds coming from the CD, but not to loud that it'll be heard to far off the property.

What is also great about the I-Zombie units is that by flicking a switch inside the box, it can act in a reverse fashion to the CD. That means if it's connected to "constant on" lights, it'll make them dim or flicker to the thunder CD giving the impression the lightning has damaged a power line.

Lastly, I knew I'd require more than 500 watts of lighting for outside my house, so I needed a unit that can handle much higher lighting loads than some of the lesser expensive controllers. Hope this helps.
 

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The way you describe it, 120 bucks doesn't sound bad at all!

I like the idea of the reverse setting... if you wanted to go totally overboard you could have two units, one outside, and one inside set to reverse connected to all the lights in the rooms with windows facing out. So all the house lights would flicker out every time lightning struck. *sigh* so much haunting... so little funds...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey Fright Zone...We are trying to come up with the money to purchase a camcorder. Once that happens, I'm going to have many videos to show you all. I know I'll certainly have one just before Halloween.

Revenant...Yes, that would be great to have two of them, especially in one or two of the bedrooms that face the front of the house. Due to the cost of a second unit, I won't be able to do that this year. I did think about it because you don't have to have the volume turned up in order for the lights to flash to the CD. So having one inside the house dimming the lights to the CD would be great because we wouldn't have to put up with all the thunder noises. I wonder if all of the thunder & lightning effects units on the market work that same way?
 

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Ya know Richie... I've been sort of back-burner thinking about this for a couple of hours... it shouldn't take two units to get that complementary flash effect. Running the soundtrack into 2 controllers is certainly a way to do it, but it seems redundant. I'm not an electronics whiz or anything, but I keep thinking of it in terms of a basic logic circuit... to get that effect in a micro-circuit it would only take a NO gate. Simplicity. And your box basically just has an outlet in the back that you plug your extension cord into, with power flow to the outlet being controlled by the box . So....

Is there some type of outlet adapter or cord that would have a relay in it that could be send a signal (a simple on/off pulse) through another wire in response to whether or not it was hot at a given moment? My thinking: Lets say you have a power strip set up in the house connected to several lamps illuminating the windows of your house. This strip is on a relay that opens the strip's power circuit when it gets a "yes" signal to it. If you have a cord or adapter plugged into your controller to supply that signal, you'd be set.

I don't know if something as simple as a step-down transformer and a logic gate would do it, but it seems like a simple problem in search of a simple solution. Unfortunately, electronically speaking I'm more simple than they are.:rolleyes: Who's good here with electronics?
 

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Back again... sorry to be such a pest, but this has GOT to be easy! I'm thinking, all it needs is a 120Vac-12Vdc transformer and a 120Vac normal-closed relay that takes a 12V signal current. Or 24V, or 9, or whatever, I don't know what kind of parts are readily available, I'm no electrician, but it should be totally simple.

You've got a 2-way adapter plugged into the output of your controller box in your garage. One branch powers your lights, the other goes to the transformer. When the outlet goes hot, it's powering your lights and the transformer simultaneously... the transformer is feeding a low-volt DC current through a wire that leads from your garage inside to the relay that your power strip is wired to. As long as that signal current is going to the relay, it stays open, and the inside lamps get no juice. When the signal is interrupted, the lamps are on. I know those electrical parts are out there. Just put some fuses in to keep things safe and it should be easy to do. I think.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled conversation of less excitable people who know what the hell they're talking about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hey Revenant,

Now you have me scratching my head on this one. I've been thinking about your first comment and how cool it would be to have the outdoor spot lights flash to simulate the lightning effect and also have the interior lights flicker out.

The funny thing is that the circuitry already exists inside the I-Zombie controller. The catch, as you already know, it can only produce one of these effects at a time and not simultaneously.

I think the solution is that a second electrical receptacle needs to be added to the back of the unit. One receptacle exclusively handles lightning effects, and the other exclusively dimming effects and both operable together.

I personally am not aware of something like this on the market. Perhaps this is the next step I-Zombie should take in order to further improve their product. In fact, Russ Martin, the actual engineer who designed the entire family of I-Zombie lightning products contacted me after I posted all the positive comments regarding my purchase.

Maybe I should email him and pass on your suggestion to him as a further improvement to his already great design. I know I'd like to have one that can perform both effects simultaneously.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Guys,

I emailed Russ Martin last night and asked about all of this. No better person to ask than the man who designed it in the first place.

As soon as he contacts me, I'll let you know what his thoughts are on all of this. If these units can be redesigned or modified to do both of these effects simultaneously, it would be amazing. It would truly be an "All In One" thunder & lightning effects unit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Okay folks,

I received a response from Mr Russ Martin (man that was fast) regarding all of this. Unfortunately for me, I passed on the stereo unit i-Zombie sells for $199.99, which actually is designed as an "All In One" effects unit and does what Revenant has been discussing here. It can be viewed at this link:

http://www.i-zombie.com/pages/st2401-lightning-controller.php

Here is a quote from Mr. Martin as follows "Hence the ST-2401 can actually function in three different ways: Full (true) stereo, 2400-watt mono, OR--one 1200-watt channel of lightning and the other channel dimming in perfect synchronization to the sound"

It's to bad I didn't know I'd want this feature or fully understand the description. Still, this mono unit is wonderful and is going to help us put on one heck of a show for the neighbors, man I can't wait.

Revenant...looks like your idea was a great one :)
 

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Let me know when you're upgrading and maybe I'll take that one off your hands. You'll have to suffer thru this year though, I'm broke!
 

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You know you can buy the cheaper LightFx to dim some lights on the inside.
It would compliment your outside effects and not cost an arm and a leg.
There is no delay though.
 

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Its been a few months since a post was put here....but I am new as of today.

I purchased the four channel unit....last year. I had 36 par -38 lights hooked to it using a multitude of extension cords and basically surrounded my entire home with all 36. All I can say is mono is great...but the four channel is UNBELIEVABLE. Last count I ran out of candy at 650 bags.....and no I am not joking. I hooked this up with my IPOD connected to my stereo....which hooks to the I-Zombie...put it on repeat...and walked away. I had unbelievable attention...and spectators. And my house does not even come close to most of yours in terms of numbers of props...etc....mostly fog....lightining....black lights...one or two ghosts...four or five tombstones.

Check out the house....(these are not halloween pics)..and you can see why its the PERFECT house for a haunt.

http://www.chileshouse.com

I know its an expensive purchase....but honestly I have no regrets...I love just watching it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi Arcuhtek,

Welcome to the forum. Amazing home you have there. Now I can see why you required so many par lights for the effect. Hopefully you'll be able to shoot some video for us. I did have a question, I thought the PAR cans are not weather resistant and are actually made for indoor use. How did you deal with them if it rained?
 
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