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Author Topic: Sound guy asking a lighting question...  (Read 2329 times)

Art Williams

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Sound guy asking a lighting question...
« on: October 21, 2015, 06:40:45 pm »

Hey this came up in the shop today...Can I connect 2 Lighting consoles to a rig in parallel?
If so can 1 console see the levels the other console is outputting. Specifically my coworker says Hogs and GrandMAs can. I thought consoles output data, fixtures receive data. Except in specific instances where pin 4,5 carry feedback data.
Can someone provide a straight answer without getting too complicated?
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Michael Thompson

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Re: Sound guy asking a lighting question...
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2015, 03:43:39 am »

Hey this came up in the shop today...Can I connect 2 Lighting consoles to a rig in parallel?
If so can 1 console see the levels the other console is outputting. Specifically my coworker says Hogs and GrandMAs can. I thought consoles output data, fixtures receive data. Except in specific instances where pin 4,5 carry feedback data.
Can someone provide a straight answer without getting too complicated?


From an interface standpoint, I believe DMX can do this as it's really just RS485 with a standardized data rate, but is the console's software written to do it is the question.  Also I've never encountered response data on pins 4&5.  They are usually used for a second universe of DMX (or another channel of RS485 if you like).
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Milt Hathaway

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Re: Sound guy asking a lighting question...
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2015, 04:19:30 am »

On ETC's Net3 network you can have one ETC console running EOS software mirror another, or you can put a Remote Video Interface on the Net3 network to see everything your primary console is doing.

I believe you can even mirror with a standard computer running EOS software, but I haven't tried that yet.
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Len Zenith Jr

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Re: Sound guy asking a lighting question...
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2015, 05:40:01 am »

I use a PC software console and then I use https://www.teamviewer.com/en/index.aspx to mirror that computer onto a small notebook computer via Wifi. I did lights alongside a local operator from 700 miles away :).
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Sound guy asking a lighting question...
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2015, 09:24:47 am »

Hey this came up in the shop today...Can I connect 2 Lighting consoles to a rig in parallel?
If so can 1 console see the levels the other console is outputting. Specifically my coworker says Hogs and GrandMAs can. I thought consoles output data, fixtures receive data. Except in specific instances where pin 4,5 carry feedback data.
Can someone provide a straight answer without getting too complicated?
As you can see, it depends on the console, but if so, it's not really "parallel" in an electrical sense. 

The DMX protocol is a pretty simple protocol, and unlike computer networking where you can plug everybody together and they can all talk bidirectionally, it's pretty much a one way stream from a console to a DMX universe.  There are active DMX combiners that can accept multiple DMX streams and merge them together (they work by reading the data from all sources and then re-output them as a single DMX stream - it's not a simple Y-cable), but that is not what we are talking about here, and they are very expensive and specialized.  Dealing with conflicting commands - i.e. desk 1 says pan 55 on light 17, desk 2 says pan 120 on light 17 - is not trivial, especially with lights that are more complicated than simple dimming.

On the other hand, many lighting desks have a DMX input and so could be connected to your DMX run.  If so, they could see the output of the first console, but you can't really have two consoles controlling the same DMX run using DMX.

For larger or more complicated systems, there are other types of lighting control that more closely resemble a computer network like ArtNet and some others that have more functionality, and some lighting consoles build on this or other higher-tech systems can have redundancy between desks.

I'm not sure exactly what you're driving at with your question, but generally it is not possible to control a set of lights with more than one desk since the desks may send conflicting messages to the lights, but it can be possible to have a master/slave arrangement with a second desk as a hot backup.  In that case, the backup desk can definitely see the primary's control messages.
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James Feenstra

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Re: Sound guy asking a lighting question...
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2015, 09:17:07 pm »

in the sense of a tracking backup system, yes, many consoles can do this

you can't really mix and match to make this sort of thing work though. ie. a hog won't track MA
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Re: Sound guy asking a lighting question...
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2015, 09:17:07 pm »


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