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Author Topic: Light-o-Rama Dimmers for Professional Use  (Read 5538 times)

Jeff Lelko

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Light-o-Rama Dimmers for Professional Use
« on: December 13, 2014, 04:46:16 pm »

Hi all,
So quick question here and the title pretty much says it all - does anyone have experience using the Light-o-Rama commercial dimmers in professional applications?  I'm looking specifically at the LOR1600 unit.  Understanding the current limitations and what's needed for it to accept DMX, this seems to be an affordable solution for an outdoor dimmer without having to spend over $1k for only 6 channels.  I guess I'm asking - what am I missing?  If they're so economical why aren't these more visible in the pro lighting industry?  Any input would be much appreciated!
Thanks,
-Jeff 
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: Light-o-Rama Dimmers for Professional Use
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2014, 08:13:02 pm »

I suppose when I can buy a cheap 4 channel dinner pack for under $100, and it is essentially disposable - why bother?    Doug fleenor sells a ultra compact 1 RU 24 channel dimmer for about $1200.  20a total capacity....   I suppose it's all a it the right tool for the job and if you think it fits the. Go for it.


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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Light-o-Rama Dimmers for Professional Use
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2014, 05:07:25 pm »

Thanks for the reply Cailen.  I completely agree that it comes down to the right tool for the job, and while I do own a number of $100 4 channel dimmer packs, what draws me to these is that they're approved for outdoor use - something you can't do with any $100 dimmer I'm aware of.  I just know the Light-o-Rama products are really targeted at Christmas Light displays, so I'm curious if they can hold up to professional use with stage lights.

-Jeff
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Light-o-Rama Dimmers for Professional Use
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2014, 05:24:23 pm »

I use a fair number of the LOR dimmers in my Christmas light show.

The protocall is their own-but they do make a interface that will accept DMX and convert it for use with their packs.

I have one-but have never used it-so cannot comment on how it works or doesn't.

If you are using for pro applications-then I suggest getting the units with 2 15A plugs coming out.

I have 9 of their packs (8 pro units -metal cases and 1 home unit-plastic case)

I have been using them for about 7 years and have have no issues with them.

I am running 586 channels on the system (450 channels are LEDS driven directly) and it works just fine.
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Ivan Beaver
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Steve Alves

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Re: Light-o-Rama Dimmers for Professional Use
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2014, 05:33:22 pm »

I use a fair number of the LOR dimmers in my Christmas light show.

The protocall is their own-but they do make a interface that will accept DMX and convert it for use with their packs.

I have one-but have never used it-so cannot comment on how it works or doesn't.

If you are using for pro applications-then I suggest getting the units with 2 15A plugs coming out.

I have 9 of their packs (8 pro units -metal cases and 1 home unit-plastic case)

I have been using them for about 7 years and have have no issues with them.

I am running 586 channels on the system (450 channels are LEDS driven directly) and it works just fine.

We just did a 12 string CCR with our system and noticed we had to spilt into multiple networks otherwise it bogged down. Are you running multiple networks?
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Tom Bourke

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Re: Light-o-Rama Dimmers for Professional Use
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2014, 05:53:23 pm »

I installed a few of them in a museum running small track lights in an interactive diorama.  For the application they were just fine.  They are not as electrically robust as a pro dimmer.  As I recall they also do not have as much filtering so may produce more electrical noise.

Having said all that I would use them again for the right gig.  Just be very conservative with how heavy you load them.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Light-o-Rama Dimmers for Professional Use
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2014, 06:41:49 pm »

We just did a 12 string CCR with our system and noticed we had to spilt into multiple networks otherwise it bogged down. Are you running multiple networks?
I am just running a single network-BUT only have 3 CCRs plus the regular dimpaks.

I think I am right on the edge of a single network.

