Getting Started with RGB Lights: Interview with Our Technical ExpertMay 20, 2016
We talk to a lot of customers who are interested in animating their Christmas lighting display, or who want to incorporate color changing technology, but don’t really know where to start. We recently starting selling the new RGB Line, and wanted to offer a little more information about it and how it works, so we sat down with our Technical Expert to get some of the basic or more common questions answered.
Q: I wouldn’t even know where to begin if I decided I wanted to incorporate RGB Lights this year. What do you tell somebody who wants to know how to do this for the first time?
A: It is more complicated than just hanging a string of traditional lights, but luckily there are companies like Minleon, that make it a bit easier by providing a complete RGB lighting solution. Historically you would have had to pick lights from company A, controllers from company C and or B, and software from yet another company…and make it all work together. Minleon makes the RGB light strings, the controllers, the cables to hook it all together, and even the Light Show Pro software to allow custom programming. First timers would probably be better off with one of the smaller controllers like the mini or the Wi-Fi, which each have around 20 built in effects, some of which you can customize with your choice of colors. All of the settings, effects, and colors can be changed with a remote (mini controller), or any Wi-Fi enabled device (laptop, smartphone, tablet etc.- Wi-Fi Controller). Start small and grow as your budget and experience allow, it’s an easy and basic way to get started in RGB, and still get great visual impact.
Q: Does creating a RGB lighting display require any special training or background? (I am no engineer or electrician, is this a problem?)
A: RGB lighting displays require a strict, regimented training program similar to that of a Jedi Master. Kidding… No it doesn’t. Anybody with the desire to learn, and the ability to remember a few simple rules, can effectively use the Minleon system. All Minleon RGB product is 12V and you can run 100 bulbs or 100′ per 5amp power supply, there are all sorts of accessories to help you adhere to those rules, and of course we are here to help if you have questions.
Q: Can I incorporate RGB Lights with traditional Light Strings? Are there controllers that will work for both?
A: Sure, the Minleon Express controller is made for just that purpose. You still need to use one of the larger controllers like a Network Effects Controller, but you can control up to 16 separate segments of traditional single color LED lighting (strobes or any other AC powered display feature that is under 2 Amps) with the Minleon Express Controller. You can custom program it using Light Show Pro, or use the built in effects on the controller. Just remember when using the build in effects, the controller is assuming everything is RGB, so the effects and patterns come across very different and the controller has no idea what colors you plugged into each channel.
Q: What about music? Can the RGB Lights be synchronized to music?
A: Yes, RGB lights can be synchronized to music. Light Show Pro can be used to custom program each song you select, to your individual display. LSP contains a bunch of powerful software macros and effects to help you build amazing displays. There is a bit of a learning curve to the software, so if you are looking for something quick and easy, many people play random music and select a speed that comes close to the tempo of the music. You’d be surprised how many people think it is actually custom programmed to the music.
Q: What would you recommend for the person that really wants to do something special with Christmas lights this year for their family, but is essentially technically inept?
A: There is nothing wrong with a fun, easy, simple display. I would suggest starting small – Maybe a few strings of G40’s (up to 4) on the roof or a tree, with a Wi-Fi controller, and a single 5amp power supply. Easy to install and connect, because everything is hooked together with waterproof screw together connections. A fun idea would be to let the kids pick the effects pattern and colors for the night.
Q: What if I have a specific display or project that I would like to use RGB Lights on, but I need more technical assistance, can you help me with that?
A: Yes, we are always here to help, and would be more than happy to assist you in deciding what you will need for your specific situation. Once project details are provided (specific application, lay-out details, measurements, drawings/pictures, and any additional effects preferences), we can provide a detailed materials list including all accessories and components needed, as well as instructions on how everything must be connected.
Check out our new line of RGB Product Kits, and be the envy of your neighborhood this year!
And don’t forget, RGB Lights are not just for Christmas – Because you can change effects and colors with the touch of a button, these lights can be used for multiple holidays, occasions, or events.