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Author Topic: DMX Automation  (Read 5444 times)

Doug Hart

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DMX Automation
« on: February 22, 2017, 01:41:44 pm »

We recently installed (34) Blizzard Lighting Motif Vignette fixtures on a pedestrian bridge for the city parks and recreation. They are controlled by a Blizzard  Kontrol 5. They wanted to be able to light up the bridge with colors for different holidays.
They are pleased with the system, but it requires a city worker to go onsite at the end of the day, unlock the weatherproof box that houses the controller, and push the scene button or blackout button to turn the lights on. Same thing in the mornings to turn the lights off.

They asked me if there was a way to automate this process. In my searching, I have not been able to find a solution.
The scene would be set, it would just need something like a photocell or timer to automate the blackout.

Does anyone have an idea for a solution? They are not opposed to spending some money on it if it's a reasonable amount.
If we need to change out the control system to something else, that is certainly a possibility.

Any ideas are welcome. Thank you.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2017, 03:20:06 pm »

We recently installed (34) Blizzard Lighting Motif Vignette fixtures on a pedestrian bridge for the city parks and recreation. They are controlled by a Blizzard  Kontrol 5. They wanted to be able to light up the bridge with colors for different holidays.
They are pleased with the system, but it requires a city worker to go onsite at the end of the day, unlock the weatherproof box that houses the controller, and push the scene button or blackout button to turn the lights on. Same thing in the mornings to turn the lights off.

They asked me if there was a way to automate this process. In my searching, I have not been able to find a solution.
The scene would be set, it would just need something like a photocell or timer to automate the blackout.

Does anyone have an idea for a solution? They are not opposed to spending some money on it if it's a reasonable amount.
If we need to change out the control system to something else, that is certainly a possibility.

Any ideas are welcome. Thank you.


Looks very nice.....I just pulled the specs on your controller.  It does not support any automation.  You need a controller with a MIDI interface so you can control it from a computer.


Simple DMX software would do the trick to.  The Raspberry Pi is a small fanless computer that costs about $25.00 and could be programmed to do this task.

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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman

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Doug Hart

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2017, 03:25:46 pm »


Looks very nice.....I just pulled the specs on your controller.  It does not support any automation.  You need a controller with a MIDI interface so you can control it from a computer.


Simple DMX software would do the trick to.  The Raspberry Pi is a small fanless computer that costs about $25.00 and could be programmed to do this task.

Thank you.
I thought about the Raspberry Pi, but I know very little about them.
Is there a DMX program that would run on it?
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Josh Rawls

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2017, 03:54:11 pm »

A quick google search came up with this:

https://wiki.openlighting.org/index.php/Open_Lighting_Project

http://www.instructables.com/id/Raspberry-Pi-as-a-DMX-light-controller/

http://www.raspberrypi-dmx.com

I think you can probably make a great solution using those links. Good luck!
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Josh Rawls

David Allred

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2017, 04:09:45 pm »

The complicated and expensive way would be to connect a photocell to a PLC that fires solenoid pistons to compress the appropriate buttons.  It would be a neat project.

What about a wireless option?  You still need an operator though.
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Doug Hart

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2017, 04:29:18 pm »

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Len Zenith Jr

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2017, 04:30:56 pm »

Showxpress is a relatively cheap software DMX controller that has auto on/off features that will even take into account the changing sunrise/sunset times as the days change. It has offset times to start/end a little earlier or later. You could even have it auto turn green for st paddies day, red for valentines, etc, etc. The whole year could be pre-programmed. No end to the programming you could do.

It is a free download to play with it. The time features are accessed via the live menu, right click a scene/macro button, then select button trigger.
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Doug Hart

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2017, 04:31:37 pm »

The complicated and expensive way would be to connect a photocell to a PLC that fires solenoid pistons to compress the appropriate buttons.  It would be a neat project.

I have an electrical engineering buddy who is contemplating that very thing for me. haha

Quote
What about a wireless option?  You still need an operator though.

I thought about that too. Although it would make it easier, it would still require someone to be on site twice a day.
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Doug Hart

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2017, 04:32:40 pm »

Showxpress is a relatively cheap software DMX controller that has auto on/off features that will even take into account the changing sunrise/sunset times as the days change. It has offset times to start/end a little earlier or later. You could even have it auto turn green for st paddies day, red for valentines, etc, etc. The whole year could be pre-programmed. No end to the programming you could do.

