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LOR and E1.31 from the show PC to the display


bob_moody
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Let me see if I can lay this out. I have a laptop in the office that runs my show. Until this year it has all been LOR. I have an RJ45 plate in the wall which goes out to another RJ45 plate under the porch. This is how I get my connection from the laptop to the LOR conttrollers.

This year I have added one element group running E1.31 DMX. 8 mini North Poles using the HolidayCoro DMX controllers and RGB modules. I have a J1Sys ECG-D2 E1.31 to DMX bridge mounted in a box along with a power supply to power the D2 and inject power for the North Poles.

Question is can I combine or split the LOR data and the E1.31 to run on the same cable from the wall plate in the office to the wall plate on the porch then split them out where LOR goes to LOR equipment, the E1.31 then goes to the D2 bridge for DMX?

I'm pretty sure if I was on the DMX output side of the D2, I could do this. If I'm on target, LOR uses pins 3&4 and DMX uses pins 1&2. You could build a simple cable to carry the two. However, I am very much the novice on the E1.31 standard and I'm not sure what is on all the pins from the laptops Ethernet port to the E1.31 input of the D2.

Any insight or suggestions would be appreciated. If it would be better, I can replace the two wall plates with duplex jacks and run one dedicated to LOR and one dedicated to 1.31

Thanks for the help

Bob..

(I just got my D2 today.. set up information is less than stellar unless you are member of the Aussie Christmas forum, then with a little looking around you can find what you need... I'm still missing a few things on the setup but basically its making the DMX controllers go blinky/flashy... Wow ..I just hijacked my own thread ... go figure.. )

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You could just run your LOR controllers in DMX instead and is what i do, i have my LOR controllers on the same network as my DMX controllers

For info on how to do this then refer to the presentation I did on running LOR controllers in DMX

http://auschristmaslighting.com/forums/index.php/topic,1139.msg9601.html#msg9601

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LOR uses pairs 3,6 & 4,5. 100Mbit Ethernet (carrying E1.31 or not) uses pairs 1,2 and 3,6. You could cable up adapters to leave LOR on its standard pins, and put the Ethernet on 1,2 & 7,8. The thing is that if you mess it up, you can kill the Ethernet port on the computer or the DMX bridge. They don't tend to handle the LOR 10V accessory power at all well.

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I suppose if I would have thought about my question BEFORE I asked it...... sheesh..

E1.31 (DMX over Ethernet) would use the same transmission pairs for communications from the PC to the DMX Bridge as any other Ethernet connection....

If this is in fact the case, then pins 1,2,3 and 6 are tied up in E1.31 transmission so LOR couldnt ride along (assuming LOR uses pins 3 & 4 natively)...

I suppose you could move the LOR data to pins 7 & 8 (custom adaptor), carry them out to the outside wall plate then create a special cable to put 7&8 back on a connector for LOR (pins 3&4) and send the rest of the data (pins 1,2,3 and 6) on to the E1.31 bridge (seperate cable)...

I think I need a nap

Thanks Eddy and KLB.. I will tackle this in the morning ..

I appreciate the replies...

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Okay, I have to play both ends against the middle on this one.

Eddy: I watched the presentation (thank you) and I noticed that all the connections originated from a DMX Bridge/Dongle. I have the J1Sys ECG-D2 bridge. If I understand correctly, I dont need a LOR dongle (like I thought..except to set the Unit address) which would be a good thing for me since the LOR dongle I have is the old style Serial to RJ45 (RS485). Again, if I understand.. the only thing I lose is the hardware shimmer and twinkle (which I dont use a lot of). I could test all of this tonight out in the shop...

KLB: I understand the idea of the special cable, and its very dooable. Question... is the 9V power on the 3,6 pair required if your not running any LOR accessories (only controllers)? This would make my assumption of 1,2,3,6 for E1.31 and 4,5 for LOR usable. However, I think we are saying "essentially" the same thing. I agree that if the 9V is required then most likely the SAFEST thing for me to do is run a second cable for E1.31 DMX along with the existing cable for LOR

Comments? Suggestions?

