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Help with Automated Lighting please!!!

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by kadams17, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. kadams17

    kadams17 Member

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    Hello -

    I am an experienced lighting designer with many shows under my belt, but this upcoming week I have a venue that is asking me to use two moving lights in the show.

    The venue is a theatre I am very familiar with. The board is an ETC Express 48/96 desk that runs a dmx512 into a controller box, which runs ethernet into ETCNet. Hopefully everyone knows what I mean.

    Now the two moving lights are rentals. They are Robe 575E AT Lights that will be hung on the zero electric.

    I want to make sure the way they are to be connected is correct. The first lamp will have a DMX512 cable running from it into the light control box, and then it has another cable running into the next instrument, and that instrument has a 120V ending adapter into it.

    Now if this is correct, and I assign the proper DMX channels, I should be able to control the lights independently.

    Is this all correct? Please correct me where I am wrong.
     
  2. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    Yup the theatre is using ETCnet for distributing data.

    The data distribution will work correctly, what is the 120V adapter about? Do you mean a DMW terminator?

    Yes, be sure that they are on their own universe or that their start address is higher than anything else on the system.
     
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Be sure both Robe fixtures are powered by TRUELY NON-Dimmed power source. It's not okay to run them off a dimmer at 100% or a dimmer in a "non-dim mode". You may have some ciruits in your theater that are remotely triggered on off by your light console or some other system. As long as these are just a relay turning them on and off they will be fine. Otherwise find a wall outlet and plug them in.

    I too am confused by what you mean.
     
  4. kadams17

    kadams17 Member

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    yes, sorry. i meant the 120v dmw terminator.

    and they will be powered completely independently using a plug that has no connection to our lighting system. good ol' wall outlets.

    but i am not completely sure what you mean by the address being higher.

    we have 192 dimmers in our system, and I patch 100 dimmers into 65 channels for stationary lights.

    I should be able to keep it all in the same universe as long as I do the remaining patch correctly right?

    because i understood it as this:
    Each intelligent light uses 24 channels, and 24+24=48 used DMX channels.

    If my dimmer patch ends at channel 65...the starting address for light 1 should be 66 and the starting address for light two should be 90.
    correct?
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2009
  5. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Sounds good to me. Working with intelligent lights on an Express is not a lot of fun, but you can do it. I suggest you patch the console so that you've got sliders for each of the 48 control channels. Then make a big cheat sheet or mark the board with tape so that you can quickly figure out which slider runs which fixture attribute.
     
    kadams17 and (deleted member) like this.
  6. KeeperoftheKeys

    KeeperoftheKeys Member

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    [offtopic]
    There are dimmers out there that have a bypass/relais that bypasses the whole chopper+choke when at 100%, on such a dimmer you could connect non-dims...
    [/offtopic]
     
  7. kadams17

    kadams17 Member

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    yeah that was my plan. I heard that it's tough but I figure since I am only using two instruments it won't be that bad at all, especially since all my static instruments are all used through subs.

    and yeah, a cheat sheet is going to be key. my only plan for the movers is a few specials for solos and other than that, they will aim to a point, cue a color and cue a cobo to create a pretty effect.

    maybe a few moving cues, but im not going to get too adventerous.
     
  8. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    That is true. However most dimmers out there are not safe to use. Some have "non-dim modes" but they aren't a bypass as you described. They simply run the dimmer at 0 or full which is NOT the same as non-dim.

    At my theater (Strand C21's) I have a stack of modules I can pop in the rack to provide both constant non-dim power and remotely switchable on off non-dim power. Options like this are available for many dimmer racks. See your manual or call your manufacturer.
     
  9. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    I think you have it but the way you phrase it can mean something else. Your dimmers have a DMX address and a channel number. Most dimmers start at DMX address 1 and use one address per dimmer. By softpatching at the board you are changing what channel you use to control each DMX address but the board still talks to that dimmer via its DMX address.

    You need to make sure the DMX address for the moving lights is above the DMX address of you dimmers. Otherwise when you pan the light you will notice some of your dimmers changing their level.
    You can softpatch patch the movers to what ever channel you want as long as you have enough room.

    Clear as mud?
     
  10. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Actually, this is not true. If you have 192 dimmers, you have to set the starting address of your moving lights above 192. Even if you only use 65 channels, you still have all those dimmers patched. So starting address on the first unit would have to be 193 (or higher).
     
  11. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    However, if you have 192 dimmers and you unpatch all but 65, then there's no reason you can't start at 66.

    Doesn't the Express require that you do it that way? (It's been 5 years since I used one regularly so this may be wrong).
     
  12. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    Channel 66 sure, but you can not address your moving lights to DMX address 66.
     
  13. Nathaniel

    Nathaniel Member

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    on the express:

    1. if you have 192 dimmers plugged into the board (it doesn't matter if you're using them or not, they're still in there), you have to start addressing your movers at 193 or above.

    2. from there, on the Patch screen, you can patch the dimmers(each channel of the moving light counts as a dimmer) to channels on the board, this will determine what physical faders the various attributes of the moving lights (and you can label them with tape :p )

    you could also use the fixture patch feature, but as far as i know, your movers aren't in the default fixtures on the express, so it would probably be more trouble than it's worth.


    if you have a second run of DMX, i'd recommend plugging the movers into the second port on the board and having that output start at 200 by doing:
    setup > 2 (output configuration) > 2 > [softkey 3] (starting dimmer) > [2] [0] [0] >[enter] [enter]


    remember though, an express 48/96 can only control 192 channels, so you'll have to patch multiple dimmers per channel in the PATCH screen


    Express Manual v3.1(PDF)
     
  14. Nathaniel

    Nathaniel Member

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    note: i've never actually patched moving lights, but i've read the manual and patched extra dimmer packs, as well as tried everything i just described in the offline software


    (And does the edit button not work, or is this just me?)
     