It is a free download to play with it. The time features are accessed via the live menu, right click a scene/macro button, then select button trigger.

I will check that out. Thank you so much !!!
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Len Zenith Jr

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2017, 04:37:40 pm »

I will check that out. Thank you so much !!!

Now my LD mind is getting carried away, but you could even blink the lights 9 times at 9pm, 10 times at 10, like a clock, etc, etc. So much fun!
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Doug Hart

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2017, 04:40:30 pm »

Now my LD mind is getting carried away, but you could even blink the lights 9 times at 9pm, 10 times at 10, like a clock, etc, etc. So much fun!

HAHA, that would be pretty cool.
Do you know if the software requires that you use Chauvet hardware, or can you use any USB to DMX hardware/dongle?
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John Fruits

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2017, 05:08:26 pm »

Why not  just use a timer to turn the power to the lights on and off. Yes someone would have to reset the timer during the year.  Or a photocell and relay to do the same thing.  You should really cut the power to led units when they are not in use by the way.
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Doug Hart

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2017, 05:12:18 pm »

Why not  just use a timer to turn the power to the lights on and off.
I don't think the lights will come back on with the same program if power is cut. That's something I'm going to test when I can get back out there. If that does work, then yes... simple solution.

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You should really cut the power to led units when they are not in use by the way.
Agreed
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Len Zenith Jr

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2017, 05:22:52 pm »

HAHA, that would be pretty cool.
Do you know if the software requires that you use Chauvet hardware, or can you use any USB to DMX hardware/dongle?

Yes, it requires the chauvet dongle.
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Len Zenith Jr

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2017, 05:26:17 pm »

I don't think the lights will come back on with the same program if power is cut. That's something I'm going to test when I can get back out there. If that does work, then yes... simple solution.
Agreed

They'll come back on and once they receive the DMX signal will go immediately into that  mode. That's how I operate all the lights on my truss. Just keep the power to the controller running.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2017, 05:31:34 pm »

Yes, it requires the chauvet dongle.


You only need the 100 address version not the full universe.




Much less expensive
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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman

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Cailen Waddell

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2017, 05:33:06 pm »

The appropriate way to do this is an architectural lighting controller.  There are a number of options.  Pharos, Traxon, they all cost real money, but output dmx and have the ability to have their coordinates programmed into them so they can be smart about sunrise and sunset.


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Rick Earl

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2017, 07:26:14 pm »

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Jeff Lelko

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2017, 07:53:03 pm »

Though a bit on the obscure side, would this not be a great application for a LanBox?  Regardless, I agree that this should be a standalone box and not a PC or Raspberry Pi, despite how much I like them! 
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2017, 08:39:19 pm »

The better products have a network jack and websever where changes can be made remotely.  If the park gets wifi (not or if the question) and fiber is run, then it's even easier to manage...


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Tom Bourke

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2017, 10:11:41 pm »

I also thought of LANbox,
Light I Rama also has boxes that will do what you need.  They are pretty easy to program and can do the time of day kind of stuff you want as well.

http://www1.lightorama.com/stand-alone-show-directors/
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Doug Hart

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2017, 11:20:08 pm »

Thank you all so much. These are great suggestions and I have learned a lot in the last few hours.
It seems that in this case, the simplest answer is the best one...
John Fruits suggested that cutting the power through a timer or photocell would be the best solution. My concern was that the lights would not come back on to the pre-set program. I was able to test that this evening  and as Len Zenith Jr said, they do in fact come back on the same way they were turned off. So, a basic (and inexpensive) photocell control looks like the best way to go in this situation. Simple and effective.
Thank you all again so much for your help.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2017, 11:38:46 pm »

So, a basic (and inexpensive) photocell control looks like the best way to go in this situation. Simple and effective.

That'll work.  Just make sure that whatever photocell controller you buy has some sort of logic so that a cloudy day won't make your lights keep going on and off, especially if the ambient daylight is hovering right at the activation threshold! 
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Scott Hofmann

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2017, 11:47:03 pm »

This:

http://interactive-online.com/cueserver/cueserver-overview

I'll second this. I've had one running LED PARs at a city park for 4 years and hasn't missed a beat. Except for the one time the electrical box flooded and wiped out the cueserver's wall wart. The real time clock option works great.
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Scott Hofmann

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Re: DMX Automation
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2017, 11:47:03 pm »


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