Dmx Interface / Light Types


Actually I have two questions.

(1) I've been looking to buy a dmx-usb interface for some time now. Several of the popular brands (Martin Light Jockey, Chauvet x-factor, ect.) are either rather exspensive, or they only work with THEIR OWN software. I'm having a difficult time navigating through cyberspace garbage. Could anyone recommend an interface that would work with many kinds of lighting software?

(1) My other question is about the types of light. What exactly is the different between the light produced buy s4 (incandescent i believe) and most intels (arc light???)?

Thanks for your help,
Usually it's both rather expensive AND only works with a given manufacturer's software... for good reason. A company may have a million dollars or so invested in software development. They need to get their money back and make a little profit or they won't stay in business. But it's pretty easy to copy software. If they charged what it was really worth, only a few people would buy, then thousands more would get pirated copies - they'd never make their money back.

So instead, they write the software with routines embedded in it that periodically check for a security code encrypted in the USB dongle. Then they practically give the software away (many of them publish it on their websites for downloading) and charge a bundle for the dongle, getting their money back that way. You can download and install the software on any computer, but if it doesn't see the right dongle, it only runs in demo mode.

The parts that go into a USB/DMX dongle are worth no more than about $30. What you're paying for is the security code: the right to use the software.

From a hardware standpoint, I could easily build the dongle and sell it for under $100 - and still make a profit. But it's very difficult to crack the encryption and figure out what the code is - the latest encryption algorithms would take the most powerful supercomputer in the world several years to crack. Without the security code, my dongle, even if it had exactly the same parts as theirs, wouldn't work.

Even if I could figure out the code, I wouldnt. I'm an inventor, trying to make a living off my ideas: my "intellectual property." If I don't respect other peoples' intellectual property, can I expect them to respect mine?

Well, in that case. . .

Well that's a bummer. . . (for me, not the company 8O )

In that case. . .knowing how well-versed you are in this field. Is there any place that you would recommend purchasing the hardware & software. I am very interested in Martin Light Jockey (or something you'd recommend). . .is there anywhere I can find it for under a grand?

Sorry. The truth is, they're beyond my budget, too, so I really haven't looked too closely. I'm not even sure what all is available. But I'm sure we have a few members who do have opinions on PC-based controllers. Anybody want to jump in here?

i have a question. we're hoping to get 2 moving mirror lights in a few months , first will rent then if we like will buy. but seeing how this is a public high school no money. we're looking in to 2 roboscans. i was looking at are strand 300. i have a 2 dmx ports and 2 aux ports. one of each is being used for dimmer control adn the remote. how would i hook up 2 moving mirror lights to the board.
propmonkey said:
i was looking at are strand 300. i have a 2 dmx ports and 2 aux ports. one of each is being used for dimmer control adn the remote. how would i hook up 2 moving mirror lights to the board.

I'm not really familiar with the Strand 300, but in most cases you don't have to segregate movers and dimmers into different universes - you can daisy-chain from the board to a couple dimmer packs, then to a mover, then to a few more dimmer packs, another mover, and so on. The control signal each will obey doesn't depend on the light's position in the daisy-chain, but on its address. The address is set with switches on the light or the dimmer pack.

In my system, I have four movers, three 8-channel tree-mount dimmer packs and one 4-channel dimmer pack. I'm going from the controller's DMX OUT to the DMX IN of a mover at the front of stage right, then from the mover DMX OUT to the DMX IN of one of the eight-channel packs, also stage right. From the dimmer pack DMX OUT the cable goes to two more movers and another eight-channel dimmer pack at the rear of the stage, centered. Then to the stage-left tree and its mover, and finally to the four-channel pack running my portable "footlights" on the floor at the front of the stage. The DMX OUT of the last device in this daisy chain gets a terminator (just an XLR male plug with a quarter-watt 120 ohm resistor soldered to pins 2 & 3).

The eight-channel tree packs are set up like a pair of four-channel packs in a common box. The stage right pack is addressed as channels 1-4(PAR cans with colored gels) and 17-20 (rotating moonflower effect, Pinspot aimed at a 24" disco ball center-stage, flame effect perched atop the stack of speakers stage right, strobe). The stage left pack is 5-8 (PARs)and 21-24 (moonflower, pinspot, flame on stage left speakers, another strobe). The rear center pack is 9-16 (eight pinspots pointed out over the heads of the audience at various angles). This addressing allows me to bring just the trees and my small (32 channel) board and still put on a decent show: on the small board, only channels 1-16 can be incorporated into chases, and chases are strictly bumps - not suitable for movers.

The four-channel pack (footlights) is addressed as channels 25-28. The movers are channels 33-38 (front right), 41-46 (front left), 49-55 (rear right) and 57-63 (rear left). The big-show board is 192 channels and chases entire scenes.

You'll notice the addresses have no relationship to the order in which the lights are connected, and, indeed, I could connect them in any order without having to reprogram my scenes and chases. Connection order is a matter of convenience - how can I hook them up with the least amount of cable criss-crossing the stage.

thank you very much. im sure i will have more question once/if we do get them in the spring.
can i use a y dmx splitter and put them both in the 2 dmx on ther board?
Why would you want to?
PC -Based software for under a grand??? Go to They may have just what you are looking for. Earlier in the post, you asked what the difference was in the type of light produced from an incandescent source as opposed to an arc source. It's really quite simple. Arc sources are a much higher "color temperature" than an Incandescent, TH, or Quartz source. A Source Four spotlight produces a color temperature around 3200 degrees kelvin (or more, I do know that a S4's color temp is higher than most other leko's), whereas an arc lamp, like an MSD-250 would produce a color temp. of around 5600 degrees kelvin. The result is a much whiter, or even bluer source of light. 3200 degrees kelvin looks more natural and warm, closer to the red/orange portion of the spectrum. Most theatrical lamps run around 3200. Arc sources such as some followspots, searchlights, beam outlets, and intelligent lights run higher, more towards the violet range of the spectrum. Remember "ROYGBIV", which stands for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet respectively. Usually arc lights tend to "stick out" of a lighting design because of this, so most come with a color-correction filter which "corrects it" to blend with quartz more readily. Or, if you wish to make your theatrical lights appear brighter, you can use a color correction gel (similar to no-color blue R02) to correct it to a higher color temp. Some intelligent lights come with several dichroics with the same filters built in, so you can select your color temperature.
i cant dasey chain them because theyre going to be on seperate trees and i'll need at least 150 ft of cable just to reach the tree from the board.
What you do is run one cable from the board to the first tree and then run another cable from the first tree to the second. Robotic lights have an in and an out DMX port for this purpose.

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