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Hey guys, I'm the youth pastor at a church in Westmoreland, TN in the USA. I'm in the process of upgrading our existing system to some intelligent lighting. I also plan to do away with the existing par cans (4 - 56's) and go with several more LED Par 64's for the color changing, strobing, and wash abilities. We will also be upgrading to a new DMX lighting console as we currently only use dimmer packs on the park can's and American DJ T-4's for turning S&P's on and off to the music.


AMDJ and Chavet are easily available here in the states so I would like to keep the suggestions to those two companies.


We have 150 amps available for all sound and lights together so the LED's will be great even though the price is more. Everything will be mounted from a truss over the stage.


We are needing a DMX console, the Par lights (LED's) and some effect lighting that high school kids and can learn and use. We already have a Martin hazer and a fogger as well.


A few questions, currently the par cans plug into dimmer packs that are DMX controlled. How do I plug the intelligent lights into power and the par cans as well as have the DMX cables ran as well? I'm a total newbie that's having to learn quick and then teach others later. The setup will never be torn down and used between 1 and 2 times a week. We have a budget but I'm not to worried about it right now.


I need all the help I can get! Thanks guys!

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Can I just point out that LED pars light output is not comparable to regulars pars, their main use is pointing out into the crowd for effect's, so don't expect them to light anything up with them too well if that is what you have been using your 56's for.


Chauvet and AMDJ are 'budget' makes so if you are looking for a system on a tight budget that is the way to go, but not if want you want a pro system.


Intelligent lights have separate connectors for DMX and power, just like your dimmer packs, so connecting them together is relatively easy.


DMX works in a 'chain' so you connect it like this:

DMX output from the desk - DMX input of first light/dimmer - DMX input of of second light/dimmer (fed from first light/dimmers DMX output), and so on.


In terms of power, non intelligent lights need to be connected to a dimmer pack which is the connected to the mains, intelligent lights just plug into the mains.


Hope this helps, I'm sure others will expand further.

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Thanks for the help so far. That was quick!


AMDJ/Chauvet products have been great so far. With us not having to tear it down and do anything else, they have really been great and their price points help out as well. Is the Elation brand any better to go with over the AMDJ / Chauvet? Looks like it's pretty much the same thing as AMDJ????


Ok, the DMX daisey chains so that will be simple enough. However, how do I get the power from each of the fixtures all the way back to the main power supply? Long extension cords or is there something else that's easier to use?


We have been using the Par 56's for stage lighting and have ran it through the T-4's to make them go to the beat of the music. However, I would like to use the LED stuff to do stage lighting (about 30' wide and 20' deep) but I don't mind keeping the par cans except that you can't change the colors on the fly.

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With power you can use any method you like, just make sure it is not from the dimmers and is capable of the total load (with LED's, especially these cheap P56's, pretty much anything will be capable).


I might disagree with Ben about pointing LED's into the crowd - not something I would ever do, but would agree with everything else. They are mainly an effect or for highlighting. If you try and replace standard pars with these you will really struggle. Certainly you will need quite a few more. Realistically to be replacing conventional tungsten lamps you have to spend big money.

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Right now we have been getting all the light we need from 4 - par 46 (Not the 56's like I thought) So, would I need like 6 of the Par 60's LED's?


If I stayed with the par cans, how do you handle more colors for scene changes? More par cans? My biggest issue with the par can's is they are power hungry. The two Par 64's we got will trip one 15 amp breaker if they are left on by themselves. The 8 par -46 cans will trip a 15 amp breaker occasionally if they are all on. The LED cans are just at 0.2 amps each at full on so that's next to nothing.

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In regards to your colour changing you could get motorized gel holders to put on the front of your Parcans. I think your expectations of the LED pars are a bit high.


In regards to your power issue maybe instead of looking into replacing these new lights look into upgrading your rig to prevent these problems with power if thats an option.

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What actual power supply incomer do you have?

- Right now, you have some dimmers - what are they plugged into?


Your power supply is the real limiting factor - it's always possible to hire or buy more equipment, but it is extremely expensive to get more power!


AMDJ and Chauvet are budget "Disco" brands - good for fixed installs and nightclub-style lighting, not a lot of use for anything else. If you're after disco-type effects, then they are pretty good. Otherwise, you'll get annoyed by their limitations fairly quickly.

