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Thread: Affordable dimmable AC controllers

  1. #1
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    Question Affordable dimmable AC controllers

    Last year I built a simple 16 channel Arduino controller with vixen. It worked out pretty well, but I found myself wishing I had dimming capabilities. This year, my goal is 64 channels and at least half of them dimmable. I am looking to spend the least amount of money possible. What controllers should I go with? Could renard and arduino controllers work together in vixen?

    Another thing I am trying to figure out is having an automated show that doesn't need me to run it. There isn't a great way for an ethernet or USB cable to run inside my house for the whole winter. Would something like a Raspberry Pi be able to run the whole show using vixen and stay outside?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Affordable dimmable AC controllers

    Renards have the advantage of being rock solid, easy to build and use and with a great support system here on DIYC.
    Hard to beat them for AC light shows.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Affordable dimmable AC controllers

    I would also highly recommend the Renard family of controllers. Keep a watch on the Buy/Sell forum here, there are a lot of folks who are selling off this type of equipment.

    Raspberry Pi is an excellent way to run your show with all of the control outside. I have mine set up to use the wireless interface to hit my Home Network and the wired interface for my show network. This allows me to update and make changes to my show quickly without going outside.
    2012 - 1st year 64 Channels - 7500 LED lights - 5 sequences
    2013 - 128 Channels - 10,000 LED lights - 7 sequences (2 New)
    2014 - 201 Channels - upgrading 8 Arches to dumb RGB - 8+ sequences (1+ New)
    2015 - 240 Channels + 8 Universes - sequences TBD
    2016 - No Display
    2017 - Back in the Game - 240 Renard Channels + 12 Universes
    2018 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2019 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2020 - Emergency Conversion to Falcon F48 with limited wireless

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Affordable dimmable AC controllers

    I can't speak highly enough of the Renard controllers. It was my first dive into sequenced lights and I have five of them now! Running them off of a raspberry pi running FPP (Falcon player).


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Affordable dimmable AC controllers

    The first two years I ran shows from my regular PC (what a pain that was) with a cable I snaked up the steps and out the corner of the door. The RPi is an excellent investment for a player.

    Renard protocol over RS to Renard controllers to an arduino works just fine. I suspect you probably ran serial. The Renard protocol is not hard to implement in Arduino and you can daisy chain your arduino off the end of the Renard controllers. Here is some Renard code you can adapt to your sketch: https://github.com/madsci1016/Arduin...ino-Renard.cpp

    Vixen will output a .fseq that can be used with FPP on the RPi. Vixen is an excellent choice for a sequencer.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Affordable dimmable AC controllers

    If you wish to keep the Arduino system you used last year (and build on it), the least expensive way to have dimming would be to add a Zero Cross Detector to your system. Of course this is assuming that your SSR's are capable of dimming. If you are using any SSR from Sainsmart or mechanical relay then you will not be able to use dimming with them. Otherwise a Renard system is probably your best bet.
    Kevin

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Affordable dimmable AC controllers

    You might want to check out the offering HERE - http://doityourselfchristmas.com/for...-REN24-in-case
    2012 - 1st year 64 Channels - 7500 LED lights - 5 sequences
    2013 - 128 Channels - 10,000 LED lights - 7 sequences (2 New)
    2014 - 201 Channels - upgrading 8 Arches to dumb RGB - 8+ sequences (1+ New)
    2015 - 240 Channels + 8 Universes - sequences TBD
    2016 - No Display
    2017 - Back in the Game - 240 Renard Channels + 12 Universes
    2018 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2019 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2020 - Emergency Conversion to Falcon F48 with limited wireless

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Affordable dimmable AC controllers

    I am working on designing some open source AC controllers, there is a thread here- http://doityourselfchristmas.com/for...-AC-controller Its kinda on the end of my list to get ready for this year tho since I won LOR contest and am getting some controllers from them.

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