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

Control/Dimming dmx ports

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by itie, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. itie

    itie Active Member

    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    georgia
    so i have another thread about chasing lights and how to do them. this is what i have built so far. 4x8 Hollywood flat with a design in the middle with light surrounding it. i have the light going left to right in a 123 order with the wiring. what i was planing on doing was either putting all the one, two, three on 3 stage pin plugs then creating and effect on the board to make them chase. (we a innovator). but what i dont like about that is i would need to find 3 free or soon to be free ports and run extenders to them. (we dont have extenders). so i found a dimmer pack online for like $60 and thought it might be easier to run it to the dimmer pack. but i never used one before. correct me if im wrong but they plug iinto a dmx port and get programed into the board. the way our board is set up is: Port A is for conventional lighting, Port B is too but i dont think there is anything on it because there is no DMX cable coming from the back of the board to the wall on port b, and Port C for our movers. we are not using the movers for the show and the dimmer pack would be right next to Port C where the Movers are plugged into. if i unplug the mover and plug the dimmer pack in would it be hard to program the pack and can i just load the boards old config when i plug the movers back in after the show. one last thing is that if i cant use Port C we have a box off stage with Port A,B,C, and hhr. would it be better if i plug in on Port B and run a cord from the board to Port B in the booth.

    OH and thanks you for the help in the lights chasing thread.
     
  2. highschooltech

    highschooltech Active Member

    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Orange, CA
    You should be fine to just unplug the movers and use the dimmer pack instead. You could also set the dimmer pack to an address that is after your movers on that universe and just leave the movers patched in but not actually hooked up to the board. My only worry is that for $60 the dimmer pack might be on the cheap end. Actually, you could come out of the DMX out of the dimmer pack and still plug the movers in if you want to use them.
     
    itie and (deleted member) like this.
  3. dramatech

    dramatech Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    466
    Likes Received:
    111
    Occupation:
    MASTER ELECTRICIAN
    Location:
    Winter Haven, FL
    If you are planning on buying your dimmer pack from bulbamerica.com and are looking at the least expensive unit, $60, They will send you a unit that is the same as one of the more expensive units on their list. They just send what ever they have the most of when you order the bulbamerica brand. If you go up to the next most expensive bulbamerica brand, ($70) it will have a LCD display and a much easier address system. Almost all of the dimmer packs are manufactured by Irradiant, a subdivision of NeoNeon, The various low end manufactures just relabel them with their brand.
    As to quality, It has been discussed many times on both this and the light network forum. Two of the most knowlegable and respected posters on the Lightnetwork said it best. These units are not manufactured with the same quality of ETC smartpacks or most of the other top brands, but they use glass epoxy boards with quality integrated circuits. Their weakness comes in the generic triacs that they use. A proper dimmer should have a Triac that is rated at double the load. The Triacs they use in these portable dimmers are usually 12 to 16 amps. They usually fuse the individual dimmers at 10 amps. The entire packs are limited at either 15 or 20 amps depending on the cord and power switch. If you keep the individual load to 6 amps or less, the failure rate will probably be no greater than a more expensive brand with that same load. What can you do with a 6 amp load, a source four running a 575watt lamp. lots of practicals on set, such as table lamps and chandeliers, moon boxes and this type of stuff. Chasing Christmas tree lights.
    One of the most experienced technicians posting on the various lighting forums, after hearing all of the arguments about the quality of these inexpensive portables, commented: That he has a service contract with a rental company that had several hundred of these units. In the last several years he has repaired a few of them. In one case it was a switch, that somebody had dropped the unit on, and all of the rest were failed triacs where the fuse was also blown, indicating that the individual circuit had been overloaded.
    I have been building my own dimmers for the last several years, and was intriqued to buy one of these dimmers, after seeing a post about bulbamerica.com, just to evaluate the quality of construction. It cost me more for the parts to build a similar unit, than it does to buy the bulbamerica dimmer outright. We have used it in practically every production since we purchased it. We only use it for small loads or single source four instruments per channel. I would probably purchase more for our theatre, except with my enthusiasm to build dimmers, we already have more dimmers than lighting instruments. Three of our guest lighting designers, have purchsed them for other theatres that they work in, as a result of working with ours.
     
    itie and (deleted member) like this.
  4. itie

    itie Active Member

    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    georgia
    thank you so is it hard to address the pack because ive never done that before. we are on a 1 to 1 patch.
     
  5. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

    Messages:
    455
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Iowa USA
    For example if you were to address the dimmer pack at 1.

    If you plug it into the first jack on the board (universe 1) the corresponding dimmer would be 1.

    If you plug it into the second jack (universe 2) it would be dimmer number 513.

    If you plug it into the third jack (universe 3) it would be dimmer number 1025.

    There are 512 dimmers in a universe. So with a little math you can put the dimmer anywhere. Lets say you want to put it after your movers on universe 3. If your movers take 30 dimmers then you can address the shoebox dimmer at 31. Then if you add 31+1024 you would get dimmer 1055. The other four circuits on the shoebox dimmer would be the next for circuits. Then you would just patch them into whatever channels you please. I am not familiar with your board so I can not tell you how to do that.

