HOW IT'S DONE!
FIRST let me say, I am a proud Union Electrician working for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 743 in Reading PA. I didn't get all my skills from the IBEW but it is my life now!
I work with some of the most talented and educated people in the world! Mark my word's, if it's worth building, it's worth hiring the union trades!
Doing this kind of display is very costly. You can purchase these controllers already made, and you can buy them in kits ready to be assembled. I buy the kits and did all the assembly on my 22 boards.
There are lower cost units out there but I have decided to stay with the Light-O-Rama brand controllers. They have plenty of support and will be there if you mess up!
I get a lot of questions about how I designed my control panels. Right now I have incorporated my 18 boards in 3 separate control panels. I had no plans to follow and for the most part it was a flight by the seat of my pants!
For my first panel, I bought the biggest, cheapest Hoffman can I could find on eBay.
Next I just laid out all the controllers on the back plate and moved them around with the other components until they all looked like it was well planned.(the key word is LOOKED) I also planned to distribute the 192 outputs (circuits) utilizing 96 duplex receptacles. I broke the little brass tabs on the receptacles to 'split' them for those outputs.
Throw in a ton of wire, some blood and sweat (and certainly a few tears from all the money spent) and BAM! You have a 12 board Light-O-Rama control panel! Well, it's not quite that easy, but the end result was what you see below.
Next, get out your easy button and I'll show you how to program some songs!