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Is anyone else using wireless DMX?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by pacman, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. pacman

    pacman Active Member

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    Our facility (built in 1998) was not wired for DMX distribution, other than from the console to the dimmer racks. I looked at running traditional cable, Ethernet and some of the proprietary Ethernet (Pathport, ETCNet) distribution schemes, but recently came across the Wireless Solutions http://www.wirelessdmx.com/ line of wireless DMX transmitters & receivers. It is much less expensive than most of the other equipment I've seen. It uses GSM cell phone technology instead of the WiFi technology some other companies use, and is built into rugged, metal cases. So far it rocks! I bought a package of one transmitter (transmits a full 512 channel DMX universe) and four receivers. Setup is a breeze; push one button on the transmiiter and all the receivers sync to that transmitter. It has battery backup, so even if you remove power, it retains the sync when you power it back up. I've been able to get full signal strength from one end of the building to the other! Check out the new Generation 3 series for some added features not available in he S1/T1/R512 models. Although Generation 3 is shown on the home page, they apparently have not updated the website Products or Downloads pages to incorporate the Gen3 line. Wireless Solutions claims their systems can support up to 16 DMX universes. TMB is the US distributor.

    If anyone else is using wireless DMX, please share your experience.
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I have yet to work on the show that I have felt needed it. I'm still a hard line person, and will be for a long time. However, when that show comes along that has that moving set piece that is loaded with gear, I will be looking the wireless DMX way. I have heard very good things out of the city theatrical product.
     
  3. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    This is about the easiest and least expensive way of having wireless DMX.

    [​IMG]

    Each unit is both a transmitter and receiver. Two are required as a minimum. MAP price is $ 179.99 per unit.
     
  4. wakkoroti

    wakkoroti Member

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    Speaking from experience here. Do not use wireless DMX until you have exhausted every avenue for running wires. While in most theatre environments, the likelihood is low that you'll have an interference problem, it is still just one more thing that can stop working and give you grief.
     
  5. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Yup, thick walls tend to block sygnals. Wirless DMX works well in going from DMX to Ethernet say than converting back but it all as a concept depends upon the ability for both stations to either connect with something out in space or in as if wireless microphone, something sort of line of sight in a place that no doubt has 18" thick walls to say the least.

    Was involved in doing Millenium park in Chicago wireless a few years ago, no huge walls.

    It's an option but as said, not the first choice if at all possible in running pipe and cable. At this point, given somewhere well over a dozen or two eight universe DMX front of house snakes, two 28 universe DMX snake and just having goine fiber optic for three more front of house snakes, none of our operations are wireless. Perhaps one or two but them is never used if other than absolutely necessary.

    Not dependable by way of line of sight. Avoid wireless DMX unless line of sight or absolutely necessary.

    Why do you want to do this anyway? Is there a real reason other than doing so because it's a concept?
     
  6. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    Gawd, I hate being sworn to secrecy! My gig uses wireless DMX. I can tell you it's been very reliable. I just can't tell you what it's for. Job requirement and all.

    Let's just say we go very, very fast with it.
     
  7. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    hmmmm....my guess is the pan/tilt on the cameras mounted in nascars.
     
  8. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    I used some Martin stuff a couple years ago. It was line of sight, but far, about 700 feet. Worked fine. Can't remember much else about it. But like everything else, the technology is now better and cheaper.
     
  9. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    thus is true, probably can also have the antenna mounted in front of the main drape so as to get reception.

    It does work as a system if needed to be used.
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Member

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    I use the identical system pacman mentions starting this thread, and I've got to say I want at least two more- there's nothing easier than plugging your lights into a wireless receiver and rocking out!

    I'm in the staging market now, so it'll all get-in, set up, plot, busk, strike, sleep for 30 mins and start again, and popping a receiver on every truss I pull up saves me searching for the one buggered cable in the rig, and being able to plot from any position makes life SO much easier, I don't think I'll ever hardwire by choice again!

    For marquee gigs its vital, for massive arenas is a must, for anything with a bit of distance its absolutely mandatory and for simple ease of use its unbeatable- but in a theatre? Come now, run cable, it'll cost you so much less, and why bother? Get a DMX isolator at the end of the cable from your desk and send a line up each LX and life will be good.
     
