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Funtime with lighting in the new apartment

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Sony, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Moving in to a new apartment with two of my buddies in a couple months when I graduate and we're all computer nerds/programmers and two of us are theatre geeks. So we thought it would be a fun project to get setup some cheap DMX lighting in our living room and maybe bedrooms too. I just purchased an Enttec USB DMX Pro and I'll prolly be buying 1 or 2 cheap $70 dimmer packs from bulbamerica. We plan on programming our own lighting control software which should be fairly easy (The other one who is into theatre is a programmer for Sun Microsystems right now so programming is not an issue :grin: )

    Now this is purely for fun! All I want are suggestions of some fun cheap lighting stuff I could plug into these cheap little dimmer packs or into the wall, feed them some DMX and have some fun lighting up a room with. Maybe have a little dance party or some such. We are also playing with the idea of using RFID's to change the room color depending on who walks in. I've looked all over places like PSSL and BulbAmerica and I might grab a few LED parcans and things like that but I wonder if there is anything else out there that you guys have played with that you would recommend for a fun project like this. Maybe some small architectural fixtures and things of that nature. I love LED fixtures especially because they are energy efficient, look nice and are very flexible in regards to their uses. Eventually we might also create our own disco floor and things of that nature later on, but for now it's just maybe color washing the walls and adding accents to furniture (maybe some EL Wire :) ) and stuff like that.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
  2. BenTev28

    BenTev28 Member

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    Weidemark makes LED strips that are pretty great (and I think pretty cheap), but poorly documented. They take some poking to get playing friendly with other things, but they give a nice bright color wash, and mix well. ColorKinetics makes some fantastic little tiny stuff that would work well in an apartment I think - the iCoves are perfect for hiding in corners, and the G2 iMR16 would work well for spotlighting in RGB. They make some RGB string lights that could be fun too. Their stuff all requires a PDS (Power/Data Supply), but it'll take DMX easily. If you have the shoebox dimmers, I personally think it'd be pretty cool to get some DMX control over floor and table lamps - it'd be a fun surprise for guests to have those run a sequence in a party, or even just gradually dim through the night. If you want video or sound control as well, Rosco makes a product called Keystroke that translates DMX into keyboard commands for controlling other programs - though if you're writing your own software you could probably put sound and video control in yourself just as easily.
     
  3. BenTev28

    BenTev28 Member

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    Oh, also, EL wire is awesome and looks great, but doesn't dim well through a shoebox dimmer due to the low voltage. There are low voltage DMX dimmers available on the market - you'll most likely find them in raw card form. There's a company in Florida that sells them, can't remember the name off the top of my head.... a google search will most likely find it. Those could work well for LED stuff as well, if you want to build any of your own fixtures.
     
  4. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Lots of suppliers out there, won't go into the amounts of them. Buy renter's insurance by the way.

    Stage fixtures are not rated for other than commercial use - been there and did that with them in folliage on the ceiling, but cannot recommend doing so for others. That said, for a price there is lots of architectural Dmx controlled fixtures and systems on the market just as good these days. Even wireless remotes to control and focus them or groups of them at once, just a question of budget and many are track lighting based so as to provide easy install that won't break your lease in having a lighting grid or major holes to fill later.

    Good luck and have fun, you will never be able to better afford a dream for it more than now short of being rich and being able to afford people to install for you rope light runway lighting in the oak flooring as it were... Hope you don't have more money than what's good for you on the other hand in appriciating what you at times save for what you really want. This given I many years later sit in a garage with lighting grid and lots of cool custom lighting, but much built on what in first apartments I could do before responsibiliities such as wifie and home ownership and her/our projects became more important. Various rooms of stage and studio components lighting them given lamping well below their maximum plus it's me not you (sorry but not recommended using say "Inkies" for household lighting), and discontinued +cheap architectural track lighting in storage for later projects.


    Statement of you and you without real responsibilities at this point go for it, but do it proper. Me, I had 4x12 panels of sky cloud fabric soft flat with swags of blue scrim hanging below, and stretched above Christmas light nets lighting both from behind whilie dark as if the sky for the bedroom. 3.5Q5 Lekos at 400w long life projecting folliage on the ceiling amongst black draped walls with red rope light coves behind above and below it and in the dinette, a grid of track light and other fixtures shining at my various work areas. Was cool. This mostly moved to the garage in house I bought in later years. Work room or "lava lamp love lounge" dependant on the situation - this with the electric fireplace scroller on a shelf in the future space for moving light effect - this as opposed to the real fire place upstairs.