Elation claim to have more professional features, but I've no idea how well they work or their build quality - all I've done is write Congo templates for them!


As for connecting things up:

Anything that is electrically just a tungsten/halogen lamp - like your Par64s and Par46s - should be powered from a dimmer.

That dimmer will (usually) be capable of controlling several different channels, and will need plugging into 'hard' power from a wall outlet - usually a big one of 63A or more!

The dimmer also needs a daisy-chained DMX cable going back to the control console - possibly through other DMX things - and possibly onwards to other dimmers or DMX controlled lights/effects.


Anything that has LEDs, discharge (HID/HIT/Xenon etc) lamps or has moving bits (eg moving lights, DMX hazers etc) will need to be given 'hard' power from a wall outlet.

They will also need daisy-chained DMX cable going back to the control console, maybe through other DMX things.


(There are exceptions to these rules, and there are some things that need both hard power and dimmed power, but you're probably not going to get any of those!)


Never put "Y-splits" into DMX cable - if you need to split the signal, then you can buy DMX splitters that will need wall-socket power and one DMX input, and create two or more DMX outputs.


One thing to remember about all moving lights - they are extremely expensive to maintain.

Even if you'll never move them around, they'll still need regular cleaning, re-lamping and other maintenance, and will eventually break requiring skilled repair.


LED and normal 'generic' (Par46, Par64, Source Four) fixtures on the other hand tend to need very little maintenance bar cleaning.

Be aware that the 'cheap' LED parcans are of widely varying features, quality and reliability - you will probably never get the same ones twice, even if you re-order from the same supplier.

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So you have 15A available, not 150A?



No, I have a total of 150 amp available at the breaker box. This is ran to the stage area over a very large cable. At the end of that cable run we have seperate 110v plugs for everything. However, the dimmer packs that the par cans plug into have 15 amp breakers built-in to them. That's the 15 amp breakers that have been tripping. Using the .2 amps of power that the LED's use - I could run 75 of them and equal the power of 2 par 64 cans.

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My plans is to add a second breaker panel at the end of the long cable run from the main box. This is what some of the professional acts did that have been to our services. However, they were pulling upwards of 400 amps with sound and lights. I will be no where near that as it's not feasible for us right now.


As it is, I have 150 amps on tap to use for everything. The sound equipment I would like to break out over 2 - 15 amp circuits to run everything and not worry about voltage drops. That leaves me with 120 amps for the lights. Figuring 1 - 15 amps for the controllers and some of the stationary effects light (we use a wall flame for a back drop, etc...) that leaves us 105 amps to use for the rest of the lights. I would like at least 2 scanners that we can point, sweep, move, tilt, pan, change colors, change gobos, etc... as well some stage lighting to change from blue stages, to red, to yellow, to etc... just to change the mood with the style of song we are playing. If I just used par 64 cans at 5 amps each that would give me atleast 20 of them that I could use and load them with a bunch of different color gels. However, I don't need anywhere near that many, but if you figure 4 colors with 5 lights for each color that's 20 easily.


How about if I used 4 - par 46 lights on each side for lighting up the place in a generic color (skin tone or something like that - not straight white), then could I use the LED pars to change the color scenes or is that getting stupid?

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I'm sorry I just don't think LED's are going to be the solution here.


See this topic:



The par 46's will probably overpower the LED's.


My suggestion would be to use par 56's/64s', with colour scrollers if you can afford them.


It's hard to advise on what scanners to get etc. without an idea of budget.

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Here's some pics of how we are setup right now. (If I can figure out the image link).


Here's a picture gallery of our current installation and a few of the older ways we had things.








Only the pics with the fire background are our newest setup. We've come a long way. Last year we built a stage for a concert, this year we are adding the truss and doing the lights better.


My final goal, is to be able to control the scenes to change the stage wash colors, have a few intelligent lights that we can use for enhancing the service, and maybe keep a couple of the DJ non-intelligent lights just to have for whenever. Of course, we've got enough hazing and fogging to do the entire gym which I love how the par cans really looks neat with the light shooting through the smoke.


Okay, found the color scrollers...remember that budget that I wasn't concerned about earlier... Now, I'm concerned. I'm really needing affordable solutions. I'll be reading up on the link you've given me. I'm about to head out for a bit but we'll be back shortly. Thanks again guys for all of your help.

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