Bob

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Personally I'd just run another wire (which I did, and it was non-trivial).

Eventually you're going to want to use gigabit ethernet outside (yes, it will eventually happen) and that uses all 4 pairs.

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You dont need a dongle because the ECG-D2 outputs DMX so effectively they do the same thing. What the presentation is about is how to hook and configure the channel start address with in a DMX universe, so regardless of how you get that DMX network be it with a D2, Enntec Pro or any other type of DMX controller (excluding the LOR dongle as its pin arragement is not to DMX standard), the network connection and the start addresses will be the same for all because its DMX. This is how i run my setup, I have one E1.31 network coming out of the computer connected to a switch that then distributes to the many E1.31 devices, two of those are ECG-DR4 controllers and I have my LOR controllers hooked up to the DMX networks that are generated by the DR4

You are correct that you loose the hardware shimmer and twinkle and any other macro features used in LOR controllers that is specific to the LOR protocol when running in DMX.

One other note is when running LOR controllers through a D2,D4 or DR4 DMX bridge is that you set the keep alive on because the data stream is not constant when there is no data required for that dmx universe, so what happens is the LOR controllers will revert back to looking for the LOR protocol if there is no data and when data starts to arrive there is short delay as the controller works out if its dmx or LOR mode it needs to run in. So by setting the keep alives on the D2 you then will always be sending data to that universe and the LOR controllers will always stay in DMX mode. For info on the correct keep alive settings and for the updated firmware that fixes this then refer to this thread

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Okay.. I built a quickie DMX to LOR cable and hooked it up ..

The box I was using was set to address 6 and i set up DMX address 81,82,83 to map to channel 1,2,3

Works like a charm right out of the box ... (I did go back in an set the KeepAlive parms after the fact... )

I understand the issues in having to remap all the channels.. time consuming but not a deal breaker ..

Being curious, I ran a sequence (DMX) using LOR shimmer on each channel, then ran LOR twinkle .. Huh .. it seems to be twinkling and shimmering to me ..

So I connected back over to LOR and ran the same test set up as LOR ID 6, channel 1,2,3

Ran the same twinkle and shimmer...

I realize that I'm not the smartest monkey in the barrel .. but I really couldnt "see" the difference in LOR shimmer/twinkle vs DMX shimmer/twinkle..

I'm sure there is .. but I didnt see it ..

My DMX bridge is brand new .. got it yesterday .. my LOR boxes are a couple of years old at least .. I didnt even bother to look at the firmware version (yet) ..

to me its just one of those things that make you go ... hmmmmmmmmmmm..

Edited by bob_moody
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Okay, I have to play both ends against the middle on this one.

Eddy: I watched the presentation (thank you) and I noticed that all the connections originated from a DMX Bridge/Dongle. I have the J1Sys ECG-D2 bridge. If I understand correctly, I dont need a LOR dongle (like I thought..except to set the Unit address) which would be a good thing for me since the LOR dongle I have is the old style Serial to RJ45 (RS485). Again, if I understand.. the only thing I lose is the hardware shimmer and twinkle (which I dont use a lot of). I could test all of this tonight out in the shop...

KLB: I understand the idea of the special cable, and its very dooable. Question... is the 9V power on the 3,6 pair required if your not running any LOR accessories (only controllers)? This would make my assumption of 1,2,3,6 for E1.31 and 4,5 for LOR usable. However, I think we are saying "essentially" the same thing. I agree that if the 9V is required then most likely the SAFEST thing for me to do is run a second cable for E1.31 DMX along with the existing cable for LOR

Comments? Suggestions?

Bob

If you have the SC-485, it is powered by the 9V accessory power from the controller. It is not powered by the serial port. So you would need the 9V. You also need the ground for reliable RS-485, even if you did not need it for the power to the SC485.

