View Full Version : Should I buy now for 2008?

12-14-2007, 11:12 PM
I just got hooked on this site within the last week. I am now planning my display for 2008. Should I go ahead and buy the boards that are available now (looking at Ren64) or should I wait three to six months to see if there are any improvements? I know how fast technology changes but not sure if this type of DIY technology is fluid.


12-15-2007, 09:53 AM
At this point it is probably a good idea to wait a few months and see what turns up. There may be some new hardware developed or some revisions of existing hardware. One issue you may want to consider is in the off season boards like this tend to get slow. The hardcore nuts, like me, are here all year long and almost daily at that. So there may not bee the big coops going on before sept. If you think you will need more than 2 months or so to get the stuff build and tested then you might want to buy now.

12-15-2007, 09:57 AM
I'm new this is as well but I am buying now as I have a lot of building to do for 2008...SSR's, Bazooka's...etc...


12-15-2007, 11:52 PM
If you plan on building a lot, say over 64 channels, then I would consider getting some now and start building at least one set. Then you will know how long it will take to do the rest. I got 144 channels at the beginning of October and it was not long enough for me to put everything together with any time to spare.

- Michael

12-15-2007, 11:58 PM
I wouldn't wait. Winter is a great time to put the time in to build this stuff. While there may be some revisions for next year, I don't see anything major on the horizon. Last year at this time we were all looking forward to Renard and dimming. Lynx is the only new thing with very much traction for next year. Plus, after the hardware is built, there is still the display design and then the sequencing to go with it. You'll have plenty to do later.

Wayne J
12-15-2007, 11:59 PM
Building the hardware early is a very good plan. I had my controllers done by Febuary, and SSRs done by May. Then that game lots of time to plan the display and sequence it. Much better to have the stuff sitting on the shelf waiting, rather than rushing at set up time.
One great piece of advice that was given to me that is worth passing on is. Get a plan together and stick with it, don't try to change up last minute.

12-16-2007, 01:15 AM
Common elements of all the systems are the computer, the SSR's, and power.
I would consider obtaining a fast "show" computer that is for nothing else.
The SSR's are also one of the most expensive parts of any system and the least likely technology to change. You could start building them and decide how to control them later. Just don't build many more than you can use, keep in mind that 64 channels with just one 1/3 amp light string on each will need about 20 amps when they are all on.
You may have to add breakers to your power panel and/or add a sub-panel. Something you don't want to find out next november when your trying to plug things in.

My 2 cents,

12-16-2007, 01:40 AM
This was a full year project for me.....

I recommend hitting the after Christmas sales and get whatever you can!
Then start planning what to build with the lights.
We were building mini trees in January....
your first year layout is A LOT of work (you'll repeat it 10 times).
stuff is out of stock (spt1, spt1 plugs etc) and you'll need to keep pinging to get it....
Do as much as you can before August... try to build in sept and test in Oct....

trust me, you will be AMAZED at how much longer everything takes, compared to what you thought it would take. Stuff goes wrong, waste a week there with business at work, rainy for a week, too cold for a week.. you know, it adds up.

I say if you know exactly what hardware you want, go for it. If you are on the fence, wait and see what comes out..... If you are only doing 32 channels, no big rush, if you want to go big your first year START NOW.

12-16-2007, 03:57 AM
hopefully this is an easy question to answer.

Are there usually coops in january?
I was wanting to use my income tax to buy everything for a GRINCH with 64 channels.

How many wall outlets are needed to power 16 SSR's? 1-3 strings per channel.

12-16-2007, 12:42 PM
hopefully this is an easy question to answer.

Are there usually coops in january?
I was wanting to use my income tax to buy everything for a GRINCH with 64 channels.

How many wall outlets are needed to power 16 SSR's? 1-3 strings per channel.

Mu ha ha ha,,, thats kind of like saying "what do you mean I'm overdrawn!!! I still have checks left!"

number of plugs has nothing to do with it, if you had a small display, or a 20Amp service plug, you might run it all on one. You need to design your layout first, and determine your requirements.

12-17-2007, 12:16 AM
Thank you all for the advice. Due to my busy schedule (work, kids, school, etc), I don’t believe I will have enough time if I wait until next September. I think I’ll get started now with one board and maybe add to it with the next coop later in the year.


12-17-2007, 05:38 AM
Start now,

Dont wait

It is a lot of work.....

Hit the shops now, start to buy some lights, dont wait until Dec 26. There will be some reasonable prices on lights now, plus you can work out which stores have lots of spares that have not sold.

Build the hardware early. Choose a controller and get started. set some sttring up in the garage, so you can see some effects.

Build the props early. Buy the tomato frames, cut them, shap and wrape them. once they are done put them into storage.

Plan the layout. Have a look at this years photos and videos. look for things YOU like and want to build.

Do test runs. build a couple of effects (mintrees, Hops, stars) and set them up during the year. see if the color look right, are there enough bulbs?

Start selecting songs. listen to the tracks,

Layout the lights and the yard on a map. plan what you want wear u want.

test test tes. have all the controllers and show PC ready by 1 OCT.

lay out the power and data cables early. Start 1 Nov.

Build the mega tree mid nov

finalise tesing on Nov 20,

Go live Nov 24.

I only wish i did things in that order... ;-)

12-17-2007, 10:09 AM
Wow John,
After reading that last post I feel like I just finished a race. I kept reading at a faster and faster pace and by the end I was out of breath.

I better get started too!

12-17-2007, 11:23 AM
Man! :shock:
I quit this stuff looks like its too much work! :lol:

Hes right get started on what you can now. I started on mine in Jan last year and while I did a fairly large display for a first year it is a lot of work.

12-20-2007, 04:04 AM
Wow John,
After reading that last post I feel like I just finished a race. I kept reading at a faster and faster pace and by the end I was out of breath.

I better get started too!

I ONLY wish I had followed my own advice. It was harder than I expected, Year 2 is going to be awesome!

I was still string lights and doing sequences at 5 am after an all nighter.


12-20-2007, 04:57 AM
I have to agree with everyone. The earlier you start the better. Who knows what may delay you. I learned my lesson, Got everything up, Doing alot last minute (standing outside troubleshooting electronics in beginnings of a snowstorm) SUCKs, and not good for the electronic too.


01-13-2008, 05:07 AM
Plan for 2010, that way youre not going to be pushing it to have everything ready for 2008...hehehehe

01-14-2008, 12:27 AM
I'm buying now for 2008 - Didn't wait for a few months like it was mentioned back on the first page.

(KINDA wish I had now :) - Talk of NEW and IMPROVED Ren64's, etc...)

BUT - I have SOOOO much to buy, build, test, learn, integrate - I HAD to jump in running!

Jeff Millard
01-23-2008, 02:52 PM
I'm really scared now. I am planning on converting over to all Renard/Grinch/595 this year and so it's like starting all over again for the third year... I'm tired already, and I don't even have the co-op boards yet...


01-23-2008, 11:43 PM
what are you running right now

Jeff Millard
01-24-2008, 05:56 PM
I currently have 13 LOR controllers for 208 dimmable channels, and 144 on/off DIO using DIY SSRs. For the swapover I have one 595 and one Grinch complete with a single Ren-C and Ren-T to play with. I also have two more bare 595's and two bare Ren-24's with eight more on order. The newest design Ren-24 is what I will focus on first. Once they are assembled and tested I will remove the LOR controllers and offer them up for sale. I currently use the spade terminals on three LOR controllers and I love them dang things. They make life much easier. Several of the screw terminals have stripped in just two years of use.