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Old 02-22-2010, 05:42 PM #1
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Default Questions about laser show.

Basically me and a few friends are hosting an event soon where I thought a laser show would be a great addition, but having no knowledge on this matter I need some help. I've been trying to read stickies and all, but it's so much information it's confusing, would be really great to get some simple answers.
Out budget is about 300 $ MAX, preferably less. It would be cooler with a three color laser rather than two color (red/green f.ex).

1. After some looking, I found this, is this a good deal? Total Brand new 7 Color (RGV) DMX Laser Light-250mW - eBay (item 280459803466 end time Mar-03-10 19:22:19 PST)

2. How to control the laser? I see it's DMX, but it doesn't really tell me anything. Can I connect this to a computer and control it from there? That would be really convenient. If yes, what cables and software do I need?

3. What can I expect from the laser? Would it be able to do f.ex this: YouTube - First Laser Show - Hans Zimmer - Injection ?

4. The event is in a semi-big hall, how much smoke would be needed for some nice beams? And how long would it take for the smoke to disappear afterwards, I don't want the hall to be filled with smoke for the rest of the three day event.


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Old 02-22-2010, 08:30 PM #2
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Default Re: Questions about laser show.

1. For starters, it seems like it would be OK, but as with most cheap lasers, you get what you pay for!

2. The only control it has is DMX, which essentially means you can only control the inbuilt patterns it already has, and manipulate them etc. Basically, you can't use it to display anything you create.

3. It uses stepper motors as galvo's, so what it can do is very limited. With the inbuilt patterns, it won't do any text, only just beams. I can't watch thee youtube video because of my capped internet, but that sounds like a Pangolin show, which would be running on galvo's. This laser would be no where as smoooth, because once again, it uses stepper motors, which are slow compared to galvo's.

4. With smoke, you really only want to add enough that you can just see the beams. Because it contains glycerol, it dries out your eyes and throat rather quickly when it's too concentrated. A good way to sell more drinks maybe, but not really what you want to happen. In a sealed hall, the fog should still dissipate quickly, I wouldnt worry about it sticking in there for over a day.
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Old 02-23-2010, 01:26 AM #3
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Default Re: Questions about laser show.

That projector wouldn't be any good for programmed shows but it would at least be able to do the types of effects in the show you linked. It is sound activated so it would be kind of fun to just set up and let it run on it's own in sound mode. You can get a cheap DMX controller for around $60 and if you can find some free DMX software you could control it to some extent.

I sell a program called ********* that will do DMX control of those types of scanners in a programmed manner. But, I don't support any of the cheap DMX controllers at this time (mainly because there is no demand). It wouldn't be too hard to add support for them, though.

All that said, for a extra $100 or $200 you can get a much better scanner with an ILDA port that will let you have full control via software. I know it is outside of your range but if you're willing to skip lunch for a week or two you would have the money. haha.
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:47 AM #4
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Default Re: Questions about laser show.

Thanks for the answers! I think I'll just let it run in automatic sound activated mode, it would make for some decent shows right?

And carmangary, do you mind linking me some of the scanners you are talking about? I doubt we can afford it, but you never know
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:09 AM #5
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Default Re: Questions about laser show.

The sound activated mode will be interesting. It will be similar to how lights at discos just kind of go on their own. They aren't really completely synced to the music but they do add a lot to the experience of going to a disco.

I don't have any links to projectors. Just look on ebay or Chinese Dept Store. There was talk about a full color ILDA controlled scanner for just under $400 awhile back on a couple of the laser forums. Prices are continueing to fall, also.
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Old 02-23-2010, 12:31 PM #6
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Default Re: Questions about laser show.

First up is Completed Store Bought Systems:

Laser DMX Stage Show RGB (NO PC CONTROL)

405nm 120mW
532nm 70mW
650nm 120mW
eBay - New & used electronics, cars, apparel, collectibles, sporting goods & more at low prices (310mW RGB) Total Price: $325.00


290mW DMX Disco (NO PC CONTROL)

405nm 100mW
532nm 40Mw
650nm 150mW
Play modes: sound control, AUTO and DMX512 (7 channels)
Scanner: N1.8 high precision stepper motor
Model Number:Reke-08RPG
Total Without Shipping: US$ 235 - US$ 250


560mW RGP Seven Color (PC CONTROL)

405nm 200mw
532nm 60mW
650nm 300mW
Play mode (s): sound active, AUTO, DMX512 (12 channels), ILDA PC
Scanner: high speed optical scanner 10K
Model Number:Reke-97RGP
Total Without Shipping: US$ 480 - US$ 550


DIY _ PRICES_PARTIAL ASSEMBLY COMPONENT STYLE:

1. PT-ITRUST USD50/pc Controller Card to PC.
2. LCD-DMX : USD50/pc Screen for box Mount for use without PC.
3. SP20K: USD88/set X Y Scanners.
Laser show - Beam show - Animation show - Scanner systems - DJ Light - Disco Light - SpaceLas Co. Ltd. Total: w/o shipping $188.00

405nm 120mW $99.00
532nm 60mW $69.00
650nm 150mW $45.00
O-Like, Quality Products, Great Prices Total: w/o shipping $213.00


(+150USD) for beam combiners.... added to the RGV.