Real world, I would either run a second cable, and color code it differently at the jack, (try and avoid confusion) or I would use the LOR controllers in DMX mode, as one of the universes off the E1.31 to DMX bridge. I generally think the 1st method is a better solution, but either will work.

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KLB,

Thank you so much for the reply ...

Could I ask you to elaborate on your reason the 2 networks (LOR and DMX) are the better solution? I'm really being curious and not flippant. I want to know the who, what, when, where, why and how and if I can learn from others insight then I'm that much further ahead for not only myself but in the event that I can pass along some help one day.

Bob

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Very interesting that the shimmer and twinkle are working in DMX mode, I wonder if LOR added this feature to S3 as I was made aware that this was one of the limitations, be it thats nearly 2 years ago.

But personally for me I believe the one network from the computer is the cleanest solution in your situation as it leaves the already available network cable to be used for other network puposes for the other times of the year as you can keep it standard. In the end the LOR controllers run very well in DMX and I run 8 CCR controllers in DMX with no issues at all, so to me this is the best method when using LOR controllers mixed with DMX controllers and now seems even better that twinkle and shimmer appear to work.

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Eddy,

I can create a short video and post it showing everyone what i am seeing. I just did a VERY QUICK .. three channel mod to one of my sequences to see the results of a sequence that I know had special effects in it .. and for the life of me, I cant see the difference... Also remeber I never looked to see what firmware version I have on my boards..

My laptop is an old Dell Inspiron 1300 running XP, LOR is ver 3.8 and my J1Sys D2 is so new I can still smell the ink on the silkscreening on the case end caps ...

Maybe between V3.8 and Ed's newest updates to the D2 ... it is working .. I'm pretty sure I'm not losing my marbles but that is still out for debate ..

Bob

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I think what may have happened is with the native DMX support of LOR S3 then this supports shimmer and twinkle because its something that is between S3 and the LOR controllers. So if you used any other software other than LOR S3 then you wont have hardware shimmer and twinkle, but good to know that the native DMX output of LOR seems to support shimmer and twinkle

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KLB,

Thank you so much for the reply ...

Could I ask you to elaborate on your reason the 2 networks (LOR and DMX) are the better solution? I'm really being curious and not flippant. I want to know the who, what, when, where, why and how and if I can learn from others insight then I'm that much further ahead for not only myself but in the event that I can pass along some help one day.

Bob

With two networks, you will most likely be running LOR at 56Kbps, rather than 256Kbps for DMX mode. This should make comunication more stable, and resistant to communication glitches. Though on DMX, any glitches should be shorter duration.

Yes, shimmer and twinkle do work with S3 in DMX mode, in that your show PC must calculate every frame of the effect, and send it in the DMX frame update. In LOR mode, it just sends a command to have the channel do one or the other for the next x seconds. Basically the LOR protocol shifts computation of shimmer, twinkle, and fades from the PC to the controller. By running DMX, you pull all the computation back to your show PC, and make the quality of the effects dependent on the timely performance of the show PC. The other thing is that shimmer is right at the limits of what DMX can do. The speed will be tied to the DMX update rate that the PC can attain. When done from the controller, it is very predictable, as it is a firmware function.

Also, if you have a LOR network, and have issues, you can always fire up the hardware utility while the show is not running, and interrogate all your controllers, and get an idea of reachability as cabled. With DMX mode, you have to go unplug the controller, power cycle it to get it to go back to LOR mode, and plug in locally to use the hardware utility. Also, with DMX, you can't use the hardware utility to turn on some channel while you go troubleshoot the wiring and lights.

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All DMX or two wires. I chose all DMX in hope that my sticking channels problem would go away. Twinkles and fades look good. Technically I'm sure there is a differences but nothing my guests will notice.

I do miss the network search function. This sets LOR apart from the rest and "was" one of my favorite features.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm currently running my LOR 16 channel controller via my SanDevices E682 and from what I can tell, all my LOR effects seem to be working fine. This is the only way I've ever used the LOR controller as I've never connected it via USB other than to set the Unit ID. I'm also using LOR S3 Advanced so that is likely the reason why.

