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Author Topic: Advice on Cheap LED Pars  (Read 7140 times)

brian maddox

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Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« on: March 25, 2013, 03:28:33 pm »

Okay, i've got a small stage for my church's high school youth room and i'm looking for some LED pars to light it.  We've got a floor supported truss across the front of the stage that is all of maybe 10' off the ground, so we're looking at a throw distance of probably no more than 12 to 15 feet.  stage is in a corner so is roughly triangular and measures maybe 15 feet across the front.  think small bar stage that you can barely cram a 3-piece band and you're in the ballpark.

we're using old 4 channel dimmer packs and some cheap par 56s cans right now, but the dimmer packs keep blowing up and power is limited, hence the desire to switch out to LEDs.

Here's what i'm looking for, in order of importance.

1.  Cheap
2.  Cheap
3.  Cheap
4.  Reliable
5.  Flexible

did i mention i was looking for cheap?  :)  i'm thinking maybe some decent chinese pars or perhaps something better used that maybe has been surpassed in technology with the newer stuff.  Color temperature isn't all that important.  Frankly, at that throw distance brightness isn't all that important either. 

any recommendations?  and please be specific since i'm really a sound guy so i don't really know much about lighting.  or anyone got any they want to unload cheap?

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Zachary Zimmerman

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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 04:57:51 pm »

Okay, i've got a small stage for my church's high school youth room and i'm looking for some LED pars to light it.  We've got a floor supported truss across the front of the stage that is all of maybe 10' off the ground, so we're looking at a throw distance of probably no more than 12 to 15 feet.  stage is in a corner so is roughly triangular and measures maybe 15 feet across the front.  think small bar stage that you can barely cram a 3-piece band and you're in the ballpark.

we're using old 4 channel dimmer packs and some cheap par 56s cans right now, but the dimmer packs keep blowing up and power is limited, hence the desire to switch out to LEDs.

Here's what i'm looking for, in order of importance.

1.  Cheap
2.  Cheap
3.  Cheap
4.  Reliable
5.  Flexible

did i mention i was looking for cheap?  :)  i'm thinking maybe some decent chinese pars or perhaps something better used that maybe has been surpassed in technology with the newer stuff.  Color temperature isn't all that important.  Frankly, at that throw distance brightness isn't all that important either. 

any recommendations?  and please be specific since i'm really a sound guy so i don't really know much about lighting.  or anyone got any they want to unload cheap?

How cheap is cheap? You might look at the chauvet products.
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brian maddox

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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2013, 05:07:51 pm »

How cheap is cheap? You might look at the chauvet products.

cheap is as cheap as you can go.  :)  seriously, it's a non-mission critical application for a youth group at a church.  So it's all about the dollars.  it'd be nice if they didn't break in 3 weeks, but i could stomach losing 1 or 2 a year if the price was right....
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Zachary Zimmerman

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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2013, 06:31:32 pm »

cheap is as cheap as you can go.  :)  seriously, it's a non-mission critical application for a youth group at a church.  So it's all about the dollars.  it'd be nice if they didn't break in 3 weeks, but i could stomach losing 1 or 2 a year if the price was right....

How many are you looking for I know a website that I order from that is a licensed dealer that has a the slim par 56  that is less than the price of all other online retailers. I am not a rep just a happy Customer.

Pm me and I'll give you the info
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Josh Daws

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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 07:06:25 pm »

Okay, i've got a small stage for my church's high school youth room and i'm looking for some LED pars to light it.  We've got a floor supported truss across the front of the stage that is all of maybe 10' off the ground, so we're looking at a throw distance of probably no more than 12 to 15 feet.  stage is in a corner so is roughly triangular and measures maybe 15 feet across the front.  think small bar stage that you can barely cram a 3-piece band and you're in the ballpark.

we're using old 4 channel dimmer packs and some cheap par 56s cans right now, but the dimmer packs keep blowing up and power is limited, hence the desire to switch out to LEDs.

Here's what i'm looking for, in order of importance.