  15. kadams17

    kadams17 Member

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    Well I just talked with my technical director for an hour and here is what we thought is the correct solution:

    We have 192 dimmers, but 512 DMX channels. Plus the second DMX Universe which is 513-1024.

    The moving fixtures will be assigned DMX channels 600-627 followed by 700-727.

    We will then patch them accordingly through the board.

    This makes sense? Or no?

    Or...our other thought.

    Currently our board is "taught" to think we only have 192 DMX channels...but we can reconfigure so it displays all 512 and we go 200-227 then 300-327.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2009
  16. Nathaniel

    Nathaniel Member

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    okay, a lot of what you have there is correct, and looks to be a good solution.
    Yes, you can have up to 1024 output channels(referred to in this post and on the express as dimmers).

    From the fact that you intend to patch your movers to dimmers over 512, I assume that you're plugging them into the second input(universe) on your board(correct me if i'm wrong).

    this will work.

    however, your express only has 192 control channels(the numbered channels that correspond to faders on your board and can be recorded into cues, etc.)(as far as i know, somebody please correct me if i'm wrong)

    this means multiple dimmers will have to be softpatched to your channels on the board.

    use the patch screen to patch the dimmers(this includes your conventional dimmers and your moving lights) to channels on the board. I would put the movers on the first however many channels they take up, so that they start with physical fader one, and continue until you've patched all mover attributes

    If you have access to a floppy drive and disk, i could give you a system setup, using Expression Offline , and you could load that on your board and immediately begin patching
    just send me a message or post on here
     
  17. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Just remember that when you use universe 2 (513-1024) that your addresses on any devices on that universe go from 1-512. So if you want your first fixture to be 600 then you would set the address on the fixture as 88. So you have to subtract 512 from the desired address on universe 2.
     
  18. kadams17

    kadams17 Member

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    Nathaniel -

    I do have direct access to both a disk and disk drive so yes, i would love the setup.

    i want to try and keep it within one universe and my patch stops at 59 so i should be able to keep it in universe 1.
     
  19. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Okay, there is a lot of confusing information in here, so let me sum it all up.

    What you're putting at the end of the chain of lights is a DMX Terminator, and it's not 120v, it's 120 Ohms which is a measurement of resistance, v is a measurement of Voltage and I really hope you aren't going to feed 120v into your moving lights DMX output.

    Second of all...it seems you are not familiar with DMX and it's addressing scheme. Let me give you a simplified rundown of DMX. You've got a lot of stuff right, but you still seem confused a bit. The first thing you need to know is your STARTING DMX ADDRESS, this is the number that your fixture will start counting up from. This can be anywhere between 1 and 512, anything other than that is NOT a valid DMX address.

    Next you need to know the difference between DMX Channels and Channels on your light board. DMX Channels can only control one function (this is the theory) whether that is an actual physical dimmer or the pan or tilt on your moving light. This is easily explained with the example of your dimmers, you have 192 Dimmers...which use 192 DMX Channels, NO MATTER WHAT. Most likely your Dimmers are assigned to the Starting DMX Address of 1 and therefore take up DMX Channels 1 through 192 on DMX Universe 1.

    Now your board has 2 DMX Universes called Universe 1 and Universe 2. Universe 1 contains DMX Addresses 1 through 512 and then Universe 2 contains 513 to 1024. However if you were to put anything in Universe 2 you would still need to address the fixture itself to something between 1 and 512. So say you have your Dimmers in Universe 1, they are addressed 1 through 192, then you want to put your Robe 575 fixtures on Universe 2 starting with DMX Channel 513. You would plug the Robe into Universe 2 and then address the First Robe to DMX Address 1, then it would show up in the patch on the express as 513 because it is the first DMX Channel on Universe 2 which starts at 513. Then if your Robe takes up 27 Channels you would assign the next Robe to Address 28 and add 28 to 512 and that would give you 540 which would be where the Second Robe starts in Universe 2.

    Now here is the difference between Control Channels on your lightboard and DMX Channels. You light board has 1024 DMX Channels but it only has 192 Control Channels. You can patch any of the 1024 DMX Channels to any of your Control Channels, but you can only control 192 individual Control Channels and therefore is you had say 300 Dimmers you would have to patch some of the dimmers together in Control Channels order to use them all, therefore some DMX Channels would work in unison.

    Now you say you have your dimmers patched to Channels 1 through 65 right now so I assume you're familiar with this process. Now say you patched your Robes like you said in 200-227 and 300-327 respectively you would set the DMX Address on the fixtures to 200 and 300 and then patch DMX Channel 200 into Control Channel 66 and then 201 into 67, 202 into 68...etc. If you were to put your Robes into Universe 2 between DMX Channels 513 and 1024, and you wanted your Robes in 600-627 and 700-727 then you would set the Robes to DMX Address 88 and 116 then on the board patch DMX Channel 600 to Control Channel 66, and 601 to 67, 602 to 68...etc.

    I hope this helps!
     
  20. kadams17

    kadams17 Member

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    Yeah!

    Pretty much everything you just said I understand completely after a long conversation with Nathaniel last night.

    And yeah 120 ohms not volts, ha I just couldnt think of the name off the top of my head.

    Everything you just said I understand, so I am good to go.

    The movers are getting patched in universe two dmx addresses which I am going to patch through the first 54 channels on my board.


    then my conventional lights are going to be patched in dmx universe one from channels 55 through 112.
    perfect!
     

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