View Full Version : OK So I am lost and confused....

Gregory O
10-15-2007, 07:56 PM
So I built a 595 that I got from Brian. That was easy. I modified my belkin tunecast II with a new antenna, bypassed the attenuator, and also put a mini usb port on it so I can run it off of cpu power.

I dont understand if I need a parallel cable from my lpt port to the board, or can I just use cat5 cable. I will be running the power from my Christmas Control Computer (C3).

The next part I dont get is the whole SSR thing. What is the easiest and cheapest way to build these things? I will probably only run 1 595 this year so I can learn what to do.

I am very envious of everyone that already has their stuff done for this year!!!!!

10-15-2007, 08:02 PM
Gregory, I am relatively new to this as well. I'll answer as best I can. You need to run a cable from your parallel port to the 595. The easiest way is to convert using a db25 to rj45 adapter. This is in addition to the power connections.

For the ssrs, I went with the sean bowf design and co-op. I went through Jayson's parts co-op for the parts. I am busy assembling now.

There is lots of info here and on cc on the ssr stuff.

Good luck

10-15-2007, 08:13 PM

I can help out with SSR boards. They are the same COOP design that we have standardised on over the last year.


10-15-2007, 09:22 PM
For the cable from the pc to the 595 you can use any kind of cable you have. You can get fancy with an adapter that will allow you to run Cat 5 cable, cut the printer end off a printer cable or just use some speaker wire soldered to the appropriate pins of a parallel connector(DB25). The beauty is you can use whatever you have available to you.

The easiest way to get ssrs is to buy some of the "hockey puck" type ssrs off ebay. The best way is to buy some coop ssr boards and solder on the components.

10-15-2007, 09:25 PM
Greg, Where in Maryland? I am in Northern VA. Maybe I can help you too.

Creg is right - best way is to get a DB25 to RJ45 adapter, then run CAT 5 from the adapter to the 595. You can run power through the adapter (a little more work) or you can just take the power off of a spare connection in the computer and plug it directly into the 595.

Once you build the SSRs, the next biggest task will be to enclose them so you can hook them up to your lights and the 595. I have found that to be a time consuming event (probably because I am slow).

IF you haven't already started sequencing music, I would start now while you wait for your parts. Takes between 3 to 4 hours per minute of music depending on how many channels and how fancy your are trying to be.

You have time, you just need to get busy.

Gregory O
10-16-2007, 04:44 AM
Thanks everyone.

wjohn- I got your email. I need to run the #'s past the bureaucratic financial manager of this establishment and submit all of my forms in triplicate. I think she will say yes, but I wont commit until then. hahaha

Scharbon- I am on the eastern shore, in Denton. Thanks for your offer and advice on the music.

Brian - Is there an advantage to running cat5? I have enough for this project, but on the other hand, who doesnt have a printer cord? And who really doesn have speaker wire??? I must have a spool or four lying in the basement!!

Has anyone just use the waveform plugin for vixen? I am sure the result doesnt turn out as cool as sequencing your own stuff, but I may just go with that this year for a starter.

10-16-2007, 05:11 AM
I'll try to help out here too. You have a couple of options with the connection between your computer and your Olsen 595 controller.

Stempile told me about the all in one cable from MOUSER (http://www.mouser.com/search/ProductDetail.aspx?R=RJADK25P7080831virtualkey6361 0000virtualkey636-RJADK25P7080831) that has the DB25 connection that plugs into the back of your computer and the other end has the RJ45 jack. This is a nice and clean all in one solution.

Your other option is to make it yourself using a printer cable and an RJ45 jack. I have the instructions on my site HERE (http://www.ksochristmaslights.com/how_to/index.html#article2). This solution is quick and easy, you can just pick up the parts at Fry's Electronics.

I haven't seen one, but I'm pretty sure you could probably also buy an adapter that goes from DB25 to RJ45.

You will have to buy a huge spool of Ethernet cable though. If you have one Olsen 595 controller, then the most SSR's you could run is 16. 16 SSR's can run 64 channels. 64 channels with 3 strings of lights per channel is 19,200 mini-lights. (Given that the mini-lights are 100 bulbs per string). I have a high level overview HERE (http://www.ksochristmaslights.com/how_to/index.html#article1). You will put the SSR's (in an enclosed box) out in the yard. You will keep the Olsen 595 controller most likely inside next to the computer, or in the garage. You will use Ethernet cable to connect the Olsen 595 controller to the SSR's. So you will have to buy a huge spool of cable and then just make your own Ethernet connections.

I am curious how you made your modified Belkin Tunecast II. I have a modified one, but it would be nice to run it off of USB. Right now, I just use a cell phone charger to give it power. If you have a link to a tutorial, that would be great.

10-16-2007, 07:30 AM
The only advantage to using Cat 5 is it is cheap. Other than that just use what you have on hand.

As for the waveform plug in, if you strategically plan out your channels and lights then the waveform could be very useful. The only pitfall with the waveform plug in is that if your channels go in order from 1-64, say left to right in your yard, you will get an effect like a visual level meter,. Like the row of leds that showed how loud the speakers were in the old rack stereo systems. To see what I am talking about just set up a sequence with some channels in the preview and use the plug in. You will see what I am talking about. With some thought it would work out nice, especially for a 1st year.

Gregory O
10-16-2007, 09:01 PM
Anarchtica: The belkin mod is pretty easy. I put together a quick tutorial this morning. It can be accomplished in about ten minutes. I really like your site.. Very simplified and I will be building that cble tomorrow.

Brian: Thanks for the info about the plugin. I did some reseach this morning, and will buying all of my parts for the ssr's tomorrow. Boards from wjohn. Hopefully all will come in and I will get everything made by the first weekend in November.

Then I can start on my layout and hopefully the music selection and sequencing.[/img]