I run it all off of the MP3 player-no separate computer.
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: Light-o-Rama Dimmers for Professional Use
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2014, 07:45:04 am »

The only thing I would point out is that while they are approved for outdoor use, those Nema 5-15 receptacles are not weather tight.  I always worry about this leading the less educated consumer to think it means they are safe.  They are not unsafe, but judicious use of drip loops in cable and other appropriate measures to inhibit water intrusion are also required, and even then, no one should touch and work on a wet system without appropriate PPE...   Anyway, good luck with your project. 


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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Light-o-Rama Dimmers for Professional Use
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2014, 08:23:53 pm »

Thanks for all the input!

They are not as electrically robust as a pro dimmer.  As I recall they also do not have as much filtering so may produce more electrical noise.

So when you say a pro dimmer, are these below par when compared to the $100 dimmer packs or do you mean the really pro dimmers?  Honestly, the only reason I'm interested in these is because of their weather resistance.  Good point Cailen about how these aren't totally waterproof.  I wouldn't expect them to be and these won't be installed outdoors - I'm just looking to add a few more dimmers to my rig and would like something that I can use on my outdoor shows without having to worry too much.  Exploring LOR's website, they do sell the enclosures as a stand alone product...  How advisable would it be to fit one of my 4ch dimmers into one of these (just mounting it inside, not ripping it apart and installing it)?  My concern would be ventilation, but beyond that, might that be a way to use a better dimmer outdoors?

-Jeff
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: Light-o-Rama Dimmers for Professional Use
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2014, 08:28:43 pm »

Jeff - let me ask this question - if the dimmer needs a weather proof enclosure, what does the fixture need to be safe?   I've used small dinner packs outside plenty.  Just keep them from getting rained on and they are fine enough. I wouldn't put a professional dimmer pack in a non ventilated enclosure.  A small roof over stuff generally goes a long way.


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Tom Bourke

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Re: Light-o-Rama Dimmers for Professional Use
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2014, 05:43:03 am »

Thanks for all the input!

So when you say a pro dimmer, are these below par when compared to the $100 dimmer packs or do you mean the really pro dimmers?  Honestly, the only reason I'm interested in these is because of their weather resistance.  Good point Cailen about how these aren't totally waterproof.  I wouldn't expect them to be and these won't be installed outdoors - I'm just looking to add a few more dimmers to my rig and would like something that I can use on my outdoor shows without having to worry too much.  Exploring LOR's website, they do sell the enclosures as a stand alone product...  How advisable would it be to fit one of my 4ch dimmers into one of these (just mounting it inside, not ripping it apart and installing it)?  My concern would be ventilation, but beyond that, might that be a way to use a better dimmer outdoors?

-Jeff
The LOR dimmers are on par with low end home dimmer switches and VERY low end 4 pack dimmers.  They are simply an opto isolated triac or dual SCR circuit with no filtering or protection. Something as simple as a lamp burning out or hot plugging an instrument can damage a dimmer.  The component that switches the electricity on and off for dimming 8 amps peak.  A really good heat sink is needed to even reach close to that rating.

The next step up in dimming has the same switch but adds a choke for keeping the EMF at bay. MAYBE a better heat sink and native DMX.

Really good pro dimmers will have bigger chokes and more robust switching modules. The switching module in a pro 20A  dimmer is really rated around 25A to as much as 50A.

Take a look at the physical size and added components/ thermal management in a pro dimmer compared to the LOR units. Also look real hard at the control and power limitations.  They also have timing problems when run from 3 phase power.

LOR has a place, and if your only running low wattage lamps in single phase power systems then they are fine.  I would have no problem specking them again, for the right use.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Light-o-Rama Dimmers for Professional Use
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2014, 05:41:57 pm »

Thanks for the details Tom.  From what you're saying it seems like my needs will exceed the capabilities of these dimmers.  That's what I wanted to know!  As far as the lights I'm using with these - just generic halogen Par 64s and 38s.  I know it's not exactly good practice to get them wet either, but they can handle a downpour a lot better than an unprotected dimmer can!
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Light-o-Rama Dimmers for Professional Use
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2014, 05:41:57 pm »


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