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Tech Talk – Choosing A Controller

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In our last Tech Talk, we covered voltage drop and wire gauge.

This week, we’re going to talk about choosing a controller for your project!

What You Need To Know First

A very important thing to note about our fixtures is that most DMX interfaces are compatible with our lights. If you already have a DMX system in place, it will interface seamlessly with our lights.

Before choosing a controller, there are a couple of factors that will come into play.

  • What type of fixture are you using?
  • What type of effect/animation are you looking for?

Obviously, the type of fixture you’re using is going to affect the types of animations available to you. Currently, GLLS offers 3 types of controllers:

Each controller has it’s own set of benefits as well as restrictions, so read on to learn more!
Want a quick breakdown? Jump to our recap!

Mini Controller

Mini controller - choosing a controller

The Mini Controller is capable of on/off functions as well as two animations:

  • Color fade
  • Color jump

A Mini Controller is great for a short length of fixture, and is controlled by a convenient remote. They’re compatible with our RGB, Dynamic White, and Pixel fixtures.

If your project requires control over long runs or multiple fixtures, however, the Mini Controller is not the option for you. The max length a Mini Controller can control is 65ft (20m). So, for example, if you had 14 fixtures at 65ft, you would need to keep track of 14 separate remotes; one for each fixture.

Dimwheel

Dimwheel - choosing a controler

The Dimwheel (which we covered in more detail in this previous Tech Talk) is easy to use and controls up to 4 channels (R, G, B, and W). As well as being capable of on/off functions, it is capable of the following animations and controls:

  • Color fade
  • Color jump
  • Brightness control
  • Custom color control

The Dimwheel can control up to 32 decoders at once. This means you can control 32x65ft of lights without a signal repeater. If you need to control more than 32 decoders, you’ll need to get a repeater.

Dimwheels control the entire fixture, and are excellent for projects where you need to uniformly control multiple lengths at once. They’re simple to use, and there’s no messing around with computers! They’re compatible with static, RGB, Dynamic White AND Pixel fixtures, but will not control individual Pixels.

SLESA

SLESA - Choosing a Controller

The SLESA stand-alone controller controls a limited number of universes. The largest controller GLLS offers controls 3 universes (512 channels per universe).
A SLESA is highly customizeable and allows you to create increibly complicated shows. Some of the animations you can achieve with a SLESA include:

  • Color fade
  • Color jump
  • Custom colors
  • Motion animations (such as a color chase)

The downside to using a SLESA unit is that it does require a lot of programming and could be time consuming to learn how to use.

Generally, our SLESA units are used for Vivid Pixel fixtures, but are also able to control RGB and Dynamic white fixtures. With Dynamic white, you can program the color temperature to change based on the time of day!
Using a SLESA with an RGB fixture allows you to connect multiple RGB fixtures to separate decoders and control them individually (which you can’t do with a Dimwheel) or all at once. RGB fixtures are like 1 pixel to a SLESA, since they’re made up of 3 channels (R, G, and B). Because of this, you can assign different effects to specific groups of fixtures all on the same controller.

What if I just want to dim my fixture?

Sometimes, all a project calls for is the ability to control the brightness. If this is the case, ask your account manager which dimmers are compatible with your fixture. (We’ll have a look at dimmers in the future!)

A Quick Recap

Mini Controller

  • Controls entire fixture
  • On/off functions
  • Color fade, and color jump animations
  • Remote controlled
  • Only controls up to 65ft (20m) per controller/remote
  • Simple to use, no computer required
  • Compatible with Vivid RGB, Dynamic White, and Vivid Pixel

Dimwheel

  • Controls entire fixture
  • On/off functions
  • Color fade, color jump, brightness control, and custom color control
  • Controls up to 32 decoders at once (32x65ft (20m) of fixtures) without a repeater
  • Controls up to 4 channels (R, G, B, and W)
  • Simple to use, no computer required
  • Compatible with static fictures, Vivid RGB, Dynamic White, and Vivid Pixel

SLESA

  • Controls entire fixture or individual pixels
  • Color fade, color jump, custom color control, motion animations (such as a chase), and more
  • Controls a set number of universes (GLLS offers up to 3 universe control)
  • Requires a computer for initial programming
  • Compatible with Vivid RGB, Dynamic White, and Vivid Pixel

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Check back in for our next Tech Talk; we’ll be covering the difference between rope lights and SMD fixtures!

Have any technical questions? Contact Tech Support!

Want to suggest topics for future posts? Let us know!

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