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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => Lighting Forum => Topic started by: Timothy J. Trace on December 29, 2020, 12:40:26 pm

Title: Wireless DMX on a budget in 2021 - Blizzard or Donner or ?
Post by: Timothy J. Trace on December 29, 2020, 12:40:26 pm
Greetings, I'm shopping low-budget wireless DMX systems for my four-tree bar band light show.

Blizzard and Donner seem to get decent reviews on Amazon, however, most of the topics here are years old. I guess I'm just that far behind the curve on adopting new technology  :D

Instruments are ADJ Ultra Hex Bars, ADJ Punch Pros, and old Chauvet effects similar to the Kinta FX. Control is D-Pro 2U and a DMX USB Pro MK2. Distribution is a Blizzard Pipeline 8-way box, but it will be shelved in my storeroom as I won't need it in the rig anymore.

AC power for the wireless DMX receivers can come from the passthrough IEC connectors on my instruments, using NEMA-15 adapters. If I end up with a battery-powered system, it will be plugged in all of the time. I don't want to deal with charging cycles and duty cycles and lifecycles.

So - here on the edge of 2020/21, is it Blizzard or Donner for the low-budget win? ... or something else?

Thank you!
Title: Re: Wireless DMX on a budget in 2021 - Blizzard or Donner or ?
Post by: Paul G. OBrien on December 29, 2020, 01:10:10 pm
Instruments are ADJ Ultra Hex Bars, ADJ Punch Pros, and old Chauvet effects similar to the Kinta FX. Control is D-Pro 2U and a DMX USB Pro MK2. Distribution is a Blizzard Pipeline 8-way box, to be shelved by the new wireless system.

Unless I misunderstand you don't need a hardware splitter with wireless DMX.. the wireless system is the splitter. For 4 trees you could get by with 4 receivers and 1 transmitter, all fixtures on a tree are hardwired together with the receiver on the first and a terminator on the last. Of course if you want to put a receiver in every fixture that works too, the largest event I have done used 28 wireless receivers and 1 transmitter.

I own both battery and hard wired XLR style Donner transceivers as well as some unnamed Chinese variants, and I recently outfitted some of my fixtures with internal wireless circuit boards sourced directly from china. I also own a bunch(20) of no name fixtures with built-in wireless DMX. All of this communicates flawlessly as long as all fixtures are set to slave mode.
Title: Re: Wireless DMX on a budget in 2021 - Blizzard or Donner or ?
Post by: Timothy J. Trace on December 29, 2020, 01:18:10 pm
Unless I misunderstand you don't need a hardware splitter with wireless DMX.

Thanks, Paul - I mean to say that it will be pulled from the rig and put on the shelf in my storeroom. :)  I've edited my OP.

I'll put you in the Donner camp. It seems to be a good value.

Thanks ;)
Title: Re: Wireless DMX on a budget in 2021 - Blizzard or Donner or ?
Post by: Dave Garoutte on December 29, 2020, 03:03:15 pm
I've had good results from the Donners.  Both with and without antennas. 
I did a test when I first got them and through two stud walls and 70 feet, they were working fine.
Title: Re: Wireless DMX on a budget in 2021 - Blizzard or Donner or ?
Post by: Joel T. Glaser on December 29, 2020, 05:14:39 pm
Timothy,
I've had very good results from the Donner wireless units. Been using them almost weekly for over 3 years.
I bought the battery powered, but have never used them without 110v power. I always seem to have outlets close by.
I bought the 1x7 set, with a single transmitter and 7 receivers. They've been enough for me and figured I'd add more if I ever needed them. So far, so good.
I normally have the transmitter at stage side, so I can't speak to distance of reach, but I've never had a single issue with drop outs or lost signal.
For me, the Donner are a no brainer. An inexpensive product that just works!
Title: Re: Wireless DMX on a budget in 2021 - Blizzard or Donner or ?
Post by: Timothy J. Trace on December 30, 2020, 02:05:06 pm
Thanks, guys - I'm going with the Donner kit with the 7 non-battery powered receivers from Amazon for $165. I figure I'm going to be using the wall warts all of the time anyway.

