The Idea was a console made by ETC in the early 90's that is both a two scene preset and a cue based controller. Its a very stable console. It was what originaly set the stage for the expression line. I still believe its one of the better two scene/cue hybrids out there. And yes, it does output DMX.
I personally have never heard of an NSI brand dimmer that inputs DMX. This is not to say it's impossible, just unlikely. If you don't have the operator's manuals (which you should), you can go to NSI's page and check the specs on your dimmer: http://lms.leviton.com/productsfamlist.aspx?id=3]http://lms.leviton.com/productsfamlist.aspx?id=3
Why would you pay $20 to make a 3-5 or 5-3 converter ?You MUST MAKE SURE that the 3-pin signal is DMX and not the NSI Multiplex protocol. If it's the Multiplex protocol, and you adapt it with a straight cabling adapter, you'll fry your ETC board. But, if you KNOW that it's dmx (I don't know any NSI gear that uses 3pin dmx), you can get a cable 3-5/5-3 cable adapter for under twenty bucks.
If it's the NSI protocol, you'll need a protocol converter. And that's more expensive.
Now I'm fascinated, How can the use of a dimmer be unethical ? Ok, maybe in Amish country, possible among the Menenites.....The packs are DD5600's, so they don't use DMX 512, which means ill have to look into either pricing on a diffrent pack system or invest in the convertor, since this is intended to be only a temporary setup until we can get permenant packs for the location, since a dimmer rack is unethical for this application.
It's unethical because of the use of the auditorium im loking at (Middle School) is only used for concerts adn schoool assemblies, mostly because its so upgradeably unfriendly.