Just some research I have done towards my RGV scanner projector.

Hope it helps
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:18 AM #7
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Default Re: Questions about laser show.

What about this one? Find 310mW RGB BLUE Voilet ILDA Cartoon LOGO DJ Disco laser on eBay International Market, with worldwide deals on items in all your top categories

This is an ILDA one with galvo's right? is it worth it over the cheap one?

And how can I control/program it? Do I need a controller or just a cable and software?


EDIT: And another thing, the seller of the first projector said that to use sound activated mode just "set the DIP address on the back of the item". What does this mean?

Last edited by Grix; 02-24-2010 at 07:01 AM.
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:06 AM #8
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Default Re: Questions about laser show.

DMX projectors have many modes and they are set with the DIP switches (a row of 10 tiny switches) on the back. If you want it to run automatically you set it to sound mode, if you want to control it from a lighting desk you would set to DMX mode and give it an address.

That projector is only 10K-15K and a bit underpowered with the lasers. It would be ok for beam shows in a small dark room but the colors would be washed out in a large room with ambient light.

You would need to have a DAC and software to control it. There are cheap and expensive versions of both. The best bang for the buck for a DAC is a modified soundcard but it comes with the price of having less than intuitive configuration. There is free, cheap, and expensive software. I like to think that my laser show software is a bargain but others can chime in.

If you get an ILDA scanner with DMX you can at least run it in sound mode until you get some software and a DAC.

Unfortunately, there is no cheap answer if you want total control.
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Old 02-24-2010, 04:32 PM #9
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Default Re: Questions about laser show.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grix View Post
What about this one? Find 310mW RGB BLUE Voilet ILDA Cartoon LOGO DJ Disco laser on eBay International Market, with worldwide deals on items in all your top categories

This is an ILDA one with galvo's right? is it worth it over the cheap one?

And how can I control/program it? Do I need a controller or just a cable and software?


EDIT: And another thing, the seller of the first projector said that to use sound activated mode just "set the DIP address on the back of the item". What does this mean?

AS long as the device uses true galvos it'll make a good little starter projector. Don't expect great performance, but it'll get your feet wet.

Regarding the DIP switch, on the back of most projectors there's a switch like this:

You just set the switches to sound control mode using a diagram that will be supplied with the projector (hopefully)..

And Gary's ********* software is extremely good as a cheaper option. For ease of use combined with true live control, a professional DAC is the best solution. Pangolin's FB3, Easylase, Moncha are all examples of entry-level professional DACs.
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:00 PM #10
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Default Re: Questions about laser show.

We cannot affort all of that stuff..

But I've noticed that RG(Y) color scanners are so much cheaper than the RGV ones. Do you guys think it's worth it to skip the blue and get a better scanner with galvo's and ILDA instead? I'm thinking 100mW of 405nm scanned around cannot be very bright anyways..

And those DAC's very extremely expensive :/ Is there no cheaper and still decent way of connecting the scanner to a PC and program own laser shows?

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Old 02-24-2010, 07:05 PM #11
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Default Re: Questions about laser show.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grix View Post
We cannot affort all of that stuff..

But I've noticed that RG(Y) color scanners are so much cheaper than the RGV ones. Do you guys think it's worth it to skip the blue and get a better scanner with galvo's and ILDA instead? I'm thinking 100mW or 405nm scanned around cannot be very bright anyways..

And those DAC's very extremely expensive :/ Is there no cheaper and still decent way of connecting the scanner to a PC and program own laser shows?

You can build a soundcard DAC and use it with LFI player. That's your only other option for PC control.

Regarding 405nm, you're right it's not very bright by itself, but it creates some very beautiful colors when combined with red and/or green.
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:13 PM #12
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Default Re: Questions about laser show.

What does this do then? iShow ILDA laser light controller - All Cables! - eBay (item 190374177420 end time Mar-20-10 12:44:08 PDT)

If I understand it correctly I just need to connect that to the PC and scanner and install the software.. do I still need additional DAC's and stuff?

Sorry if this seems obvious to you, I just want to be sure.
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:17 PM #13
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Default Re: Questions about laser show.

The ishow DAC is garbage. AVOID IT AT ALL COSTS!!!!!!
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:31 PM #14
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Default Re: Questions about laser show.

That's what I was afraid to hear.. What is wrong with it?
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:20 PM #15
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Default Re: Questions about laser show.

Very sloppy output. So much so that it seems like the people who made it really just didn't care.. I've tried it and I was appalled. It's not worth $20 IMO.

It's limited to 8bit resolution on all channels, but even a true 8bit DAC does better than the ishow.

To be fair, it would probably be enough to get your feet wet and entertain you a little, but you'll want something better after a VERY short time.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:36 PM #16
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Default Re: Questions about laser show.

iShow has issues to say the least. I wrote my own driver for it so I could use it with my own software and found some interesting things about how it works. It isn't like any other DAC that's for sure!! If I can figure out how to trick the firmware so that it doesn't have hotspots it will have pretty decent output for 8bit XY/TTL color.
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