Installing DMX Dimmer Boxes

Styles2304

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Location
IN
Hi, new to the forums . . . not forums in general but please go easy on me anyways!

My Church moved into a new building and the previous owners had managed there lights with standard dimmer switches that you get from a hardware store. We're wanting to upgrade to dimmer boxes and a lightboard.

My question is, in regard to installing a DMX dimmer, how is the actual setup completed? I know the dimmer is plugged in and receives power . . . is it responsible for powering the light fixtures or does the dimmer just interrupt the flow like a regular switch.

We're looking at purchasing this combo pack if it helps: Elation Stage Pak 2 - 24-Channel Stage/Dimmer Console Pak | Musician's Friend
 

JD

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Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Location
North Wales PA
Need some more information. How large are the loads? How is the power supplied to the current dimmers?

The rig you linked to is for a portable rig. Are these dimmers going to be installed in the building? If so, that would probably not be the best choice.

The Elation is designed to plug into regular outlets, and have the fixtures plugged into the packs. If your dimmers are going to be an "install" then it is best to go with a rack mounted pack. In those cases, power is hard wired directly to the pack and is then fed by conduit to a location near your fixtures.

Best to get an electrician involved as that will be required if anything ends up being hard wired.

Fire marshals, ADJ, do not like to see portable plug-in dimmers in a permanent installation.
 

TimMiller

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Joined
Mar 27, 2007
Location
Houston, Tx
More or less yes, the dimmer pack will allow you to dim the lights from a remote location. The trick will be how are you going to replace the wall dimmers with those packs it will require some electrical work depending on your facility.

I forgot to hit send so y'all beat me to it but I will add this, what I have done in your case is find the circuits feeding those wall mounted dimmers and wire them up to a dimmer rack next to the electrical panel. This will save on cost rather than having an electrician pull a bunch of wire. I then pull out the breakers that fed the dimmer switches and install a breaker appropriate for the dimmer rack. On the wall dimmers they are removed and bypassed so that the lights are directly wired to the dimmers. Blank plates are then installed to cover the box where the dimmer switches were installed. The next trick is figuring out an architectural control system so that people can turn on the lights without turning on the lighting console. You wouldnt want your cleaning crew messing with your lighting board just so they can see to clean. Also stumbling around in the dark is never safe. Also depending on where you live there are codes on egress lighting which is lighting in case of emergency. Some places require that when the fire alarm goes off it takes control of the dimmers. I'm not trying to scare you but give you ideas on what all this entails. Also most dimmer racks such as an etc sensor have multiple inputs for this type of thing.
 
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LesWilson

Active Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Location
South Florida, USA
The electrical components that cause the light to dim and brighten are in the packs. Each pack has a way of assigning a circuit number for each dimmer. DMX cable goes from the console to the first dimmer pack. The DMX circuit is passed thru to another cable that goes to the next pack... and so on. Each pack is assigned a unique range of numbers for it's dimmers. The console sends the commands to the programmed dimmer number it's been patched to and voila. The right light dims.
 

AhClem

Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2011
Location
Los Angeles
If the lights were previously run off of household dimmers, the dimmer packs/racks and controller will replace those old rotary dimmers, but as you move forward and start addiing lights, keep in mind today's DMX fixtures 'typically' have the dimmer and DMX controls built into the fixture itself. Also, the LED lights that are availble today can cut your current draw for the theater significantly (to be discussed with your electrician) .
 

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