I love that I can pop into the forums after a looong absence and the community is still so very helpful. I appreciate you guys.
Title: Re: Wireless DMX on a budget in 2021 - Blizzard or Donner or ?
Post by: Brian Jojade on December 30, 2020, 06:50:49 pm
The Donner stuff works great.  I've got even cheaper Wosung knockoffs that I've been using for about 5 years that haven't let me down.  I'm pretty sure they are all the same thing, just with a different brand label on them.

The only thing I kinda hate about them is they are long connectors, and the power connection can be a bit of a hassle.  I have found just the PCB module available for dirt cheap. I've considered picking a few of those up and doing internal wireless modules in a few fixtures to eliminate the added external connections.  Haven't gotten that far yet though.
Title: Re: Wireless DMX on a budget in 2021 - Blizzard or Donner or ?
Post by: Mal Brown on January 02, 2021, 05:45:24 pm
another Donner user here.  So far, so good.
Title: Re: Wireless DMX on a budget in 2021 - Blizzard or Donner or ?
Post by: Rob Spence on January 02, 2021, 06:56:39 pm
Me too
Title: Re: Wireless DMX on a budget in 2021 - Blizzard or Donner or ?
Post by: Steve Garris on January 04, 2021, 11:55:13 am
I've used the Donner stuff successfully as well.
Title: Re: Wireless DMX on a budget in 2021 - Blizzard or Donner or ?
Post by: Scott Hofmann on January 09, 2021, 12:34:49 pm
The Donner stuff works great.  I've got even cheaper Wosung knockoffs that I've been using for about 5 years that haven't let me down.  I'm pretty sure they are all the same thing, just with a different brand label on them.

The only thing I kinda hate about them is they are long connectors, and the power connection can be a bit of a hassle.  I have found just the PCB module available for dirt cheap. I've considered picking a few of those up and doing internal wireless modules in a few fixtures to eliminate the added external connections.  Haven't gotten that far yet though.

RE the length of the Donner units, several years ago I ran into a situation where I had very little clearance behind the fixture so I made up a right angle XLR to put the Donner vertical instead of horizontal. I know you can buy a Neutrik right angle male to female 3-pin XLR but it seems to be incredibly expensive, so I made one using a NC3FRX right angle female
which has an internal threaded end for the chuck and a regular NC3MX which has an external threaded end. The NC3FRX keeps the Donner very close to the back of the fixture.
The pictures show the implementation however I only had the REVERSE OF THE CORRECT PARTS available so just pretend the black right angle male connector is the female fixture end!


Title: Re: Wireless DMX on a budget in 2021 - Blizzard or Donner or ?
Post by: Joel T. Glaser on January 12, 2021, 11:24:18 am
RE the length of the Donner units, several years ago I ran into a situation where I had very little clearance behind the fixture so I made up a right angle XLR to put the Donner vertical instead of horizontal. I know you can buy a Neutrik right angle male to female 3-pin XLR but it seems to be incredibly expensive, so I made one using a NC3FRX right angle female
which has an internal threaded end for the chuck and a regular NC3MX which has an external threaded end. The NC3FRX keeps the Donner very close to the back of the fixture.
The pictures show the implementation however I only had the REVERSE OF THE CORRECT PARTS available so just pretend the black right angle male connector is the female fixture end!

Great idea Scott. Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: Wireless DMX on a budget in 2021 - Blizzard or Donner or ?
Post by: Jeff Dine on January 23, 2021, 02:32:13 pm
I have 4 Donner receivers, 2 with batteries, 2 without.  The power switch on one of the battery powered ones has gone unreliable.  It can take several presses for it to change state.  Even when it is powered externally it needs to be switched on, so the iffy switch is still a problem.  The ones without a battery don't have a switch. My advice is that if you don't need the battery option don't go that route.  Also, it doesn't hurt to have an extra if going wired is problematic. 

Despite this issue, I'd still buy more Donner units should the need arise.  Mine are 3 or 4 years old now.  Batteries still last all night.