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Control/Dimming 5pin control with 3pin dimmer packs

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Sylak, Nov 15, 2006.

  1. Sylak

    Sylak Member

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    Is there a way to convert a 3-pin DMX Run to a 5-pin run so i could use an ETC Idea 48 with a set of NSI portable dimmer packs? I know 3-5 pin XLR convertors exsist, and are realativley cheap, but woul the work or are the devices using diffrent standards?
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2006
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  3. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    First off, what is an ETC Idea 48? I searched google and ETCs website with no results.

    I am assuming that the Idea 48 is outputting DMX over a 5 pin XLR port. You also have however many NSI dimmers with 3 pin XLR input ports. The problem lies in the fact that most NSI equipment uses a different language (Microplex, a 128 bit signal), which is not a cable adaptor but a box which converts the signal.

    If these NSI dimmers are running off of DMX then yes, go right ahead, and everything will work fine. NSI does have the option to put DMX ports into most of its consoles, and I assume they make DMX dimmers as well. However, if the dimmers are running off microplex and your console is outputting DMX, you need additional equipment.

    If this is the case, there are ways to deal with the problem. I purchased a DMX to Multiplex adaptor from CB user DMXTools a few years back which worked very well for me. Going from my ETC Express, I ran data thru a 5 pin to 3 pin adaptor, then into the DMX to Multiplex adaptor. At that point I had 3 pin microplex to run straight to the NSI dimmers.

    You could purchase the DMX-Microplex adaptor from http://www.dfd.com/ (as well as CB user DMXTools, where I got mine)

    I purchased my 5 pin to 3 pin dmx adaptor from http://northernsound.net/Sales/cablesconnectors/frame.html (which was the lowest price I found).


    I hope this is clear, but let me know if I should re-explain anything. My mind is slightly jumbled at the present time, and this may have turned out jumbled....
     
  4. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    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.
    http://www.etcconnect.com/docs/docs_downloads/datashts/Idea_2-Scene.pdf
     
  5. Flyboy

    Flyboy Member

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    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
    Chances are that it is going to be a multiplex dimmer and that you will need a DMX 512 to AMX translator. There are many different models, and you probably don't need anything fancy--just something to get the job done.
    If this is not a permanent installation, you might even check with any rental companies in your area...rentals for this type of equipment tends to be rather inexpensive.
     
  6. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    HI
    NSI has several lines of dimmers, all of which support Microplex, Some of which can be converted to DMX.

    The reason you NEVER want to connect microples to DMX is that the NSI dimmers provide power to their consoles (the 7xxx series via the microplex cable)

    The dimmer packs and units that can be converted are the DDS packs (EXCEPT for the DDS3600r relay unit) and the DS rack units can be converted. The ND and the NRD are NOT dmx convertable

    THE DDS UNITS (6000) is the higher power ones they have a version with one power cord and two power cords and are good little units and can be converted

    Basically the conversion is adding a chip that takes the dmx signal and adding the xlr connectors. The xlr connectors from the kit are the 5 pin variety.

    It is not widely known but you can actually have these packs have both protocols (I have bunches of them) What I do is to punch out the top cover by the logo and add the 5 pin connectors and the chips and then we can support both mpx and dmx.

    the rack mounted units are harder to have run both protocols due to space limitations for the connectors

    IF you have a DDS pack, then you need to make SURE it has been converted if it still have the three pin connector, most likely it has NOT.
    If you power up the pack and use a meter and check the voltage across pin 1 and pin 2 it will be +12volts if it is MPX (Pin 3 is the signal line).
    IF you get the voltage DO NOT PLUG IT INTO A DMX SYSTEM as you will damage the system.

    The conversion kit is called opt5512 it lists for about 110 but discounts are widely available.

    You can also get a unit that converts DMX to MPX but IMO converting the packs over is a much better way to go.

    Sharyn
     
  7. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Don't know about NSI, but all the leprecon and lightronics dmx dimmers I've seen are 5 pin. All the MPX have 3 pin. So make sure you check the manual before connecting.

    Bill from ESC (my first choice if I were still buying gear) should have them and could probably ship the same day you order.
     
  8. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    Don't rely on just the manual, if you have 12volts across pins 1 and 2 you have mpx.

