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Author Topic: DMX512 Problems  (Read 819 times)

Lucas Smith

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DMX512 Problems
« on: November 27, 2019, 08:08:23 am »

I have been having many problems recently with my DMX lights. (Also this is my first post here).
I have an American DJ DMX Operator DMX Controller which can control up to 12 lights at once using the DMX512 protocol.
I have 8x 12LED par cans (16channel) which all work by themselfs. I have tested all the lights countless times and they all work perfectly.
I hadn't used the lights for some time, and so I took a DMX cable (tested and working) and hooked one light up to the controller and it controlled it perfectly, but then I added another light from the output of the first light and set is to DMX starting address 17 and as soon as I connected them, the first light went black and second went black too and I have tried different lights and its the same problem, I even used one light without DMX and added another light coming out of that one and put it on slave mod and it worked, but adding another one caused them to go black too. The problem looks like the light/controller cannot take more than one light connected them. Also even with one light connected to the controller it occasionally flashed a different colour randomly. It can't be the cables as they all work. This is all sudden I am out of ideas! It would be helpful for some advice!

 
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Taylor Hall

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Re: DMX512 Problems
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2019, 09:20:42 am »

First, what brand/model fixtures are you using in your setup?

Some fixtures have issues being in a chain and not at the end, it's especially bad with white-label chinese pars.
Is it always the same fixture that causes this issue once it is plugged in or does it happen once any two fixtures are in the chain?
Make sure that all fixtures are set to DMX operation and not master/slave.
If the lights are doing things on their own while plugged into the controller then I would think the controller is the next suspect. Do you have access to another one that you can test with?
Try switching the fixtures to a smaller channel mode like 3 or 5 as the larger modes typically just throw in pre-canned effects that might be getting triggered. Even a super low single-digit value on a strobe or EFX channel can cause them to go crazy.
Try leaving a couple addresses of 'gap' between your fixtures, you might be getting bleedover of DMX commands from one channel to another.
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Lucas Smith

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Re: DMX512 Problems
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2019, 10:52:19 am »

First, what brand/model fixtures are you using in your setup?

Some fixtures have issues being in a chain and not at the end, it's especially bad with white-label chinese pars.
Is it always the same fixture that causes this issue once it is plugged in or does it happen once any two fixtures are in the chain?
Make sure that all fixtures are set to DMX operation and not master/slave.
If the lights are doing things on their own while plugged into the controller then I would think the controller is the next suspect. Do you have access to another one that you can test with?
Try switching the fixtures to a smaller channel mode like 3 or 5 as the larger modes typically just throw in pre-canned effects that might be getting triggered. Even a super low single-digit value on a strobe or EFX channel can cause them to go crazy.
Try leaving a couple addresses of 'gap' between your fixtures, you might be getting bleedover of DMX commands from one channel to another.

I think they are unbranded, however I have found identical ones by Lixada.
Yeah, I have two other unbranded white-label chinese pars which are really bad and I need to get rid of them!
No it's all of them, but they all work perfectly by themselfs and they also work when just one is is a slave to another light not plugged into the controller. Yes it only happens when two or more fixtures are in the chain.
Yes they are all set to DMX operation.
No I don't and thats the problem, but the lights do flicker a bit when plugged into the controller (only the controller) but then also they do that when plugged into other lights without the controller.
I cant find how to switch the modes on them for some reason.
Yes I have tried that It still didnt work. I am still confused at why this happens. Thanks for the reply
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: DMX512 Problems
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2019, 11:05:40 am »

Hi Lucas.  Try flipping the polarity switch on the back of the Obey 40.  Good luck!

Edit - I read DMX Operator and thought Obey 40.  Still, try that if the Operator has a polarity setting.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: DMX512 Problems
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2019, 01:04:17 pm »

Try leaving a couple addresses of 'gap' between your fixtures, you might be getting bleedover of DMX commands from one channel to another.

That doesn't make any sense at all.  It's a digital signal.  There's not going to be 'bleedover' of channel signals.
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Brian Jojade

Steve Garris

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Re: DMX512 Problems
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2019, 01:12:59 pm »

I think they are unbranded, however I have found identical ones by Lixada.
Yeah, I have two other unbranded white-label chinese pars which are really bad and I need to get rid of them!
No it's all of them, but they all work perfectly by themselfs and they also work when just one is is a slave to another light not plugged into the controller. Yes it only happens when two or more fixtures are in the chain.
Yes they are all set to DMX operation.
No I don't and thats the problem, but the lights do flicker a bit when plugged into the controller (only the controller) but then also they do that when plugged into other lights without the controller.
I cant find how to switch the modes on them for some reason.
Yes I have tried that It still didnt work. I am still confused at why this happens. Thanks for the reply

Do you have a link to the lights?

Which ADJ DMX Operator do you have? There's a 192, 384, and Pro model.
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Lucas Smith

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Re: DMX512 Problems
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2019, 01:45:45 pm »

Do you have a link to the lights?

Which ADJ DMX Operator do you have? There's a 192, 384, and Pro model.

I have the ADJ Operator 1, and what do you mean link?

