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Author Topic: DMX decoders?  (Read 4958 times)

Stephen Swaffer

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DMX decoders?
« on: November 04, 2013, 11:08:50 pm »

I have a  14 kw Kliegl dimmer pack that was given to be used in our church.  Considered going to LEDs but will probably stick with incandescent for now.  The Kliegl has 36 dimming channels and 3 non-dimming.  I have the board that it was used with-but the whole system is analog-not DMX.  I am thinking I about ditching the board, but adding a DMX decoder to the dimmer pack.  I have plenty of electronics experience as will as electrical, so the actual wiring is not an issue. The equipment itself seems to be in good shape.

Does anyone have experience with this type of conversion?  From what I see Kliegl made a good product, and with LEDs going the way they are we may go all LED in just a few years-so if we can get some use out of this it seems to be a logical path?

Thanks!
Steve Swaffer
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Steve Swaffer

Ron Hebbard

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Re: DMX decoders?
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2013, 01:01:33 am »

I have a  14 kw Kliegl dimmer pack that was given to be used in our church.  Considered going to LEDs but will probably stick with incandescent for now.  The Kliegl has 36 dimming channels and 3 non-dimming.  I have the board that it was used with-but the whole system is analog-not DMX.  I am thinking I about ditching the board, but adding a DMX decoder to the dimmer pack.  I have plenty of electronics experience as will as electrical, so the actual wiring is not an issue. The equipment itself seems to be in good shape.

Does anyone have experience with this type of conversion?  From what I see Kliegl made a good product, and with LEDs going the way they are we may go all LED in just a few years-so if we can get some use out of this it seems to be a logical path?

Thanks!
Steve Swaffer

Hello Stephen;

Agreed, Kliegl made great products in their day.
In my area there are many installations of old analog and/or AMX-192 dimmers of various manufacturers still running reliably via DMX512 to analog and/or AMX-192 converters.
Google is likely your friend. 

Some manufacturers are:
American DJ; at the low end as far as cost and respect although there is one, older model, American DJ unit that's been performing steadily for close to ten years in a nearby high school.
Doug Fleenor Designs; probably at the high end dollar-wise.
Johnson Systems; also not the lowest price solution but extremely well designed and built.

This should get you headed towards what you're looking for.

Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: DMX decoders?
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2013, 08:56:55 am »

I have a  14 kw Kliegl dimmer pack that was given to be used in our church.  Considered going to LEDs but will probably stick with incandescent for now.  The Kliegl has 36 dimming channels and 3 non-dimming.  I have the board that it was used with-but the whole system is analog-not DMX.  I am thinking I about ditching the board, but adding a DMX decoder to the dimmer pack.  I have plenty of electronics experience as will as electrical, so the actual wiring is not an issue. The equipment itself seems to be in good shape.

Does anyone have experience with this type of conversion?  From what I see Kliegl made a good product, and with LEDs going the way they are we may go all LED in just a few years-so if we can get some use out of this it seems to be a logical path?

Thanks!
Steve Swaffer
Is it possible to convert?  Absolutely.  Does it make sense to use this pack in your situation?  Where is it going to live, and what infrastructure wiring will be necessary to make it work?  If your plan in the long term is to have a dimmer in a room with heavy power and hard-wired dimmed circuits, this might be a fine start.  That being said, the trend seems to be away from central, monolithic dimming towards self-dimming fixtures, such as LEDs, and distributed dimming like the various backpack dimmers that are coming out.  For these you want undimmed (but possibly switched) power at your device locations.

My point is to not spend $5000 of infrastructure work and protocol converters to make a dusty dimmer work, only to rip it out in a few years.  Dimmers that take Edison input - the many 4 or 6 channel ones out there - may be a lot easier to retro-fit in and out.
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duane massey

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Re: DMX decoders?
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2013, 09:53:03 am »

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Duane Massey
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Scott Hofmann

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Re: DMX decoders?
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2013, 10:38:21 am »

Reasonably priced DMX to analog converters are getting rare.
You will have to determine the Kleigl dimmer's control voltage requirements. I think it's standard 0-10, common negative. Ebay is your friend here as decoders sometimes show up. If you can find an Elation Multi-Data Pak it will give you 72 channels of 0-10,12, or 15 vdc with either neg or pos common. I've had a couple of those hold up very well over years and years of use. Northlight Systems has high-quality 8 and 24 channel decoders (0-5,10,15) very reasonably priced but you will have to supply your own power supply and enclosure. (http://northlightdmx.com/dmx512decoder.htm)
Lightronics has a 24-channel DMX decoder but you need 36 channels. Duane's suggestion has a common positive. That unit is designed to drive LED strips anyway and you only need a few milliamps per control channel.
 
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Scott Hofmann

duane massey

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Re: DMX decoders?
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2013, 09:00:50 pm »

Good catch on the polarity, Scott. I've used these for LED displays and just "assumed" the black wire was negative.
Also used the Multi-Data pack on several installs years ago. As far as I know they had no issues at all. He may not need to use all 36 channels, or could just run some in tandem.
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Duane Massey
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Houston, Texas

Stephen Swaffer

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Re: DMX decoders?
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2013, 11:21:55 pm »

Looks like I opened my mouth too soon. The dimmer is actually a 12 channel, 36kW unit-each channel will handle 3000 watts.  There are 39 stage pin recepts-but they are wired in parallel. Marked 1-1 thru 1-12 ,2-1 thru 2-12 etc.  The 13th row is N-1, N-2, N-3 and appears to be a non dimmed output.  What is a bit confusing is that there are 2 sets of 12 faders-obviously an x-y scene and a crossfader that all adds up.  But there are also 5 house faders and a master house fader-but there does not appear to be the capability to dim that many channels-and there does not appear to be a breakout for the analog cable to y off to another dimmer pack-though I suppose it is possible that this was the last dimmer pack in the chain and a y existed upstream?

BTW, I have 2 other 6 channel dimmer packs-so I am thinking the 24 channel  Northlight system might just fit the bill-thanks for mentioning that.

Steve Swaffer
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Steve Swaffer

Scott Hofmann

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Re: DMX decoders?
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2013, 10:17:06 am »

Steve--
At least it will be easier to find a 24-channel decoder than one with more channels. You will still have to make sure the various dimmer packs require the same control voltage. James Cart at Northlight is very helpful if you have any questions about his products.
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Scott Hofmann

Brian Jojade

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Re: DMX decoders?
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2013, 06:26:06 pm »

You don't need to use a single DMX decoder to do this.  If you can't find a 36 channel decoder, you could simply use multiple smaller decoders.  Set each one to their respective DMX addresses to address the channels you tie them into, and you're good to go.

I've built plenty of gear that I've installed demultiplexers in.  It's pretty basic to do.  Another option, if you're feeling geeky, is to pull components out of dead gear.  i.e., a moving head light may have a demux inside of it that you could re-purpose that has a dozen channels available to you.

If you google DMX Demux or DMX Demultiplexer, you will find many many options to choose from.
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Brian Jojade

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: DMX decoders?
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2013, 06:26:06 pm »


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