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Author Topic: Help Needed  (Read 5923 times)

Harris Epa

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Help Needed
« on: July 20, 2011, 07:32:58 pm »

Hi all,

I am a residential integrator and to be honest I am trying slowly to do some commercial work but it seems this is a whole different animal and it requires exteme knowledge and dedication. I hope slowly with the help of this forum to become better and start doing some commercial work.

This is for a project we are working on:

I need to control about 300 or more custom lighting fixtures for a commercial wide and long corridor. The catch is that each fixture should behave as an individual dimming circuit so that it can be integrated with the music system to allow the fixtures to "dance" along with the music in various dimming patterns. Another option other than the fixtures dancing to the music will be the fixtures following someone moving along the corridor which we can do using occupancy sensors.

I have Crestron lighting in the other rooms of the property but does not seem appropriate to use normal dimming lighting modules for the above room. The problems that I see with using normal resi Crestron lighting modules are the following:
1) the lighting modules are not designed to be constantly switching on/off and dimming for 10 or more hours every day
2) Each lighting fixture will only have one bulb and will consume less power than the required rating of the Crestron dimmer. I know we can add a booster on each circuit but still does not sound like the best solution.
3) Integration with the music system e.g 3-4 sources
4) Huge costs for 300+ individual dimming circuits

The custom lighting fixtures are supposed to be incandescent based but the designer can change to other bulb technologies if needed.

I am thinking that DMX is the solution here but I am not sure what is needed to achieve this result. I have done various resi DMX projects in the past controlled by different control systems but all were LED based and we used an interface to connect to a DMX-IN port on the LED driver. So here are more questions:
1) Can DMX control a normal incandescent light bulb? If yes, how? If not we can change the lighting fixtures to LEDbut how do we deal with the transformers and drivers and the adressing?
2) Do we need a DMX driver for each fixture?
3) How do I integrated this with music?
4) How do integrate this with the rest of the Crestron lighting and AV system ?

So the first problem is how to guide the designer to create 300 custom lighting fixtures that are DMX addressable. The second problem is how to make them dance to the music...

Thanks in advance for any help.
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James Feenstra

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Re: Help Needed
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2011, 09:55:34 pm »

1) Can DMX control a normal incandescent light bulb? If yes, how? If not we can change the lighting fixtures to LEDbut how do we deal with the transformers and drivers and the adressing?
yes, but it needs a dimmer...technically the dimmer is controlling the bulb though
Quote
2) Do we need a DMX driver for each fixture?
not if you're running off dimmers...you need a single dimmer with enough channels so each fixture can be on it's own channel
Quote
3) How do I integrated this with music?
some form of lighting control software, ie; grandma, hog, vista, avolites, light jockey, etc
Quote
4) How do integrate this with the rest of the Crestron lighting and AV system ?
although i don't know crestron overly well, i'd assume it has some kind of timecode or scene trigging abilities (+/- 12dv analog even), in which case you'd need a console that can accept that kind of input in order to recall scenes from whatever kind of lighting control you're using

Quote
So the first problem is how to guide the designer to create 300 custom lighting fixtures that are DMX addressable. The second problem is how to make them dance to the music...
you could go with custom addressed dimmers that do a single channel each, although it'd probably be a lot cheaper to get 300x1.2k dimmers (maybe even smaller dimmers, depending on the required wattage of the fixtures) and a small controller that does scene recall and is relatively easy to program...
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duane massey

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Re: Help Needed
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2011, 10:08:12 pm »

DMX is a control language that has become the entertainment industry. You would need 300 channels of dimmers controllable by DMX for incandescent control, or 300 fixtures that responded to DMX control. Controller could be any of several software-based systems or a simple stand-alone controller
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Duane Massey
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Houston, Texas

Todd Black

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Re: Help Needed
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2011, 10:25:52 pm »

Hi all,

I am a residential integrator and to be honest I am trying slowly to do some commercial work but it seems this is a whole different animal and it requires exteme knowledge and dedication. I hope slowly with the help of this forum to become better and start doing some commercial work.

This is for a project we are working on:

I need to control about 300 or more custom lighting fixtures for a commercial wide and long corridor. The catch is that each fixture should behave as an individual dimming circuit so that it can be integrated with the music system to allow the fixtures to "dance" along with the music in various dimming patterns. Another option other than the fixtures dancing to the music will be the fixtures following someone moving along the corridor which we can do using occupancy sensors.

