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Author Topic: What do I need to buy  (Read 2281 times)

Scott Olewiler

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What do I need to buy
« on: November 12, 2014, 10:01:29 am »

Let me preface by saying, I'm not a lighting guy and have no intention of operating a dmx controller during a show. I also have virtually zero understanding of DMX in spite of reading up on it repeatedly. It's just not sinking in for some reason, I guess I need to get my hands dirty to get a handle on it.

With that said, I have the following lights: (1) Chauvet Mini 4BAR 2.0 and  (2) Blizzard Hot Boxes RGBAW. 

What I've been doing to date is to run all 3 on one of the auto programs, either sound activated or a random auto program.  I'm getting enough light for my purposes but with each unit running it's own program the results are lacking in any uniformity color wise.  One side is on green while the other is on amber, that kind of thing.

I tried to tie the two Hot Boxes together using one as master and the other as slave thinking the slave would match what the master did but the slave just continued to do it's own thing.

As I understand I can buy a DMX controller that is sound activated.

Is that all I need to buy, (other than proper DMX cables) to get the 3 separate systems working together more in some type of auto program? Or is there some way to make one of the HotBoxes control both the other Hotbox and the Chavet Mini 4Bar?

If I need to buy a seprate controller, am I correct in assuming that I can match DMX addresses between all three lights so that in auto mode, all the reds would come up together and then all the blues together? 

Any suggestions on what controller to buy would also be appreciated. I'd like to keep expenses under $200 to make this work.

thanks

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Jim Neighbors

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Re: What do I need to buy
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2014, 02:50:58 pm »

when I bought my stage lighting,  it was for basic band needs.  I bought 8 LED lights, and the controller I ended up with is a Chauvet.   Obey40.  pretty basic operation and it will do sound activiation.  I used it recently in that mode for a wedding. 

Plenty of youtube vidoes showing its operation.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: What do I need to buy
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2014, 04:59:38 pm »

Hi Scott.

I promise that DMX isn't very complicated - you just need a little hands-on practice and I'm sure you'll get the hang of how to use it.  I'm surprised though that master/slaving the Hot Boxes didn't give you some kind of uniformity.  I doubt the Chauvet unit will master/slave nicely with the Hot Boxes seeing that they're two different manufactures, so to get the overall control you're looking for I highly recommend going DMX.  You'll be very happy you did once you get a handle on how much control you'll really have.

As far as a controller recommendation goes, they're really all over the place in terms of capacity, capability, overall intended use, etc.  Most controllers in your price range will be sold by fixture count and/or how many channels of DMX they can control.  Each of your light fixtures requires a certain number of DMX to operate to its fullest potential.  See how many total channels you need to control and start from there.  The Chauvet Obey 40 is a popular board.  I can't say I'm a huge fan of it due to its fairly rigid programming structure, but for what you're doing it's definitely an option.  I use a Behringer Eurolight as my 'small' light board because despite its pricepoint  and manufacturer it's capable of some reasonably heavy-duty functions usually not seen in sub-$1000 desks.  The only downside is that it only can handle 24 channels.  Okay for conventional lights, not so much for movers or LED.  Either way, you're looking for a board that can do automatic and sound-active chases, and that can accommodate the number of lighting channels you currently have.  Reading manuals definitely helps here.

Once you get your board, you're likely not going to 'match' addresses so to speak.  Assuming you have the capacity, most people give each light its own address.  For instance, if your fixtures need 4 channels of DMX each, I'd set the address of fixture number 1 to 001 (which will now respond to DMX channels 1, 2, 3, and 4), fixture number 2 to 005 (which will now respond to DMX channels 5, 6, 7, and 8), fixture number 3 to 009 and so on.  Keep in mind your light board cannot 'see' what you have plugged into it - it just outputs data to whatever is listening.  To make all lights a certain color, I'd write a scene or memory (just a static effect in non-lighting jargon) where I call on just the 'red' channel for each fixture.  You would repeat this for blue, and then just pile on these static looks to make a chase.  That's all there really is to it, and reading the manuals or watching youtube videos can really help you out if you're having trouble understanding the concept. 

Hope this helps!
-Jeff 
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Steve Garris

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Re: What do I need to buy
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2014, 05:36:26 pm »

Let me preface by saying, I'm not a lighting guy and have no intention of operating a dmx controller during a show. I also have virtually zero understanding of DMX in spite of reading up on it repeatedly. It's just not sinking in for some reason, I guess I need to get my hands dirty to get a handle on it.

With that said, I have the following lights: (1) Chauvet Mini 4BAR 2.0 and  (2) Blizzard Hot Boxes RGBAW. 

