Working with a LOR controller is very common when working with Christmas lighting. A lot of people will either already own their own LOR controller or like me, just order a used one off of the interent.
So, how do we connect the controller, lights, and lighting controller? In this tutorial, I am using xLights but this would still apply if you using a different lighting control software.
Before getting started you want to be sure you know what model and version of the controller you’re working with. This will definitely make the process easier for you when you configuring and setting up your controller.
Configuring Your LOR Controller
After doing a little digging, I found that I have a (model and version) and that I would need to purchase a Light-O-Rama USB 485 to get started with configuring the unit. While the controller does have an ethernet port it actually uses a USB485 or DMX type of signal.
To get started, you first need to configure your LOR controller. As mentioned earlier, it’s much easier to know what unit your working with so that you can find the exact directions. I found that the unit I have is a CTB-16D and found Setting the Controller Unit ID instructions through Light-O-RAMA.
After doing more research, with my controller model I am able to skip using the USB485 and use a DMX signal instead. Looking at the controller, all I need to do is set the rotary switched to “0” and “1” that will set it to channel 1 with DMX.
To Check Your Firmware Version
If you’re not sure what firmware version you have, there is a way to check this. First, you need to plug in the USB485 and if you haven’t already you’ll want to download the Light-O-Rama Sequencer program.
Once you have the software downloaded, your USB 485 connected to the LOR controller, you should be good to go. For specific instructions for your unit, you can download the documentation here.
Next, using the Light-O-Rama Control Panel program, just follow the prompts, and then you should see a “Blue Light Bulb” in your task manager. “Right-Click” the lightbulb and select “Hardware Utility”. A window will pop up as pictured below.
In the left sidebar, click “Auto Configure” and it should be able to locate your LOR controller. Once it does locate your unit go over and click “Refresh” and the program will begin looking for the unit on your network. In the meantime, be sure to plug in a couple of your lights so that you can test the controller.
Once it’s done searching your network, the program will tell you the model and firmware version that you have available. Since you’re on the same screen go ahead and test your lights to make sure it is working.
Connecting the LOR to Your Controller
In this tutorial, I am using my Falcon controller but if you have a different unit the steps should be very similar. To get started first plug in your unit to power and get it set up on your network. Then using a network cable connect from your DMX output to the LOR controller. With both units connected and powered on you should be able to configure your Falcon controller.
If you still have the manual for your controller then having that available is a great to be sure you are able to setup everything properly with your LOR controller. Most likely, the manual will be able to tell you how to and where to connect your Falcon to your LOR controller.
For example, with my Falcon unit the instrucions specifically state do not hook your LOR to DMX 1 and instead use DMX 2 or DMX 3.
Going back to the Falcon controller setup, I now need to set the serial outputs for the unit. If you using a different brand these setting should be under either serial or DMX outputs.
From there, you’ll select the port you’re using and change the DMX start address if you need to.
Connecting Your Lighting Program
Once you have the settings and channels set up properly, you’ll then want to launch your lighting control program. Personally, I do use xLights but this would be standard if you use another program.
If you’re new to xLights, be sure to check out my post on How to Begin with xLights.
Inside of xLights, I decided to just create a new show instead but it’s up to you. On the left sidebar, click “Add Ethernet” and put in your IP address, and starting universe. When done click “Save”.
When setting things up it may be easier to set everything with one light so that you are able to test it. It would make things easier in case you need to troubleshoot. Next, in xLights you can go to the layout where you’ll set up your light that you’re testing with.
Since I was using a simple strand of lights, I adjusted the settings and light count. Be sure to set the start channel as well.
Inside of xLights after saving the light settings you’ll want to make sure you select “Upload Output”. There will be light next to your buttons that go from red to green. This means that the lights are good to go.
From there you should be able to turn on your lights and it should work. If there is any troubleshooting be sure to check your connections between your controllers, lighting program, and even your lights.