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Author Topic: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?  (Read 12368 times)

Matt Dittman

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Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« on: January 04, 2009, 09:27:40 pm »

My band is trying to cut down on our setup time some more.  I have 7m of triangle truss in the back and a tree up front.  The lights are run via laptop software MIDI'd with a foot controller. It would be nice to put the tree on whichever side we want, and put the computer whereever without running cables everywhere.

The Chauvet and SIRS-e wireless DMX offerings are getting pretty low priced.  Seems like they come in 900MHz and 2.4GHz offerings.

Which is 'better' for a small scale installation? I have heard both sides, that 2.4GHz may be stronger but the 900MHz band isn't as cluttered.

Thoughts?

Bob Charest

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2009, 11:39:55 pm »

Hi,

I had embarrassing results from the Chauvet wireless transmitter/receivers (900MHz) that I tried. The light tree on stage left was flashing on and off sporadically while the client was speaking. We shut off the tree and swapped back to wires on the break. We had scanned with a TTi scanner just prior to show time with no interference shown. I later had the same sporadic results testing at home. I went back to wires for DMX.

The stuff that I would want to use is expensive enough that I can't justify the expense. It is from Wireless Solutions (W-DMX) and is rock solid. It is in the 2.4GHz range. That gear I would trust, but the price per unit is $799 when I just checked.

Best regards,
Bob Charest

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Bob Charest

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2009, 11:45:01 pm »

Hi again,

I noticed that you're using a foot controller (I should read more carefully!). I'm using a modified FCB1010 and was wondering what you use. Agreed that fewer wires are the way to go. We made the switch to all wireless mics except for the drums a few months ago, and are hoping to eliminate music stand lighting soon as well. Really speeds up setup and tear-down and is more flexible. Wireless for me has meant a shift in work from on the gig to prior to the gig with software to frequency coordinate all units, but I still love it!

Best regards,
Bob
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Matt Dittman

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2009, 07:08:36 am »

Hi Bob,

My lighting setup is FreeStyler software, a MIDISPORT 2x2 USB MIDI box, Bome's MIDI Translator software, and an old A.R.T. X15 Ultrafoot MIDI pedal (which I used to use to control my Nightbass SE back in the 90's).  

The X15 doesn't send notes, it needs translated.  I'm translating it into keystrokes.  Bome's translator does this... while setting it up, you press one of the buttons on the X15, Bome's captures it, and you can assign it to a keystroke.  In Freestyler, you assign that keystroke to a scene or button.

I also modified the X15 according to this site:
http://www.colomar.com/Shavano/x15art_mod.html
This allows me to run a single wire to the X15 for setup. I made a small adapter in a Radio Shack project box to convert the MIDI in/out of the MIDISPORT to the 7 pin MIDI cable and to supply the phantom power.

I like the software route for someone who is running from stage. It seems to be extremely powerful, it just takes a bit to get used to setting it up.

George Linkenhoker

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2009, 09:23:12 am »

Hi Matt,

I have been using the w-dmx from wireless solution http://wirelessdmx.com/  I did have an issue with one unit not working out of the box but other than that they have been solid. They are in the 2.4ghz range and are supposed to continuously search for open frequencies.  You basically synchronize a transmitter with a receiver and they stay together hopping around the spectrum to the cleanest channel.  I work mostly in corporate and have had one client who was worried about interference with their wireless computer networks but I didn't run into any problems. There are several companies that have licensed out their design.  So, we picked up some Elation versions that are actually compatable with the w-dmx we had. The Elation version lacks some frills like signal strength indicator or multiple indicators to let you know if you have signal or conenction to the transmitter.  The Elation has one multicolor that flashes in patterns or changes green to red to let you know what is up as far as connection.  Not sure if the w-dmx protocol will be standardized, but it has been a big help to me. Anyways, I have used them in a wide variety of applications from simply trying to not cross doorways with cables in ballrooms, a way to run lighting from inside a control booth without having to deal with how cable gets out to the lights, and larger setups with like 4 rows of 30ft+ hung truss with receivers up on each row.  I have even used it doing multiple DMX universes in larger setups using a small console for the dimmers running the conventionals and software solution for the movers and color changers.  

Hope that helps,

-George
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Bob Charest

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2009, 09:35:37 am »

Hi Matt,

Very cool - Thanks for posting the link!

Regarding the original topic of your post, I ended up throwing out the Chauvet wireless DMX units I had bought. I'm not trying to slam them, or be malicious, but they were so unreliable that I couldn't bring myself to sell them to anyone else. Also, the power supply wires were a bit too delicate to imagine them lasting very long living on a lighting tree from gig to gig.

The SIRS-e wireless DMX units that you mentioned are priced a bit below the W-DMX ones I had looked at previously. I'm going to check them out, as I would really love to eliminate our wiring loop. We go from the controller to the tree on stage right, from there to the 3  39" uplighting fixtures behind the stage, then to the lighting tree on stage left. If I had 4 SIRS-e units I could broadcast from the controller, and receive at both trees and the backlighting string... but that's about $1400, so it is still hard to justify. Things would be faster for getting in and out though...

Here's my mod to the FCB1010. I needed the space, so I cut off the continuous controller pedals and housed the FCB's power supply in a project box with my LanBox DMX controller. Here is the modification I did to the FCB:
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/fcb1010/files/Hardware Mods/ Like your mod, the pedal is powered by sending the power to the pedal via the unused MIDI leads.

Here is a post on my learning curve associated with programming the LanBox:
http://www.djchat.com/boards/showthread.php?t=68691&high light=lanbox

Thanks again for the info!

Best regards,
Bob Charest

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Matt Dittman

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2009, 09:41:16 am »

Bob,

Did you have the original Chauvet offering, or the newer D-Fi 2.0?

Supposedly they fixed a lot of the problems with the second module?

Bob Charest

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2009, 09:46:51 am »

George Linkenhoker wrote on Mon, 05 January 2009 08:23

Hi Matt,

I have been using the w-dmx from wireless solution http://wirelessdmx.com/ (snip) You basically synchronize a transmitter with a receiver and they stay together hopping around the spectrum to the cleanest channel.


Hi George,

Thanks for relating your experience with the W-DMX units. Do you know if one can use one transmitter and synchronize it to three receivers, or is there a one-to-one correspondence needed between the units?

Also, I just saw a much lower price posted by SIRS-e on ebay, so now my interest is really piqued, at least for those units. I wonder how they compare in stability to the W-DMX units.

Best regards,
Bob Charest
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Bob Charest

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2009, 09:50:11 am »

Matt Dittman wrote on Mon, 05 January 2009 08:41

Bob,

Did you have the original Chauvet offering, or the newer D-Fi 2.0?

Supposedly they fixed a lot of the problems with the second module?


I tried the Chauvet wireless gear last January, and now I don't have any, so I can't say for sure, but I suspect that I had version one, especially in view of the instability. I like the price point of the SIRS-e gear... I'm starting to get that ache where my wallet used to be  Smile
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Matt Dittman

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2009, 09:55:16 am »

I know what you mean about the price point.

Some of the offerings by SIRS-e are found on ebay China-direct. They're just marketed by SIRS-e.

I don't know if there would be much difference between the ones that come straight from China and those that are repackaged as a company's product, albeit for a higher price.

Like the Chauvet LED par cans that you can get as unbranded cans, for cheaper.  Same thing without the name.
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