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Snow machine with DMX - umm, how do I connect it

Paul Masterson

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Ok, I've been working in an LOR only world for some time and I decided to get a snowmachine that has DMX connections. So now I am sitting here thinking, how the heck do I tie this into the show. I "assume" I need to dedicate a USB port to a DMX channel but what do I do then? What type of cable do I use to go from the USB dongle from LOR? Do I need to buy the iDMX-1000?


Sorry for the newbie questions, I thought I had this stuff figured out by now :)

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Dedicate a USB adapter to DMX.  Assuming that the snow machine has RJ-45 connectors:  If you use a LOR adapter, you will need a crossover cable that you can either buy or build.  If you are using some other USB DMX adapter, it will likely already be wired in the DMX standard, so only a straight Cat-5 cable.  If the snow machine has XLR cable connectors, you will need an adapter cable that you may be able to buy or you can build it.  So the first question is what connectors are on the snow machine.

Note that when I referred to a crossover cable, this is NOT a LAN standard crossover cable.


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Thanks for the reply. The connectors on it are the 3-pin XLR type so it sounds like I need an adapter to convert it to an RJ45.  I think the answer to this next question is no :) but is there anyway to put it inline with existing LOR products? I ask as I have two ports on the computer already in use (1 for normal controllers and the second for a Pixcon 16 controller) and the third will require me to purchase a USB hub.



Edited by Paul Masterson
Found the cables on Amazon so deleted the question
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Make or buy a cable like this.


I cut the end off a cat 5 cable and soldered a 3 pin XLR in its place.

Cant put it in line with LOR controllers. Has to be a DMX universe. Going to need that hub I'm afraid.

Check if the Pixcon 16 has a DMX output, I don't think it does, but some E1.31 controllers do.

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@basis21b - thanks for pointing me in this direction. I've gone through this and a few other documents on the site and it seems like I have and either/or option with this. today I am set-up as an LOR network and have been running the Pixels successfully. The documentation is leading me toward the belief that I would need to disable this in order to enable the DMX channels.. If I do this, does that mean my network connectivity is only through them and my sequences all need to change? Are you using the DMX bridge in the PIXCON?





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Well this turned into a lot of writing/reading.  I'm hoping all of these details doesn't make this unusable.

I am currently not using my PixCon16 as a DMX bridge.  I started doing DMX a number of years (7+) ago and acquired an IDMX instead.
As I understand the documentation you are correct in that you would have to adjust your programming for the elements that currently use the PixCon16 from being LOR devices to DMX devices.  In S4 I don't see a way to do a mass change which will make it painful if you have a lot of channels assigned to the PixCon16.  

I can do some experimentation in the next couple of days to prove out using a PixCon16 as a bridge if you are willing to wait but the documentation seems straight forward.  

If I take elements from the display that currently use the PixCon16 in LOR mode and instead use the PixCon16 as a DMX bridge I will have to: 
- Change the sequencing for those elements that currently go to the PixCon16 from being LOR devices to DMX devices
- Assign DMX Universe(s) and circuits
- Use the Network Settings to assign the DMX universe(s) to the IP address of the PixCon16.   (In S4 you can get to this through the Sequence Editor or through the separate Network Configuration tool)

To add downstream DMX device(s)

- Indicate to the PixCon16 which port(s) you wish to have it use to output the DMX  (By activating one or more of the Port 1-4 settings shown in your screen capture above.)
-You will need to program your snow machine into your sequence and assign it to a DMX universe.  You would then change the Network Settings to assign this Universe to the IP address of your PixCon16 in addition to the previously defined universes.
- Connect a cable with the proper pin outs, from the defined port(s) to the DMX device(s). 
- If you are using S4 you will want to make sure you have the Control Panel running to make it so the  Comm Listener is running to support/output the E1.31 


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@Paul Masterson  I have a Word document that contains images and descriptions of the process I followed to adjust my Pixcon16.  I cannot attach it here due to size.  Send me a PM with your email address and I will send it to you.  If someone wishes to host the document I am willing to share.  The usual disclaimers apply:  Use at your own risk, your mileage may vary etc.  

Below is an outline of what I did to adjust the props that are currently using the Pixcon16 in LOR mode to be E1.31 enabled and to add a DMX device.  I used S5 for the actual work.  


For S5 
- You will need to change the channel configuration for your existing props assigned to the Pixcon16 to be DMX universes. 
--  Simple in S5 just adjust the prop in the preview and open and save all of your sequences.
- Add your new DMX prop (Snow machine) to the Preview assigning universe and channel information.
- Add your programming for this new DMX device to your sequence(s).

For S4 
- You will need to change the channel configuration for your existing props assigned to the Pixcon16 to be DMX universes.
- Add your new device (Snow Machine) to your sequences.
- Add your programming for this new DMX device to your sequence(s).

Using the LOR Network Utility
- Assign the universes to either the static IP address of your Pixcon16 or Multicast.
(I personally avoid Multicast as I have a rather large Pixel network and want to keep the network traffic at a minimum)
- Configure the Pixcon16 to use E1.31 mode vs LOR mode
- Configure the DMX port(s) you want to activate and assign the Universe(s) to each that need to bridge from the Pixcon16
(By all appearances each of the four DMX ports can only accommodate a single DMX Universe)

On the actual Pixcon16 board
- Adjust the jumpers on the Pixcon16 to use ESTA (DMX512 Standard) instead of LOR protocol.
- If your DMX device has an RJ45 port and the device accepts the ESTA standard connect a Cat5 cable from the RJ4 port to your DMX device.
- (Not covered in the document) If your DMX device does not have an RJ45 port you will need to acquire or build an appropriate adapter. 

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