Now my question is, if I change over to another software for controlling my lights like Light Show Pro will I still have a way to do a DMX type of shimmer or twinkle with my LOR Controller even though I'm not using LOR S3? I ask this because I have a lot of twinkle and shimmer as part of my show sequences and may need to switch to Light Show Pro for some additional feature flexibility.

Thanks!

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  • 2 weeks later...

when running DMX... think of it like a "video".. all your channels are ALWAYS sent data ALL the time.. even if that channel is OFF it is still told to be off.. so in DMX the network effectiveness is measured in a "frame rate" or how many times per second was the DMX data sent to ALL channels.. the reason a DMX "universe" is only 512 channels is that DMX originally ONLY ran on RS485 and 512 channels was the MAX you could run and achieve a decent refresh rate...

in DMX shimmer and twinkle are handled on the host computer.. technically ANY software CAN do shimmer and twinkle.. you could even build the effects in your LOR sequence grid esp if you are sequencing down to .1 or .05 seconds... watch what happens if you take a sequence and set intensity to 100 for every other box in the grid (set at .1 or .05) and play it.. you will see a nice shimmer type effect...

think of DMX where its nothing more than setting intensities... and it sends that intensity level for ALL lights ALL the time..

the LOR protocol sends only the changes.. shimmer and twinkle are effects that are built into the controllers and the LOR protocol recognizes them as such.. thus why in LOR mode why you can unplug the control cable and your shimmer still works.....

LOR protocol is also open to overloading very easily when sequencing very tight shows (grids to .05 seconds) with LOTS of changes each timeline.. and / or using large numbers RGB channels.... each change in your grid constitutes a command sent by LOR to the network...

DMX is immune to this as it is limited to only 512 channels and simple intensity commands...

E1.31 over ethernet allows DMX to handle MANY more channels as we have 100 MEG to work with in bandwidth instead of 56k (typical DMX baud rate )...

I created several different shimmer and twinke type effects in MADRIX and they work beautiful over DMX.

-Christopher

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I'm thrilled so far. My show has been rock solid under E1.31. The beauty is so far for my needs I have been able to stay with S3 which brings me a lot of comfort in stability.

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A little off topic, but since I started the thread ... :)

I keep seeing Madrix .. I have looked at Madrix .. and then I see the PRICE TAG on Madrix ..

I'm I missing something here?

I'm wondering if Christopher is a lighting professional and one of the benefits is access to this software ...

WOWSERS ..

Tell me what it does so much better than anything else available to us now...

Bob

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MADRIX is expensive yes.. but for someone like me who the last year I did a light show in 2009 with I think 256 channels spent close to 24 hours of sequencing for each 1 minute of show-time.. I just plain didnt have that kind of time any more...

what MADRIX does is allow you to create effects and overlay them onto your lights without sequencing the effect itself...

example.. mega tree "spin".. takes about 10 seconds to create in MADRIX.. then you use S3 to simply call up the effect for as long as you want it. then you turn it off and call another effect... a real-time equalizer for use with Multi-channel poles, arches, or even a mega tree takes about 20 seconds.. and since it uses sound recognition you can re-use it as many times as you like on different songs. (manually sequencing an "EQ" is a real pain).

random "Sparkling" from your CCR's or CCB's.. is another 30 second operation...

MADRIX allows you to copy effects so you create something cool.. copy it and modify it and you have a whole new effect..

it also has its own programming Language so really anything you can dream up you can make happen on your lights...

got a Big Grid? want to play video? 10 seconds... display a pic? 10 seconds.. scroll text? 10 seconds..

the only sequencing you do is telling S3 (by set intensity on a DMX channel) which effect to use. using DMX remote control of MADRIX allows you to cut to the next effect quickly.. or fade the effect in and out, or cross-fade between 2 effects..

as for Pricing, MADRIX Start version allows you 1 DMX universe of control which in a pure LOR PC, DC or 1602 controller config is over 500 channels.. and that cost is reasonable for all that it can do (less than $400).

its REAL power is for users that are using MANY RGB lights.. im just getting back into animation.. but I have 1700 RGB Pixel lights.. which would be a nightmare in LOR...

