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Stripped-down iDMX


Tim Fischer
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I've seen a number of posts on PC to the effect that people are having a hard time justifying an iDMX because all they want are a couple cheap DMX fixtures (that cost less than the iDMX itself...) I know I kind of fall into that category, although I'm slowly warming up to just biting the bullet and buying the thing...

But I was wondering, what if the following were sold as a product. Take the iDMX and:

- Eliminate the nice alumium case. It's pretty, but I'll need to put it in a weatherproof enclosure anyway. Maybe I could even squeeze it in with another controller.
- Eliminate the DMX IN XLR jack. I don't really understand DMX, but I'm not sure how that would be useful for most of us who just want LOR to run DMX lights.
- If it saves enough cost, eliminate the reset button and polarity switch, and replace with jumpers.
- Anything else that could possibly save money -- sell it as a kit? I know there's some SMT parts but maybe the through-hole stuff could be a kit?

Not sure how much this would save in the end. I'm assuming the case would give the biggest bang for the buck... You could use the existing circuit board and just leave the components off...

Just a thought!

-Tim

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Jeff Millard wrote:

Dan,

Would the "lite" version eventually be able to control a full 512 channel universe?

Jeff


I do not think so. I envision the lite version as having less capability than the iDMX1000 but hopefully it will allow people who want to control a few DMX devices a less expensive way into DMX.
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I've been on the fine edge of should I or shouldn't I and a Lite version would definitely push me over, count me in. If the unit could control possibly 6 to 12 DMX devices, that would cover the LED wash fixtures that I would like to have.

Just my .02, well actually .10 the exchange rate is horrible right now.

Daryl B.

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grump010 wrote:

I've been on the fine edge of should I or shouldn't I and a Lite version would definitely push me over, count me in. If the unit could control possibly 6 to 12 DMX devices, that would cover the LED wash fixtures that I would like to have.

Just my .02, well actually .10 the exchange rate is horrible right now.

Daryl B.

Since many wash fixtures and moving heads take 6+ channels each, you might need more channels than you think. I'd hate to see such a device artificially limited to much less than 64 channels, unless it was super-cheap. Heck if it were super cheap I'd buy two, because that would really help with cabling!
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Tim Fischer wrote:

grump010 wrote:
I've been on the fine edge of should I or shouldn't I and a Lite version would definitely push me over, count me in. If the unit could control possibly 6 to 12 DMX devices, that would cover the LED wash fixtures that I would like to have.

Just my .02, well actually .10 the exchange rate is horrible right now.

Daryl B.

Since many wash fixtures and moving heads take 6+ channels each, you might need more channels than you think. I'd hate to see such a device artificially limited to much less than 64 channels, unless it was super-cheap. Heck if it were super cheap I'd buy two, because that would really help with cabling!



Excellent point Tim, My comment was to control 6 to 12 DMX devices, not have 6 to 12 channels. I don't have a great knowledge of the DMX fixtures yet and thats why I stated devices not channels. Thanks for the clarification though, I didn't realize that a wash fixture would take more than 3 channels. I guess with the possibility of a Lite DMX controller, I should start researching DMX possibilities and get better informed.



Cheers

Daryl B.
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LightORamaDan wrote:

The lite version (which is just a thought at this point!) would have 256 channels. It may be limited to 32 intelligent channels but for the moving heads etc you to not need very many intelligent channels.

Dan


Being new to this and never having worked with DMX, I'd by one to start with.

I want to be first in line to buy the fountain controller. Do you have any more details you are willing to share on this, Dan?
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grump010I didn't realize that a wash fixture would take more than 3 channels.


Most of the ones I've been researching have at least 4, some have had 6. Frankly I think it's a waste of channels-- as you noted most of us only want/need three (one per color). The others do things like strobe rate, built-in programs, etc... Since I prefer to program everything myself (even strobes) those aren't useful to me. And there's no way to turn them off, from what I can tell, so you can have other things on them...

-Tim

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LightORamaDan wrote:

The lite version (which is just a thought at this point!) would have 256 channels. It may be limited to 32 intelligent channels but for the moving heads etc you to not need very many intelligent channels.

Dan


Dan, question on the intelligent channels:

If 3 channels are doing the exact same fade (e.g. 0-100% over 2 seconds) does that use up one intelligent channel or three?

Thanks,
-Tim
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Tim Fischer wrote:

LightORamaDan wrote:
The lite version (which is just a thought at this point!) would have 256 channels. It may be limited to 32 intelligent channels but for the moving heads etc you to not need very many intelligent channels.

Dan


Dan, question on the intelligent channels:

If 3 channels are doing the exact same fade (e.g. 0-100% over 2 seconds) does that use up one intelligent channel or three?

Thanks,
-Tim

That is 3 channels. Once the 2 seconds are finished and the channels are at 100% then they are no longer considered intelligent.
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Tim Fischer wrote:

LightORamaDan wrote:
The lite version (which is just a thought at this point!) would have 256 channels. It may be limited to 32 intelligent channels but for the moving heads etc you to not need very many intelligent channels.

Dan


Dan, question on the intelligent channels:

If 3 channels are doing the exact same fade (e.g. 0-100% over 2 seconds) does that use up one intelligent channel or three?

Thanks,
-Tim
Tim,

In the example you give, the iDMX would use 3 intelligent channels.

Charles
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LightORamaDan wrote:

The lite version (which is just a thought at this point!) would have 256 channels. It may be limited to 32 intelligent channels but for the moving heads etc you to not need very many intelligent channels.

