The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

DMX noise - console, lights, or cables?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by joat222, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. joat222

    joat222 Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi all,

    I am having a problem with DMX signal noise seemingly. I am running a Leviton Innovator 24/48 with three universes connected to it, one of them having three Studio Colors and 2 Studio Spots on the line.

    When going through my show, after about 1.5 hrs, I will start seeing some erratic behavior on my moving lights. Lights will flicker, jitter, or even change color. It seems to get worse as time passes as well. All the lights spaz out at the same time. I have tried changing ports on my board, changing cables, connecting one light at a time to see if a particular problem light or cable can be identified, and no pattern seems to be emerging. My dmx run is terminated as well.

    I have a huge show this weekend so this problem needs to be resolved quick, so any responses I receive will be more than appreciated. My next course of action is going to try an optosplitter to increase signal strength. One thing I did notice was when I shortened the dmx run length the problem subsided for a while, so I am thinking that the signal is just losing power over time. Hopefully the optosplitter will give me the power I need to keep it steady.

    - kevin
     
  2. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,561
    Likes Received:
    2,560
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    It sounds to me like you are doing everything right to trouble shoot it. Hopefully the optosplitter will give you a little boost and fix it.

    The only other potential problem I noticed was you didn't mention your cable quality. Is it good DMX cable?
     
  3. joat222

    joat222 Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes they are. They were all rented together from a light and stage rental place.

    - kevin
     
  4. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,664
    Likes Received:
    329
    Location:
    PA & NJ
    Shouldn't be an issue if you have the real deal DMX cable, but is the last fixture in each chain terminated?
     
  5. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Charlotte
    Since this seems to only occur after about an hour and a half, it almost sounds like a temperature problem. I have heard of the internal controls of fixtures getting hot and causing problems. This could be the case on one of your fixtures, and it is sending out a corrupted signal on the output.


    Granted, it is not as easy of a fix as a bad cable, nor is it as common. Since you have evidently tried all of the quick fixes, I brought this up. Check the cooling fans and internal temps of the fixtures as they are operating.
     
  6. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

    Messages:
    5,828
    Likes Received:
    1,132
    Occupation:
    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
    Location:
    Portland, Or.
    This might be a bit out there, but...... Since it's an issue that only seems to crop up after a period of on time, perhaps the issue is in a connector. When I first read this I envisioned a connector on an panel on the side of an ML the heat from it being on for a long time rises heats the panel and the XLR connector female receptcles expand with the heat and cause a loose connection, or at least a connection loose enough to build up capacitance enough to cause a reflection. Check your runs for other possible "hot spots" where a cable might be heating up.

    I'm only throwing this out because as SL and Gaff just said it seems you are doing everything to diagnose the problem correctly.

    Van's #1 DMX rule, Terminate, Terminate, Terminate. < it's really funny if you do it in a Dalek voice>
     
  7. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Charlotte
    Joat222....let us know when you fix it, I am intrigued as to what the problem is.
     
  8. joat222

    joat222 Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you all very much for your replies.

    The problem was the worklights! Evidently they were causing some sort of electrical disturbance in the board and causing noise on the dmx signal. When I unplugged them the problem completely disappeared. I did notice that one of them had to be kind of shoved into the socket in order for it to turn on. I am so thankful that my friend had the idea to try unplugging them. Looks like the show can go on! Needless to say that I chucked those things in the trash...
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Member

    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Durban, South Africa
    You should check the power while you're at it- sometimes my MAC250's get crazy, and the first think I do is check the power- it's not DMX because we're all wireless :)

    Someone in the office made a whole lot of DODGY cable- earth connected to live or live and neutral swapped around- things may work, but problems will show up sooner than later...

    Heat may be an issue- it's possible that fixtures are running over or under powered, which has all sorts of kak effects on your gear. Pick up a simple multimeter and check what's coming out of your sockets- then adjust your fixtures to match as closely as possible- the manual will have instructions on this.
     
  10. mattm

    mattm Member

    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I have a client that is using the same console as you are and having the same problems. I plugged a Martin MP2 in the B data and it was the console that was causing the moving lights jitters. Seeing as how it was your work lights, I will suggest he put a power conditioner on the console.

    Matt McCormick
    www.cablepick.com
     
  11. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,911
    Likes Received:
    157
    Another thing to look for is the shield in the cable being connected to the outside of the connector. Good practice is that this is NOT connected, and also with some of the connectors it is easy to have the shield touch the connector when you are pushing it back together under the slide on cover. This can cause all sorts of wierd problem where a small ground current is introduced into the system from connector that is not isolated and picks up the current from something it is resting on.

    Sharyn
     
  12. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,134
    Likes Received:
    413
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    My question to you is why does this cable still exist? As I see it, there are two options with cable like that. The first is to fix it NOW. The second is to cut plug and socket off NOW. Otherwise, it might not be a light doing funny things next time, it might be a person. Sorry for the hijack.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice