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Author Topic: Controlling house lights with DMX  (Read 16018 times)

Yohann Park

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Controlling house lights with DMX
« on: April 22, 2010, 03:46:42 pm »

Hello everyone.  I had a question.  We have about 28 incandescent house lights that are controlled in groups of 4 by seven household dimmers mounted in the wall by the entrance of the house of worship.  Is there anyway I can get them to be controlled by DMX?  I am trying to figure out a way to do it without resorting to massive construction.  THanks in advance.
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Christy L Manoppo (okky)

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Re: Controlling house lights with DMX
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2010, 12:08:30 am »

Yohann Park wrote on Thu, 22 April 2010 15:46

Hello everyone.  I had a question.  We have about 28 incandescent house lights that are controlled in groups of 4 by seven household dimmers mounted in the wall by the entrance of the house of worship.  Is there anyway I can get them to be controlled by DMX?  I am trying to figure out a way to do it without resorting to massive construction.  THanks in advance.


Well, if you said it's a household dimmer.. then I think there's no way (maybe, cmiiw) you can do that.
Some ways including replacing those dimmers with a DMX ready dimmers. Like Lightronics AR-series. Link

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Christy L Manoppo
Coordinator for AVL Dept,
Bethany Indonesian Church of GOD,
Philadelphia, PA

Perfect? we can't. Excellent? We can.

Yohann Park

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Re: Controlling house lights with DMX
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2010, 10:32:03 am »

I guess I should clarify.  As far as I know it, These lights are on 3 different single phase circuits.  I suppose I need a dimmer that can take multiple single-phase lines and output  to the 28 lights that we have setup.  I don't know if that's possible or not.  That's why I am asking.  I don't know of any products yet.  Thanks!
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George Linkenhoker

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Re: Controlling house lights with DMX
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2010, 04:59:44 pm »

It actually may not be that bad.  You would have to have an electrician to do some work for you but you would be looking for a small set of installation dimmers that respond to DMX and probably something which is designed for use with architectural controls (like wall panels that you hit a button and it does a preset look) unless you wanted/have a control console.  This would be a product line similar to the ETC Unison system, though several companies like LighTronics and Leviton make versions that function similarly.  You said you have four segments of house lighting control, so you would need four channels of DMX dimmers capable of supporting the load your lights represent (10 amp or 20amp).

I would assume that the old house dimmers would be removed and their boxes simply plated over as junction points where the line will be spliced while the dimmer would be installed in your electrical space and the lighting fixtures electrical feed pulled from the breaker panel and into the new dimmers.  The dimmer rack will also have to have a hard connection to a main power box.  Again, all stuff for a good electrician.

Hope that helps,

George L.
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Arnold B. Krueger

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Re: Controlling house lights with DMX
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2010, 09:32:31 pm »

Yohann Park wrote on Fri, 23 April 2010 15:32

I guess I should clarify.  As far as I know it, These lights are on 3 different single phase circuits.  I suppose I need a dimmer that can take multiple single-phase lines and output  to the 28 lights that we have setup.  I don't know if that's possible or not.  That's why I am asking.  I don't know of any products yet.  Thanks!



You didn't give the wattages of the bulbs, but you implied their wattage by saying that they are on 3 different circuits.

On the worst day of your life, you could simply use 3 separate dimmers, all responding to the same DMX address so they are slaved together.  Depending on the rating of the dimmers, this may all work out pretty naturally.

For example, a very common sort of DMX dimmer has one 15 amp input and 4 ouputs rated at 5-10 amps each. This might naturally drop into your existing wiring scheme.

There are a ton of different kinds of DMX dimmers. Don't think for a second that the TYPICAL DJ or general sound/lighting company catalogs even scratch the surface!  Google is your friend. Manufacturers to start with might include Leviton, Lightronics, and Leprecon.

There are theatrical lighting specialists in most larger cities that specialize in this sort of thing and have in-house system design staffs.

Frankly, your biggest problems are probably going to be mechanical - finding a place to stash the DMX dimmers which are generally far larger than standard manual dimmers, and extending the wiring.

You also need to consider how a custodian or usher is going to control the room lighting when there are no technical people around to run the lighting board. There are simplified controllers for this purpose.

Since you are working with the lighting in a public building, make sure that a professional electrician OKs (preferably does the work), whatever you do.

We put our sanctuary architectural lighting under DMX control a few years back, and it was a gigantic step forward.
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Yohann Park

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Re: Controlling house lights with DMX
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2010, 01:39:48 pm »

From all the research that I have done, I found only one that might fit my needs.  The issue is the type of input requirements. I want to be able to use the current dimmer feeds for the power. That would be 120v 20A single phase.  The only architectural dimmer I found that meets these requirements is the Lightronics at-402.  This dimmer will take single phase 20A input per channel and output four channels at 2400W.  I was wondering if there were any other companies that had any other similar offerings. What I am not completely sure of is how I will have a remote station that will work with the dimmer console.  I thought that you could only have one controller per DMX universe..Please correct me if I am wrong.
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Christy L Manoppo (okky)

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Re: Controlling house lights with DMX
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2010, 12:02:45 am »

no... the remote controller will only controls the AT-402 dimmer. When a DMX signal is present, the remote will be locked out to prevent changes by an unknown person (children, for instance).

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Christy L Manoppo
Coordinator for AVL Dept,
Bethany Indonesian Church of GOD,
Philadelphia, PA

Perfect? we can't. Excellent? We can.

Yohann Park

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Re: Controlling house lights with DMX
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2010, 10:55:04 am »

From what I have read, the wall switch is a momentary contact switch (that is hard wired to the AT-402) that will turn the lights only full on/off? Correct me if I am wrong. So if I turned on the house lights with the remote switch and then walked over to the console, the console would override the remote switch?
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Christy L Manoppo (okky)

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Re: Controlling house lights with DMX
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2010, 09:35:15 pm »

yes. It will block all comm from the switch. So the lights console will became the main controller.
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Christy L Manoppo
Coordinator for AVL Dept,
Bethany Indonesian Church of GOD,
Philadelphia, PA

Perfect? we can't. Excellent? We can.

Yohann Park

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Re: Controlling house lights with DMX
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2010, 03:01:25 pm »

What is your opinion on the Leprecon VX-2400 series one dimmer with 12 channels @2400W?  I have one currently and was wondering if I should get a newer dimmer since this one is about 10 years old.
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