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iDMX32 and Dimmer Packs


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My friend and I are getting together this year to make our christmas displays even bigger and we are planning on adding 32 channels of dmx on top of my 32 channels of LOR. When we do this we will be using four, eight channel dimmer packs. With the dimmer packs, would it work just like a regular channel on LOR or would you have to add intensity, like you would with a moving light?. Also, will the dimmer packs be able to do all of the same functions as a LOR controller via the iDMX32? Also will all the special effects in LOR still work with the dimmer packs like shimmer, twinkle, and fade?

I really need to start sequenceing now, but is there a need to wait until LOR II if we will just be using dimmer packs with no moving lights?

Thanks for everyones help,
Chad

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ChadH wrote:

My friend and I are getting together this year to make our christmas displays even bigger and we are planning on adding 32 channels of dmx on top of my 32 channels of LOR. When we do this we will be using four, eight channel dimmer packs. With the dimmer packs, would it work just like a regular channel on LOR or would you have to add intensity, like you would with a moving light?. Also, will the dimmer packs be able to do all of the same functions as a LOR controller via the iDMX32? Also will all the special effects in LOR still work with the dimmer packs like shimmer, twinkle, and fade?

I really need to start sequenceing now, but is there a need to wait until LOR II if we will just be using dimmer packs with no moving lights?

Thanks for everyones help,
Chad

I can't say that I'm an expert on dimmer packs, or DMX, but I've read quite a bit..

In one of the LORII / DMX threads Dan has said how the DMX programming will take place. I would suggest that you track that thread down, and refer to it. That will probably answer a lot of questions about how the DMX will work.

Dimmer packs can fade ... but I don't think LOR will be able to tell the dimmer pack to shimmer or twinkle just by clicking a button. I think you would have to program that effect in manually.
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I am sure that Dan can answer this and put it to rest, but I think it should be able to do that. Dan said that there will be 32 intelligent channels. The Animated Lighting version has 32 intelligent channels too. It has been in production since 2003 and allows an intelligent fixture to use the standard programing effects for DMX such as blinking, pop-fade, reverse pop, sparkle, flicker, etc. (essentially all of the standard Animated Lighting effects).

So I am betting that the LOR version also will do it, but again, Dan can answer specifically.

Ken

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Thanks for your replies. Ken I watched your video on DMX and it was very imformative since I am not the DMX guy. Don I will try to find that post you were talking about, I have been trying to keep up with everything on LOR and DMX, but maybe I missed it.

Thanks again,
Chad

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Don wrote:

Dimmer packs can fade ... but I don't think LOR will be able to tell the dimmer pack to shimmer or twinkle just by clicking a button. I think you would have to program that effect in manually.


Actually, one of the major goals of the iDMX32 was to make the use of DMX512 dimmer packs transparent to an LOR user. All the LOR effects are supported in the same way that you control an LOR lighting controller. To implement effects like fading, twinkling or shimmering, the iDMX32 has to compute intensities over time and tell the DMX512 dimmer packs what to do at any given moment and this is what the iDMX32 does using intelligent channels.

Transparency is also the reason the intelligent channels 'float' to where they're needed. If you simply request and on/off or intensity event, this only needs to be passed to the dimmer pack. If you request an intelligent effect on a channel, we need to constantly compute intensities. DMX devices will not require intelligent on all their channels, but they allocate their channels in blocks. By allowing the intelligent channels to be assigned by the iDMX32 as needed, the user does not have to worry about which effects require intelligence and which don't, and, a far greater number of DMX devices requiring intelligent channels can be supported than in a scheme where there is a block of 32 smart channels.

One effect, shimmer, is currently locked to the power line frequency in LOR lighting controllers. The power line frequency is not available to the iDMX32. Instead, the iDMX32 locks this effect to the DMX512 refresh rate. This means that it may not look exactly the same -- but we try to adjust the timing to make it as close as possible.

Finally, what I hope people take from this post is that we're trying to simplify the way you do things. You put iDMX32(s) in your LOR network, go into the Sequence Editor and configure some Sequence Editor channels as iDMX32 controlled. Each of these logical channels is then told which DMX512 channel to affect and you are done. You can use fades to not only sweep the intensity of a light, but also to pan and tilt a moving head.
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John,

In using the IDM32, is there a way to change the refresh rate? I noted in the DMX Class that some devices need a different refresh rate.

Thanks in advance.

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Thanks John, you helped me understand DMX alot more. But, I have one more question, can I go ahead and start sequencing the dmx channels if it's just going to be dimmer packs in LOR I software by just sequencing like any other LOR controller and then when LOR comes out would you just upgrade and change the channel configuration to the iDMX32 or would it be to my best interest to just completly wait until LOR II? I know you said that the setting of intensitys would be easier to do in LOR II, but is there a point to wait if you have no moving heads?

Thanks,
Chad

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LOR User Jimmy wrote:

John,

In using the IDM32, is there a way to change the refresh rate? I noted in the DMX Class that some devices need a different refresh rate.

Thanks in advance.

I am a little surprised that newer devices need a slower refresh rate to work but people's experience shows thats the case.

The easy way to reduce your refresh rate is to set the DMX address of the unit to a high number. So for example, if you had one of the Q-Spots mentioned in the DMX class, you could assign it a starting DMX channel of 256 and it would slow the refresh rate to a level that worked for the people in the class.

The refresh rate is based on the number of channels you are transmitting. For example, if the highest DMX address on any of your devices is 64 then in the DMX world you have to send data for addresses 1 thru 64 on each cycle or frame of data. If your max device address was 32 then you would only need to send data for addresses 1 thru 32. You could send about twice as may frames with 32 than you could with 64 SO the refresh rate for 64 would be much slower: about 1/2 the speed of the refresh rate for 32. Thus you can see why putting your device at a high address number slows the refreash rate.

The iDMX32 automatically sets the frame size to match the addresses you have assigned to your DMX devices. Thus you would not need to make any config changes to it.

Now finally to answer your question: Yes, there are advanced config options that most likely will never be required. One of the advanced options is to set a minimum number of DMX channels being transmitted which will guarantee a maximum refresh rate regardless of the address you have assigned to your devices.
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ChadH wrote:

Thanks John, you helped me understand DMX alot more. But, I have one more question, can I go ahead and start sequencing the dmx channels if it's just going to be dimmer packs in LOR I software by just sequencing like any other LOR controller and then when LOR comes out would you just upgrade and change the channel configuration to the iDMX32 or would it be to my best interest to just completly wait until LOR II? I know you said that the setting of intensitys would be easier to do in LOR II, but is there a point to wait if you have no moving heads?

Thanks,
Chad



You can go ahead. Your sequences will work. If now is a good time for you to work on your sequences then I would get started now.
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Thanks Dan thats the answer I was looking for since I'm out of school for the summer, and was hoping to be able to start up.

Chad

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  • 3 months later...

Can you change your starting DMX channel to 256 or higher using LOR I? I was just reading through the manual and that doesn't see possible. Not sure if I'm going to have a refresh rate problem yet, but if I do, just wondering how I can slow it down with LOR I. Thx!

Wayne

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We have not heard of any problems with the default refresh rate of the iDMX-1000. The refresh rate problems were with refresh rates much faster. Our default is about 80 per second which is fast enough for quick response and slow enough for any equipment we have heard of.

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