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Please explain DMX


Robin
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Ok let's say I want to add some DMX stuff next year. What would be the first thing I would buy to get started? How does it hook to LOR?

I have looked at some different lights and stuff and not sure how you hook everything up.

Is there a control board that all the items hook up to and then they are placed in the yard?

I would like to see a simple easy to understand diagram for dummies.

Thanks in advance.

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Donald Puryear

you buy an idmx1000, and any dmx fixtures you like.

The Idmx1000 installs in the 485 loop just like any other Light-o-rama board. You then run dmx cables from the Idmx to your Dmx fixtures. Start programing

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So they require special cables? How long can they be as I would have to keep the controller inside.
I did not find it with a couple of checks but will have to look more.

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Donald Puryear

dmx cables can be over 500ft. Newer style dmx uses a 5 pin cable, the older dmx is a 3 pin cable, there is adapters readly avalb.

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Ok so maybe I am missing something.

I see the i1000DMX from Dan

But how do you plug a bunch of stuff into it?

I thought there was a control board for DMX and then the i1000DMX then was hooked to it and controlled thing. Now I am really messed up

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Robin, okay let me try explaining DMX like this.

Say you have a color changer, it has a red , blue, and green bulb. each blub can be controlled, like a mini tree with red, green, and blue lights. You just set up the light and have 3 channels set up with the fixture, and with the I-DMX it sends the data to the light, and the internal dimmers to change the intensity of them.

Same goes for a moving light, if say you have a scanner, and the lamp dimmer is channel1, the color is 2, pan and tilt is 3 and 4, and gobos are 5, then by changing the intensity of 1 channel, it changes the intensity/color/pattern/movement.



You don't neccesarly need a control bord, the I-DMX has a CAT-5 input and a 3 pin XLR output that connects to a DMX fixture.

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Good now what if I want to add 20 DMX fixtures?

A couple of wall washes, maybe a lazer, and half dozen pans? Do I need a controller for each one?

Do I sequence them just like every thing else or is it different? Not sure if you know but I have a very difficult time doing anything small once I emerse myself in something. So just want to know before I get started.

I already have a bubble maker that I have a timer for but can be used on DMX.

Thanks for talking to a real dummy about this stuff.

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No problem, Now try teaching ( 9 freshmen this in 3 hours, HA that was interesting)



Okay, so on each of the fixtures there sould be a addressing system, and say your color washes take 4 channels a piece (I don't know why, some of the LED's do) the first fixture would be channels 1-4 and would address it as #1, then the next one would be #5 ,and the third #9, and so on and so forth.

Each fixture has a In and Out and the fixtures are daisy chained together, so using # pin XLR, you connect them together,

Oh and BTW, the Female is always in Charge;)

(means that the Female outlet always sends the data signal)

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Okay, sorry didn't answer all your questions,

Sequenceing for the color washes would be just as if you had a red/green/blue flood lights on 3 dimmers. Just set up the 3-4 channels, and then when you address them, its just like setting the chanel Config on a LOR bord.

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I thought I had read in the DMX-1000 manual that each LOR iDMX-1000 could handle up to 32 DMX devices. LOR II in its current state you can have 256 DMX Channels, with LOR I you have 128channels. LOR II will handle 512channels in its final release.

As far as cable goes. If you use the 3 pin cable, which is default for the IDMX you can run 100ft of cable in between devices. Using the 5pin DMX cable you extend that to 500ft. However most DMX lighting devices only have the 3 pin connection. The 3 pin cable is the same as Microphone cable. If running the max length of cable i.e. 3 pin 100ft you will notice a difference in the quality of cable, but for shorter distances it is not as much of an issue. So far the maximum run I have in between DMX devices is less then 50 ft. I am using one 50' cable and a couple of 25' cables with no problems. All of my cables are mid-grade microphone cables.

DMX opens a lot of new lighting effects and can reduce the number devices and channels to accomplish effects if you didn't have DMX.

