bdwillie

General DMX Dummy Question

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After our first year show working so well, Wife and I decided to expand already.  We want to try some Dumb RGB pixels but I am a bit confused as to how the controllers hook into the network.  Do the DMX controllers require  a separate network connection to the show computer?  Do they daisy chain with the existing cat 5 run?  After much searching and reading here I am more confused than ever.  Kinda need a DMX for dummies..

Please excuse the ignorance...  

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I have a LOR CMB24D but I use it in DMX mode not through the AC LOR controllers although like Mr P said it is very easy to do .  I have 10 DMX controllers and daisy chain those off the E1.31 controllers I have.  If you run a DMX controller by itself you would need a USB adapter like the one Holiday Coro sells. PLAN FOR FUTURE EXPANSION.  If you can afford it get something that will allow this.  In most cases getting an E1.31 controller will be less expensive.  Through whatever vendor you want to use LOR or otherwise.  

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I have both the LOR CMB24D and a pure DMX controller from Holiday Coro.  They basically work the same, the only difference is how you connect them (or could connect them).  

As stated above, the CMB24D plugs into the regular LOR controllers and is configured the same way - give it an ID, add the channels, and get to work. 

DMX is another issue.    You have basically two choices: A USB->DMX dongle that connects to the DMX board, or DMX over Ethernet, aka E1.31.   I went with the E1.31 route since that makes for easier (IMO) expansion later on.   Now, that being said, I did it the moronic "I am in a hurry, will not research everything, and will hope that what I order works".   This did work out, but I got *really* lucky.    I ordered a dumb RGB DMX controller without ordering a DMX USB dongle.   I would have been screwed, had I not also ordered a smart pixel controller that speaks E1.31 (yay!) and also has a DMX output that connected to the dumb controller (OH YEAH!  Lucky me!).    So, from the PC, I have:

 

1. USB adapter going to the LOR network, connecting 5 normal controllers and the CMB24D. 

2. Ethernet going from the PC to the smart pixel "AlphaPix" controller, which then connects via CAT5 cable (not ethernet, they just happened to use an RJ-45 connector - only two leads are connected).   

 

The Ethernet side looks like this - the first two boards only. 

 

E1.11-DMX-with-E1.31-DMX-AlphaPix-Contro

 

On the AlphaPix, I have the arches and candy canes; on the 27 channel I have 3 RGB floods - so there's room to grow.  

When you're going to go RGB, planning what you might want to do in subsequent years becomes kinda important.  I could have used smaller boards with less capacity, but then I'd be spending more when I add more stuff later.  As it stands, I have plenty of capacity to add elements because I bought the larger capacity boards. 

 

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If you're already going the RGB Direction give the smart pixels more consideration. It wasn't long ago I was in your shoes and I started down the path with a dumb RGB, I didn't get much use out of them before I decided to start replacing them with smart RGB.

Believe it or not the smart RGB require less wiring and give you a lot more flexibility. There are a couple of challenges like distance to the controller and each other.

So now I sit here with a lot of dumb RGB lights that have only got one season of use. And I find that the E1.31 connection is a little more reliable with more capabilities

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12 minutes ago, Ebuechner said:

Believe it or not the smart RGB require less wiring and give you a lot more flexibility.

+!  I went through that a few years ago when I switched the 17 roses along a wall that originally had LED rope lights to RGB.  Originally the 2 1/2 feet of rope light in front of each rose was one LOR channel.  When I converted to RGB, I realized it would be 51 channels so I would need to buy three more CMB16D controllers (the 24 channel controllers were not developed at the time).  It would also mean a bundle of wire as big as my arm.  That would mean I would have to completely change the conduit as that much cable would not fit in the existing conduit.  Instead I went to smart RGB strips.  In the center of the row of roses there is now a SanDevices E6804 with a pair of three conductor cables out to a left and right strips.  Each 2 1/2 foot section of smart strip is configured in the E6804 as a single pixel.  The existing conduit easily holds a single Cat-5 cable and two 12 AWG wires for power.

 

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Thanks for the input everyone!  Much reading and thinking to do!

 

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On 12/23/2016 at 10:14 AM, jtomason said:

You have basically two choices: A USB->DMX dongle that connects to the DMX board, or DMX over Ethernet, aka E1.31.

There is also a third choice: A box that converts from LOR to DMX. Two products that do this are the iDMX1000 from LOR, or the ELOR from SanDevices.

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Update,  Got my hands on a used Holiday Choro Actidongle, ad a small three channel DMX controller from amazon, and I am off!  Pray for me!

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Yet another option. I connect a 4-port DMX gateway to my dedicated WiFi router. From one of the DMX ports, I connect my LOR controllers using a crossover cable I purchased from HolidayCoro (you can fabricate this yourself). This setup allows me to run E.131 controllers, DMX controllers, and LOR controllers.

I have a networking background but I don't consider this setup terribly complicated. The key is setting up the universes on the DMX gateway and setting up all of your channels using DMX in the LOR software. You'll need to know how to address your LOR controllers in DMX mode.

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