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Author Topic: DMX To Ethernet  (Read 1141 times)

Matt Davis

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DMX To Ethernet
« on: August 20, 2020, 12:26:46 pm »

My church is looking to change from a physical DMX board controller to a digital controller, either through a computer, or to a router and then with a tablet. We donít have a lot of real estate when it comes to our A/V booth, so utilizing our live stream PC to also run lights might be an option. Otherwise, weíre interested in testing going into a router and running it from a tablet with an app. Currently, weíre just using a cheap Monoprice board. We donít do very much at all when it comes to lights, so it doesnít have to be capable of complex things. Right now, all we do is a solid color wash with no moving heads, or changes during songs. Our board is currently on the stage, so we canít change mid service right now.

We do have a few extra CAT 6 lines running underground from the stage to the A/V booth, and it would be a lot of work to have DMX ran.
What is the best option to connect our stage LEDs to a computer/router in the A/V booth?

Iíve been looking at an Enttec DOE Interface, but Iím not certain if thatís a possibility for us, or whether we would need the power over ethernet model. Also, is it possible to get a cheaper Enttec DMX to USB, and then get a USB to Ethernet connector to connect to our CAT 6?

Tear me apart if needed, because Iím totally in the dark with this stuff, and Iím the only person in my church that even knows how to program a DMX controller at all.

Thanks!
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: DMX To Ethernet
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2020, 12:36:00 pm »

My church is looking to change from a physical DMX board controller to a digital controller, either through a computer, or to a router and then with a tablet. We donít have a lot of real estate when it comes to our A/V booth, so utilizing our live stream PC to also run lights might be an option. Otherwise, weíre interested in testing going into a router and running it from a tablet with an app. Currently, weíre just using a cheap Monoprice board. We donít do very much at all when it comes to lights, so it doesnít have to be capable of complex things. Right now, all we do is a solid color wash with no moving heads, or changes during songs. Our board is currently on the stage, so we canít change mid service right now.

We do have a few extra CAT 6 lines running underground from the stage to the A/V booth, and it would be a lot of work to have DMX ran.
What is the best option to connect our stage LEDs to a computer/router in the A/V booth?

Iíve been looking at an Enttec DOE Interface, but Iím not certain if thatís a possibility for us, or whether we would need the power over ethernet model. Also, is it possible to get a cheaper Enttec DMX to USB, and then get a USB to Ethernet connector to connect to our CAT 6?

Tear me apart if needed, because Iím totally in the dark with this stuff, and Iím the only person in my church that even knows how to program a DMX controller at all.

Thanks!
The ODE or DMX King are good solid choices.  Plug into your router/switch for wifi control.
Add Luminair or similar on your Ipad, and you're good to go.
Small, portable, flexible.
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Nathan Riddle

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Re: DMX To Ethernet
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2020, 01:09:34 pm »

Caleb Dueck showed me Chamsys QuickQ series. Looks mighty impressive, about to install one for a client.

If you want faders...
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Erik Jerde

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Re: DMX To Ethernet
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2020, 02:28:32 pm »

My church is looking to change from a physical DMX board controller to a digital controller, either through a computer, or to a router and then with a tablet. We donít have a lot of real estate when it comes to our A/V booth, so utilizing our live stream PC to also run lights might be an option. Otherwise, weíre interested in testing going into a router and running it from a tablet with an app. Currently, weíre just using a cheap Monoprice board. We donít do very much at all when it comes to lights, so it doesnít have to be capable of complex things. Right now, all we do is a solid color wash with no moving heads, or changes during songs. Our board is currently on the stage, so we canít change mid service right now.

We do have a few extra CAT 6 lines running underground from the stage to the A/V booth, and it would be a lot of work to have DMX ran.
What is the best option to connect our stage LEDs to a computer/router in the A/V booth?

Iíve been looking at an Enttec DOE Interface, but Iím not certain if thatís a possibility for us, or whether we would need the power over ethernet model. Also, is it possible to get a cheaper Enttec DMX to USB, and then get a USB to Ethernet connector to connect to our CAT 6?

Tear me apart if needed, because Iím totally in the dark with this stuff, and Iím the only person in my church that even knows how to program a DMX controller at all.

Thanks!

Itís important to decide if you want DMX via Ethernet (switcher packet networking) or DMX via catx cabling.  A lot of people conflate the physical cabling used by Ethernet as Ethernet itself.

To run DMX over catx cabling you just need to solder up the appropriate adapter. 

For DMX over Ethernet youíre really using another protocol like artnet or sacn.  The enttec ode and DMX king products are artnet nodes.  They will convert one universe to physical DMX.