    Note: I use a ETC Expression 3 daily. So I speak in Expression. Now with movers and LED's DMX doesen't always connect to dimmers. But in my world they do, so that is how I speak.


    Also: Inexpensive dimmers may use 3-Pin cable instead of the industry standard 5-Pin. This should be fine for you, all you need is the proper 3 to 5 pin adapter. If I am thinking clearly you will need a 5-Pin male to a 3-Pin female. And then if you still want to daisy chain your movers after the shoebox you will need the reverse adapter. You could also put the shoebox on the chain after the movers. I would probably put it after the movers to lessen the chance of data getting screwed up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2009
    itie and (deleted member) like this.
  6. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,067
    Likes Received:
    669
    Occupation:
    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
    Location:
    Lititz, PA
    If you don't want to mess with repatching, then the easiest way to do this is to set the address of the dimmer pack to one higher than your last dimmer. So if your last dimmer is 96 then the address of the pack should be 97. Then just plug the pack in where your dimmers are plugged in, and then plug your dimmers in to the DMX out/thru port on the pack. the devices don't care if they are out of order in the daisy chain, and then your dimmer pack will become channels 97-101 in your 1-to-1 patch.
     
    itie and (deleted member) like this.
  7. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,953
    Likes Received:
    1,139
    Location:
    North Wales PA
    Have to add my two cents to the subject of cheap dimmers;
    I also have a few of those packs, and other then the Triac rating, they’re pretty good for the small stuff. They are what they are, and as long as you do not expect more, they are fine. Had a show recently in which the prop people had build a pirate’s ship. The ship had four “canons” which each had a 100 watt quartz fixture in it to simulate the canon being fired. Grabbed the pack and stuck it behind the ship and fed it DMX. This is what they are great for.

    There is however a downside. The packs simply don’t have a UL rating. The cords are usually undersize. The power switch is undersize, and the source plug is usually a 15 amp Edison even on the 2400 watt total packs. Because of this, many venues will not allow their use. Most fire marshals would object or stop you from using them.

    So, as you can see, it’s a mixed bag. I do a lot of one-night club gigs. They’re handy. I wouldn’t use them for any planned installation or even something as serious as running stage lights. Just something to keep in your bag of tricks for that unexpected pirate ship that shows up every now and then.
     
  8. MNBallet

    MNBallet Active Member

    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I really get a kick out of how people will take a simple question like this and pounce and decry "cheap" products......<sigh>

    This is a perfect example of what these cheap "throw-away" dimmers are for. Instead of running 3 power cords you would be running 1 and a small data cable. If you are short on circuits and dimmers for your theater going this route is just fine.

    From reading your post, I don't think you fully grasp the concept of what the different DMX universes out of your light board are. It doesn't matter what DMX port you plug it into, you will have to check the soft patch on your light board. The defult setting on your light board is to have dimmer 1 of all 3 DMX ports attached to channel 1. Since you have movers, I assume that someone at your theater will understand the soft patch and DMX port to channel correlation. It would be much quicker and easier to have them set it up for you, then to try and explain here.

    But, just for kicks, set your dimmer pack to address 1. and plug it into port B of your board. Oh, these DJ type dimmers use a 3 pin DMX so the "real" port B out of your board will not work (it being a 5 pin) without a special cable going from 5 pin to 3 pin. You can use the extra 3 pin port on the back of your board and then use the little switch above it that changes what DMX universe that 3 pin port is assigned to. A vey handy little feature of the Innovator. The reason I want you to try this is because when you bring up channel 1, your dimmer pack will work, but so will the dimmer and the light attached to it from Port A. You then go into the patch and put dimmer 1 of port B into any free channel that you migh have. Thus, say channel 100 is then controlling dimmer 1 of port B only. To do this though, at the top of your patch screen it lists if the patch is "linear" or "all" or "port" you want it to say "Port" so use softkey 1 to change it to port B. If you are not comfortable doing this I really recomend staying on port B and away from port A or C since you have important stuff already patched into them, or ask who ever patched in your movers into the board.

    Kenneth Pogin
    Production / Tour Manager
    Minnesota Ballet
    Touring with a 24/48 Innovator for 10 years
     
    itie and (deleted member) like this.
  9. itie

    itie Active Member

    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    georgia
    thank you, the guy who set this up was the installer for the theatre my high school is only three years old and im the only guy who knows how to turn on the light board. so he is not an option. i think i can handle this because early this year the mover got patched wrong and i fixed them so i have done some patch work before. plus i made a board config floppy so if worse come to worse ill just reload it. it sounds like you know the innovator pretty good. i was wondering to get these light that im wiring to chase should i make and effect on the board and programing it to a cue for the show or just a make loop with the cues to be played back on the cd faders.
     
  10. MNBallet

    MNBallet Active Member

    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Your welcome. I've had my Innovator for over 10 years and just love the thing.
    I would think an effect would be better. You then have the option of putting the effect into a cue, or put the effect on a submaster. Plus, with effects you have the option of changing the direction from forward, bounce and random. It just gives you more options.
     

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