1.  Cheap
2.  Cheap
3.  Cheap
4.  Reliable
5.  Flexible

did i mention i was looking for cheap?  :)  i'm thinking maybe some decent chinese pars or perhaps something better used that maybe has been surpassed in technology with the newer stuff.  Color temperature isn't all that important.  Frankly, at that throw distance brightness isn't all that important either. 

any recommendations?  and please be specific since i'm really a sound guy so i don't really know much about lighting.  or anyone got any they want to unload cheap?



good luck...you will not find anything that wont be garbage...
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Richard Turner

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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2013, 07:21:38 pm »

I'd put UL pass sticker at slot #2 if you are permantly mounting them. cheap isnt cheap if they are left on for a week and burn the place down

used Should be a raft of used Chauvet LEDrain 56 out there now 3-5 years old yjeu were only ~$100 new. I'd stay away from the colorpallette LED or anything early chauvet that used the small LED's 1st gen were junk.

new ADJ slim par 56 and they will work stand alone, daisy chain and have a RF remote do no need for DMX if you relly want to go cheap.
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Kyle Leonard

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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2013, 01:03:33 pm »

My cheapest lights are the Megasystems NE Color Par38 (http://www.mega-lite.com/prolight/ledLight/nepar38/). You can find them for about $100. I've had them survive being in a thunderstorm and left overnight point upwards and still work.


I've also bought some stuff from www.cheaplights.com and been pleasantly surprised.

Kyle
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Paul G. OBrien

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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2013, 01:30:29 pm »


Maybe the offshore version of the Blizzard Puck3 which are available now for less than $100ea from some sources. These Tri LED fixtures produce several times the light output of the older 1/4w par fixtures with much better color saturation, the only downside is they simply cannot be pointed directly at the face.. they're blindingly bright at full power so you'll want them well overhead and pointed down or dimmed to 1/2 or 1/4 power.

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Pro-2X-RGB-9x3w-TRI-LED-Slim-Flat-5CH-DJ-Par-64-Piggy-back-Stage-DMX-512-Light-/300875575104?pt=US_Stage_Lighting_Single_Units&hash=item460d94ef40
« Last Edit: March 26, 2013, 01:33:17 pm by Paul G. OBrien »
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John Fruits

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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2013, 06:46:39 am »

+1 to Richard Turner
Some of the cheaper offerings seem to have no approvals at all.  Look for UL, ETL, CSA or CE.  Insurance companies are always looking for ways to deny claims, and if you are using un-approved fixtures, well, there is a ready made denial of claim. 
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Randall Hyde

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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2013, 11:31:24 am »

Maybe the offshore version of the Blizzard Puck3 which are available now for less than $100ea from some sources.

+1 on Blizzard. They're definitely inexpensive and decent quality. I have had some issues with DOA units but Blizzard has done a good job of taking care of me. Fixtures have done fine out in the field (my rig is portable, so there's a lot of abuse associated with the gear).  Blizzard's build quality is probably somewhere between ADJ and Chauvet at the low end; not great, but the stuff has held up for me so far.

I would be careful about buying the cheapest fixtures you can lay your hands on. One fixture at 50% more dollars might put out twice the light (e.g., Blizzard Puck versus Puck RGBAW). The advantage of more fixtures is that you get better beam spread and control, the advantage of fewer fixtures is less weight to fly, fewer cables to buy, and (usually) lower cost.

Case in point, Blizzard Pucks can easily be had for under $100 each. They're 3920 lux @1m. The Blizzard Fab5 can be had for under $200 each. They are 12,400 lux @1m (and offer a much better color palette, better beam control, and better color mixing w/o the "lite brite" look). So one FAB 5 unit is going to *way* outperform a pair of Puck RGB fixtures.  Also, programming half the number of fixtures is a whole lot easier than programming twice the number of fixtures. A few things to consider when looking at the cheapest possible fixtures you can buy.

You're really interested in "what is the least amount of money I can spend to put a given amount of light on the stage and completely cover the stage?" Lower output fixtures, like the Puck RGB, only win if you really need the control of a large number of different light sources (which let you place beams in more places than is possible with half the fixtures); a fewer number of higher-end fixtures win in almost all other cases.