Also it does not have a polarity switch.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 01:48:17 pm by Lucas Smith »
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: DMX512 Problems
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2019, 04:17:55 pm »

I assume the request for a link is for a web address link so he can review the specifications on the lighting fixtures.
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: DMX512 Problems
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2019, 04:22:32 pm »

Lucas, try setting all of your matching lights to the same starting dmx address. With the same address and inputs, they should all do the same thing at the same time. If they don't, there is a problem with one or more of the lights not passing a dmx signal through the fixture on to the next fixture.
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Lucas Smith

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Re: DMX512 Problems
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2019, 04:59:02 pm »

I assume the request for a link is for a web address link so he can review the specifications on the lighting fixtures.

Oh yes sorry, here are the links:

Controller: https://www.amazon.co.uk/American-1322000046-ADJ-Operator-Mixers/dp/B00JXYV9SG [ADJ]

Fixtures (2x4): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Activated-Lighting-Effect-Concert-Karaoke/dp/B078M47QHD [Unbranded]

Cables: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01N520HTL [Neewer]
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Lucas Smith

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Re: DMX512 Problems
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2019, 05:04:14 pm »

Lucas, try setting all of your matching lights to the same starting dmx address. With the same address and inputs, they should all do the same thing at the same time. If they don't, there is a problem with one or more of the lights not passing a dmx signal through the fixture on to the next fixture.

Just tried that, got the exact same problem as soon as I plugged in the second fixture (1st light working and cables all working and the light plugging into works aswell when its just that one plugged into the controller) the first light stopped blinking red at the back and went black as well as the second one even though I have some of the dimmers up which were working on the first light.
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: DMX512 Problems
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2019, 05:23:29 pm »

Just tried that, got the exact same problem as soon as I plugged in the second fixture (1st light working and cables all working and the light plugging into works aswell when its just that one plugged into the controller) the first light stopped blinking red at the back and went black as well as the second one even though I have some of the dimmers up which were working on the first light.

Did you try a different unit as #1 in the series?  I assume each light is correctly powered from the mains service.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: DMX512 Problems
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2019, 05:56:42 pm »

Along the lines of what Mark is helping you to single out, I think one (or more) fixtures isnít passing through clean DMX.  Iím going to go out on a slight limb and say one of two things is going on. 

- An electrical problem (stray voltage leaching into the DMX circuit or ground), or

- A fixture still thinking itís in Master/Slave mode and acting accordingly, trying to control the other fixtures in the daisy chain. 

As annoying as it will sound, getting some tape and markers to label every fixture and playing with the different combinations is the most straightforward way to find the bad light short of having diagnostic equipment.  Hope this helps!
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Paul G. OBrien

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Re: DMX512 Problems
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2019, 06:06:34 pm »

I'm going to suggest you put all fixtures in slave mode and if they can be set to have a different number of control channels.. 3ch or 5ch for an RGB fixture for example, set them to the lowest number so that you just have intensity control for each color. 
Often fixtures like this will automatically switch to master/slave mode and ignore the controller when 2 or more are linked together unless all are set to slave.
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Lucas Smith

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Re: DMX512 Problems
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2019, 12:15:48 pm »

I'm going to suggest you put all fixtures in slave mode and if they can be set to have a different number of control channels.. 3ch or 5ch for an RGB fixture for example, set them to the lowest number so that you just have intensity control for each color. 
Often fixtures like this will automatically switch to master/slave mode and ignore the controller when 2 or more are linked together unless all are set to slave.

Unfortunately these lights dont have a option where you can control the number of channels it is using. But just now I got three of them to work though. I think the problem is because some fog liquid spilled onto the lights and I cleaned them but maybe it is messing with the signals?
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: DMX512 Problems
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2019, 12:25:36 pm »

I think the problem is because some fog liquid spilled onto the lights and I cleaned them but maybe it is messing with the signals?

I can promise that fog fluid in the lights definitely wonít be doing you any favors!  My vote is still that you have an electrical problem in at least one of the fixtures somewhere (fog fluid induced or not).  At least you got three of them working!  Honestly though, these fixtures are, what, $10 each?  Mileage with these types of units vary greatly.  It might be worth your while to spend a bit more and get something more standard and reliable.  Itís just a question of what itís worth to you.  Glad youíre making progress though!
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Lucas Smith

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Re: DMX512 Problems
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2019, 12:27:44 pm »

I can promise that fog fluid in the lights definitely wonít be doing you any favors!  My vote is still that you have an electrical problem in at least one of the fixtures somewhere (fog fluid induced or not).  At least you got three of them working!  Honestly though, these fixtures are, what, $10 each?  Mileage with these types of units vary greatly.  It might be worth your while to spend a bit more and get something more standard and reliable.  Itís just a question of what itís worth to you.  Glad youíre making progress though!

Yes I might open them up and see if there is any damage or liquid still there!
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Paul G. OBrien

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Re: DMX512 Problems
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2019, 11:09:58 am »

Unfortunately these lights dont have a option where you can control the number of channels it is using.
What about setting master slave mode? Your success rate will be nothing but random until all fixtures are in slave mode, then they will work perfectly every time... assuming there are no internal electrical problems. I find the soldering quality inside really cheap fixtures can be pretty terrible sometimes, easy fix though if you are at all handy with circuit board sized soldering iron.
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Re: DMX512 Problems
¬ę Reply #17 on: November 29, 2019, 11:09:58 am ¬Ľ


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