I plan to double that next year...

for users not using many RGB lights madrix wont gain you as much but can still be leveraged nicely...

Theoretically you could create a Random cue list in Madrix, create a pool of effects that are all Sound activated and have a completely automatic light show... (not going to be as nice as one with effects created for each song) but it does work..

-Christopher

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The problem that I've seen is the majority of the madrix displays I've seen are only very loosely synchronized to the music. It's kind of like a slide-show of effects, sometimes roughly timed to the phrases of the music.

But if you wanted, say, a spinning mega-tree (out of your pixel tree) where on the downbeat of every measure, the tree is at the 12:00 position and spins around once every measure - it's my understanding that becomes fairly difficult to do in Madrix.

To me it's these tight timings that make or break a display.

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I agree that absolute total perfect sequencing is tough in MADRIX.. but the more lights, the more pixels you put in, the less meaningful absolute precision becomes.. I learned this from doing Techno dance club lighting in the 90s.. the more lights you hung up on the ceiling, the easier it became to create stunning effects that went to the music.. no each and every light wasnt going to blink in perfect timing with a measure or such.. but as a whole the complete Motion and choreography of the system became incredible.. with 16 channels of LOR if you miss just slightly its greatly noticed by the average viewer.. with 256 channels Much less noticed.. and more the system as a whole is what brings the power and not each element perfectly on a downbeat... now lets add a few thousand RGB pixels... in MOTION to the MOTION of the music.. not necessarily a change ever ybeat or every 1/2 beat or 1/4 or 1/8 or 1/16.. a Mega tree Flowing with color, ebb, and tide reasonably close to the beat in Waves looks STUNNING...

whereas a 32 channel megatree done that same way looks like someone blew the sequencing totally.. alas why I mentioned above the real pwoer of Madrix is with lots of RGB lights... Madrix does beat detection Very well, plus you can tap out an effect and then multiply or divde or BPM as you like to make it just right...

Madrix DOES have a learning curve like any software.. and if all someone does is plug it in. set up all musically timed effects and play a song.. sure its going to look much looser than a person who thought out their effects and used LOR S3 to call them up..

its NOT for everyone or perhaps even MOST.. but for someone like me and many others that doesnt have 24 hrs physical time to sequence per minute of Music.. and has a display largely of RGB lights.. it Surely can make building the display fun and create MUCH enjoyment for the viewers that watch it.. which 90% of average display viewers wont notice a defect or two in a sequence.. whereas anyone who has sequenced will notice every single timing flaw... kind of a curse in a way...

-Christopher

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Christopher,

Thank you for the discussion. Unlike Tim, I've never seen a MADRIX display so I cant comment on the good, bad or ugly ..

I was looking at the MERRY CHRISTMAS sign on my roof. Each letter is a 5x7 dot matrix letter. Each letter controlled by LOR. Right night MERRY is green C9 incandecents and CHRISTMAS is red C9 incandecents. Sandra and I talked about trading out the incans for retro C9 LED's in the same green and red .. however .. there are 216 bulbs in the sign. Green LED C9 are about 89 cents each and the reds are buck and some change.... Enter Ray Wu.... RGB pixels with clear C9 faceted covers come out to about 65 cents each...

Hmmmmm..now what could I do with that? I could make it look like the magic finger is writing on the sign, change colors, sweeping color fades .. WOW .. the possibilities are endless (you can see the sign and videos on our website.. )

But then .. OMG .. how am I going to program THAT !!!

Hence.. the questions about MADRIX ..

Bob

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I won't be switching anytime soon because I too like spot on control and don't have any RGB stuff "yet" but I'm interested in seeing a LOR/Madrix display. If you have a link please post it.

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