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Control/Dimming DMX control from a PDA or smart phone

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by neilmccallum, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. neilmccallum

    neilmccallum Member

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    Hi Guys, Just joined today.

    This year I was designing the lighting plot, but I found while I was running about up and down the scafold changing channels etc... It was a time consuming process.

    So I am looking for a some advice and cheap way to connect a PDA / smart phone to a dmx devices.

    What I was thinking is to get the following:

    PC / Laptop
    Usb to DMX dongle
    DMX merger
    DMX web interface or PDA software
    PDA / smart phone with wireless connectivity
    Wireless router

    I already have the phone, laptop and wireless router.

    So therefore I can be away from the desk either on stage or up the scafold tower and change the channels.

    Here from you soon.
     
  2. Dionysus

    Dionysus Well-Known Member

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    We have a laptop with horizon at the livery, along with an old strand lightboard M.
    When we are doing focus we hook up the horizon interface, and with our wireless network remote desktop the laptop with a PDA. It works great.
    (We have the old version that we very much like better).
     
  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Nomenclature is a bit off, as it's impossible to get a PDA/SmartPhone to output DMX512. However, IF a console supports networking, (ShowNet, ETCnet2/3, Art-Net, et cetera) there are many options available. An iPhone iRFR will be available from ETC soon. A colleague has been using his SmartPhone, with I believe "virtual network" (VPL?, VTL?) or some such to as a remote for a grandMA for years.

    However, see this, and subsequent posts.

    Hope this helps.:)
     
  4. ScottH

    ScottH Member

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    Look into Vocus from Enttec. It uses a usb/dmx dongle and software to interperate voice commands. Just hook up a wireless mic and tell your virtual board-op what channels you want.
    @derekleffew: i believe you are referring to a VPN. I'm not positive how it works, exactly but I'm definitely going to look into it.
     
  5. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Any wireless solution you consider needs to be able to remotely control the main desk. So the first question should be: what board do you have and can you connect it to some wireless protocol/network?

    Other than that, you're looking for some sort of Remote Focus Unit. Some consoles have it, some tours have something that is wired, so they build a "talk-back" line into their lighting snake. But regardless, you need to start from the main desk and see what its limitations and capabilities are regarding remote units.
     
  6. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

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  7. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    That's it! Thank you. VPN: Virtual Private Network.
    edit: or maybe not. VNC? I know there's a "V" in it.:)
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2009
  9. neilmccallum

    neilmccallum Member

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    Hi Guys

    We have the following hardware.

    Zero88 Fat Frog (48)
    Zero88 Chilli (24)
    Zero88 Demux (24) connecting to
    2x Strand Environ racks (12)
    3x Strand Mini2 dimmers

    From what i've found on the web, it is possible to connect a PDA / Smartpohne. But I don't think its possible to get an RFU for the fat frog desk.

    That's why am thinking that having a pc / laptop with the usb dongle and fat frog both connected to a DMX merger and using HTP mode. I should in theory be able to control channels both the RFU and desk.

    I've had a look at this software, but the marquee verison is what I am looking for, the demo looks pretty cool, I've also looked at "light Factory".
     
  10. kmontagne

    kmontagne Member

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    My solution to "remote" access works well in the WholeHog III world where I usually work. I use Virtual Network Computing (VNC) from my iPhone. I installed a VNC server on my Hog3PC computer. I use the free version of RealVNC but others will work as well. The Hog3PC computer is either the primary show control or it is "logged in" to the main console if I am using a full-fledge WholeHog III or a Road Hog Full Boar. In either case the Hog3PC computer is connected to a wireless network. I connect my iPhone to that wireless network and use the free iPhone app Mocha VNC Lite to connect to the Hog3PC. I now have virtual control over the PC. I see the full screen on the iPhone -- even for multiple displays -- and can control things either by mouse clicks or using the iPhone's touch keyboard. Fine control of the wheel encoders is very challenging but adjusting levels on groups or individual fixtures is a breeze.

    I cannot claim credit for the idea but I have been using it with great success for a while. It sure is nice to have a pocket size remote when standing on the stage or up in a lift during focus.

    --
    Kevin Montagne
     
  11. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    To the best of my knowledge, the pocket DMX console? Here or have you considered something like a USB-DMX dongle and a Smartphone/iPhone/NetBook, and using VNC. I think I had better explain what VNC is, it basically allows you to "remotely controll" a computer on the same network (with special software, some free) and you see the same as they see, you see the screen, and can control it.
    Hope this helped.
    Nick Jones
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2009
  12. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Derek,

    I think your friend is using VNC as the last couple of guys have suggested. You can run VNC over a VPN connection in case things were too simple :twisted:

    It's like Windows remote desktop, but not locking out the local computer when the remote is in use (normally).
     
  13. neilmccallum

    neilmccallum Member

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    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for your input, but I have finially can up with a working solution, but it's only taken a year.

    A laptop connects to our dmx system via the Velleman VM116. The Visual Basic source code that came on the CD now includes button entries for dmx channels and 6 sliders instead of 4. The phone then connects to the laptop via wireless and using a free VNC software both on the laptop and phone, I can then use the lighting control software.

    Good points - the range is pretty good within the hall and simple control for noobs to use.

    Bad Points - It can be a bit laggy and wireless is a bit flakey.

    Future - I think i'll see about getting a cheap wireless router, this might increase the speed and performance.
     

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