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Control/Dimming Choice of Inexpensive PC USB/DMX Boxes

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by warriordba, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. warriordba

    warriordba Member

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    Hi folks, a month or so again folks here helped us with some questions about EDI dimmers DMX boxes etc.

    Well we wanted to try out something just a proof of concept w/o spending too much money. We ran across a box from Eletronics 123 , the VM116. It handles up to 512 channels and comes with software all for about $69. There is some freeware software called Freestyler that apparently can work with it as well.

    We also saw on Ebay an Enttec Pro USB/DMX Box. The Enttec Pro on Ebay is under $200. The software can be pricey but apparrently the Freestyler program wil work with it.

    Given we do not have a lot of money to play with, are these reasonable options to try as a profo of concept and even do a show with?

    This whole process stated as a way replace a Mintrel Plus board since it was rather limited and we wanted something we coud program etc.

    Thanks as Always,

    Glenn
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    The least expensive hardware and best software (in my opinion, as I'm well-versed in the HogII) is the Enttec Open USB DMX ($60 US) and Chamsys MagicQ software ($0). I also intend to look at Abuelites ($0), as it seems it may be more conventional-friendly.
     
  3. mc2880

    mc2880 Member

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    Another vote for the Enttec, I would suggest that you look at the Pro version, it adds isolation on the data line and does processing on the unit instead of being entirely dependant on the computer.

    My current setup at home and small events is the Enttec Open USB + Freestyler. I've found it to work well although it crashes for me a bit on the laptop. I've heard of people using it for shows, I'm sure others here can comment better on relability.

    You don't need to buy it on Ebay, get it right from the manufacturer. ENTTEC - Lighting Control,RDM,DMX USB PRO
     
  4. warriordba

    warriordba Member

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    Thanks, one concern I had was Chamsys looked pretty complicated for beginners. Is that true or do you think we could pick it up quickly? Was the instability you mentioned due to the Freestyler software or the DMX/USB interface driver? We'd really hate to have this crashdoing a show. Does Freestyler let you design, save and run the show?

    Thanks again,

    Glenn
     
  5. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    As someone who does not run a Hog, the Chamsys software is confusing. I've spent a fair amount of time working through the manual though, and it is a snazzy little program. It's free, so if you have the time you might download it and experiment.

    If you want to spend money, of all the PC programs I looked at Bluelite X1 seemed to be the most user-friedly, and if I remember right was priced around $800 for the program/DMX output.
     
  6. mc2880

    mc2880 Member

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    You know, I never really did decide to trace it completely. I've only used it once during a show as a temporary replacement for a Marquee.

    Alot of the crashing seemed to be caused by the part of freestyler that responds to incoming audio (i was having it bounce some movers for a dance). I haven't seen anything cause a crash yet.
     
  7. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I am well versed on the hog, but i am having issues with figuring out the chamsys, though i have not had a whole lot of time to play with it lately.
     
  8. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Freestyler is great in concept, but crap in actuality, soo many bugs which make it practically useless....
     
  9. herbiethemisfit

    herbiethemisfit Member

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    +1 for the Enttec USB Open. I purchased that with the 36-channel license version of their Lightfactory software. Have used it to run several plays/musicals with 4 4-channel ebay dimmers (~$60 each) and conventional fixtures. Lightfactory is also great for running soundFX within a show.

    I've never had the software crash on me during a show, but it's not 100% bug free. Decent support via Enttec's forums and email.
     
  10. thelightguy87

    thelightguy87 Active Member

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    I would also HIGHLY recommend the Enttec Pro. I've become biased towards lightfactory as I have the 36 channel license. I have been trying other free lighting software but always go back to lightfactory. It's been reliable every show i've done with it, have noticed bugs and have had it crash when programming but never in a show when running cues, effects or shortcuts.
     
  11. warriordba

    warriordba Member

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    Thanks again everyone for the great advice.We have decided to go with the Enttec Pro rather than the cheaper boxes. We will probably just "mess around" with some of the free software until we get a proof of concept going then ask for the money to get Light Factory. We have a total of 118 dimmers but we need to count up how many we actually use so we can decide which license we need.

    Thanks again for all the helpful positive advice from everyone. You all have been a great help to us.

    Best Regards,

    Glenn
     

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