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Author Topic: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?  (Read 11538 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.

Bob Charest

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2009, 09:58:00 am »

Bob Charest wrote on Mon, 05 January 2009 08:46

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



Hi George, Please scratch the question about multi-point operation, as I just read the PDF available from W-DMX.

Thanks!
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Bob Charest

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2009, 10:14:34 am »

Matt Dittman wrote on Mon, 05 January 2009 08:55

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.


Hi Matt,

On the SIRS-e site the price for a pair of transceivers is $391, On ebay they're listed as $430.16... I'm very tempted to place an order directly through the company. There appear to be a number of slightly different units listed there, so I've got to check a bit more. I wonder if the W-DMX units have come down in price and I'm just not finding it...

Best regards,
Bob
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George Linkenhoker

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2009, 10:15:20 am »

No problem.  I think that is actually one of my favorite parts.  One transmitter can do like 1000 receivers or something.  I've seen a few movers and other fixtures coming out with built-in wireless receivers as well as at least one console that has a built in transmitter. Leprecon has a set of dimmers with built in w-dmx now too.  

There is a bit of a trick to the w-dmx though.  When you sync up the transmitter to multiple receivers, you have to release all the receivers, then tell the transmitter to sync. If you leave a receiver in sync then try to sync the others, I have had it lose any it was originally with.  If you are doing seperate universes, your best bet is to plug up all the receivers and transmitters for one, sync them, then power those down and power up the second set and sync.  Once paired, I haven't had any of them lose sync. It is rare that I have to re-sync mine usually just plug in and go. Just on larger shows if I sub out/from the other company we work with here.  We own 2 transmitters and 3 receivers, other guys have like 2 transmitters and 6 receivers.

I think the big thing comes to how much you can trust the product as I know I was skeptical at first.  My boss actually picked up the first set for us and I didn't even know when I would use it because I wasn't sure how it would work in my setups. I wouldn't say I use it every setup, but for my larger shows and certain venues we go into I will take a set.  

-George
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Matt Dittman

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2009, 10:23:44 am »

Bob Charest wrote on Mon, 05 January 2009 10:14

Matt Dittman wrote on Mon, 05 January 2009 08:55

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.


Hi Matt,

On the SIRS-e site the price for a pair of transceivers is $391, On ebay they're listed as $430.16... I'm very tempted to place an order directly through the company. There appear to be a number of slightly different units listed there, so I've got to check a bit more. I wonder if the W-DMX units have come down in price and I'm just not finding it...

Best regards,
Bob


That's true if you look for SIRS-e branded stuff.

Look at the GTA Digital Inc158's 2.4 GHz offering.   Identical specs, and their 900mHz offering is identical... same images, even... as the SIRS-e one.  Same model number - DMXW2.4.

$345 free shipping.

Craig Leerman

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2009, 11:18:13 pm »

I have been looking at those wireless units on ebay. I want to buy a pair so I can focus a show by myself in a man lift, using the wireless and a Pocket Console.  I'm getting really tired of yelling "Next, Next,  NOOOO the other one, Go back!" etc.

My main concerns are they use either a 9Volt or 12volt power supply, so I can use either a 9V battery, or a 12V camera battery.

Craig
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Tim Palmer

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2009, 08:40:04 am »

For what it's worth I run 4 of the Chauvet 900 Mhz units, 1 transmitter and 3 receivers( 1 on the truss, 1 on each follow spot). I had 1 of the units bad out of the box and sent it in to chauvet, they replaced it. I have never had any problems with interference or erratic behaviour of these devices in the small setups I have done.
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Bob Charest

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2009, 09:45:10 am »

Tim Palmer wrote on Tue, 06 January 2009 07:40

For what it's worth I run 4 of the Chauvet 900 Mhz units, 1 transmitter and 3 receivers( 1 on the truss, 1 on each follow spot). I had 1 of the units bad out of the box and sent it in to chauvet, they replaced it. I have never had any problems with interference or erratic behaviour of these devices in the small setups I have done.


Hi Tim,

I think I might have had the earlier units prior to Chauvet's D-Fi 2.0. I wish that my experience had been like yours, though. I may try again, but with quite a bit of wireless audio gear in use, my frequency coordinations will be simpler if I use gear that's in the 2.4GHz range. Out of the 4 I had initially bought, 2 were bad out of the box, so between the build quality and the first iteration of the technology I couldn't hang with it.

Best regards,
Bob Charest
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Henry Cohen

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2009, 04:37:07 pm »

Matt Dittman wrote on Sun, 04 January 2009 21:27

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?

If this is a permanent install, the simple answer is to determine the existing spectrum usage in the venue as well as any planned or potential future deployments and choose the operating band accordingly.

If on the other hand this a portable application, odds are 900MHz might be the better option, ALL else being equal (i.e. build quality, RF power output, detachable antenna, RX sensitivity, feature set). 900MHz, especially in rural and suburban areas, is generally significantly less congested than 2.4GHz, and RF propagation characteristics are better for this type of application.

However, several factors may make 2.4GHz a better choice: If the venue has a 900MHz enterprise cordless phone system [that connects directly to the PBX/KSU]; there's heavy local Amateur radio activity (they are the primary service in 902-928MHz), one of the lower end 900MHz wireless intercom systems (such as Ear-Tec) is used in the venue; 900MHz wireless mics are used, and the fact that the better wireless DMX systems are 2.4GHz.
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Henry Cohen
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Thomas Bishop

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2010, 01:10:30 pm »

Okay... Sounds like SIRS-e is bumping the thread....  I'll bite though, as I've wanted to know for a while.  Bob, did you ever buy the SIRS-e product?  If so, how has it been working out?
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Bob Charest

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2011, 07:15:59 pm »

Hi Thomas,

Sorry for the slow reply - I've been used up with a number of other things, and today is the first day I've looked at the lighting forum in quite a while...

I never bought wireless DMX gear, so I can't comment on any particular brand from personal use. The most expensive gear appears to function the best... no surprise there!

Best regards,
Bob Charest
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Matt Dittman

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Re: Wireless DMX: 900MHz or 2.4GHz band?
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2011, 06:59:22 am »

Just an update, I bought three Chauvet D-Fi 2.0 units about a year ago and have had absolutely no problems with them.
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