View Full Version : Light Controls

01-18-2009, 12:40 PM
I am always looking for ways to control the lights in our Haunt. We mainly use incandesant and flouresant lights. Things that we have used are: residential motion sensor lights, dimmer switches, flouresent starters, and pull-string switches. I am trying to find fairly inexpensive ways to make the lights turn on and off by themselves, blink, flicker, or anything else besides just on and off. I also have some experience building electronic circuits, so that is an option, too. Anything would help, and thank you in advance!

Allen H
01-18-2009, 10:21 PM
Talk to these guys there the best
go to their site and check their forums there, Im sure a similar thread is on there.
Allen H

01-19-2009, 11:05 AM
Thanks for the plug, Allen, but let me correct the URL:

www.efx-tek.com (http://www.efx-tek.com)

We have an active support forum where one can find answers and solutions when using our products.

forums.efx-tek.com (http://forums.efx-tek.com)

01-26-2009, 12:45 AM
DMX kids is by far the cheapest, and most flexible way to go.

01-26-2009, 04:31 PM
DMX is an amazing protocol, however it seriously suffers in that it's an output only protocol. Depending on your needs, it may or may not work well for you.

DMX controlled lighting can be very inexpensive, but fixtures add up. There's a lot of DIY kits to control LED's and other lighting via DMX, which is pretty cool, too. To add input support to DMX (eg, trigger a light or cue by sensor), you will need something that can do Input into a PC (or controller), and the software to trigger your DMX cue.

The best thing to do is to use the correct technology for the correct application. In our show, we use DMX for our front facade, and occasionally slave a few fixtures together when we don't care what they do, as long as they do something.

If we need to respond to a trigger, we tend to use a microcontroller to listen to the sensor and then drive LED's with it.

Sometimes we don't need to respond to a trigger, but it's super easy to do a micocontroller to create the desired effect... strobes, random flashes, fades, interesting fixture reworks... all LED/Microcontroller driven.

The possibilities are endless, just depends on budget, skill level, and proper use of the available tech!

-- I

05-03-2009, 08:35 PM
Light O Rama controls eveyrthing in our haunt. best thing ive found...

05-06-2009, 05:41 AM
with Sophisticated Terror

LOR is very interesting because you get the added benefit of tightly synchronized audio with the lighting as well. Another nice feature of LOR is you can dim, flicker and shimmer the lights as opposed to just turning them on and off. Their mini MP3 player has three input triggers, so you can trigger (pushbutton, motion sensor) an event to happen.

A PLC is always a versatile stand-alone option. I have used a PLC and LOR together in our haunt and it is amazing what you can do with that combo.

Feel free to email me to discuss further: gravesidemanor@sbcglobal.net

05-06-2009, 07:55 AM
yeah...I have several of their 16 channel controllers and download the program directly to the controller and each diff channel i program to fade on and off,,,flicker...etc...that way I have one controller taking care of 16 different functions...

05-06-2009, 02:37 PM
yeah...I have several of their 16 channel controllers and download the program directly to the controller and each diff channel i program to fade on and off,,,flicker...etc...that way I have one controller taking care of 16 different functions...

Are you using the MP3 player (director) or standalone controller?

If you have the MP3 director, you can connect sensors/switches to the inputs and start a new show (Sequence of events). So, as your guests enter a room -the scene looks one way then when they trigger sensor/switch it can transform the room lighting and change the audio. Pretty Slick!

Controlling 16 Channels with up to 30A of lighting (dim, shimmer, flicker) for under $400 - how can you go wrong?

Glad to see someone else has found this solution useful...

05-07-2009, 02:06 PM
yes some of the units have the built in mp3 on board...Some of them I have directly ran into several pcs...several of our haunt scenes will always be different every group or two that goes through...that way the scenes are never the same when our repeat customers go through..

05-18-2009, 08:06 PM
There is always something like Pete Rondeau's HauntBots APC8 Pro or APC16+ with the DMX Daemon addon.

You get the best of both worlds, 8 or 16 channels of open collector output to (easily) control valves, LED's, etc plus full DMX.

3 different shows can be programmed (Ambient 'idle', Show A, Show B), super flexible, etc etc.

