We own controllers from three different companies:
Light-O-Rama Holiday Coro Seasonal Entertainment (Permanently Closed)
All of our Light-O-Rama products use the LOR network, whereas the Holiday Coro and Seasonal Entertainment products run on the two styles of DMX networks. Below is a summary of the controllers we use:
16-Channel AC Light Controllers: Manufactured by Light-O-Rama, these controllers are how it all started. Until 2012 this was the only type of controller we used. In today’s display, we use five of these controllers inside and two outside. Each controller can control 16 display items, or effectively the same as having 16 dimmer switches in your house. While these are relatively simple controllers, they allow you to plug in any type of light and be able to turn it on, off, make it dimmable, or strobe it from the computer software using the LOR network. We still use these controllers for our traditional LED light strands and for some of our special elements that simply need to turn on and off.
Cosmic Color Pixel Controllers: Also manufactured by Light-O-Rama, this is where we first experimented with color changing lights in our center wreath. Each controller contains 100 RGB pixels so that each light can be any color at any time. While the main limitation of these controllers is they max out at 100 lights, they are convenient for smaller elements as they are each individually powered and can be controlled on our existing LOR network with minimal limitation to the number of total lights on the network.
DMX 3 channel dumb controllers: Starting in 2013, we decided to experiment with our first DMX universe (we now have over 30 universes) using these basic controllers sold by Holiday Coro. Each controller can control an entire strand of RGB lights that do not need individual control. For example, we use one of these controllers for each window and each wall segment to light up the area all in one color. These again are individually powered, but required a whole new network to control them.
DMX 30 channel dumb controllers: Starting in 2016, where we have a need for multiple dumb controllers in one area, we replaced the individual controllers with these controllers that are more cost effective as they are essentially 10 of the 3 channel dumb controllers all in one. We use these to light up the Copula (dome-like section of our ceiling that sticks up at the top of our building) and the Organ Pipes.
E1.31 Controllers: In 2015, we purchased our first controller of this style from Seasonal Entertainment to control our Mega-Tree in the outdoor display. The advantage of these controllers is that they create multiple DMX universes originating from each controller. The disadvantage is they often need additional power in order for the lights to travel any long distance. As a result these are generally used for more centralized larger elements that are entirely made up of pixel lights. In 2016 we used this controller and the mega-tree lights to create the LED sign in front of the puppet stage for our “Dinner with the Puppets” event in the spring. When it came around to the time to take the sign apart and turn it back into the Mega-Tree the puppets didn’t want to give up their sign, so we purchased a second controller made by Holiday Coro of the same design and built a whole new puppet sign. For 2017, we now own five of these controllers, but you’ll have to come to ChurchLights this year to see all the new things they control.