I have Crestron lighting in the other rooms of the property but does not seem appropriate to use normal dimming lighting modules for the above room. The problems that I see with using normal resi Crestron lighting modules are the following:
1) the lighting modules are not designed to be constantly switching on/off and dimming for 10 or more hours every day
2) Each lighting fixture will only have one bulb and will consume less power than the required rating of the Crestron dimmer. I know we can add a booster on each circuit but still does not sound like the best solution.
3) Integration with the music system e.g 3-4 sources
4) Huge costs for 300+ individual dimming circuits

The custom lighting fixtures are supposed to be incandescent based but the designer can change to other bulb technologies if needed.

I am thinking that DMX is the solution here but I am not sure what is needed to achieve this result. I have done various resi DMX projects in the past controlled by different control systems but all were LED based and we used an interface to connect to a DMX-IN port on the LED driver. So here are more questions:
1) Can DMX control a normal incandescent light bulb? If yes, how? If not we can change the lighting fixtures to LEDbut how do we deal with the transformers and drivers and the adressing?
2) Do we need a DMX driver for each fixture?
3) How do I integrated this with music?
4) How do integrate this with the rest of the Crestron lighting and AV system ?

So the first problem is how to guide the designer to create 300 custom lighting fixtures that are DMX addressable. The second problem is how to make them dance to the music...

Thanks in advance for any help.

Is this in the USA? NEC (unless you are in one of the few places still on an older edition) now requires all luminaries (light fixtures) to be 'Listed' which means listed by UL or another NRTL. It could cost into five figures to get your custom fixtures listed.
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Harris Epa

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Re: Help Needed
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2011, 10:27:26 pm »

James and Duanne,

thank you for your answers. Each lighting fixture (channel) will only have one bulb (20-30W) each and the designer prefers this to be incadescent. With the Lutron and Crestron dimmers we usually use a dimming circuit (channel) costs about $150-200 to be dimmed. What is the average cost for a channel of a very good quality commercial dimmer?

The only reason I mentioned DMX was to avoid the cost of the dimmers but this means we have to go with LED fixtures and I am now not so sure the designer will accept that. If he does accept LEDs do you have any recommendation for a generic addressable LED driver we can use?

Regarding music integration can this happen automatically? i.e can I tell the software/controller that I have 2 long rows of 150 lighting channels and then it will automatically switch on-off/raise/lower individual channels based on the kind of music?
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Harris Epa

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Re: Help Needed
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2011, 10:31:20 pm »

Is this in the USA? NEC (unless you are in one of the few places still on an older edition) now requires all luminaries (light fixtures) to be 'Listed' which means listed by UL or another NRTL. It could cost into five figures to get your custom fixtures listed.

Todd, no we are in Europe and at the moment they allow this - at least in our country...
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duane massey

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Re: Help Needed
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2011, 10:44:28 pm »

You can find dmx-controlled dimmers for less than $100 per channel. Elation makes a 12x10a that MAP's for around $1k, Pulsar makes some stuff, and I'm sure there are others out there. There are any number of DMX-controlled LED fixtures that could be purchased for less than $100, but the actual performance/look of the fixture may not be appropriate.
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Duane Massey
Technician, musician, stubborn old guy
Houston, Texas

Ray Cerwinski

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Re: Help Needed
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2011, 11:26:04 pm »

http://www.dfd.com/dmx24dim.html

13 of those will give you 312 channels of DMX control over a small load.
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Ray Cerwinski

duane massey

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Re: Help Needed
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2011, 11:03:45 am »

http://www.dfd.com/dmx24dim.html

13 of those will give you 312 channels of DMX control over a small load.

Great find, Ray, I haven't visited their website in a while.
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Duane Massey
Technician, musician, stubborn old guy
Houston, Texas

Harris Epa

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Re: Help Needed
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2011, 05:54:36 am »

Thank you all so far, I have learned a lot about this the last days and the posts in this thread has help me a lot.

Some more questions:

1) Which brands are considered the "best" for commercial entertainment dimmers? I am looking for 230v wallmount ones that include breakers and at least 24 channels. Some brands I found from my research that look good are the following:
ETC, Zero88 and Strand.

2) In the above dimmers what does the DMX protocol commands allow to do to each channel? i.e how extensive is the protocol?

3) Any guidance for a generic DMX dimmable LED driver and compatible bulbs? This might be another option for the custom lighting fictures.

4) Regarding music integration it seems everybody uses the Light Jockey mentioned above or similar hardware from grandma, hog, vista, avolites again as mentioned above. The problem wil all these is you have to create the lighting effects manually and you have to time sync it with the music. In our case though we need something that will create the effects automatically i.e tell the software/controller that I have 2 long rows of 150 lighting channels and then it will automatically switch on-off/raise/lower individual channels based on the kind of music. Does something like this exist?
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