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ETC Response DMX Gateway and Altman PHX RDM

NeroCaesar

Member
Joined
May 9, 2012
Location
DC
Hello, I just upgraded to 3x ETC Response DMX Gateways for my DMX distribution.

I have about:
30x Altman PHX 250w RGBW
30x SL155 RGBW Pars
6x Altman LED Spectra cycs 50w RGBA
4x Altman LED 6' Strip Lights RGBA

I installed the ETC Net3 Concert software
everything has the lastest firmware.

Every time I boot up the software I get a random number of units that are visible at most I get everything except the Altman PHX units.

Any suggestions? I can't see the PHX at all and I know they are RDM compatible.
 

Malabaristo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2008
Location
Wisconsin
RDM is more picky than plain DMX when it comes to proper wiring and termination, so that's a good place to start looking. Do you have any splitters between the Gateways and the fixtures? If so, double-check that they are RDM compatible.

Also, the number of devices on a run becomes much more important with RDM. For plain DMX the 32 "Device Load" limit may translate to much more than 32 devices if they all use transceivers that are less than one full device load (and many/most do). When using RDM, that number should be treated as a hard limit of 32 devices on a given run for best results. The problem is timing: RDM messages have to fit in gaps between regular DMX packets, so there's a limited time for all the fixtures to respond to discovery queries. As you add more fixtures, the collision rate increases and it's more likely that some random selection of them won't be discovered successfully in the short time available.

For troubleshooting purposes, it may help to break the system down into smaller pieces... disconnect half the fixtures on a run and see if the connected half show up more reliably. Proceed from there to add more fixtures and see where things start to break. You may have to divide the load up differently across the three Gateways in order to make it all work.

Does everything work correctly with just DMX?
 

NeroCaesar

Member
Joined
May 9, 2012
Location
DC
Hello, Thanks for the tips. Currently the lights all work just fine via DMX and do what they are suppose to. I have less than 20 units per output on the MK Responses. I don't have any other DMX splitting devices, just lights and a few tree packs for conventional units.

I will try to do a single MK response gateway to a single PHX to see if I can detect it.
 

SteveB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Brooklyn, NY
The specifications and manual for this PHX 250 do not indicate that it's RDM compliant and I didn't see anything in the manual of any reference to RDM or that indicated an ability to enable/disable. The ETC Lustre II spec's do indicated RDM compatible and has references to RDM in the manual in the diagnostics settings. Maybe just the way they write the manuals, but maybe call ETC Tech. Support.
 

NeroCaesar

Member
Joined
May 9, 2012
Location
DC
Oh man... I thought to myself "I know I saw it was RDM somewhere" so I went back online to find my mistake....
I must have read it from a description of a PHX ZOOM unit... Apparently some of the zoom versions look just like the the profile versions... well that is unfortunate, but at least solves that mystery. I appreciate you folks double checking my work.

Also, thats pretty lame the zoom is RDM and not the profile...
 

NeroCaesar

Member
Joined
May 9, 2012
Location
DC
Update:

I connected my DMXcat into the Altman Profile PHX units and got a full RDM read out on the units. Serial numbers, editable settings, Address etc.

I Plugged a single Profile PHX and got nothing from the ETC Concert Software. I am feeling kinda betrayed by ETC. Apparently the ETC MK2 DMX Gateways are not that good.

I counted only 20 units at most on each leg of the ETC MK2 Gateways. I tried calling ETC and they suggested using terminators, but every time I plugged one in, LED units would just shut off permanently. Again everything was fine with my cheapo Entec DMX Splitters.

More research: The MK2 Gateway and the PHX 250x profile are both RDM ANSI E1.20 compatible as per their manuals.

Another update: A DMX cable went bad (on a rep plot so nothing moves) causing the terminated lights to shut down.
 

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Ford

Sr Product Manager, Chauvet Professional
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Location
South FL
ETC's Net Concert system and Gateways are both great, and extremely particular. They are technically within a narrow reading of the RDM spec, and assume that everything plugged into them reads the spec the same way. We spent some time with folks from ETC, and a lot of other manufacturers at previous Plugfests. At the Plugfest, the lights tested "OK" there were some minor timing issues, but nothing that should have caused any issues in any typical installation. The units worked fine on all nodes from all manufacturers present except ETC when using Net Concert. As irritating as that could seem, we took it to heart, and fixed the minor issues, assuming this was the issue with the ETC system, and moved on.

Then we had issues with an install using the Net Concert software at a television studio in Miami.

What we discovered was that ETC uses a very, very narrow reading of the protocol. Essentially, most (every other?) RDM product on the market will say "Hey, what RDM Fixtures are on the line?" and then "OK Everybody, what modes are you in?". ETC doesn't do this. They require all fixtures to both Identify, and say what mode they are in, in the same response. If they don't say it in the same response message, the Net Concert software won't recognize the UIDs in the system.

Eventually, we changed the software to accommodate ETC's reading, as they were unwilling (at least in our case) to change theirs to meet everyone else's reading of the protocol.

So, unless you get Altman to update their software, I think it is unlikely that you'll be able to see those fixtures with the Net Concert software, though the Nodes themselves should be able to pass the information between a console and your fixtures.
 

wakkoroti

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
Location
Orange County, CA
I use hundreds of Altman Phoenix fixtures. Sadly yes you have discovered, RDM is not properly implemented in these fixtures and will not work on an ETC gateway. Hopefully the next rev of Phoenix firmware will correct this. Oh please hopefully :)