Hi!!! I am trying to integrate my old NSI TLC-16 with L.E.D. pucks...

mr. clean

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Apr 17, 2018
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It seems I have stumbled on to the right place!. If anyone can assist me I would be happy to donate $25 or whatever to your site. Following is my long-winded query:

I am a single midi musician using an NSI TLC-16 lighting board that is DMX512-compatible. I currently use it with an NSI dimmer pack and 4 old-school Par-56 cans. I have been told 8 l.e.d. "pucks" (18 leds x 3 watts each) will be brighter so I bought them online. I understand something like a Chauvet Obey70 will work with these fixtures BUT it does not have midi out like my NSI has. This is important because I program my lights ahead of time into the midi sequencing software of my laptop. I set the lighting midi channel to "record", start the midi song, tap on the NSI console and the software records my console taps. Then, when I hit "play" the software will spit out those recorded scene changes while I play and sing along. It is very fast as I change the light scenes/programs in real time during the recording and I am finished that song. With the Par-56s I only have 4 different colours, their combinations, and a few chases and all-on all-off programmed. Unfortunately I have no knowledge as to whether I can do something similar with the l.e.d.s or even how to save the presets on the new fixtures themselves. I have no idea how to make the console "talk" to the lights, either. My brother in law knows a LITTLE bit about this stuff but he lives 6 hours away. He says my console is only 16 channels so I might be able to use the l.e.d.s as 3-channel as opposed to 7-channel but...help????
Jeff
 

JD

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North Wales PA
If the system is that small, you may be able to keep using the board you are familiar with. Your DMX out would daisy chain through the LED fixtures. Chances are the board is set to output DMX 001 to DMX 016 as in each channel simply feeds one DMX output. If you can set your LED lights to 3 channel mode, then set the address of the first fixture to DMX001 And board channels 1 to 3 will control it. If you set the next fixture to DMX004 then board channels 4 to 6 would control that. If you want both fixtures to do the same thing, you could set the fixture to DMX001 as well and it would work in tandem with the first fixture. So, basically, you could still operate any number of fixtures off your old board, but you would be limited to 5 fixtures that could operate independent of each other. By keeping your old board, you would be keeping your same MIDI setup which you are comfortable with.

Some notes:
1) You would no longer need to use your dimmer pack as the LED units plug right into line power.
2) Make sure the board output is in DMX mode! A lot of NSI control equipment also outputs something called microplex. Microplex would be deadly to any DMX devices.
 
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josh88

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2) Make sure the board output is in DMX mode! A lot of NSI control equipment also outputs something called microplex. Microplex would be deadly to any DMX devices.
Can't say that part enough. We rent a bunch of those older NSI boards and have had people send back fried lights because they used the 3 pin mpx out to the lights rather than the 5 pin dmx. We finally taped over and disabled all the mpx outputs because of all the damaged equipment.
 

RonHebbard

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Waterdown, ON, CA
Can't say that part enough. We rent a bunch of those older NSI boards and have had people send back fried lights because they used the 3 pin mpx out to the lights rather than the 5 pin dmx. We finally taped over and disabled all the mpx outputs because of all the damaged equipment.
@JD and @josh88 Perhaps one or both of you might elaborate a little on the hazards and signal differences between DMX 512 when distributed on XLR-3's and NSI's totally incompatible control protocol on physically identical connectors as we all realize many, many, end-users will leap to the assumption that 'if the plugs fit it should surely work' only to learn to their innocently ignorant horror that they've just released the 'magic smoke' from within their DMX devices.
SHORT explanation: NSI's microplex is proprietary to NSI and carries voltage (and sufficient) current along with it to power many of their smaller control consoles via power supplied to their consoles from their dimmers. This powering is carried along with their control signals.
In spite of using physically identical male and female connectors, NSI's powering methods will destroy the DMX input chips in your DMX gear in less than the blink of an eye. @JD and @josh88 PLEASE further emphasize, explain, elaborate and elucidate from there and DEFINITELY feel free to correct any / all of my short explanation.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.
 

mr. clean

New Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Location
Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Canada
It seems I have stumbled on to the right place!. If anyone can assist me I would be happy to donate $25 or whatever to your site. Following is my long-winded query:

I am a single midi musician using an NSI TLC-16 lighting board that is DMX512-compatible. I currently use it with an NSI dimmer pack and 4 old-school Par-56 cans. I have been told 8 l.e.d. "pucks" (18 leds x 3 watts each) will be brighter so I bought them online. I understand something like a Chauvet Obey70 will work with these fixtures BUT it does not have midi out like my NSI has. This is important because I program my lights ahead of time into the midi sequencing software of my laptop. I set the lighting midi channel to "record", start the midi song, tap on the NSI console and the software records my console taps. Then, when I hit "play" the software will spit out those recorded scene changes while I play and sing along. It is very fast as I change the light scenes/programs in real time during the recording and I am finished that song. With the Par-56s I only have 4 different colours, their combinations, and a few chases and all-on all-off programmed. Unfortunately I have no knowledge as to whether I can do something similar with the l.e.d.s or even how to save the presets on the new fixtures themselves. I have no idea how to make the console "talk" to the lights, either. My brother in law knows a LITTLE bit about this stuff but he lives 6 hours away. He says my console is only 16 channels so I might be able to use the l.e.d.s as 3-channel as opposed to 7-channel but...help????
Jeff
Whoops...I mention "
@JD and @josh88 Perhaps one or both of you might elaborate a little on the hazards and signal differences between DMX 512 when distributed on XLR-3's and NSI's totally incompatible control protocol on physically identical connectors as we all realize many, many, end-users will leap to the assumption that 'if the plugs fit it should surely work' only to learn to their innocently ignorant horror that they've just released the 'magic smoke' from within their DMX devices.
SHORT explanation: NSI's microplex is proprietary to NSI and carries voltage (and sufficient) current along with it to power many of their smaller control consoles via power supplied to their consoles from their dimmers. This powering is carried along with their control signals.
In spite of using physically identical male and female connectors, NSI's powering methods will destroy the DMX input chips in your DMX gear in less than the blink of an eye. @JD and @josh88 PLEASE further emphasize, explain, elaborate and elucidate from there and DEFINITELY feel free to correct any / all of my short explanation.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.
Thanks very, very, very mucho to all 3 of you so far. You even have senses of humour as does Boston Dave. Because of your replies I already know infinitely more than a few hours ago. Have not had time to try your ideas yet due to plumbing issues (didn’t wear a belt so that my Missus could be sure I was serious about the job) but hopefully tomorrow after work I can start. The board has the 5-pin male and the male/female XLR ones. I have a 5-pin to XLR-type adapter as well. I will check out the manual and look into the dip switch settings as well to ensure no “magic smoke” shows up. Will check back in here tomorrow night...thanks again!!!
Jeff
P.s.: here is a very old standard def low quality vid of my schlocky single act:
 

mr. clean

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Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Canada
Status check: finally got a chance to experiment a little tonight. I figured out that of the 8 cheap led pucks I bought online, one was completely dead but for the little fan, two operated but did not respond to the NSI TLC-16, and 5 seemed to operate and reapond in some manner to the controller. BTW, I sold my two dimmer packs knowing I would not need them with led lighting.

I am guessing this is not a coincidence, but when setting the DMX channel the red “d” led at the back of the fixture blinks from channels 1-16 inclusive; above 16 the blinking stops. Re: the 2 “pucks” that do not seem to respond to the controller, there is no blinking on any channel setting.

From channels 1-16 various things happen that at first seemed random but after a bit prroved to be consistently replicable. Now I just have to figure out how to program colours into the controller. One thing I will try is to program lights into my laptop’s sequencing software by tapping on each preset (NSI calls them “patterns”) button in order. I can then look at the sequencer’s lighting track to see what program number each preset is referred to by. Am not sure these midi program change numbers will relate to DMX channel numbers or not. I will also try to adjust the 3 colours with the 1st 3 or 7 channels of the controller.

I should note that the 8 dip switches on the back of the NSI console do not seem to be important re: my attempts to program some presets for these lights other than to prevent the console from accidentally overwriting its preset memory.

A couple of questions for any of you: are led lights factory-set to be 3-channel or 7-channel or can they be switched? These came from overseas and there are no instructions, only a spec sheet (do I need a foto-bukket or similar account to post a scan of this sheet here?). Question 2: what are the different functions of the menu items on each fixture’s back led display? I only know the “d”, “r”, “g”, and “b”; don’t know what the others (ie. “cp” and”bebe”) do.

Once again, thanks for whatever you can provide,
Jeff
 

mr. clean

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Well, just discovered I may have another option; somehow a fella on yootoob has found a way to program scene changes via a keyboard midi controller into a (ipad-based) sequencer that sends the changes back to an inexpensive Chauvet Obey40 with midi-in. Am still going to give my NSI TLC-16 a shot but the Chauvet seems better-suited to led lights. Here is a link to the video...
Jeff
 

JD

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Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Location
North Wales PA
Opening a box of Chinese pucks bought online is kind of like putting money in a slot machine. Every now-and-then you get a winner, most times you just walk away frustrated. A model and make might help us a little if it is something that can be found.
Here are some general thoughts on the matter:
1) The default setting can be anything in the world, but usually it would be set to it's widest channel profile. (probably 7)
2) Many have multiple modes of operation such as stand alone, sound activated, master-slave, demo mode, etc. Usually only one of the settings is DMX.
3) Many of the Chauvet boards do have a MIDI input, but that may be awkward compared to the touch setup you have now and know works.
4) Once again, be careful not to hit them with Microplex! If the board has 5 pin outputs (I think you said it did) then those are the DMX outputs. 3 pin outputs could very well be Microplex.
5) When buying low end Chinese, always figure you are going to have some that are dead on arrival.
Hope this helps.
 
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mr. clean

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You are absolutely right; this online lot could be called, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” with 5 of ‘em being “Good”. After I posted last night more experimenting was done and no constructive headway was made. The video that I posted the link to was sorta revelatory; the guy shows that you “record” lighting scenes into a sequencer song by keyboard where some of the keys proxy as Obey 40 presets; the midi “out” of the keyboard goes into the computer sequencer which has its midi throughput set to “Thru” so it can go out of the laptop sequencer into the Chauvet’s midi input. Therefore the keyboard is “played” (while the sequencer records the notes played) and the played notes go through to the Obey 40 where each note is a preset scene and the lights change accordingly.

Anyway, I never would have thought of doing this or that it could be done so after watching that vid I ordered an Obey 40 (again, nothing too fancy for my little act). I have DMX cables, stands, and now just have to replace the 3 duds. I still am volunteering to donate something to the site for you guys’ time. I can do Paypal or e-transfer. I will probably be back somewhere down the line.

Thanks so much...bye for now,
Jeff
 

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