Light-O-Rama Controllers

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Light-O-Rama Controllers

Light-O-Rama allows your computer to control your lights via a variety of hardware controllers.  Primary among these are Light-O-Rama controllers.


Some Light-O-Rama controllers can also act as input triggers, allowing you to start particular sequences on demand (such as when a person pushes a button).



Unit IDs


Each Light-O-Rama controller is assigned a unit ID.  A unit ID is an identifier for the controller, and is two characters long, with each character being a digit (0-9) or a letter from A to F.  For example, 37, 25, 4B, C8, and DA are all valid unit IDs.  Some such combinations are reserved, though, and should not be used for as a unit ID.  Specifically, 00, F1 through F9, and FA through FF are not valid unit IDs. See the Unit Id Values topic for a complete list.


Controllers will only react to lighting commands that are intended for their own unit ID; if two controllers on the same network have the same unit ID, both will react simultaneously to the same commands.  However, a unit set up to use input triggers must have its own unique unit ID, not shared with any other unit, and must not be on an LOR Enhanced network.  Also, the Hardware Utility may react strangely with respect to a unit ID which has more than one unit - for example, detecting them as a single unit, or misdetecting them as some unknown controller type.


The unit ID of a controller is set in one of two ways, depending upon the type of controller:


Most controllers have physical switches on them that allow you to set the unit ID by moving the switches.

Otherwise, the Hardware Utility can be used to select a unit ID for controllers without such switches.


It is generally a good habit to assign your unit IDs sequentially starting at 01.  This is not necessary, but it will speed up some maintenance such as configuring and testing your controllers in the Hardware Utility.



Circuit IDs


Within a controller, each string of lights is assigned a specific circuit ID.  This allows Light-O-Rama to make different lights do different effects at the same time, using the same controller.



Standalone Mode and Computer Controlled Mode


Light-O-Rama controllers can be set up in standalone mode, in which a sequence is downloaded to them in advance via the Hardware Utility, or hooked up to your computer via a COM port, in which case the Light-O-Rama Show Player will send them lighting commands (during scheduled shows), or the Light-O-Rama Sequencer will (on demand for a single sequence).


A controller in standalone mode can also send lighting commands to other controllers that are hooked up to it via phone lines or data lines, similarly to the way that the Show Player or Sequencer would.  Therefore, in standalone mode, a sequence only needs to be downloaded (via the Hardware Utility) to a single controller; the other controllers hooked up to it will receive their commands from it.


Only one source of lighting commands should be present in any group of controllers that are hooked up to each other - either the Show Player, the Sequencer, or a single controller with a downloaded sequence.  Having more than one source of commands will cause unexpected and undesired results, as lighting commands will be missed or garbled.



Light-O-Rama Networks


The Show Player and Sequencer can control up to sixteen different networks of Light-O-Rama controllers, each hooked up over a different COM port.  These networks are referred to as "Regular" (which is the default), "Aux A", "Aux B", "Aux C", and so on, up to "Aux O".  


One main use of multiple networks is for displays with very large numbers of controllers; they enable more lighting commands to be sent out at a single time.  They also allow you to set up a sort of star network centered on your PC, rather than a single long daisy chain of controllers; both of these may make such sequences perform more smoothly.


Another use is for displays whose controllers are hooked up using wireless communications, via a Light-O-Rama Easy Light Linker.  Wireless communications has a lower top speed than wired, but using multiple wireless networks allows commands to be sent over all of them simultaneously.  So, depending upon how many controllers you have and how many lighting effects you send them during your show, using multiple wireless networks could make your show perform more smoothly than using a single wireless network.


It is simplest, though, to just use a single Light-O-Rama network, and in many situations, this is perfectly sufficient.


Light-O-Rama networks can be either normal or "enhanced".


The COM ports represented by each of the networks can be set via the Light-O-Rama Network Preferences program. For example, the following picture shows COM3 assigned to the Regular network, COM12 assigned to auxiliary network "Aux A", and the remainder of the networks unassigned, with Regular (COM3) being an enhanced network:


Multiple COM ports assigned to various Light-O-Rama networks

Multiple COM ports assigned to various Light-O-Rama networks



Enhanced Light-O-Rama Networks


A Light-O-Rama network can be an "enhanced" network (set via the Light-O-Rama Network Preferences program).  This allows intensity files to be used for controllers on the network, which can be especially helpful with displays having large numbers of channels and lighting effects.  Intensity files do not have to be used, though; effects defined in regular sequence files will still work fine on an enhanced LOR network.  In fact, effects from both a regular sequence and from its associated intensity file can be used simultaneously.


A Pro level license is required to use this feature, and the Light-O-Rama Comm Listener must be running in order for the lights to be controlled.  Not all controllers can be used on such a network, and some controllers may require firmware updates before they are able to be used on an enhanced network.  Also, input triggers are not supported on LOR Enhanced networks.



Assigning Circuits in a Sequence


When you add a controller to your display, you add the strings of lights attached to that controller as props in your preview using the Preview Design window.