    Such stuff on the market when I got my various apartments wasn't on the market or as affordable when I did it years past. I would hope if you have a vision for your space, that you do save and invest in doing it properly given what you need is on the architectural market these days. Me, for the most part, I'll stick with my 1920's stage lights modified for MR-16 lamped box spot as a base of light in my lair. Got a fifth one in a box I cannot open until next week - B-day sitting in a corner. Gee, 41st b.day and I have to buy my own present than cannot even open it for another week even if I know what it is. Still given what it is, I know what location it's going into and the system of four of them already lighting my work table does have a hole in needing that fifth light pre-designed.

    One more week, much less me taking time to clean lenses. Still though gotta balance - me owning the house and doing what I want but limited wifie budget verses at this point you have free cash but rent and will be moving at some point so what you do versese what's perminant install is different. Keep in mind that you will be moving at some point in doing what you want hopefully in the best of it, but also keeping in mind that you will be moving at some point and don't buy what you can't take with you or will screw up that ability to move. This much less that you should not do stage and studio fixtures.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
  5. lazor

    lazor Member

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    Try looking at Rosco's Light Pads. I think these could be fairly awesome looking as a glowing table top or such for drinks. Not sure about the price though.
     
  6. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Thanks Ship, lots of good advice! I don't want any studio fixtures in my house....I don't need a Source 4 projecting gobo's on my walls and I understand that is very dangerous. This is why I was looking for suggestions of CHEAP equipment like special track lighting or cheap Chavet or ADJ gear. I don't want anything that I am going to have to "Install" except maybe some track lighting and I don't want anything with a lamp bigger than an MR16 if I do use incandescents. This is why I suggested cheap LED gear.

    I think a lot of you are however not getting what I say when I mean CHEAP, I mean stuff that is below $100 each. I'm just a poor college student and I don't have the money to go buy Color Kenetics or Rosco gear. I'm more looking for nice fun little MR16 or LED type architectural equipment that would be fun to stick on a dimmer or feed DMX so that I could light up my room. Hence why I am prolly gonna grab some super cheap ADJ LED Parcans to have fun with. I'm just not big into the architectural/household market and would like some suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
  7. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I just saw the Rosco LightPads yesterday and I was far from impressed. I didn't realize that it was just some baby LEDs side-mounted above a highly reflective white surface. I had been under the impression that the panel glowed. From close up to could see the scalloping of the individual LEDs. Also, I am pretty sure that it is not dimmable.

    I did see a fixture at the tradeshow I was at last week. I will have to look up the manufacturer. But it was a recessed ceiling or wall mount fixture that had a reflective dome and a ring of LEDs pointed up at the dome to reflect a softer more even light down and out of the fixture. It also had an MR-16 mounted facing down for bright downlight when needed. it was fully DMX controllable. I'll see if I can get you more info.
     
  8. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Ooooh that sounds neat, if it's not too expensive then that would be cool. Especially for something like the living room where we will be watching movies and stuff, We could use the LED's for movies and the MR16 for normal area light.
     
  9. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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  10. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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  11. awhaley

    awhaley Member

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    If I were you, I'd take it on as a more do-it-yourself challenge, and perhaps learn a bit more about electronics along the way. For inspiration:

    Interactive LED Coffee Table - The Wave | Because We Can

    Theirs is expensive, but you could build your own led coffee table for far cheaper... and control it with dmx, a built-in chase sequence, or some flavor of sensor like they have. And learning about microcontrollers and led driver chips is interesting stuff, once you get over the terror when the box of little identical looking parts comes. ;)

    Take a look at JEC's page here :The RGB Christmas Light Project

    He's making his own dmx controlled rgb pixels, for under 20 bucks a piece. His use multiple leds and are BRIGHT... you could use a pic17F722 (under 2 bucks) and three leds (under a buck) to build them cheap and easy for what you want to do.

    I would suggest, both because it's a good idea, and because (for whatever silly reason ;) ) this forum doesn't allow us to give suggestions that are likely to kill you, that you keep your projects to low voltage led sorts of things.... but you can buy the leds for 8 bucks for a hundred off ebay and get inventive with how you control them!

    Do It Yourself Christmas is a great site for making your own dimmers, led controllers, etc.

    Art
     
  12. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

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  13. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    So I found a deal that may be too good to be true! I found used, 8 12" Color Kinetics iColor Cove's, a PDS-150e PSU and an iPlayer all for $500. I think this would be wicked cool to use as some accents around the living room. Have any of you guys used this equipment? Does it work well? can I feed it straight DMX from the Enttec USB DMX Pro? How bright are these units, they don't need to punch through any stage lights so I'm actually concerned they will be too powerful, which isn't really a problem. I'm just looking for personal experiences on this equipment and what people think. I also found some Acclaim X-Sticks which look interesting and might be worth a look if I can find them for cheaper then the Color Kinetics gear.
     

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