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Author Topic: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?  (Read 6331 times)

Fraser Moffatt

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Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« on: September 12, 2016, 12:27:24 pm »

Possible? If so, what are the limitations?

I have a couple of cheap 7-channel LED slimpar fixtures and a pair of Chauvet Wash FX fixtures (7- and 23-channel personalities) I use to light a five piece country band playing bars/pubs/honky tonks.  Will be running the Wash FX downstage to front light the performers and use the cheapo slimpars for uplighting behind the drums.

If I were to run, say an Obey 3 or Obey 4 with the Wash FX fixtures, what can I expect to be able to do?

Requirements: I'm really only looking to turn on the units, select a static colour and dim as required. Small console form factor is desireable. Don't need chases, etc. If any of my fixtures had internal, easy to use dimming capability, I wouldn't need a controller, but that's not the case.

Recommendations?
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Josh Rawls

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2016, 12:40:07 pm »

Looks like ch1-3 are RGB on the fixture and the other channels are for strobe and auto programs.

If you have an Obey 3 it should treat it as it would a RGB par. As long as the WashFX will work with nothing sent to it on channels 4-7.
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duane massey

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2016, 07:09:56 pm »

+1 on Josh's post. As long as ch4-7 do not need to be on (dimmer ch?) you should be good.
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Josh Rawls

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2016, 08:19:28 am »

Just plug it in and try it, you can't hurt anything. Let us know if it worked.
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Fraser Moffatt

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2016, 01:48:26 pm »

Thanks guys - got an Obey 3 on the way. Been reading up on DMX controls and this unit in particular. Looks like it *should* work, perhaps with some funky unexpected behaviours. Looks like others are getting full control with Obey 40. Want to see if I can make it work with a small unit first since my requirements are modest.

I did figure out a way to manually control hue and brightness with the Wash FX. A bit labor intensive to set up initially, but the unit seems to remember its last settings, fortunately.

Damn these lights are bright, had the RGB levels set to about 10-15 on the 0-255 scale and, set to "whitish" they throw lots of light for my needs.
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Fraser Moffatt

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2016, 01:08:54 pm »

Well, it seems some have had some moderate success in using the Obey 3 with fixtures with more than three channels, but I'm not one of them!

Chauvet Wash FX did not recognize the controller at all (DMX light did not engage), nor did trying about umpteen permutations and combinations of setting on the fixture or controller.

El cheapo LED pucks worked somewhat - could control individual level, dim and strobe for but only for Red and Green Channels. No Blue! I tried different DMX channel address starting points, but then only could make red fire..or nothing. Too bad there's not a DMX 000 address, that might have worked for this fixture. ;-) 512 did not work.

Back to the drawing board.
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2016, 01:16:59 pm »

Well, it seems some have had some moderate success in using the Obey 3 with fixtures with more than three channels, but I'm not one of them!

Chauvet Wash FX did not recognize the controller at all (DMX light did not engage), nor did trying about umpteen permutations and combinations of setting on the fixture or controller.

El cheapo LED pucks worked somewhat - could control individual level, dim and strobe for but only for Red and Green Channels. No Blue! I tried different DMX channel address starting points, but then only could make red fire..or nothing. Too bad there's not a DMX 000 address, that might have worked for this fixture. ;-) 512 did not work.

Back to the drawing board.

It depends how the manufacturer has configured the fixture channels. EG... if the master dimmer is channel 1, already you have lost one channel leaving only 2 for red blue and green. I would always suggest at least 4 channels for that reason. I own an old Obey 10 which has been very reliable and is my back up controller. I would never go less than that because 1)  -as you have already discovered- channel count usually isn't enough and 2) the Obey 10 is only $40 more than the Obey 3 but can do so much more.
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Fraser Moffatt

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2016, 03:25:23 pm »

It depends how the manufacturer has configured the fixture channels. EG... if the master dimmer is channel 1, already you have lost one channel leaving only 2 for red blue and green. I would always suggest at least 4 channels for that reason. I own an old Obey 10 which has been very reliable and is my back up controller. I would never go less than that because 1)  -as you have already discovered- channel count usually isn't enough and 2) the Obey 10 is only $40 more than the Obey 3 but can do so much more.

Thanks Debbie - I was hoping the Obey 3 or 4 would work in order to save space, but I think I'll just jump on the Obey 10 and be done with it. Cheers!
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2016, 05:02:29 pm »

Thanks Debbie - I was hoping the Obey 3 or 4 would work in order to save space, but I think I'll just jump on the Obey 10 and be done with it. Cheers!