  11. pacman

    pacman Active Member

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    As I mentioned, this facility was built (1998) with no provision for DMX distribution other than console to dimmer racks. So, my reasons (in no particular order) include: no available conduit, thus identifying potential paths & installing conduit & cable; having to rig lines into the flown electrics; buying & installing opto-splitters, wall plates & floor pockets; having to get approval from the maintanence director; laying out the cable runs myself or hiring an archtitect to do the drawings; explainging the project to the electricians & making sure it gets done right; adding to the mess of cables already inherent on any stage; ability to quickly drop in a hazer, fogger or such without having to run a DMX cable from some distant DMX drop; etc. Let's see... I can do all that, or... buy five magic boxes, plug them in & do the 9 rehearsals & 27 performances scheduled within the next 28 days.

    I'm in a relatively small building (around 28,000 sq ft) but have been able to get through multiple concrete, block & steel walls across three stories vertically, in a suburban environment. Wireless Solutions has a repeater & high gain antennas for instances where obstacles block the signal. Sorry to sound like a company pitchman, but it's nice to find a product that performs as claimed. I have also heard good things about the City Theatrical stuff & have seen it at LDI, but have not used it.
     
  12. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    Occupation:
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    Not at home, that's for sure.

    Sorry Stanton, it's not NASCAR. But, ironically, it does have a LOT to do with pan. In a matter of speaking...
     
  13. Foxinabox10

    Foxinabox10 Active Member

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    ...something to do with Food Network?
     
  14. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    When he said Pan, I thought Peter Pan, and possibly one of those hookups where moving lights follow an actor because he's wearing a transmitter--the lights just position based on the wireless transmitter.

    Don't know if that'd be in DMX protocol though...
     
  15. zip

    zip Member

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    I would have a rather beginners/noob question related to Wireless DMX...
    I might start using some but from all the specifications I can not understand something...
    It will probably be a WAP or WIFI transmission but my major question would be:

    The main issue would be that on a building we have several DMX units but we can't connect them in a cascade due to the long distances and location of each fixture.
    Do the wireless systems work like this?

    ANTENNA DMX TRANSMITTER ----------------------------ANTENNA DMX RECEIVER
    (Acting like a LAN wireless \
    acces point) \
    \
    \
    \
    \---- ANTENNA DMX RECEIVER
    \
    \----- ANTENNA DMX RECEIVER

    Or the following Configuration...

    ANTENNA DMX TRANSMITTER -----------------------------ANTENNA DMX RECEIVER

    ANTENNA DMX TRANSMITTER------------------------------ANTENNA DMX RECEIVER

    (for every unit we must set up a different Wireless transmission?)

    Sorry for the probably stupid question but an answer related to this would help me very much and I can't find anywhere an answer that can answer me in this way :)

    thank you all in advance...
     
  16. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    yeah, in most simpler systems you have one trasmitter per universe, so you need as many trasmitters as universes. You can have multiple recivers on a universe so if your whole system uses less than 512 channels you can do it on one trasmitter.
     
  17. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    One thing that just occurred to me is whether the units would be manually addressable (i.e., frequency). I haven't shopped around, but I'll bet the lower priced products don't have that capability. Hate to see a rig where universe 1 was transmitting to universe 4, etc. That would be bad.
     
  18. koncept

    koncept Active Member

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    what about using some dmx over ethernet? (i know this is going away from the original post) but if you used taht you could probably use wireless bridges to do something similar. but becareful and do not put something that could cause damage on a wireless system
    (this is wierd to have so many threads inter relate...or at least the ones i've been watching have been)
    http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5177&goto=newpost
     
  19. jmabray

    jmabray Active Member

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    That's done by using ultra-sonic sound - not even radio waves of any kind. It's a chirper that sits on the performers head, and transmits to several receivers around the space. Based upon time calculations, it's (relatively) easy to calculate distance from each receiver position. At least that's the way the Wybron product works....
     
  20. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    As far as I understand, even though you can run DMX on Cat5 cable, you can't just plug it into standard network hardware and expect it to work. With many of the lighting consoles available like the Strand 300/500, ETC Eos or Obsession II they communicate with their DMX nodes via TCP/IP so you can connect those to standard network hardware. Therefore you can connect, say, a Strand 500 to a wireless router (provided you know how to set it up to work with ShowNet) and then connect an SN103 DMX node to a WAP that connects to the wireless network and it would work. I believe the same goes for ETCNet.

    So this, while useful, may not solve the issues that some of the WDMX devices can solve. It is very bulky to put a WAP and DMX node on a batten, but a simple WDMX box is easy. If you just wanted to go wireless from the console to a distribution center, using the standard networking approach might be more efficient as the console can send multiple universes over it's proprietary protocol (ETCNet or Strand ShowNet, etc.) to a DMX node.
     

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