In the 32 device limit does that include Slave units? Not that I will have over 32 DMX devices any time soon, but it was a question that I had.

Another question is can I combine DMX units to share the same LOR channel banks. Example being I have 2 Chauvet color splash units. Each has 6 DMX Channels. Currently I am using unit E0 channels 1 - 6 for the first device and E1 channels 1 - 6 for the 2nd device. Is it possable to put both devices on unit E0 and use channels 1-6 for the first device and channels 7 - 12 for the 2nd device?

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kevin wrote:

I thought I had read in the DMX-1000 manual that each LOR iDMX-1000 could handle up to 32 DMX devices. LOR II in its current state you can have 256 DMX Channels, with LOR I you have 128channels. LOR II will handle 512channels in its final release.

As far as cable goes. If you use the 3 pin cable, which is default for the IDMX you can run 100ft of cable in between devices. Using the 5pin DMX cable you extend that to 500ft. However most DMX lighting devices only have the 3 pin connection. The 3 pin cable is the same as Microphone cable. If running the max length of cable i.e. 3 pin 100ft you will notice a difference in the quality of cable, but for shorter distances it is not as much of an issue. So far the maximum run I have in between DMX devices is less then 50 ft. I am using one 50' cable and a couple of 25' cables with no problems. All of my cables are mid-grade microphone cables.

DMX opens a lot of new lighting effects and can reduce the number devices and channels to accomplish effects if you didn't have DMX.

In the 32 device limit does that include Slave units? Not that I will have over 32 DMX devices any time soon, but it was a question that I had.

Another question is can I combine DMX units to share the same LOR channel banks. Example being I have 2 Chauvet color splash units. Each has 6 DMX Channels. Currently I am using unit E0 channels 1 - 6 for the first device and E1 channels 1 - 6 for the 2nd device. Is it possable to put both devices on unit E0 and use channels 1-6 for the first device and channels 7 - 12 for the 2nd device?

This is how I understand it to work, but I could be wrong. The idmx1000 has now been changed to support 64 "intelligent channels." This means that if you have a moving yoke that takes 4 channels it will take up 4 of the intelligent channels, but lets say you are just using dimmer packs to turn the lights on or off the you will use one of the 512 "dumb channels," but if you want to use shimmer or twinkle it is considered a intelligent channel. The intelligent channels can float around so theroetically you could be using more then 64 channels for moving yokes, but you couldn't have them all on at the same time.

This was my first year to have dmx in my show and I was new to all of it a few months ago. I could be wrong on my thinking of the above, but from what I understand it is correct. There was a video that was about an hour long floating around on planetchristmas about dmx and it explained it really well.

Here it is.
http://www.christmasatthegoods.com/Training/index_files/Page729.htm

Chad
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About the "smart channels", I believe that on a moving yolk the only smart channels would be the PAN and Tilt, because when they move the computer tells them to move in the shortest way possible. So the rest of the mover, can just use the "dumb" channels, because they aren't "highly computerized"

This is what I think, maby Dan can step in on this one.

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If you go to the user guide of the idmx1000 on the support page it has an intro to dmx. It also shows you an example of how it works with a scanner so maybe that would help.

Chad

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The videos on 'Christmas at the Goods' training site require that you download the go-to-meeting codec to view them. He provides a link at the Home page of his training videos.

I found it easier to just download the videos and watch them off my computer rather than stream them.

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LightORamaDan

ndiaz wrote:

About the "smart channels", I believe that on a moving yolk the only smart channels would be the PAN and Tilt, because when they move the computer tells them to move in the shortest way possible. So the rest of the mover, can just use the "dumb" channels, because they aren't "highly computerized"

This is what I think, maby Dan can step in on this one.



If you use a fade, or shimmer or twinkle on a channel then that channel automatically because an intelligent channel for the duration of that effect. As soon as the effect is over, the channel is no longer considered intelligent. So as soon as the fade ends that channel is no longer intelligent.