Probably best.
BTW... the only reason my Obey 10 is my back-up and not my 'go to' is because I run lights wirelessly these days from my iPad. It's not because I found the Obey10 to be inadequate -for basic functions, chases etc, it is a good little unit. I carry it around in a camera tripod zipper bag - it fits great.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0010CEWDI/ref=od_aui_detailpages00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If you can rack-mount it though, that would be best.
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Rob Spence

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2016, 05:09:57 pm »

Also, read the docs for your fixtures. Then you will know how they are going behave.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
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Josh Rawls

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2016, 07:36:34 pm »

My guess is the FX fixture did work is because the the Obey 3 was only sending data on DMX on channels 1-3. It needed to see 000 on channels 4-7.
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Fraser Moffatt

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2016, 03:52:15 pm »

Also, read the docs for your fixtures. Then you will know how they are going behave.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

Done! ;-)  As a DMX nOOb, it's starting to make sense.

I happened across an Obey 40 today at a decent price and i snagged it. Got it all hooked up and everything fires as it should.  Now just need to figure out the nuances of this controller, how to build scenes, etc.

Thanks for the input, everyone!
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2016, 04:40:56 pm »

Done! ;-)  As a DMX nOOb, it's starting to make sense.

I happened across an Obey 40 today at a decent price and i snagged it. Got it all hooked up and everything fires as it should.  Now just need to figure out the nuances of this controller, how to build scenes, etc.

Thanks for the input, everyone!

Good News ... I came across this video on You Tube (whilst researching something else). There are very few decent videos or articles online to help folks but this guy has posted a few videos like this one and from what I see, they might be helpful to you.
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Fraser Moffatt

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2016, 06:24:48 pm »

Good News ... I came across this video on You Tube (whilst researching something else). There are very few decent videos or articles online to help folks but this guy has posted a few videos like this one and from what I see, they might be helpful to you.

The Learn Lizard guy? If so, I just watched his DMX 101 guide and got busy this afternoon programming scenes for my little four fixture set.  Fairly intuitive once you wrap your head around it. I'm going to rack the Obey 10. Figures, I have a 2U SKB case I'm not using and this is a 3U unit! More room for cables, I guess!

Going to have two pucks upstage for upwash behind the drums (for now, until I get stands and can downwash). I'm mounting the Wash FX units to the top handles of my main speakers to wash upstage - from about 7-8 ft high, 45* to stage. Not ideal, but will work in the venues we play where floor space is a challenge.

 I've got a "before" pic from one venue are playing this next weekend. I'll have an "after" pick now to compare....
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Fraser Moffatt

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2016, 06:28:59 pm »

What's the hardware setup for running lights off the iPad? Are your lights WiFi equipped or is there another layer of hardware there?

Probably best.
BTW... the only reason my Obey 10 is my back-up and not my 'go to' is because I run lights wirelessly these days from my iPad. It's not because I found the Obey10 to be inadequate -for basic functions, chases etc, it is a good little unit. I carry it around in a camera tripod zipper bag - it fits great.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0010CEWDI/ref=od_aui_detailpages00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If you can rack-mount it though, that would be best.
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Fraser Moffatt

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2016, 06:33:30 pm »

Thanks - that makes sense (now). ;-)

My guess is the FX fixture did work is because the the Obey 3 was only sending data on DMX on channels 1-3. It needed to see 000 on channels 4-7.
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2016, 06:42:11 pm »

What's the hardware setup for running lights off the iPad? Are your lights WiFi equipped or is there another layer of hardware there?

I use an Enttec interface to go between my router and the lights and I use Luminair software developed specifically for wifi light control on tablet. I use a router anyway for wireless sound so all I had to do was patch in. It is more expensive but necessary for me.

You can also use the transmitter and receiver adaptor design - never used it myself but some folks here have said they work quite well..

https://smile.amazon.com/Donner-Wireless-Receiver-Transmitter-Lighting/dp/B00HWM6DCS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474152049&sr=8-1&keywords=dmx+wifi
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Fraser Moffatt

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2016, 06:53:25 pm »

cool thanks!  I use a router for my board's remote control with iPad.  May think about down the road if our lighting needs change. Cheers!

I use an Enttec interface to go between my router and the lights and I use Luminair software developed specifically for wifi light control on tablet. I use a router anyway for wireless sound so all I had to do was patch in. It is more expensive but necessary for me.

You can also use the transmitter and receiver adaptor design - never used it myself but some folks here have said they work quite well..

https://smile.amazon.com/Donner-Wireless-Receiver-Transmitter-Lighting/dp/B00HWM6DCS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474152049&sr=8-1&keywords=dmx+wifi
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Fraser Moffatt

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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2016, 11:59:23 am »

Just for posterity's sake, here's a shot of the "stage" and the lighting rig...Chauvet Wash FX units mounted to EV mains using a Chauvet CLP-10 clamped to the speakers' top handles. 1" shim configuration works great.  El cheapo PAR cans uplighting behind and to the left and right of the drums. Had a few different scenes programmed on the Obey 10. Made it a snap to choose an appropriate light level and colour combination.

Not bad for an amateur, I like to think!

Many pardons for the composition of this image! Drunk fan cam....;-)

« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 12:01:28 pm by Fraser Moffatt »
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Re: Using a 3 or 4 channel controller with 7 channel fixture?
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2016, 11:59:23 am »


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