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Adapter cable with XLR5 and XLR4

Discussion in 'Question of the Day' started by derekleffew, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Where might such an animal be (or have been) used?

    This question was inspired by this thread: http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/lighting/11397-dmx-amx-cable-adapter.html. We don't know if the OP follows the convention of listing the Male End First on adapters, so specify the genders in your answer as well as the pin-outs.

    There are at least two dissimilar answers.
     
  2. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Sending comm signal down dry DMX wiring possibly.
     
  3. dramatech

    dramatech Well-Known Member

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    To continue DMX from the end of a daisy chain of scrollers to other DMX items. The functions on the pins of 3 pin, 4 pin and 5 pin XLRs are the same when dealing with DMX. Pin 1 is ground to the DMX and also the ground side of 24vdc on scroller, Pin 2 is negative data and pin 3 is plus data. Pin 4 on scrollers is plus 24vdc. (this is not true on the Wybron colorram). pin 4 and 5 are not used in 5 pin DMX. The adapter mentioned had a male on both ends, which would not be the absolute proper configuration, but sometimes things are made up using what ever is at hand. The fact that most DMX fixtures do a passive loop of the DMX from the input connector to the output connector, means that it would work to use the cable as described. Wire pin 1 to 1, and 2 to 2 and 3 to 3. Leave pin 4 unused.
    I have wired my theatre with four pin cables to all of my electrics and scroller power on the connector. When I use portable or shoebox dimmers on that electric, I use a similar adapter. The only differance is that I use a four pin male and three pin female.
     
  4. n1ist

    n1ist Well-Known Member

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    Careful - thee are other scrollers out there with "non-standard" pinouts. Check before lettting the smoke out. The ColorRanger is one of these.
     
  5. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Please tell me it's not just a downunder thing...
    4M - 5M should be green cable :grin:
    It's a headset adapter - Headsets with 4F connectors are reasonably common here. If you encounter a beltpack or camera with a 5 pin (stereo) comms female, then you need the adapter...

    Not to say that the other uses may not be valid, but given that in post 11 in the aforementioned AMX - DMX cable notes male connectors both ends...
     
  6. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Running scroller power down a DMX cable would be a really, really bad idea. Not so much in a concept of would it work and in non-used pins being adapted to other purposes such as power or time stamping, (did that with the Hog Remote in powering it up from 400 to 500' away thru 24ga 8-pair cable,) and it was fine. This problem with doing so would be more about the amperage of a scrooler verses the gauge of wire that makes up a 2-pair DMX cable. The Hog remote was designed not to draw a lot in doing so. Even if a really, really heavy duty 2-pair DMX cable in use of 20ga (normally 24-22ga) - never seen one at 20ga., but I think they are out there, that's still not a large enough conductor size to power up the scrollers, especially given length of cable/number of feed thru connections voltage drop for even one scroller. Nor does it in shielding protect the data line from the interference of the power lines parallel to it. True scroller cable uses a 16-14ga conductor for the power and as seperately isolated in shielding, a single pair of data in the same cable. Can one do so... sure but really bad Karma.

    Problematic in concept both for voltage drop/over heating, and for getting data to your fixtures much less the down stream scrollers.

    If for Colorfader Scrollers, the scroller derrives power from a seperate source than from the data cable and it as also four pin (depending on how it works.) Could in theory work with such a 5:4 adaptor - assuming the Colorfader scrollers are digital DMX and not analog - don't know. Or if not that it only takes a drain and two pins I don't believe such scrollers do.

    I have made some 5:4 adaptors in the past (don't remember what they were for, but I did following pinology provided, mark their purpose when making them). Was some purpose for them, could have been Clear Com headset lengtheners but not realistic - more realistic for that will have been a 6:5 adaptor for doing dual channel. This given the headset is the only 4-pin on a Clear Com and other than in doing a follow spot or pin-rail, it's fairly rare you might need a longer leash on your headset and not be able to afford to just make a jumper instead of having to use adaptors in using DMX - much more expensive and combersome way to do it.

    By way of bad Karma in DMX, you are talking about someone that has successfully in the past taken a economy trouble light/work light cord reel and made it into a DMX cord reel (changed the wiring, removed the stops on the reel but the brushes transferring the signal were the same.) DMX is very robust but there is still certain rules about it unshielded in parallel with power circuits, and with the power circuit - gauge of wire that are not theory but instead rules to follow.

     
  7. dramatech

    dramatech Well-Known Member

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    Ship, either I didn't make myself clear or you didn't read what I wrote, with out having a preconceived notion. The adaptor that I use does not carry the scroller power, I only use it to get the DMX from the end of the scroller daisychain to the next item requiring DMX on the same pipe. The cable in the adaptor is 120 ohm twisted with a braided shield. The cables that run from my main scroller supply to the battens, is the same shielded cable with a 16 guage zip cord running parallel and secured every 10 inches with a short piece of heatshrink. The runs are less than 50 feet and there is never more than 6 scrollers on any one run. The theory can be discussed by many forever, but for 3 years with a total of 26 scrollers and occasional portable dimmers getting their DMX from the end of the scroller chain, there has never been so much as a glitch or any type or problem. I build my own Scroller supplies, which include a digital current meter. I always know exactly the load on every line. This all comes of necessity. Our Community theatre couldn't afford scrollers if I did it any other way. Plus the shoebox dimmers are a long way from being near the max number of items daisy chained on a DMX run. NO bad karma in our theatre.
     
  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    The two purposes I was thinking of were:
    1) headsets, as Chris15 has suggested, and
    2) In the late 1980s, some dimmers (Colortran D192 packs for sure, and I think LMI L86 packs, and possibly even some iteration of Strand CD80 packs) would accept either AMX192 or DMX512, but only had XLR5 connectors. So given a console like the MiniLightPalette, which (initially) only output AMX via a D4M, and a D192 pack whose input was a D5M, an A4F-A5F adapter would be required.

    I wrote the question before w3st0n21 told us the genders. Since his has males on both ends, I think it most likely was headset-related.
     
  9. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    My apologies in thinking it was something it was not and a caution there in.
     
  10. dramatech

    dramatech Well-Known Member

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    apology accepted, but not neccesary. Your caution about trying to run scrollers on too small of a wire is well founded, Not many theatre techs will realize that DC voltage drops very quickly over length when the wire is too small and then becomes part of the resistive load. The main reason for the return on scroller PSUs. Of course it also accomplishes terminating the DMX.
    It is obvious that you already know this and much more about stage electronics. I merely state it because there have been so many comments about scrollers as of late, and there seems to be lack of understanding of basic electrical, on the part of several CBers. That is what this forum is all about, the sharing of knowlege.
     

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