    Sharyn
     
  9. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Why would you pay $20 to make a 3-5 or 5-3 converter ?
    Or is that just me being really cheap ?
     
  10. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I said under because our local lighting supplier charges $22 for 3-5 or 5-3 adapters, but NSL charges only $12 or so. If you add up the cost (especially with Neutrik connectors), it's rather pricey to get the 2 connectors and the cable and then solder the whole deal together and strain-relief it properly.
     
  11. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    So... did anyone figure out the model number of the OP's dimmers... So we can actually answer this question, that being if it takes DMX or not?
     
  12. Sylak

    Sylak Member

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    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.
     
  13. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Now I'm fascinated, How can the use of a dimmer be unethical ? Ok, maybe in Amish country, possible among the Menenites.....


    "You keep using 'dat word, I don't think it means what you think it means "
    - Indigo Montoya, The Princess Bride
     
  14. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH YOUR NUMBERING
    is it a DDS5600 then it CAN be upgraded
    If it is ND5000 then it CANNOT be upgraded

    You might want to check the model numbers, based on your post I think you are in luck.

    If it is the nd series then you are sort of stuck since most converters are around 250 dollars, you might be able to find one cheaper

    IF you do the upgrade you will get your money back if you later sell them as people use the 5600 as dmx controlled relay or low power dimmers


    Sharyn
     
  15. Sylak

    Sylak Member

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    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.


    To install a dimmer rack, we'd have to spend money that can't be raised easily (since the district won't pay for this project due to budget constraints, the Summer Thearre group who will be the only people using it for shows)

    Therefore, for price reasons, its easier to purchase DMX dimmer packs and hook them together (and instrall 2 or 3 light bars) then get cheap par cans and/or bring over a few unused elipsoidals from the high school, fix teh colored stips (probably the most expensive part of this endevor) and it'll be in working order.

    Probably the only part the District would pay for is the strips (they probably have aspostes)

    And thus ends my reasoning as to why Rack dimmers are unethical

    (on a side note, that auditorium also has no A/C so thats not very condusive to the cooling of dimmers, now is it?)

    EDIT: SHARYNF, the reason we cant peremantly convert the dimmer packs is becuase they would only be a temporary use until we actually got a real dimmer system for teh middle school, the live in teh TV Studio at the High School with they own 32-channel tw-scene preset board (but no cues, hence why i wanted to use the Idea)
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2006
  16. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Ah ! I see Perhaps a small sensor rack / cube might be worth looking into ? or is it that you already have the NSI packs ? I have to say that personally I'm not a huge fan of NSI, we used to think the name actually meant No Signal Integrity, and honestly I used to hate renting them out to use with anything other than an NSI board.
     
  17. Sylak

    Sylak Member

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    the NSI packs would just be a temporary thing, like i said im, pricing a pack system atm (waiting for a few cataloges to come in so i can check the modles i want agains prices in Stage Technology catalog)
    But the Idea board was also going to go in the TV Studio if i twas possible to connect the dimmers
     
  18. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    ok having been down this path before:

    You can upgrade the dimmers quite easily there is a chip that plugs into a socket, and the additional xlr's. as I mentioned I have done this quite a bit and you can have both systems on the same pack at the same time, you change the settings on the dip switches for the addresses based on what you are using.
    This way they can be used both ways.

    IF I remember Northernsound sold be the kits for about 60 dollars each. This way if you ever need to borrow these in the future they are available.

    You could also install the upgrade, assuming they don't need to use them in mpx mode and then remove the upgrade

    Chances are they are using a nsi console. If it is a s70xx series it to can be simply ugraded ( IF i remember correctly the upgrade kit for the console is the same or some of the units actually have the dmx chip in already and just need to add the 5 pin connector)

    I was in the same position, and looked at all the options, and this way for me worked out best.

    Having worked with packs or racks the issue in a lot of cases comes down to how you have your power setup. The rack gets wired in directly typically with three phase power. The packs typically the 6000+ units need to be pluged into two 20 amp outlets if you want to run full power.

    If you upgrade the packs and their console probably for about 200 dollars total you will them be able to use any of the units in either place.

    Sharyn
     
  19. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    Definitely in an mpx config the only console that reliably works with them is an NSI. Since it was analog, and based on the voltage and the plus to re sync the units is a royal pain and not very reliable with other manufacturers


    Sharyn
     

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