Re: My 1st year experiences.
I also use the TA-200's, and the first year, I carefully put all the spt-1 lines in, then pushed the cat5 in, and put an end on it. After having to change the first one, I then decided to just slit the front of the rubber, and slide the cat5 in that way, and if it's too tight, just leave it outside the rubber, but in the slot, and close the enclosure. Works just fine. Virtually ALL my SSR's are hard-wired, with terminals, instead of pigtail recepticals. I've never had trouble with water getting in a single one of my enclosures. Maybe luck has a lot to do with it, but I know from years of roofing, that water "usually" will only travel down, and if you give it a path, AROUND your electronics, it will "usually" take it.
As for a tester, I made several of them, for ukewarrior, and now fathead has one, that looks like this:
Mine was home-etched, and I can check to see if I still have the files, and if not, maybe ukewarrior does, if anyone is interested. I see that the library and copper files section don't seem to be working. I used mine extensively this year!! Both for testing inputs to the SSR's, as well as individual strings. The Helix lacks a way to conveniently turn on channels, for string testing, so I used my SSR tester. The ONE thing I would change, is I'm using momentary switches, and I would change them to dip switches, probably in parallel with the momentary switches. Now, I have to hold the momentary, to keep the string on. I also have one of the cat5 cable testers from China (OMG, I said that!!!) that someone gave me (that makes it ok, somewhat), that has a remote, so I can plug it in at the far end, and test the cable from the controller end. Works well, but the switch lasted a day - I now have to take something and reach in the housing to turn it on and off, but it still works.
Curious which version of the Helix, and which mp3 encoder board you are using - I've never had the "over driving" problem with mine, but I'm using V.1 boards, with the older mp3 breakout board.
96 channels - you'll have a love/hate relationship! I have 288 channels right now, and hope to have 384, if n ot more, next year. The biggest help I can give you, is to make good use of the routines - save everything you make and are happy with, and you can use them over and over again. Cut and paste is fine, but the ability to save and load routines makes life a LOT easier. I also take full advantage of changing the channel order, and have 5 or 6 different channel orders, that I swap back and forth, constantly. It depends on what your set up is, but I have one that the channels are in physical order, color order, one that puts every other element next to each other (for skipping things in the middle), and even one, for a slow motion fading sweep, that is their order from left to right, as seen from the street. Works for me.
As for the mega tree - I'm going to be putting one up, hopefully, in 2012. Mine will have to be about 26 foot tall, to match the top of the house, but might have to change that depending on the length of strings I end up using. Or, I'll be extending strings to match the tree, one or the other. Either way, I'm thinking with a 26 toof tree, divided by half for the base, that's 13 foot across, or 40 foot around. At 6" spacing at the bottom, that's 80 strings! So at 7-1/2" spacing, it would be about 64 strings, and if I make each string a channel, that's 64 channels, or two Helix daughter boards. However, MOST people double or triple up strings, I'm told, so just do whatever comes naturally to you. By the time, I put my spiral in, it might be nothing to have 128 channels, ate up, just on the mega tree!
Yeah, you do!! I at least waited until the 6th, before I started worrying about 2012, although a 250' spool of SPT-1 and 1000' of stranded Cat5 came in yesterday, the 5th. However, I'm getting ready to change over all my sequences, to a higher channel count, so I can start new sequences. The flash drive is already in the usb port...
I know I'm in trouble though, when Jan. 2nd comes along and I'm already planning for next Christmas. My name is Bryan Lantrip and I have a problem.
Hope you have enjoyed the Helix as much as I have. It worked absolutely flawless this year, and it was on the battery from 2009 - think I'll have to change mine this next year, an ounce of prevention, and all that...I was wondering how long it would last, and I at least had a spare, just in case!
Looking forward to a great 2012! Hope I helped you with my answers.
Last edited by 51fordf2; 01-06-2012 at 04:34 AM.
256 channels of blinkin', dimmin' bliss...
"[B][I]The road goes on forever, and the party never ends!![/I][/B] [I]Robert Earl Keen[/I]