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Author Topic: DMX basicis for a dense soul - thread  (Read 14859 times)

Neil Speers

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Re: DMX basicis for a dense soul - thread
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2017, 06:18:02 pm »

I guess that's what they mean when they say "ammend current magnitude"

These translations can be hard to understand. So after you adjust them, it just reverts back to 7 channel mode then?


You sure about that?  The chart clearly shows a 4 channel mode with one channel unused.

Also LED's don't change brightness based on voltage.  Since you took the time to put the voltage in parenthesis it seemed useful to point out that analog fixture correlations are not correct.  It is best to think in terms of brightness.  The larger the value the brighter it is.  LED's are semiconductors they are either on or off so to dim them they are turned on and off rapidly enough the human eye can't tell.  There is a way to change the bias current but that doesn't produce a smooth dimming effect.

True, voltage was the only reference I came up with at that moment. But what ever adjusts the brightness of the channel, that what this setting does. It does not go to any kind of 3 or 4 channel operation by holding down the D button.
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Neil Speers

Neil Speers

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Re: DMX basicis for a dense soul - thread
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2017, 06:27:09 pm »

It does, which makes me think the logic board in these lights is also used in an RBGA or RGBW unit, and the manufacturer chose not to reprogram the chip accordingly.  Not a big deal in "4-channel" mode, but a real waste of a channel in 7-channel mode!  Gotta love the Chinese ebay lights...  My point being though that even though it's "4-channel mode", you can treat it as 3-channel since overlapping that last channel won't cause any noticeable side effects. 

Honestly, I'm not a big fan of the Obey series (or the ADJ DMX Operator and similar).  The reason being is how they program.  In certain cases they'll fit the bill and budget, and there are many happy users out there.  My complaint, besides the rather limited options of how to run your shows, is what you've already discovered - the board breaks down its channel count into "fixtures".  This works out all fine and dandy if your lights are either 16 channels or can be grouped in multiples of 16 (for the Obey 40), but if they don't you'll either be wasting channels or trying to sort out some very complicated programming.  Remember, the board doesn't know what fixtures are plugged into it, so it's more shoehorning than it is a technical limitation.  You're not limited to 16 fixtures on an Obey 40, but depending on how sophisticated they are things can get tricky.  As an aside, larger boards feature much more open patching options for the buttons and faders, so this isn't a constraint you normally deal with on larger consoles.

Given your budget, I'd strongly suggest looking at the software options on the market right now.  So long as you have a spare laptop that you don't mind using, you'll have far more options and capabilities with something like MagicQ PC or M-PC than you will with the Obey 40, and you can field either option for less than the Obey 40.  Take a look at the free downloadable demos.  Software solutions tend to have a much steeper learning curve than something like the Obey 40, but you're also working with a much more sophisticated controller.  There is no shortage of hardware versus software debates on this forum, so give those a read too and see what you think.  Good luck!

Thanks for the ideas.

I actually have a generic usb / dmx dongle from ebay that came with PC software, but I'm a Mac guy and this thing doesn't work with any of the software I've tried (and I've gone through  6 or 8 now.) Apparently the newer OS X's have some issue with DMX - but there may be a solution I haven't found, being a newbie in all this.

And from what I gather, the cheapie dongle thing I've got isn't worth having in the first place, so buying a better usb /dmx converter and even a used PC is beyond my current budget.
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Neil Speers

Jeff Lelko

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Re: DMX basicis for a dense soul - thread
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2017, 07:45:13 pm »

Thanks for the ideas.

I actually have a generic usb / dmx dongle from ebay that came with PC software, but I'm a Mac guy and this thing doesn't work with any of the software I've tried (and I've gone through  6 or 8 now.) Apparently the newer OS X's have some issue with DMX - but there may be a solution I haven't found, being a newbie in all this.

And from what I gather, the cheapie dongle thing I've got isn't worth having in the first place, so buying a better usb /dmx converter and even a used PC is beyond my current budget.

It sounds to me like you're having a driver issue and not so much a software issue.  Do you know which exact dongle you have?  Unfortunately not all dongles (or USB-DMX converters if you prefer) are compatible with all software platforms.  The Enttec Pro is one of the more interchangeable dongles on the market, will work with MagicQ PC, M-PC, and a number of others, and will set you back around $150.  If you like MagicQ, they sell an interface for $99 that will get you a full universe of DMX, which is likely your cheapest option. 