Cheers,
Randy Hyde
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brian maddox

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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2013, 05:57:39 pm »

great information so far.  thanks to all.

i was aware of chauvet and ADJ but blizzard is a new one on me.  so i'll give them a look see for this application.  and if anyone has any more specifics about a particular fixture that was good or bad or 'good but outdated and so i could pick them up for a song somewhere' that'd be great.

the brighter Blizzards that randy mentioned might also be useful to try on my main stage.  that's a whole different deal with 20 MAC250 moving heads and about 40 source 4 LEKOs to compete with, so i need the punch to make it even worth using.  i've been looking for some kind of LED fixture to use for uplighting and set effect lighting.  been using my MAC300s right now, which seems a waste of a moving head when it never actually moves.  :)  anyway, 200 a fixture makes buying 20 of them a little easier sell to the bookkeeper here, so i might buy one to try it out and see how it works.

thanks again for helping out a poor lowly squeak in his time of need....
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brian maddox
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'...do not trifle with the affairs of dragons...

       ....for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup...'

Randall Hyde

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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2013, 08:23:46 pm »

great information so far.  thanks to all.

i was aware of chauvet and ADJ but blizzard is a new one on me.  so i'll give them a look see for this application.  and if anyone has any more specifics about a particular fixture that was good or bad or 'good but outdated and so i could pick them up for a song somewhere' that'd be great.

the brighter Blizzards that randy mentioned might also be useful to try on my main stage.  that's a whole different deal with 20 MAC250 moving heads and about 40 source 4 LEKOs to compete with, so i need the punch to make it even worth using.  i've been looking for some kind of LED fixture to use for uplighting and set effect lighting.  been using my MAC300s right now, which seems a waste of a moving head when it never actually moves.  :)  anyway, 200 a fixture makes buying 20 of them a little easier sell to the bookkeeper here, so i might buy one to try it out and see how it works.

thanks again for helping out a poor lowly squeak in his time of need....

Blizzard Rocklite RGBAW fixtures put out 25,000+ lux @1m.
They are so bright I have to run them at no greater than 50% on my stage because they're like looking into a laser pointer when they hit you in the face. Of course, at farther distances than I do on my stage (10-20' from the performers' heads) you can turn these puppies back up.
Cheers,
Randy Hyde
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Terry Martin

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Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2013, 09:43:41 am »

Sounds like a good project for Blizzard Pucks to me.  ...and there are Blizzard dealers on PSW.   ;-)

Terry
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Matt Vivlamore

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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2013, 02:50:09 pm »

I've also bought some stuff from www.cheaplights.com and been pleasantly surprised.

Looks like the same price from Chauvet or Blizzard.
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Jon Ross

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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2013, 04:00:52 pm »

I have 12 chinese LED Par64 lights I bought from eBay seller amonstar. They were hanging in a small club for 3 years up until about 2 months ago. I had one fixture out of 12 that started acting weird and the seller sent me a new dmx pcb to replace the bad one for free. These were really cheap (about $60 each) and are great for the price in my opinion. They use the 10mm LEDs and are as far as I can tell are the same as the chauvet venue or mbt lights.
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brian maddox

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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2013, 04:07:32 pm »

in keeping with the theme, someone gave the church a dozen of these.  There are no markings on them anywhere that i can see.  anybody have any idea what they are or anywhere i can find info on them?





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brian maddox
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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2013, 04:13:56 pm »

Hey Brian,
Those look exactly like the Chinese LEDs I just posted about.
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James Feenstra

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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2013, 04:15:56 pm »

probably a generic 3 or 4 channel LED par...there's so many products on the market these days it's impossible to keep track of them all
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brian maddox

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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2013, 04:17:34 pm »

Hey Brian,
Those look exactly like the Chinese LEDs I just posted about.

well cool.  then i got them even cheaper than 60 bucks a pop...  :)

anything special i need to know regarding DMX programming?  i'm pretty new to the LED game, so any help would be appreciated.

thanks.
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brian maddox
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Josh Daws

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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2013, 06:47:19 pm »

anything special i need to know regarding DMX programming?  i'm pretty new to the LED game, so any help would be appreciated.

only if you are using a console that uses Fixture profiles...you just need to know what channel does what...best thing to do (as suggested in another recent post) patch a bunch of generic dimmers, then find out the function for each...or you can try a few generic RGB/DRGB etc if you think it to be easier...

if it is a simple fader based console like a smartfade, then all you need to do is patch the fixture to the appropriate channel where you want it to begin, then start pushing faders...

aside from that...nothing special is really needed to be known, just enjoy playing with them...
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Re: Advice on Cheap LED Pars
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2013, 06:47:19 pm »


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