What I've been doing to date is to run all 3 on one of the auto programs, either sound activated or a random auto program.  I'm getting enough light for my purposes but with each unit running it's own program the results are lacking in any uniformity color wise.  One side is on green while the other is on amber, that kind of thing.

I tried to tie the two Hot Boxes together using one as master and the other as slave thinking the slave would match what the master did but the slave just continued to do it's own thing.

As I understand I can buy a DMX controller that is sound activated.

Is that all I need to buy, (other than proper DMX cables) to get the 3 separate systems working together more in some type of auto program? Or is there some way to make one of the HotBoxes control both the other Hotbox and the Chavet Mini 4Bar?

If I need to buy a seprate controller, am I correct in assuming that I can match DMX addresses between all three lights so that in auto mode, all the reds would come up together and then all the blues together? 

Any suggestions on what controller to buy would also be appreciated. I'd like to keep expenses under $200 to make this work.

thanks

Hi Scott, I was looking for an auto running light system like you, and ended up buying a handful of different LED lights. I also have 2 Hotbox RGBAW, and was very disappointed in their sound active mode. There is only 1 sound program, that seems very random. I sat down, and by clapping through the lights there was no actual pattern of color changes. It would just flash random colors and a lot of white strobing, that looked terrible. There is also no way to adjust the sound sensitivity, and the mic is on the circuit board. Blizzard confirmed this.

I was pleased though with the output of these lights, and their colors were extremely vivid, so I started going through the built in programs, until I found one that just had basic colors, with a built in chase program (I'll check to see which one I used). I set the program to chase to medium speed music, then set it to fade between the scenes (not too slowly). I put these lights on the outside of my light bar, and combined with my other sound-activated lights, the thing looks great! 

My 2 Hotbox's are sync'ed via a DMX cable, and I'm running the chase program on the Master light and the Slave light follows perfectly. Make sure the Slave is set to SL.AU, and the master is set to So.uA (for sound active) or Pr__ for the built-in programs like the one I use (see pages 13 & 14 in the manual).

My other lights are Par 64 LED's (RBGA) that I picked up for $70 each, and they work very nicely in sound active mode. I have them sync'd via DMX cables as well, so they all run together to the music.

I would start by getting your Hotbox's sync'd, and then check out the chase programs. You should be able to get these working without having to purchase and set up a DMX controller. I set my tree up in minutes, no cables except one power cord, and I turn them off & on remotely with one of these:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0064PKG3Q/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If I were buying lights today, I would just use a bunch of these, which run great in sound-active mode. These are the Par 64's I mentioned:
http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/STELLAR-LABS-555-16220-/555-16220

If you do go with a controller, most any low-cost controller that has a built in mic will work. Remember though, you'll need to run DMX cable to all the lights, starting from the controller. You might also need a DMX terminal at the end of the chain. All of this takes time during set-up.
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Rob Gow

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Re: What do I need to buy
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2014, 07:13:30 am »

I prefer that the hot boxes are each doing different things. I set both to slow fades and they work really well.

Click through the menu button until you see SUND (I think) that means sound. Hit enter and then up or down until it says fade. Hit enter again, then hit up or down, I like F04 (I think) that's a pretty slow fade. This is all from memory, I don't have he fixture in front of me.

Here's a video with a hot box on each side, set to fade...

http://youtu.be/0_JgITb0OdU
« Last Edit: November 13, 2014, 10:16:18 am by Rob Gow »
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Scott Olewiler

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Re: What do I need to buy
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2014, 11:05:23 am »

I prefer that the hot boxes are each doing different things. I set both to slow fades and they work really well.

Click through the menu button until you see SUND (I think) that means sound. Hit enter and then up or down until it says fade. Hit enter again, then hit up or down, I like F04 (I think) that's a pretty slow fade. This is all from memory, I don't have he fixture in front of me.

Here's a video with a hot box on each side, set to fade...

http://youtu.be/0_JgITb0OdU

Hey Rob,

I believe I bought my HotBoxes at a really good price on a suggest from you in another thread.    I played around last night and got the master/slave thing to work. I to prefer to use one of the Fade settings rather than the sound activated. 
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Steve Garris

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Re: What do I need to buy
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2014, 05:07:08 pm »

Hey Rob,

I believe I bought my HotBoxes at a really good price on a suggest from you in another thread.    I played around last night and got the master/slave thing to work. I to prefer to use one of the Fade settings rather than the sound activated.

Agree - The fade settings are much better. The sound active program on the Hotbox is terrible!
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Rob Gow

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Re: What do I need to buy
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2014, 10:41:37 am »

Agree - The fade settings are much better. The sound active program on the Hotbox is terrible!

True enough. I find sound activated changes too quickly, and I don't like having some strobing here and there as well. Sometimes I set one to Fade3 and then the other to fade4 so the timings are a bit off.

Handy little fixtures though!
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