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12v DMX dimmer

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by Logos, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    I have just completed a run of "The Witches of Eastwick" Act 1 finishes with a flying scene. Very wisely the production decide to build some trolleys with stands on. The Witches stepped back off Rostra and onto the footsteps of the trolleys which were about 4 feet off the ground ( 1.2metres ). The Director was keen that the trolleys not be seen.
    There was a base on the trolley which came forward about 1.5 meters (5 feet) and I put 12 volt birdies powered by motor cycle batteries. 12v / 8 amp hour. The birdies were 50w so two of them drew 8 amps at 12v and only needed to be on for about 7 minutes. Flying effect where the lights remained focused on the ladies wherever the trolleys went with no cabling to trip over. The only problem was that I had to rely on floor crew to turn the lights on at the right moment and it never once happened all at the same time despite very strict calling by the SM.
    My question:
    Have any of you guys come across a DMX operated 12volt dimmer I could rig with a wireless DMX system if I ever have to do this again.
    (Or even a 12 volt DMX operable solenoid switch I guess also with a wireless DMX. I have only just thought of that.) I would prefer the dimmer though I think.
     
  2. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    Yes.

    http://www.theatrewireless.com/

    Jim Smith there is a GREAT resource. He's very willing to work with you to get the effect you need. And, the products do perform very well.

    --Sean
     
    Logos likes this.
  3. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

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    I don't remember what for but I've considered a cheap nearly off-the-shelf solution for operating low voltage devices wirelessly with a little modification. There is made a wireless doorbell chime set-up that has a little pushbutton that you can mount anywhere and a door chime that is battery powered that can work at some distance from the button. If one were so inclined, one could dig into the chime and using some combination of solenoids/relays and timer electronics make your very own short-range wireless activator. A push of the button and the chime's circuit would be sending a certain voltage to what used to be a speaker but is now a timer chip that could keep a relay open for x amount of seconds. OR do it push-on/push-off style where the first button push turns the remote lights on and the second turns them off. The advantage to all of this being that a rig like this could be built for less than about $30. There is also the possibility of modifying a device designed to wirelessly switch mains power for christmas lights etc. Not DMX controlled but it sounds like by the application described it may not have to be.
     
  4. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I will speak to that. I just purchased one of their package systems (there is a thread about that somewhere) and it works great. The amazing thing is that their smallest dimmer units are just a little bigger than 2 9V batteries and they can handle up to 15A at 24V but will operate on 6V. The use a PWM dimmer and even the smallest one give you two channels of dimming.

    The wireless coverage is great also. We have a fairly sizable 1000 seat house with the booth three floors up from the stage and all the way in the back. I set up the transmitter in the booth, as it was the most convenient place, and it covers the entire house and stage, and most of FOH with signal. In all of the testing I did, I never had a dropout in any show critical location. However, for the faint of heart you can get an upgraded transmitter (for $50) that has a standard WIFI antenna port on it. This can be connected to any WIFI antennas to boost your gain, from parabolic directionals to large dipoles or sectionals.

    The first show that I used them for, we built them into lamps that were carried around by actors and then had to dim. Each lamp was driven by 8 AA batteries (12V) and 2 paris of 6V lamps, each pair in series. Worked great. Now, for our next show I am driving 8 12V MR-16 fixtures off a 20Ah lead acid battery through the dimmer. (this one you will have to wait for photos for, I am not going to spoil this effect).

    So, personally, I think it is totally worth the investment in the RC4 (theatrewireless) system. It is totally scaleable, and can also be used for wireless DMX as they not only make the wireless dimmer but wireless DMX receivers as well. All North American orders ship overnight, and they do offer an educational/academic discount.
     
  5. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    I will probably invest in one of these systems providing
    1/ The transmitter can work on 220/240 volt
    2/ The frequency and range are within the allowable in Australia.
    My investigations continue.

    Tony Moore
     
  6. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I would imagine, that you guys have wall wart transformer/inverters that adapt 220V AC to 12V DC, just like we have 120V AC to 12V DC. Like cell phone chargers. I don't know what the Australian laws are on wireless, but this device operates in the same spectrum as 2.4GHz WiFi. The transmitter is designed to scan for some free air in that range and when it finds a suitable space it starts broadcasting. Then the receivers just look for the transmitter. I was a little skeptical of the fact that it operates in that frequency range, but we have at least 4 WiFi networks in our building and a bunch of people have 2.4GHz cordless phones in their offices, and we have had no interference so far.

    If you can, I would give the guys at RC4 a call, they are very nice and very helpful. I am sure they would be happy to wrk with you to get you whatever you need to make the system work for you. They would also know if anyone else near you has any of their equipment such that you may be able to go check it out before investing.
     
  7. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    We ordered some of the RC4 and were not overly impressed with the quality of the product. But that's just us.
     
  8. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    Which ones did you buy, and what was the intended use?

    --Sean
     
  9. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    I'll throw my opinion into the mix. Since Icewolf bought our new RC4 system I have really come to like them. The fact that their wireless dimmers are powerful enough to be hooked up to what I can best describe as a motorcycle battery to run a system similar to what was originally described (actually though wow we were just talking about this a week or two ago when I read it the first time) and then are small enough to fit in a table lamp with enough batteries to run 4 small lamps for 2+ hours just amazes me. Grog if you weren't impressed I'd really like to hear details about why cause I love the things.
     
  10. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    http://www.theatrewireless.com/rc4magic.htm

    First off...my boss is the one who purchased them and while he probably misunderstood what they were actually intended for...I was told that they would be able to power something with a little more voltage.

    That being said for the price point I wasn't impressed with the materials used to construct them and didn't think they'd hold up in our application (onstage West Side Practicals). It became more econmic to stick with a hidden wire run than to try to hide batteries ect for the RC4Magic.

    That being said I'm sure their other products are a bit better.
     
  11. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    Of course it's more economical to use something wired.....contrary to the current thinking in the computer/consumer electronic world wireless is NOT really better.

    What is "West Side Practicals"?

    --Sean
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  12. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Practicals for West Side Story.
     
  13. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    Having used both the RC4, and now the Magic dimmers from them, I really am curious as to what you were doing with these practicals. What would you have liked to be different about the packs, etc?


    --Sean
     
  14. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    For them to be made out of a little bit more durable plastic. And for them to not seem like a high school sciene fair project...
     
  15. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    Did they break?

    --Sean
     

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