Iím a big fan of artnet/sacn because it eliminates pretty much all of the classic DMX distribution problems.  But, if you just need to get one universe point to point over existing unused catx infrastructure then a simple physical adapter is certainly cheaper and easier to setup.
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Scott Hofmann

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Re: DMX To Ethernet
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2020, 04:41:21 pm »

Echoing the advice above. If you want to go for simple, using your existing Catx lines to send DMX and not network signals would be easy to do with a set of Cat to XLR adapters such as below. You would need to determine whether your USB/DMX box uses 3 pin or 5 pin output and if your lights use 3 pin or 5 pin input to order the correct adapters. Usually available on eBay for around $25 the pair.

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Don T. Williams

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Re: DMX To Ethernet
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2020, 04:48:13 pm »

There are a lot of "CATxxx snakes" on the market that will allow you to use a single CAT 5/6 cable with a box or tails to turn it into (4) channels of DMX cabling for four DMX universes.  A Universe is 512 control channels.  I think at this time you will only need one universe.  There are adapters that will take DMX 3 or 5 pin XLR plugs and let them run a single DMX universe through CAT 5/6 cable terminated in RJ45 connectors.  The VRLDMXRJ45-3P SET from Elite Corp is one such adapter set.  By the way, you were very wise to have run spare CAT 5/6 cable.  Its a digital world out there!
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Don T. Williams

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Re: DMX To Ethernet
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2020, 04:49:38 pm »

Looks like Scott beat me to it.
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: DMX To Ethernet
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2020, 06:15:54 pm »


. . . so utilizing our live stream PC to also run lights might be an option.

Thanks!

Be careful about adding more tasks and CPU load to your streaming computer.  This is a leading cause of streaming issues and a good reason to use hardware streamers.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: DMX To Ethernet
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2020, 07:25:12 pm »

Hi Matt, I'm struggling to understand what exactly you're looking to do here.  Technically all DMX is digital, (the D in DMX), but are you looking to either move your controller to the tech booth or get wireless control, or are you looking to upgrade your controller all together for added capabilities? 

If you're just looking to get tech booth control, by far the easiest solution is the one that's already been pointed out - just use your CAT 6 for DMX.  Beyond that, the options get a little more complex.  Driving lights from a tablet has its place, but for a HOW I wouldn't really consider this to be a preferable option by default.  Hope this helps!
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Steve M Smith

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Re: DMX To Ethernet
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2020, 03:06:14 am »

To run DMX over catx cabling you just need to solder up the appropriate adapter.


This works fine.  I hade 70m of CAT5 with XLRs on each end for this.  It was a nightmare to coil up though! So we changed to wireless.




Steve.
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Erik Jerde

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Re: DMX To Ethernet
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2020, 07:22:31 am »


This works fine.  I hade 70m of CAT5 with XLRs on each end for this.  It was a nightmare to coil up though! So we changed to wireless.




Steve.

Any solid core install cable is going to suck to coil.  For temporary use you should be using stranded cable with a more durable rubberized (think mic cable) jacket.  That coils just fine.  I believe the OP was talking about existing installed catx runs.
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Matt Davis

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Re: DMX To Ethernet
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2020, 11:03:26 am »

Thanks so much for all the replies.

Our main intention is first to move the control capabilities to the A/V booth, but also to make it more volunteer friendly. Iím the only person at our church that knows how to program lights at all, and my knowledge in it is essentially 1st grade level. Iíd like to get it to a place where I can program it, and any person can run the lights without much training. I was drawn to iOS Luminair due to the seemingly easy to understand interface. I havenít seen any programs for Windows or MacOS that are as intuitive. None of our volunteers want to even touch the physical controller, and Iím actually a musician, so Iím playing 95% of the time, and canít run lights.

While ideally Iíd prefer to keep our live stream PC just handling livestream, it is a pretty beefy computer. We have an RTX 2070 Super, SSD, and 32gb of ram. We only run vMix to YouTube and Facebook, so it could probably handle a lighting software without much strain, but ideally it would be separate.

TL;DR
We want something that is super intuitive for volunteers who have never heard the term DMX before.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: DMX To Ethernet
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2020, 11:20:59 am »

Thanks for the clarification Matt.  My thoughts are this:

Running control to the tech booth over your existing CAT 6 should be easy using the techniques described - there's no need to switch protocols and buy hardware to utilize that.  Your system also isn't of the size/type that would benefit from something like ArtNet. 

Switching to a tablet or PC doesn't necessarily mean a better user experience.  I personally prefer to program on a full-sized console when possible versus the software/app with wing equivalents.  It's tough to beat the ease of pushing faders around once the proper programming has been done. 

