This will get you a super basic DMX lighting solution for about $70.00 if you need to buy everything.
I have done some work with holiday lighting displays in the past using some really basic DMX stuff from http://www.holidaycoro.com/
. I figured it was worth a shot to try it out since some people here reported success with other FTDI chipsets working. I managed to get it going with hardly any effort. The best part about this solution for a first timer, is that they have quite a few video tutorials on how to wire things like power supplies and controllers. Even if you have a very basic level of experience, the videos should be able to walk you through everything.
Here is what you would need:
PC Based DMX Module Address Programmer/Software http://www.holidaycoro.com/product-p/54-2.htm
(You need this to program the DMX controllers, but it can ALSO be used as a dongle to let your computer output DMX commands)
Power Supply - Waterproof 12v / 3.75 amps / 45 Watts http://www.holidaycoro.com/product-p/55.htm
(You could use any 12v power supply, but these are cheap, come with wiring documentation, and can drive 5-6 of the flood lights we will be using)
RGB Flood Light http://www.holidaycoro.com/RGB-Flood-Light-p/171.htm
(Now this is where the options come in. You could buy a DMX controller for $8.00 and whatever RGB light solution you want, like strip lights or spots or whatever, but since we are keeping this as cheap and simple as possible, this flood light kit is the way to go! This kit comes with everything you need except the flood light housing, Which can be purchased for under $10 at just about any hardware/home improvement/tool store.)
You will also need some basic soldering supplies, and an extra cat5 cable to wire everything up. I deviated from this a bit since I had some hardware on hand, but if you follow their video instructions for wiring up the light and the power inserter, you should be good! You can also follow the video tutorials to set up the DMX Module Address Programmer Software,and it will load all your drivers and everything you need.
The only hiccup with this in the DMX control file in Artemis seems to spit out the DMX signal one channel higher than it displays in the file. For example;
<setvalue index="4" value="0" change="0"/>
<!-- red value of first light box -->
<setvalue index="5" value="0" change="0"/>
<!-- green value of first light box -->
<setvalue index="6" value="200" change="0"/>
<!-- blue value of first light box -->
Actually spits out as channels 5,6,7. Not a deal breaker, but you have to compensate for it, and it can cause trouble in the 1,2,3 range sometimes with the offset, so I set my DMX controller address for the flood light to be channels 5,6,7 and I changes all the DMX commands in the XML file to be index 4,5,6. (I'll send anyone the edited file if they want it.)
A cool bonus with this set up is that it will allow you to add 4-5 more flood lights, for about $30 bucks each, since you only need one USB dongle, and the power supply can drive 5-6 lights worth of lighting. Two of these flood lights will light up the side of a house, so 4-5 in a room will be pretty effective. You could also then tweak the DMX addressing, and make different lights trigger off of different codes, to give you dedicated shield status lighting for example. Also, extra lights just get daisy chained in. One electrical plug, the USB dongle, and everything else chains together with cat5, which carried both control signals and the power. This is also a VERY portable solution for those that don't have a dedicated bridge location yet. It's quite literally a hand held work light and a small power strip.
Here is a quick video I took with my iphone last night to show it working, I'll upload some better pictures soon.