I've pulled our Gilderfluke Smart Media Brick and Z-Brick out of our first room show and have gone entirely with Pete's kit. The HauntBot controller will also be controlling our facade lighting this year, all DMX RGB LED washes.

For me the biggest bonus is only needing to know one programming console. No longer do I need to know how to program LOR or PC-MACs.

"The Jon's" over @ EFX make some sweet stuffs, but they lack anything to do a "full" lighting show. You can only go so far with 4 channel triacs. Not to mention the wiring nightmare that is running home runs for all of your lighting (say for a facade show). Cool for local scene's, but DMX takes the cake for anything big.

Just throwing out another (awesome) option.

05-18-2009, 09:12 PM
yeah those options are just as well....just whatever everyones needs are...for me the reason I use lor is because I can have all my lighting on one network hooked up to one computer and change any one of the 100+ lights in the haunt in less then 5 seconds :)

Kelly Anderson
07-14-2009, 06:55 PM
I have mainly used Animation Maestros I & II to control my lighting. They work very well to directly control incondecent light fixures or to power up recepticals so you dont have to hard wire your lighting. Yes alittle electrical wiring is involve but not too bad if you've done it before. You probably wont control a whole haunt with just one of these. But to set up one perticular room or scare point they work very well and aren't too badly priced ($50-$80 depending on which one you buy).

Kelly Anderson

Kelly Anderson
07-14-2009, 07:24 PM
For the record the Animation Maestros run from about $75 to $100. Still they work quite well for a smaller application with a tighter budget. Depending on what your after, theres alot of great products out there if you look around. Sometimes at a reasonable price.

Kelly Anderson

08-23-2009, 10:28 PM
we use Light-O-rama as well but are always looking to improve! Any suggestions, anyone have experience with LOR and something else?

12-29-2009, 06:49 PM
I know this is an old thread but I have to add some more info to the end of this.

This year, my crew realized that Light-O-Rama has broken the barrier between DMX and it having no input. Say hello to the two devices that were meant to be married. The MP3 Director and the LOR-DMX Adapter. With these two devices you get 3 trigger inputs, and 512 channels of DMX to control along with the tight syncronization between audio and lighting LOR has been known for.

An addition to all that, LOR released their V2 software which allows you to sync video with lighting. The only thing they have to do left is create the "Video Director" with sensor inputs.

If you really want to go "bobo with video and lighting control. Our home haunt had 2 computers running to control the pre-show. Computer #1 Controlled a parallel relay board which triggered pneumatics, lighting, video, ect. Computer #2 Was running winamp and used a hacked keyboard wired into the relay board to give it commands.

If you really want to control stuff but don't know how. Experiment with different controllers until you get the desired effect.

01-03-2010, 02:16 PM
Scareside, I would love to know more about how you used video with your haunt and LOR. I used LOR to do my home "haunt" this year and of course, my Christmas Lights, but i want to go bigger for 2010 and I'm looking for some ideas.

And pics or vids you care to share?


01-26-2010, 10:12 AM
Has anyone played with a real dmx console, or large software suite. Since when does DMX software not except external triggers to run a cue list? And also why can't you use a DMX channel to trigger audio to get your tight integration. We are a niche industry and are never going to really be driving technology. The reality is that something like DMX is highly developed and will continue to be. You may want to start marrying different systems together with DMX but for lighting and basic relay control DMX is the standard as now. For example I've personally been working with a console that will integrate audio, video, 5 DMX universes, and take damn near an unlimited number of external triggers through USB, ethernet, serial, and parallel ports, and this console is 10 years old. In the larger entertainment industry for open loop controls this is what it really is.

01-26-2010, 11:08 AM
Yes, we use a full DMX software implementation at our show.

A few points to clarify:

DMX512 is indeed an output only type of medium. You send commands to light fixtures, and there are no expectation (or capability) that the DMX controller/console will get anything back.

Most large lighting consoles or decent software applications tie in a concept of triggers, which can be via a few different sources, such as MIDI cues, hard triggers, STMPE or other timecodes, etc.

It all depends what your needs are. Light-O-Rama has some pretty neat products, and cost of entry is reatively low, but I haven't seen an implementation that is as flexible as a good software DMX application, or a very expensive lighting console (most of the modern consoles are just PC's running custom software nowadays, anyhoo).

-- I