If what you have isn't fitting the bill anymore, the ChamSys QuickQ is a promising choice along with other options such as an ETC ColorSourse board or even a used ETC Smartfade.  Software and tablets can work in certain applications, but when working with volunteers having minimal experience and knowledge you can't go easier than pushing up a fader to get lights.  No networks, apps, or wifi issues to deal with.  Good luck!
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Scott Hofmann

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Re: DMX To Ethernet
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2020, 12:20:28 pm »

There are a lot of "CATxxx snakes" on the market that will allow you to use a single CAT 5/6 cable with a box or tails to turn it into (4) channels of DMX cabling for four DMX universes.  A Universe is 512 control channels.  I think at this time you will only need one universe.  There are adapters that will take DMX 3 or 5 pin XLR plugs and let them run a single DMX universe through CAT 5/6 cable terminated in RJ45 connectors.  The VRLDMXRJ45-3P SET from Elite Corp is one such adapter set.  By the way, you were very wise to have run spare CAT 5/6 cable.  Its a digital world out there!
I've found that the "gotcha" on the Cat snakes is the need for shielded Cat5/6 cable. The shield is for a common Pin 1 on all four twisted pair lines. Not installed as often as unshielded unfortunately.
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Mac Kerr

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Re: DMX To Ethernet
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2020, 12:42:02 pm »

I've found that the "gotcha" on the Cat snakes is the need for shielded Cat5/6 cable. The shield is for a common Pin 1 on all four twisted pair lines. Not installed as often as unshielded unfortunately.

If you are sending/receiving a "balanced" signal where only XLR pins 2&3 are used it is not an issue. If pin 1 is the "low" side of your signal, yes, it won't work.

Mac
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Scott Hofmann

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Re: DMX To Ethernet
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2020, 11:40:34 pm »

If you are sending/receiving a "balanced" signal where only XLR pins 2&3 are used it is not an issue. If pin 1 is the "low" side of your signal, yes, it won't work.

Mac
The discussion was in reference to DMX.
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Scott Hofmann

Jon Dees

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Re: DMX To Ethernet
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2020, 11:52:48 am »

We started a brand new install in 2018 with M-Pc (now onyx) because I couldn't find any hardware controllers that a volunteer could figure out.

I downloaded every app under the sun (M-PC, EOS, Chamsys, Jands, etc., etc.) and it drove me nuts that even figuring out patching required a trip to Youtube. I think most of the apps are horrid for volunteers. My recent experience with lights has been limited and my long-term experience was with ETC boards like Expressions. ETC's problem is that they have yet to realize that hardware dedicated controls for moving lights (that aren't modal) are important. Also they need to add motor faders and scribble strips to their hardware.

The lighting desk world decided in the deep dark past that motorized faders have to cost and arm and a leg compared to sound boards where the incremental cost appears to be <$100 per.

The other problem I had at the time was that Win10 was breaking most lighting apps with the every 6 month update cadence. This has slowed down a bit with Win10 getting more mature; however, the safe thing is to buy a computer with Win10 Embedded LTSC and not use lottery ticket windows updates issues.

Eventually I found the Pathway Connectivity Cognito. I wrapped my head around this fairly easily, and, when I had a question, I emailed the support line at Pathway and the guy who designed it from their Youtube video series directly responded. I have talked a n00b through busking a show over the phone from the Philadelphia airport. The touchscreen has a really dumb mode you can lock it into as architectural style controls.

The current board, Cognito2, is older hardware, so I might inquire on when they are going to replace the 'guts'. This board, like all the rest, needs motor faders and scribble strips.As others have said, you should be able to put an XLR-5 on the end of a catx line and send it to your lights. Otherwise, if your FOH lights don't accept Streaming ACN or Artnet then you'll need a gateway to translate back out. Pathway has gateways that they integrate with the Cognito, like the 'Uno'. Haven't used these.

The QuickQ looks like an OK alternative to the Cognito, but I can't speak to support. Trying to learn the big brother MagicQ software was not something I would wish upon a volunteer.

Hope this helps.

Thanks so much for all the replies.

Our main intention is first to move the control capabilities to the A/V booth, but also to make it more volunteer friendly. Iím the only person at our church that knows how to program lights at all, and my knowledge in it is essentially 1st grade level. Iíd like to get it to a place where I can program it, and any person can run the lights without much training. I was drawn to iOS Luminair due to the seemingly easy to understand interface. I havenít seen any programs for Windows or MacOS that are as intuitive. None of our volunteers want to even touch the physical controller, and Iím actually a musician, so Iím playing 95% of the time, and canít run lights.

While ideally Iíd prefer to keep our live stream PC just handling livestream, it is a pretty beefy computer. We have an RTX 2070 Super, SSD, and 32gb of ram. We only run vMix to YouTube and Facebook, so it could probably handle a lighting software without much strain, but ideally it would be separate.

TL;DR
We want something that is super intuitive for volunteers who have never heard the term DMX before.
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Steve M Smith

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Re: DMX To Ethernet
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2020, 03:36:53 am »

Any solid core install cable is going to suck to coil.  For temporary use you should be using stranded cable with a more durable rubberized (think mic cable) jacket.


I know. But it was free - one of my favourite prices!




Steve.
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Re: DMX To Ethernet
¬ę Reply #17 on: September 07, 2020, 03:36:53 am ¬Ľ


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