More board linking problems...


A few months ago I posted a thread about MIDI linking an ETC Express 48/96 to a Hog 250. First of all, thanks for all the advice (I bought Control Systems for Live Entertainment by John Huntington, and it really is amazing), but I now have another, similar, problem with the same two boards.

I'm the LD/ME for A Little Night Music and I'm using four moving lights in my design (two Technobeam-Hi and two DesingSpot 250), and my conventional dimmers consist of 12 Rosco IPS 6-channel dimmer strips and 5 Rosco IPS 6-channel portable dimmer packs. With the 18 additional dimmers used for house light in the venue, I have a grand total of 130 conventional dimmers and 68 DMX channels for moving attributes. Due to the number of specials and extreme isolation that the director is calling for, I need individual control of as much as I can get away with, and I would like to use both boards for programming.

Here's the problem: the way the venue is wired, there is only one DMX line running through the house from the control station to the dimmers, and since I'm short about 500 feet of DMX to run a second line to my moving lights, I'm limited to only one DMX universe. I'm aware that the Hog 250 has a DMX Input, but the operator's manual is, to say the very least, vague on what exactly it's capable of. Is it possible to start my DMX line from the Express, go out to the Hog, then out from that to the dimmers? If I were to do that, would I be able to control all of my conventional instruments from the Express, and control my movers with the Hog? Or, if this is not possible, does anyone have any ideas as to how I could rig the system so as to use both boards together?

It would be possible to use either of the two boards as the only programming console, but I would really prefer to not program moving lights on the Express just as much as I would prefer to not program conventionals on a Hog. And since both boards are currently tied up with different shows in different venues (and will be until my tech week), I don't have any time to experiment. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


P.S. Tech week starts March 4th at 8:00 am (this Sunday). So any immediate help would be amazing. Thanks again.


Well-Known Member
Logically, you should be able to link a channel from the DMX-in to the DMX-out, but never having worked with a hog 250 I couldn't begin to tell you how.

I'd suggest posting this question on The Light Network as the guys on there generally have more experience with this kind of thing.


Well-Known Member
Make your last little DMX run with cat5 cable. Cheep said the little bird...


Active Member
It is possible to get a component that takes two DMX signals and makes them one, but im not sure where you would purchase one.


Well-Known Member
Make your last little DMX run with cat5 cable. Cheep said the little bird...
I misread 500 as 50, but it may still work to do this, I mean its what like $100 dollars to buy that much cat5e, if you dont already have some...

I'd bet my bottom dollar that a data combiner would cost more than the cat5e run...


Well-Known Member
Use a DMX merger box if you are unsure of the DMX in/out type of deal. Doug Fleenor would be my best bet for a brand. Overnight shipping would be just about the only option.


Well-Known Member
So the question comes down to: Can you use the DMX in on the Hog 250 as merger ?. Hopefully, in doing so, the Hog will simply pass whatever is coming off the Express and not act upon the conventionals ?.

1) Limit the system capacity of the Express to the number of dimmers - Setup - 1 - Number of dimmers.

2) Hook it up and try it.

3) If something funky happens - dimmers not seeing signal, ML's not responding, e-mail Jands and ask. [email protected]

4) Try posting this over on the LightNetwork -

Curious what are you doing at the other end. How/where do you get DMX fromt he existing Express DMX line that runs to dimmer, over to the ML's ?, and please don't say you're using 5 pin mic. cable. Is there a DMX output on stage ?. Otherwise, you have no way to get DMX to ML's and NEED a 2nd DMX run.



CB Mods
This could be a potentially silly solution, but why not just run the entire show on the Hog instead of using two consoles. I know the Hog is funky for conventional fixtures, but it seems like a much simpler idea to just use one console.

If you are bent on connecting the two, I am not familiar with the Hog as much, but most consoles that have a DMX in allow you to patch the incoming data to channels on the receiving console (this is how Obsession does it anyway). This was designed so that you can use a second console to program in tandem with the master console, but record all the data on the master console so the second console can go away leaving the master to run the show with all the relevant data. Basically the master console reads the incoming DMX data and send it to where you patched it, then when you record a cue, whatever the second console is doing gets recorded on the master. You would have to look at your Hog manual, but I would imagine that is what your DMX in is for.


Active Member
I'll second the push to just program the show on the HOG. I use a hog 1000 with plenty of conventional fixtures and don't have any problems.

You want a DMX merger if you want two boards running one universe. I have no idea about the DMX pass-thru possibilities on the hog... the 1000 has no DMX input.


Thanks for everything so far.

To respond to icewolf: I very possibly could do all the programming on one board...but since I've had to program movers on an Express and conventionals on a Hog before, I would simply prefer not to.

To answer SteveB: I may not have been descriptive enough of our house system. We have a DMX input at the FOH which goes to a house distributer. The IPS dimmer bars are distributed dimmers, so each dimmer strip and pack has its own DMX In and Out, each complete with a termination switch. So getting DMX to the movers is simple enough by just adding them to the end of the existing line and terminating them. Cabling gets interesting because the IPS dimmers and both boards use standard 5-pin DMX, whereas all of my moving fixtures use only 3-pin DMX...but that's another story. ;) I unfortunately don't have the time to just try it and see what happens, since both boards are tied up in different venues until the day I need to start programming.

Radman: Neither of my boards, nor my fixtures or dimmers, have any ports for I would also have to get a converter and my department has run its budget dry for this show. Likewise, I can't afford the merger.

Thank you again for all of your help. On the chance that I wasn't descriptive enough of how I plan (hope) to do this, I attatched a diagram of how I think (hope) I can distribute the signal.


  • DMX distribution.JPG
    DMX distribution.JPG
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Well-Known Member
Actually I was talking about putting XLR connectors on cat5 cable. You'd put a 5 pin XLR at the desk end, then you could simplify things and put a 3 pin XLR on the mover end. Then you can just do 3 pin DMX cable or make your own with more cat5 to jump between individual movers. To clarify, you do not use RJ-45 connectors, you wire XLR connectors to the cat5 cable. This is a perfectly acceptable and in fact DMX-512 compliant solution.


Active Member
The Hog 250 DMX Input does not act as pass-through (as say one on an expression might).

It has three modes;
-DMX Capture which momentarily captures the input and maps it to the currently patched fixtures by selecting and putting them into the programmer, or by mapping to the current selection in the programmer.

-DMX Trigger, raising certain channels (specified in the Input Panel) will trigger certain cues.

-DMX Masters, once a starting address is set (Input Panel again) you can attach a dmx console to the Input port and have its submasters act as additional Playback Faders.


Well-Known Member
Pathway connectivity makes a dmx merger
it sells for under 600 dollars if I recall, they have some nice features, like being able to not only merge but also do an off set or an augment on the addresses, so for instance if you had a console that could not be patched and was locked to addresses 001 to 048 for instance you could set an offset and place these commands at address starting say 301,

Sometimes it is not just the cost of the cable but the cost of pulling it and installing etc, and one of these units can be of help


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