If you're set on using a Mac, MagicQ PC will work for you.  I believe M-PC is Windows only.  You can also try running Linux, which is what I did for the 10 years I used MagicQ PC as my laptop solution...never a single crash or lock-up.
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Neil Speers

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Re: DMX basicis for a dense soul - thread
« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2017, 11:31:26 pm »

Well - so far everything sounds like it makes sense and thanks to everyone for your input, suggestions and valued insight.

However I've run into a brick wall.

I'm making use of an Obey10 I picked up today (gently used, for a steal) just to get some of these things into practice while deciding what route to go in the longer run - got the lights hooked up to it, figured out which channels to set each light to to work on each of the first four 'fixtures' and even got lights to light up. Well - one light. Out of four.

Each light worked by itself on the Fixture I set for it ,and I got all the functions to work for each light, but as soon as I plugged in two or more lights - nothing. Zero.

I tested two of my cables and each worked fine for one light - hooked up a light with one - it was working - and strung the other tested cable to the next light; neither worked. Tried each terminator (I have two because why only have one?) Nothing.

I tried setting two lights to channel 1 to gang them - nothing.

My suspicion is crap lights. But why? Each one works by itself.

I thought this stuff was supposed to be fairly easy.
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Neil Speers

Neil Speers

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Re: DMX basicis for a dense soul - thread
« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2017, 11:46:02 pm »

Ran a couple more tests. Various combinations of lights - so all four have the same issue, no matter the order.

Then put two lights to a program mode of random fading colours and connected them by cable just to see if they'd turn off -  nope, they kept merrily running along.

Oh and putting a terminator on any one light killed it.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 12:19:26 am by Neil Speers »
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Neil Speers

Rob Gow

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Re: DMX basicis for a dense soul - thread
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2017, 11:16:22 am »

It was mentioned previously that the Obey series assigns something like 16 channels to 'a fixture' - but since it has 12 fixtures that wouldn't be a problem right now. I guess if I get really fancy with the lights, just get a better controller at that time.

Thanks for the suggestion.

With 16 channels for every "fixture" you can actually have two 7 channel lights on each "fixture" on the controller
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Neil Speers

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Re: DMX basicis for a dense soul - thread
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2017, 11:41:42 am »

With 16 channels for every "fixture" you can actually have two 7 channel lights on each "fixture" on the controller

Yes, I did figure that out, but left it at one per fixture for the  moment so as not to cause extra strain on my brain for the moment.  ;D
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Neil Speers

Neil Speers

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Re: DMX basicis for a dense soul - thread
« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2017, 11:46:37 am »

As for lights that don't want to work together - would a splitter like this help isolate each one?

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/LED-Controller-DMX-8-Channel-Output-DMX512-Signal-Amplifier-Splitter-Distributor/222254953371
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Neil Speers

Rick Powell

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Re: DMX basicis for a dense soul - thread
« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2017, 11:58:41 am »

Ran a couple more tests. Various combinations of lights - so all four have the same issue, no matter the order.

Then put two lights to a program mode of random fading colours and connected them by cable just to see if they'd turn off -  nope, they kept merrily running along.

Oh and putting a terminator on any one light killed it.

Sounds like a fixture problem to me. If they all have the same d001 address, they should all respond identically, and usually a terminator is not needed with a short string in my experience (we run 20 lights on the same daisy chain and don't terminate and works fine, although we have a terminator if we need it). I once had a mover that would individually respond to a controller when hooked up to dmx, but would not work if anything else was added to the chain, and sounds similar to the issue you are having. Maybe borrow a few fixtures that are known to work, set them to d001 and d017 and daisy chain, and make sure it's not the controller?

As far as using a splitter, with my faulty dmx light, it didn't help. If you have to go to the extent of using a splitter to try to get a few lights to work, its probably something else. Splitters are usually only necessary to allow a long string of lights where the signal would be weak if they were all on one daisy chain run (40 lights or so), or to shorten DMX cable runs.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 12:10:17 pm by Rick Powell »
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Len Zenith Jr

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Re: DMX basicis for a dense soul - thread
« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2017, 12:23:54 pm »

A few things to check:

Are you using DMX cable, is it plugged in all the way? Most problems like that can be traced to the cable or connections. You also have to daisy chain them, a mic splitter won't work.
Are you hot swapping in the lights or did you try powering everything down, then up again?
On the back of the controller there is a DMX polarity switch, did you try both positions?
Set the lights to d001 and try your 3 channel controller, I know you only get dimmer, red and green. If they work on that controller then you'll know its the obey10.

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Re: DMX basicis for a dense soul - thread
ยซ Reply #29 on: January 12, 2017, 12:23:54 pm ยป


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