Dan

Definitely sounds like something I would like to add to my arsenal. :(
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  • 3 weeks later...

grump010 wrote:

Tim Fischer wrote:

Excellent point Tim, My comment was to control 6 to 12 DMX devices, not have 6 to 12 channels. I don't have a great knowledge of the DMX fixtures yet and thats why I stated devices not channels. Thanks for the clarification though, I didn't realize that a wash fixture would take more than 3 channels. I guess with the possibility of a Lite DMX controller, I should start researching DMX possibilities and get better informed.



Cheers

Daryl B.

Is there a DMX info page somewhere that I can do some research? I am interested but I have found little on the set up and use of it.
I saw the page about setting up the board. It looks like you just run a new firmware to the controller and then you need the converter to go to the dmx interface. But looking at the pin map, couldn't you just make up a converter yourself, or am I missing something? It seems to me that it would work. Or is that what the "lite" is all about?
The DMX world is fascinating to me and I need to find out more info!
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Don Krasley wrote:

grump010 wrote:
Tim Fischer wrote:

Excellent point Tim, My comment was to control 6 to 12 DMX devices, not have 6 to 12 channels. I don't have a great knowledge of the DMX fixtures yet and thats why I stated devices not channels. Thanks for the clarification though, I didn't realize that a wash fixture would take more than 3 channels. I guess with the possibility of a Lite DMX controller, I should start researching DMX possibilities and get better informed.



Cheers

Daryl B.

Is there a DMX info page somewhere that I can do some research? I am interested but I have found little on the set up and use of it.
I saw the page about setting up the board. It looks like you just run a new firmware to the controller and then you need the converter to go to the dmx interface. But looking at the pin map, couldn't you just make up a converter yourself, or am I missing something? It seems to me that it would work. Or is that what the "lite" is all about?
The DMX world is fascinating to me and I need to find out more info!


A different side of the equation... A simple connector adapter is all you need for some other DMX controller to use LOR boxes as dimmer packs.

The LOR software only speaks the LOR protocol, and does not natively control DMX devices. For LOR software to control DMX devices, a converter is needed to convert from the command based LOR protocol to the frame based DMX protocol. Thus the iDMX.
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Don Krasley wrote:

grump010 wrote:
Is there a DMX info page somewhere that I can do some research? I am interested but I have found little on the set up and use of it.
I saw the page about setting up the board. It looks like you just run a new firmware to the controller and then you need the converter to go to the dmx interface. But looking at the pin map, couldn't you just make up a converter yourself, or am I missing something? It seems to me that it would work. Or is that what the "lite" is all about?
The DMX world is fascinating to me and I need to find out more info!


The iDMX1000 is realy a simple protocol translation box. A LOR network address such as E0 translates directly to a DMX address of 01. This allows that any events applied to the E0 LOR channel is sent directly to a DMX channel.

That said there is a little more enhancement for some of the LOR network channels. It allows some of the functions such as twinkle to be supported by a DMX device. Since DMX channel supports basically ON/OFF and ramp up and ramp down over a 256 step range.

I hope this helps.
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So what equipment beyond the LOR do i need to get going with this stuff? I am starting to understand the dmx somewhat, but I still have questions on the associated equipment.
I figure if I got this far with LOR, DMX is something I am going to have to do to step up the display to the next level. Money is always in the back of my mind, but if I can do this without additional thousands at 1 time, I can do it. Besides the gov just gave me a nice refund! But I don't want to buy something and be lost like I am right now!

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I would think the first plan of attack should be the lighting fixtures. What DMX based fixture do you want to run.

Try and do a DMX lighting search on youtube. Ignore the ones that talk about controllers or programming, those will not be necessary if the plans are to use it with LOR.

If you find a DMX lighting fixture you can't live without then get the iDMX or lite whichever is available.

Doing a google search for DMX lighting might help also.

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Thinking about the two biggest shows here, neither one of them uses DMX for any of the lighting effects.. On the firehouse, (probably the third largest show in the area) we did use 15 LED wall wash lightbars at $225 each, to light up a 44 foot wide gable end, about 25 feet tall. I'd say it was a good effect, but I think we got more bang for the buck on many of our other elements.

I'd say the key thing to look at to decide if you want to go DMX is to see what effects you can do using DMX elements that you can't do without, or are more cost effective with DMX..

One example is LED flood lamps, and wall wash units. For a single color, you are probably more cost effective using flood lights.. Where the LED DMX fixtures shine is the ability to cleanly mix colors on the fly.. So if your house is close enough to white to reflect most colors well, a DMX flood light can light it up in most colors your computer monitor can generate.. Of course, is that an effect you think is part of Christmas lighting?

There are a lot of other more sophisticated effects, but you need to look at the videos of shows that use it, and decide if it is part of what you want to do..

Since you are using LOR software, there is no reason to use the LOR controllers in DMX mode. It is just a question of what DMX fixtures you would find to have enough value in your show to be worth the investment.

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The reason I entered the DMX world was simply to add a moving spotlight. I really like the color changes and the interesting lighting effects that they add. However, with anything else LOR related, I now have been sucked into the world of color changers, gobos and spotlights.

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OK, this is going to be a big step, but I think every time you can add something to "wow" the audience, it will pay off one way or another. Heck, I'm still wowing myself sometimes!
I will check around on you tube and see what I may be looking for. I do like the change colors effect. I have a cream siding and it looked good this year with just flood lights, but floods are not versatile enough and they take up a bunch of channels anyway if you want to change colors.
I appreciate all the help so far. Thanks guys!

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