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Author Topic: DMX Interfaces  (Read 3712 times)

Zach Zaba

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DMX Interfaces
« on: December 26, 2010, 04:41:24 pm »

So I've looked pretty extensively at softwares and have a good handle on what I am looking for but I found that many interfaces don't have adequate reviews. Also coming from an audio company that has both software and hardware my concern is compatability.

Has anyone extensively used the Enttec Dmx model? What would be the advantage of having a large I/O section, just multiple "circuits" on stage to make set up/troubleshooting easier?  What is the ballpark limitation of how many fixtures one can have on a single interface (or is this more of a distance thing?)

Thanks!
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Dave Simpson

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Re: DMX Interfaces
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2010, 11:31:58 pm »

DMX512 as a protocol has a limit of 32 devices (including your light board) per universe. The Enttec stuff is good for a software solution. Not sure what you mean by "circuits" of DMX on stage. DMX is designed to daisy chain between devices. It would be handy to have a DMX port for each universe of DMX at each lighting location (each pipe / electric/ truss/cove, etc.). If you split the signal, it is always wise to use opto splitters to reduce the risk of fault propagation in the signal chain.

~Dave
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Rob Timmerman

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Re: DMX Interfaces
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2010, 12:24:04 am »

Dave Simpson wrote on Sun, 26 December 2010 23:31

DMX512 as a protocol has a limit of 32 devices (including your light board) per universe.
~Dave


Not quite.  

There is a limit of 32 "unit loads" per transmitter (typically per output, either from a console or a splitter), but not all devices present a unit load.  Some devices (terminators with LEDs, for example) present a load greater than a unit load, while most RS485 receiver chips present less than a full unit load (1/8 unit load is common).  The manufacturer of a piece of gear should be able to tell you how much of a load it presents.

There is no limit to the number of devices on a single DMX universe that has been split appropriately.
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len woelfel

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Re: DMX Interfaces
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2010, 08:10:23 am »

Not all software will work with all hardware.  Hog and LightJockey only work with their own hardware, as far as I know.  So if you plan on using software, check with the mfg. to find out what hardware you need.  

Zach Zaba

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Re: DMX Interfaces
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2010, 01:49:23 pm »

Gotcha "universe" is the word I'm looking for...not circuit.  So how do hardware companies like Entec survive without a software, or is it just very primitive?


For those using Lightjockey is there some sort of 3d view program (I just browsed thru Magic 3d EasyView and of course they need THEIR dongle) that would come with Light jockey or is that built in?

Thanks again for all your help...i'm getting there:)


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Thomas Bishop

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Re: DMX Interfaces
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2010, 02:36:52 pm »

Zach Zaba wrote

So how do hardware companies like Entec survive without a software, or is it just very primitive?



There are several lighting control programs out there that do not come with hardware or are made to work with a variety of interfaces.  Chamsys MagicQ and the Enttec interface is probably the most popular combination, mainly for its price (around $150 for the USB to DMX dongle and the software is free).

Zach Zaba wrote


For those using Lightjockey is there some sort of 3d view program



I've never used Lightjockey so have no answer for you there, but to make your research easier it's called a "visualizer."
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James Feenstra

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Re: DMX Interfaces
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2010, 05:06:27 pm »

Zach Zaba wrote on Mon, 27 December 2010 13:49

Gotcha "universe" is the word I'm looking for...not circuit.  So how do hardware companies like Entec survive without a software, or is it just very primitive?

they actually do have their own software- light factory

although i've never seen it used
Quote:

For those using Lightjockey is there some sort of 3d view program (I just browsed thru Magic 3d EasyView and of course they need THEIR dongle) that would come with Light jockey or is that built in?

i believe lj does have a visualizer, although it's terrible
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James Feenstra
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len woelfel

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Re: DMX Interfaces
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2010, 08:29:27 pm »

Zach Zaba wrote on Mon, 27 December 2010 12:49


For those using Lightjockey is there some sort of 3d view program (I just browsed thru Magic 3d EasyView and of course they need THEIR dongle) that would come with Light jockey or is that built in?

Thanks again for all your help...i'm getting there:)





A universe is 512 dmx channels.  You can have an unlimited number of dmx receivers on that universe, but there's two caveats:  
1.  Obviously, you're still limited to 512 channels, so if you need more channels than that, you need more universes.  
2.  You should only have 32 dmx receivers on a branch of data line.  Any more than that and you should have splitter/amplifiers to boost and stabilize the signal.  It MAY work to put more receivers on a single branch of data.  But as with anything dmx related, it will always work, until it doesn't.  And you have no control over when that will be.  

LJ uses an offline visualizer that's built-in.  It's ok, but you won't be able to make things like musicians, staging, etc., appear.  That, however, may change based on the updates they're working on, via something called One Key.  I'm not familiar with all the details, but upgrades to the visualizer may be included.  Their better visualizer is called Martin Show Designer.  I believe it accepts info from any controller.  

BTW, you can download the latest version of LJ and Hog for free.  It's just that to make them work, you need hardware.  

E. Lee Dickinson

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Re: DMX Interfaces
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2010, 10:34:23 pm »

Zach Zaba wrote on Mon, 27 December 2010 13:49

Gotcha "universe" is the word I'm looking for...not circuit.  So how do hardware companies like Entec survive without a software, or is it just very primitive?


For those using Lightjockey is there some sort of 3d view program (I just browsed thru Magic 3d EasyView and of course they need THEIR dongle) that would come with Light jockey or is that built in?




Entec's lighting software works just fine; they are also compatible with several other programs.

As for the Magic 3D Easy View, we use it. Their dongle is an INPUT dongle; quite the opposite from what you're looking for lighting control. Their program is compatible with ALL lighting controllers, because it looks at the actual DMX data to control the visualization.
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E. Lee Dickinson
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Zach Zaba

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Re: DMX Interfaces
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2010, 02:26:14 pm »

So if this is an Input Dongle would one be "dumping" the programming to it to view their performance?  So then the perfect set up would be to have an input dongle and an output dongle?
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E. Lee Dickinson

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Re: DMX Interfaces
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2010, 08:33:53 pm »

Unless you decide on software with a built in visualizer, yes, you will want to have an input dongle and an output dongle.
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E. Lee Dickinson
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Zach Zaba

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Re: DMX Interfaces
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2011, 02:39:57 pm »

Okay...so then I would take the programming dump it to my output dongle and the use an input dongle right next to it? Seems a little over the top and then odd to do on one machine.

I guess just the cost of flexibility or different softwares?
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James Feenstra

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Re: DMX Interfaces
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2011, 04:01:57 pm »

a lot of the 'bigger' visualizers can do internal routing

wysiwyg and esp vision for example can connect to most desks via Ethernet or in the case of software based consoles they can be routed internally without an i/o dongle

you do, however, need to purchase the dongles for these visualizers and they aren't cheap

wysiwyg perform is about $8000, esp vision is around the same i believe
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James Feenstra
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Tony "T" Tissot

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Re: DMX Interfaces
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2011, 06:46:54 pm »

[quote title=Zach Zaba wrote on Sun, 26 December 2010 13:41

Has anyone extensively used the  model?
[/quote]
The "PRO" version with Light Factory. 1 out and 1 in to use for a stage setter for faders.

It will work with WYSIWYG (but I don't own a license - so I can't give you any current comments on efficacy) and Capture Polar - $500, but I have not used it.
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