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LMX-128/MPX/MicroPlex to RS-232

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by devcybiko, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. devcybiko

    devcybiko Member

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    i run lights for a small richmond theater. i'd like to control our lights by computer. currently we have an aging Lightronics tl-1608 board. i want to control the lights by computer.

    first off, there is a rj45 connector on the back which is undocumented. does anyone know what it does?

    secondly, are there any lmx-128/mpx/microplex converters out there? any sort of interface will do - serial, usb, parellel are all acceptable.

    thanks in advance

    greg
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    That RJ45 is probably for a remote of some kind. If you really want to do this, its not going to be cheap. I think the easiest thing to do would be to convert whatever the board speaks to the dimmers to DMX with a converter box, Doug Fleenor designs makes it if it exist. Then, go get a cheap enntec DMX widget and you are set. There is no easy way to do this.
     
  3. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    The guy from dmx-tools dot com has a widget that I believe will do that; he usually has a set on Ebay. He's got three models of DMX translator, and I believe that either Model 1 or Model 2 will do it .. one translates a handful of microplexes to DMX; the other goes the other way.

    That's the cheapest way I know of. You could build it too; he's got schematics and source out there if you really want to get into 8051 assembler on a PIC.

    That aside, Doctor DMX (Doug Fleenor) and Grey/Pathway are the names I know.
     
  4. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    By the way, to clarify, that's in reference to translating DMX control protocol to drive your Lightronics Mux dimmers, not to interfacing a computer with the thing. No clue what that RJ45 is for.
     
  5. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    I thought that Lightronics board sent out both LMX and DMX. I don't think that the RJ-45 allows external control. It appears from the manual (http://lightronics.com/pdfs/tl1608m.pdf) that you can connect two boards together and that is probably what the connection is for. However, that being said, an enterprising person could probably use that to control the board via a computer as well.
     
  6. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Just looked up the console (thought it was another one), ya, aint no way you are going to connect a PC to control that thing, talk about having to re-invent the wheel. What kind of dimmers are you using? Is there a possibility that they will take DMX? If so, once again, just go buy an enntec wiget and put the board in a closet somewhere and never think of it again. If you have to, buy a converter to get into the lighttronics protocol (which I think is close to NSI's, could be wrong though).

    By the way, I hate non-standard based gear.
     
  7. dramatech

    dramatech Well-Known Member

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    Early versions of LMX-128 were slightly different than the NSI version. Later on in Lightronics history, they changed their LMX-128 to the same as the NSI. After the change, the industry labeled the protocall used by both as Microplex. The board in question is the newer LMX-128 or Microplex. The only difference between the old and the new is the voltage that is fed from the first dimmer pack to the board to operate it. NEw can use old and NSI and LIghtronics old or new can work with each other if the external voltage wire is cut and a seperate power source is fed to the board.

    And by the way, the Microplex is a standard that was developed before DMX. It has been around a long time, it just wasn't known under that name until recently.
     
  8. Malabaristo

    Malabaristo Active Member

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    It sounds like you're really just looking for something to replace your existing console. In that case, the real question is; what sort of dimmers do you have and what languages do the speak? If they can accept DMX then you have a wide range of USB to DMX-512 interfaces and software. If they only work with Microplex/LMX-128, then you'll need something else to convert from DMX to that.

    Also, while "computer controlled" sounds cool and impressive, a mouse & keyboard are a lot more awkward to use than something with a bunch of faders. You may be better off going with another small console like the ETC Smartfade. I'm not overly familiar with comparable products by other manufacturers, but I'm sure there are plenty of other people here that could provide you with suggestions. Also, depending on your dimmers you may still need something to convert DMX to LMX-128.
     
  9. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Really? What company developed "LMX-128/Microplex" and when? According to this article, "White, along with two partners, founded NSI Corporation in 1986". The first mention of Lightronics I can find is a listing in the 1988 LD Buyer's Guide. Both are after the Certification of USITT DMX-512, in the summer of 1986.
     

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