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Two MP3 Director Cards one System?


bensontrent
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bensontrent

Technical Question here:

Can you put two controllers on one system? As long as they're not trying to control the same channel, will it be ok?

I want to mix a prescheduled show with interactive controls.

Every 15 minutes, a pre-programmed musical sequence is controlled by Director Card "A". At intermission for these shows, a special animation sequence controls a channel that controls a relay that provides power to Director Card B.

Director Card B is controlled using the interactive trigger ports that make the show interactive; users will be able play short sequences by hitting a big button. When it's time for a new big musical sequence to start, Director Card A shuts off power to the Director Card B “Slave” unit.

So my question is one that has to do with the Light-O-Rama protocol. Will these two director cards "fight" with each other. Director Card A will have to send an active signal to control the Relay for Director Card B to work, yet it will be sending signals out as well.

My project will have 128 channels running a light field of massive weather balloons. See more info at http://illusion.eyetrap.com

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The primary problem is that there is no way for the two directors to coordinate and ensure that they do not try to transmit on the RS-485 buss at the same time..

The closest I could easily see to this might be to have one controller that is always on the timed director trigger not only the relay that powers up the second director, but also disconnects most of the buss from the timed director, and connects it to the interactive director. I think this could work, but I doubt that it is a supported configuration...

- Kevin

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bensontrent

Yeah, I realized after I posted, I might be able to do that. The director cards would turn each other off and on; or at least control their data signals for each other. But that could be a delicate dance. I could possibly do it with a third "master" director card; coordinating the schedules could be a challenge, and that doesn't reduce the complexity or potential for failure. There's got to be a more elegant solution.

Also, with the director cards 6 trigger imputs, I wish there was a way to make each input control a different show or collection of shows. I'm a wrong? Or is this correct?

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I was thinking you could have one one controller that is always tied to your non interactive director. Then one of the sequences in the non interactive show is the one that causes the majority of the controllers to be released from this director, and connected to the interactive one as well as powering up the interactive one... I would think that would be more effective than adding a third director to the mix...

Looking at page 23 of this:

http://www.lightorama.com/Documents/DC-MP3_Man_Web.pdf

It looks like you can load 9 shows, and each can have it's own trigger configuration, like when powered, clock schedule, or when triggered.

Also, If I am reading the documentation correctly, and you were willing to have your scheduled show run on the half hours, you might be able to do it all off of one director. Take a look at page 28... Of course this is an area where I would definitely suggest testing and making sure it works the way you want with plenty of lead time to switch to a fallback plan..

- Kevin

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bensontrent
Interactive_Intermission.jpg

Ok, here's my plan to make this work. Does anyone have a better idea? Surely, in the future these kinds of needs will be addressed with software, but I think this will work for now. I'm waiting for the big sale to get all the gear. I'll give a full report on how it works.

My only question--is it a problem to have two sets of controllers hooked to one director card, ie: two cables into one unit?
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Guest wbottomley

The problem I see is the system can't handle two heart beats at the same time. Even though you have two cards connected at the same time, only one can be on.

Having two heart beats at the same time will confuse the system. Wait until Dan introduces the interactive inputs via the controller.

It might be able to handle more than just six triggered inputs.

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bensontrent

That's the purpose of the latching relay--it creates a switch between the MP3 Director Cards' access to the network of lights. That way, there's only one "heartbeat" hitting the system, and the beauty of the design is that one of the controllers controls the relay--so it can be part of the show.

So Director Card 3 might have a show line-up that looks like this:

Show 1: Coldplay "Clocks"


Show 2: 10 Minute Interactive intermission (Turns on Channel 1 on Controller 9, which switches the relay, thereby giving network access to the "Interactive" Director Card, and switching OFF access to the bulk of the network)


Show 3: Postal Service "Such Great Heights" (Controller 9, channel 1, is no longer active, and the master Director Card controls the lights again.


Both cards are always on, but depending on the program, only one has access to send controls to the lights.

In my illustration above, only Director Card "A" has access to the system, illustrated by the green line.


I'm hoping Dan announces something this Saturday (Fingers crossed), since I'm under contract to deliver this as a functioning system by the last week of August. But if there's no new features or hardware announced, I'm sure this will work just fine.

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I don't want to come across mean or anything like that. However, if you have the equipment, take the time and set up and experiment and try your theory. Afterall isn't that how we all learn? Have an idea, test it and refine.

If I had the equipment and were curious...I would set up the experiment.

With only one of the directors actually talking to the controllers at a time. Sure seems to me that it would work. The only thing I can see that might be a problem....would be the fast switching on the data lines from the relay. It might be that 2 relays would be needed to create a time lag between when one director is disconnected and the other is connected.

Chuck

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bensontrent

Hi Chuck,

I don't yet have the equipment to test it out. My only experience has been using a friend's system; and he doesn't have an MP3 Director card, let alone two.

I purchase it all on Saturday--I'm hoping to change the bank account's balance sheet dramatically. :) If the one relay doesn't work; I'll try out a delayed system using two relays. Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate everyone's comments, pointing me in the right direction, refining the idea.

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bensontrent

We'll end up with about 5 shows with about 4 songs in each show. On the interactive side, we'll use all 6 inputs (we wish we had more). They will be each be tied to a short 10 second show. How responsive are the interactive controls? I read somewhere there is a 20 second wait between each trigger event.

And it would be ideal that if you press one trigger, then quickly press another trigger that the first trigger is overridden or overlapped somehow. I would hate for people to press a button an just assume it's broken. I don't know how it all works, but I will next week!

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bensontrent

Hmm. I thought we were limited to only 9 shows. Not 9 songs! I may end up replacing Director Card "A" in my setup with a PC, so I get full schedule controls and unlimited shows and songs with the excellent LOR scheduler.

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bensontrent wrote:

I thought we were limited to only 9 shows. Not 9 songs!


I am under the same impression and quick test confirms.

Harrison
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LightORamaDan

The current limitation is 9 shows with a total of 120 songs. Future releases will increase those numbers.

The relay should work. My only concern would be the "quaility" of the connection for the data link. If the relay makes a good connection then it will work.

Dan

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  • 8 months later...

Just curious if there has been any further testing, or action on this... I'm starting to look at some ideas, probably for 2010 or later, but a tiny prototype might happen this year. The idea would be that a few controllers would normally be part of the main show, but that based on an interactive trigger, one or two controllers would split off, and become part of the interactive display. This would probably get replicated a couple times for separate interactive portions...

As for controlling the interactive side, if we decide to go without audio, a CBM16D might just work well, as it could store the 5,000 commands, and drive the relay that splits things off... If we did want audio, I would need a director, and currently some additional controller to drive the relay.. Unless the director outputs become a functional feature before I get to this project...

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