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Author Topic: DMX Merge & Cable Setup  (Read 400 times)

Lee Wright

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DMX Merge & Cable Setup
« on: February 20, 2021, 07:53:54 pm »

Hi Folks.   
I haven't done much lighting for 20 years & now am helping out my local church where I'm usually the sound guy.
We're currently running Freestyler which is triggered from our video projection software.   As the projectionist moves to different parts of the service it changes scenes.   Sometimes though they skip the trigger slide.   I can't really interrupt them so I thought it would be great if we had a hardware desk as well so myself or one of the camera guys could just manually change the scene.  I also thought this might be good for redundancy or if we just want to make some simple changes for a one-off event without the computer.   We therefore need some way to merge the DMX signal.    Looking into this made me wonder if we should re-evaluate how we cable everything.   We're currently running traditional DMX cable but I'm wondering if there are affordable & simple CAT6 cable options that include merging?     I think we will stick with the PAR56 incandescents for some time so we'll still need the dimmer.   See diagram & pics attached.  Appreciate any guidance.

Brian Jojade

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Re: DMX Merge & Cable Setup
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2021, 08:08:19 pm »

You can't simply 'merge' DMX signals.  One device has to be in control at a time.

Your options would be some sort of switch that switches the DMX signal from one desk to another, or passing the signal through a desk that would have the ability to override the first desk.

In your scenario, you're having something tell Freestyler to go to another scene, but they aren't sending that trigger.  It might be easier for you to simply select another scene in Freestyler, would it not?
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Brian Jojade

Scott Hofmann

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Re: DMX Merge & Cable Setup
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2021, 12:44:57 am »

You can't simply 'merge' DMX signals.  One device has to be in control at a time.

Your options would be some sort of switch that switches the DMX signal from one desk to another, or passing the signal through a desk that would have the ability to override the first desk.

In your scenario, you're having something tell Freestyler to go to another scene, but they aren't sending that trigger.  It might be easier for you to simply select another scene in Freestyler, would it not?

From Pathway's Model 1017 Merger description:

Through the use of automatic signal sensing across four operating modes, any port may detect incoming DMX signals and act as an input and produces two outputs;
or two inputs may be merged to create one output; based on priority, HTP merge or switchable using an external contact. The 1017 is RDM discoverable and configured.

Mode 1 :  RDM Hub
Module detects and latches to a DMX input applied to any port. Automatically routes DMX signal to the other two ports. If a second source is applied, that source is ignored until the initial source stops. Module acts as RDM responder and proxy. Any downstream RDM responder may be discovered and configured using an RDM-enabled console or controller.
Mode 2 : RDM A/B Select
Allows user selection, through use of dry contact closure, of input signal arriving at Port B to be selected and routed to the output (Port C), over signal arriving as input at Port A. When dry contact is open, the signal arriving at Port A will be routed to the output (Port C). Ideal for switching between consoles on the fly. Module acts as RDM responder and proxy. Any downstream RDM responder may be discovered and configured using an RDM-enabled console or controller.
Mode 3 : Priority
Provides predictable signal priority arrangements of DMX sources. Port A is given priority over Port B. Module acts as RDM responder. However, proxy functions are disabled and downstream RDM responders are not discoverable.
Mode 4 : Merge
Provides HTP (highest-takes-precedence) merging of two DMX sources on Port A and B, and output on Port C. Module acts an RDM responder. However, proxy functions are disabled and downstream RDM responders are not discoverable.

Mode 2 acts as a switch between two sources.
Mode 4 actually blends two DMX streams, but is Highest Takes Precedence so the second console could only increase the level of a FreeStyler channel, not decrease the level.

Lee, a note on your incandescent PAR56 cans.... the lamps are discontinued by the major manufacturers like GE and Sylvania. The imports now being sold have reportedly had major reliability issues. Better buy up a stock of spares!

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Scott Hofmann

Lee Wright

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Re: DMX Merge & Cable Setup
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2021, 05:17:24 am »

You can't simply 'merge' DMX signals.  One device has to be in control at a time.

Your options would be some sort of switch that switches the DMX signal from one desk to another, or passing the signal through a desk that would have the ability to override the first desk.

In your scenario, you're having something tell Freestyler to go to another scene, but they aren't sending that trigger.  It might be easier for you to simply select another scene in Freestyler, would it not?
Thanks Brian.   
Yes it can easily be done manually in Freestyler but it's running on the same computer as the projection software (Proclaim).   Sometimes I do ask the projectionist to manually change it but often they're super focused on running all the slides.      That actually does give me another idea though.   Proclaim triggers Freestyler via MIDI using an virtual MIDI driver.   Some lighting desks can accept MIDI so perhaps I should get a USB MIDI interface & connect it to a compatable hardware desk & have Freestyler control the desk.    That should mean we can use both at once?


Lee Wright

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Re: DMX Merge & Cable Setup
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2021, 05:22:06 am »

From Pathway's Model 1017 Merger description:

Through the use of automatic signal sensing across four operating modes, any port may detect incoming DMX signals and act as an input and produces two outputs;
or two inputs may be merged to create one output; based on priority, HTP merge or switchable using an external contact. The 1017 is RDM discoverable and configured.

Mode 1 :  RDM Hub
Module detects and latches to a DMX input applied to any port. Automatically routes DMX signal to the other two ports. If a second source is applied, that source is ignored until the initial source stops. Module acts as RDM responder and proxy. Any downstream RDM responder may be discovered and configured using an RDM-enabled console or controller.
Mode 2 : RDM A/B Select
Allows user selection, through use of dry contact closure, of input signal arriving at Port B to be selected and routed to the output (Port C), over signal arriving as input at Port A. When dry contact is open, the signal arriving at Port A will be routed to the output (Port C). Ideal for switching between consoles on the fly. Module acts as RDM responder and proxy. Any downstream RDM responder may be discovered and configured using an RDM-enabled console or controller.
Mode 3 : Priority
Provides predictable signal priority arrangements of DMX sources. Port A is given priority over Port B. Module acts as RDM responder. However, proxy functions are disabled and downstream RDM responders are not discoverable.
Mode 4 : Merge
Provides HTP (highest-takes-precedence) merging of two DMX sources on Port A and B, and output on Port C. Module acts an RDM responder. However, proxy functions are disabled and downstream RDM responders are not discoverable.

Mode 2 acts as a switch between two sources.
Mode 4 actually blends two DMX streams, but is Highest Takes Precedence so the second console could only increase the level of a FreeStyler channel, not decrease the level.

Lee, a note on your incandescent PAR56 cans.... the lamps are discontinued by the major manufacturers like GE and Sylvania. The imports now being sold have reportedly had major reliability issues. Better buy up a stock of spares!
Thanks Scott. Interesting device.   Good to know about the 56 lamps.   Yes the alternative ones can be pretty ordinary.   I've got a decent stock of GE ones but I should grab some more.  Someone has a bunch listed on Gumtree for $10ea which they can't move so perhaps I should grab a few more.

duane massey

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Re: DMX Merge & Cable Setup
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2021, 01:42:43 pm »

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Duane Massey
Technician, musician, stubborn old guy
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: DMX Merge & Cable Setup
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2021, 01:42:43 pm »


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