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Switch for selecting controlers


Tom Bourke

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I have does some searching and I think I have an idea what needs to happen but I want to run this by the people who have more experience with the gear.

I have a museum setup with a DC-MP3-SHOWTIME and a USB to RS485 converter. They need to switch between them however swapping cables is not a viable solution.

From research I have figured out that the pin out is:
1 NC
2 NC
3 V+
4 data +
5 data -
6 ground
7 NC
8 NC

Can I leave the MP3 powered up via pin 3 and 6 and just switch the data lines on 4/5 to the computer for control of the dimmer packs? Also is there any reason not to put an LED/resistor on the power lines from the dimmer pack to let the end user know the lighting system is powered up?

Thank you.
DYI this is the project.

http://www.2ndnaturecreations.com/DCEArchiveDec2009.html

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Dumb question here, but why not skip the DC-MP3 and just use triggers? This way you can program everything on the computer and let the software turn things on and off?

I think having a switch on the data lines will cause a lot of noise and break up the signal.

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The short answer is that I did not know that triggers could be relayed back to the computer when building the system. The other reason is we wanted the system to be able to be used (and play audio) with out a computer running.

Noise on the data lines should not be a problem provided I keep the proper twist in the wires inside the switch box. What I am not sure of is the interaction of the ground and power lines.

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Ground is ground, so don't worry about that.

If you aren't using the computer in the system, than what are you using the USB adapter for?

I am a little confused on the setup and what you are actually trying to achieve. Maybe if you explained that a little further I could be of more assistance. :)

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2 separate uses/modes. Day to day display is run from the MP3. When specific classes are happening they need the computer to play back the lesson plan. They require a remote pause function we accomplish by using the editor for playback.

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I am with Greg - confused but reading the site for info I would say you can do it all from the director card. Look at 4 shows (Main Show, Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Blank {Pause}) - with triggers from the director (Can have up to 6) - you can have them interrupt each other. Unless you are going to have the user using sequance editor there isn't a true pause.

Can you explain more what you are tying to do - maybe from the user stand point

IE: Want a show to run when not in use - a "class" will start want to turn off the show and play lessons (5 in total) when the class is over go back into main show ....

Harrison

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OK, from a user stand point:
Mode 1 Day to day, volunteer walks in and can hit 1 of 5 section buttons. Button 6 is stop. Each section has a sound track. No computer interaction required or wanted. Computer stays off. Along the same lines some one doing a quick demo of the room should not have to know how to use the LOR computer software or even need to turn on a computer. Think total computer inept user. Log in screen or using a mouse is a problem (yes there are volunteers like that.)

Mode 2 is teacher mode. Teacher has full ability to program the system using LOR editor. They make in depth lesson plans that include sound tracks and light cues based on the subject matter. For class they play back said lesson plan using the editor. This gives us the ability to use a presentation remote that relays a space bar signal allowing for a TRUE pause function. Required for student Q&A at any time during the show.

Currently we switch modes by unplugging the control cable from the MP3 and plugging it into the computer adapter. I would like to use a switch to move the data lines and leave the MP3 powered up.

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It sounds like you probably won't mind if all the lights go dark for a while around the switch over, while the controllers start listening for a new heartbeat. If it were me, I would probably find a 4 pole, double throw switch. Tie all three grounds together. Tie 10V together for the MP3 director and the controller, and wire the switch to connect/disconnect the 10V for the USB adapter, (if it is one of the power booster versions) and of course, switch the two data pins. If you maintain the twist on the data pins to reasonably close to the switch, you will likely be OK. You will be outside of a supported cable standard, and may be on your own from a support standpoint, but you can always swap out for a straight cable again to troubleshoot and get support on the rest of the system, just not this way of switching control.

Just for comparison, we have been trying to chase down, and eliminate interference with a RF system that appears to be caused by the lighting hardware. We actually added a trigger this year to shut down the DMX signal when needed in case it was the issue. We did this by running the LOR data cable through relays before and after the iDMX. So if the trigger was pressed, the relays were activated, and all pins to the iDMX were disconnected on both side. The iDMX was off, so it could not generate the signal, and the LOR buss was interrupted as well, so it was not active near the antenna. Other than the expected interruptions in the show, we appear to have had no issues from doing this. Next year, we will be adding an additional relay to shut down the AC power to the LED wall washers, in case it is their switching power supplies that are the issue.

As for the LED, It probably depends how close the first controller or two is, what type it is, and other factors. For example, I don't know how much current the director draws in comparison to the power available from the controller.. Of course, if you power the director from a wall wart, you would then have all of the aux power on the LOR cable available for indicator LEDs. Just remember to size an appropriate current limiting resistor.

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  • 5 months later...

Tom Bourke wrote:

OK, from a user stand point:
Mode 1 Day to day, volunteer walks in and can hit 1 of 5 section buttons. Button 6 is stop.  Each section has a sound track.  No computer interaction required or wanted.  Computer stays off.  Along the same lines some one doing a quick demo of the room should not have to know how to use the LOR computer software or even need to turn on a computer.  Think total computer inept user.  Log in screen or using a mouse is a problem (yes there are volunteers like that.)

Mode 2 is teacher mode.  Teacher has full ability to program the system using LOR editor.  They make in depth lesson plans that include sound tracks and light cues based on the subject matter.  For class they play back said lesson plan using the editor.  This gives us the ability to use a presentation remote that relays a space bar signal allowing for a TRUE pause function.  Required for student Q&A at any time during the show.

Currently we switch modes by unplugging the control cable from the MP3 and plugging it into the computer adapter.  I would like to use a switch to move the data lines and leave the MP3 powered up.



You may have solved your issue by now. Was scanning the forum and noticed your post. You may want to consider a RJ45 A/B Switch.

http://www.amazon.com/RJ45-AB-Way-Switch-Box/dp/B000I96BVK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1280116568&sr=8-1

You could use this between the Director (Mode 1) and the Teacher/Computer (Mode 2).

Hope this helps. :D
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