Control/Dimming Combined DMX Universes?

I am the lighting technician at a high school theater. This year we rented some Dmx lights, which are new to us as we have previouly use all in house fixtures that have a separate dimmer rack. There is in house wiring to carry Dmx from where the board is to backstage, which would be really helpful to use, but there is one problem. The pre-setup wiring has capacity for 2 Dmx universes, but there is only one output. The inputs are labeled “Dmx 1 in” and “Dmx 2 in” but the outputs all say “Dmx Out” Does anyone know how this would work or what I would have to do to make it work as two separate universes? Thanks!
 

seanandkate

Well-Known Member
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I gather that you are talking about 5 pin connections. I don't think you can't combine DMX universes that way. You are probably looking for another drop somewhere, perhaps at grid height or on an electric. You could test the drop by running the DMX stage output to a DMX controlled anything, patching it into a address in the first universe to confirm signal, then patch it to an address in the second universe and do the same thing. Then re-label the output properly so those who come after you don't have to do the same thing.
 

SteveB

Well-Known Member
I am the lighting technician at a high school theater. This year we rented some Dmx lights, which are new to us as we have previouly use all in house fixtures that have a separate dimmer rack. There is in house wiring to carry Dmx from where the board is to backstage, which would be really helpful to use, but there is one problem. The pre-setup wiring has capacity for 2 Dmx universes, but there is only one output. The inputs are labeled “Dmx 1 in” and “Dmx 2 in” but the outputs all say “Dmx Out” Does anyone know how this would work or what I would have to do to make it work as two separate universes? Thanks!

Questions;

1) Where is the console, you say backstage ?, are the DMX inputs connections (male 5 pin XLR DMX connectors) located adjacent to the lighting console ?.
2) You state "only one output", but then state "the outputs all say" as in multiple. Which is it ?, one or 2 outputs ?, which would be a female 5 pin XLR DMX connector.

Possibly the DMX 1 input at the console goes right to the dimmer rack with DMX 2 input going to the output connector you see - on stage ?. If that's the case, Output 2 is the DMX connection you would want to use for adding gear.

Some pics would help
 
Questions;

1) Where is the console, you say backstage ?, are the DMX inputs connections (male 5 pin XLR DMX connectors) located adjacent to the lighting console ?.
2) You state "only one output", but then state "the outputs all say" as in multiple. Which is it ?, one or 2 outputs ?, which would be a female 5 pin XLR DMX connector.

Possibly the DMX 1 input at the console goes right to the dimmer rack with DMX 2 input going to the output connector you see - on stage ?. If that's the case, Output 2 is the DMX connection you would want to use for adding gear.

Some pics would help
I can’t get pics right now, but I will upload some as soon as I can get them. There are multiple outputs located throughout the theater, but they are all labeled the same. There are also 2 sets of 5-pin inputs. One set backstage and one set in the light booth. I have tried using it as Dmx 2 output, but it doesn’t work. I have read things that say this could be due to some kind of offset, but I can’t get enough information to figure out what this was or how it works. Edit: The backstage inputs are directly connected to the module that controls the whole DMX system.
 

SamSam

Member
Usually in these setups all DMX outputs are attached to the "DMX 2 In" and DMX 1 in is dedicated just to dimmers. No guarantees though.
This is what I usually find in old systems as well.

You may need to send DMX down the lines 1 at a time, then plug something into each output to test if they are getting single from 1 or 2.

Also, when you say 'module that controls the whole DMX system' what is that?
 
This is what I usually find in old systems as well.

You may need to send DMX down the lines 1 at a time, then plug something into each output to test if they are getting single from 1 or 2.

Also, when you say 'module that controls the whole DMX system' what is that?
There is a server rack type box with a mounted Dmx panel, as well as a controller for the wall switches for the house lights. That’s where the backstage access to all the plugs are
 

SteveB

Well-Known Member
There is a server rack type box with a mounted Dmx panel, as well as a controller for the wall switches for the house lights. That’s where the backstage access to all the plugs are

Kind of really need pictures and maybe a sketch of the layout to get a handle on what you are dealing with. The initial read was maybe 1 or 2 DMX outputs, then in a later post you state "There are multiple outputs located throughout the theater, ". Maybe be specific with an actual count and location - "1 DMX Out on DR Prosc Wall" as example.

Echo'ing Bills comment that if you can find an ETC Job number they will have documents as to the wiring layout - as far as they knew about it and for what they provided.
 

DuckJordan

Well-Known Member
How long ago was this installed? We have something similar in our space however ETC's distributed DMX at the time was clunky at best and only worked for a month for us before the system was basically useless... We are in the process now of putting NET3 nodes in the panels that held the old DMX Distribution drivers.
 
The equipment is about 17 years old. (I assume, as the school was build in 2003, but they could have been added later) I’ll have pictures later to better describe the situation.
 

Lynnchesque

Well-Known Member
So, it sounds like the building is wired for one universe, with one board input location in the booth, and one alternate position backstage.
Just to be clear- are you sure you need a whole separate universe for your rental gear? How high do your dimmer numbers/channel numbers go? (Does your space have 500 dimmers, or is there maybe some room in that universe?)
 
So, it sounds like the building is wired for one universe, with one board input location in the booth, and one alternate position backstage.
Just to be clear- are you sure you need a whole separate universe for your rental gear? How high do your dimmer numbers/channel numbers go? (Does your space have 500 dimmers, or is there maybe some room in that universe?)
I don’t need a separate universe, but I need some kind of Dmx output backstage, and my initial thought was that the outputs were only outputting universe 2, which was why I was using the second universe. Using the first universe would also work.
 

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