If you have more than 64 channels that require intelligence at the same instance, then the iDMX will act as follows: If it is shimmer or twinkle then the the intensity is set to 100% on that channel. If it is a fade then the channel is set to the end point of the fade immediately (as if the fade happened instantly).

In almost all cases you simply do not worry about what is intelligent or what is not... things just happen as you would expect them to.
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Dan what about getting those head things to move up and down and left and right?:D

Not sure if people know but there are some really coold DJ lighting effects that do not require DMX but still shoot some good lights.

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LightORamaDan

Robin wrote:

Dan what about getting those head things to move up and down and left and right?:)

Not sure if people know but there are some really coold DJ lighting effects that do not require DMX but still shoot some good lights.


Fixtures that have moving heads use different channels for different functions. Lets say you have a simple DMX fixture that has 4 functions: left/right, up/down, color, and light on/off. It would take 4 channels to operate the fixture. The users manual for the fixture will have a table that tells you what channel does what.

The channels start at the base address you have set for the controller. Lets say we set the DMX address on the fixture to 16 ( kind of like how you set a LOR controller's Unit ID). You check the table and see that address 16 is Left/Right, address 17 is Up/Down, address 18 is color and address 19 is "light On/Off".

The DMX world each channel has 256 intensities ( 0 to 255 ) so the table in the fixture's user manual would also tell you what DMX values do on each of the channels. For example: On the Left/Right channel DMX value 128 may be center, value 0 = far left and value 255 = far right.

So if you were to fade that channel in LOR from 0 to 100% (dmx 0 to 255) then the head would sweep from left to right in the amount of time it takes the fade to happen. If you set the intensity on that LOR channel to 50% (dmx 128) then the head would point to the center.

There is a more detailed description of this in the iDMX1000's manual which is on the support page.
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You can use microphone cable for DMX, but only in shorter lengths. There is dmx specific cable that offers much better construction for proper singal distribution. This is important for longer runs. I run dmx cable to my truss, then use mic cable between the fixtures. If you have a long run or multiple fixtures, it is recommended that you terminate the cable. These can be store bought or readily made by soldering a 110 ohm .5 watt resister between pins 2 and 3. You can also get wireless dmx.



A great source for all things dmx is http://www.entsyscorp.com. I am not involved with this company other than very satisfied customer.

A good board for dmx fixtures, tech, etc. is start.prodj.com this is a dj chatroom were the latest and greatest in intellegent lighting is reviewed and discussed.

edited for spelling.

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I should probably start a new thread for this, but...

Since DMX cords are really expensive and rated for things that are way overkill for our Christmas displays, has anyone considered using Cat5E cable, buying XLR connectors, and just creating their own? I would think that if Cat5E can support 100BaseT ethernet, and if DMX is simply a varient of RS485, that should be just fine...

-Tim

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Charles Belcher

Tim Fischer wrote:

I should probably start a new thread for this, but...

Since DMX cords are really expensive and rated for things that are way overkill for our Christmas displays, has anyone considered using Cat5E cable, buying XLR connectors, and just creating their own? I would think that if Cat5E can support 100BaseT ethernet, and if DMX is simply a varient of RS485, that should be just fine...

-Tim

Tim,

This link answers your question. We are using Cat5e in some of our rental systems already.

http://www.esta.org/tsp/working_groups/CP/DMXoverCat5.htm

Charles
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  • 1 month later...
michael.farney

Mountainwxman wrote:

I would love to see a sequence on how dmx was incorporated. That includes moving heads and color wash.


This doesn't entirely answer your question, but I did a quick demo video using the various channels of my qspot and colorwash. I included the sequence so you can pull it up on your PC. Maybe later in the year I will have an actual musical sequence done! :P

http://lightorama.mywowbb.com/view_topic.php?id=16179&forum_id=75
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