Multiplex and DMX at the same time

Steve Robinson

New Member
Hello and greetings from Hot Springs, AR. I have a technical question that is a little out of my wheelhouse. I currently operate the audio booth at our local theater and recently our lighting system has been on the fritz, it only about 20 years old. I am pushing that we go to LED lighting since it is more cost effective, ie. less power constraints, less heat generated and so on. M question is this. I have been looking at different light controllers, specifically the Levitron MC 7024 Controller wit 24/48 channels. Now the manual says that multiplex and DMX can be run at the same time. If so how do you setup the lights? Since our theater is small, we don't have the budget to go out and change all at once. What we are thinking of doing is continue using the old lights we have but gradually working in the new LED's. Can we run both off the same controller if so how. If not then will we have have to have two separate lighting controllers?
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Hello and greetings from Hot Springs, AR. I have a technical question that is a little out of my wheelhouse. I currently operate the audio booth at our local theater and recently our lighting system has been on the fritz, it only about 20 years old. I am pushing that we go to LED lighting since it is more cost effective, ie. less power constraints, less heat generated and so on. My question is this. I have been looking at different light controllers, specifically the Levitron MC 7024 Controller wit 24/48 channels. Now the manual says that multiplex and DMX can be run at the same time. If so how do you setup the lights? Since our theater is small, we don't have the budget to go out and change all at once. What we are thinking of doing is continue using the old lights we have but gradually working in the new LED's. Can we run both off the same controller if so how. If not then will we have have to have two separate lighting controllers?
Basically we need more info from you but here's where I'm presently assuming you're at:
Possibly you are running Leviton Microplex control into Leviton Microplex dimmers and wishing to run DMX-512 to new fixtures. Possibly your board can output both formats simultaneously, Microplex wouid be output on a 3 contact connector while DMX would be output on a 5 contact female XLR. Another possible option is to run Microplex out of your board, through your dimmers and then out of your dimmers and into one of Leviton's 501 series of protocol converters then on to your new DMX devices. Either way, check the back of your board for what connectors are fitted. I seem to recall that board being offered with Microplex only and also with an optional DMX output fitted in addition. Sorry to have been of so little help, if any, but check your board and its manual for exactly which options were fitted when it shipped. You can likely learn much about your Leviton gear on-line but note the spelling. You should be Googling for Leviton, note there is no 'R' in their name.
Another consideration is Microplex dimmers often provided powering to operate your console via Leviton's proprietary Microplex format thus, should you abandon your Microplex dimmers you may find yourself needing a means to power your console. I'm making FAR too many assumptions about your existing system here so please post more detailed info at your convenience.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.
 
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RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Is that a typo Ron? DMX Out is normally female.
Probably. I'll go check and correct. Thanks for catching it and pointing it out. I still treasure the brief face to face I had with you in Casino Windsor when I was subcontracted to a company upgrading the control systems for a synchronized dancing water fall for their main lobby.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.
 

JD

Well-Known Member
In any case, if the board can output both at the same time through different connectors, and you are currently running Microplex to your dimmers, simply leave that intact and run a separate DMX line from you board to the new fixtures. The new fixtures would simply start at different addresses. Both should coexist nicely.
 

TuckerD

Well-Known Member
I think that someone out there makes a DMX to MPX converter. If that's the case I would really recommend going with a more versatile / modern controller like ETC Eos Nomad (if you can't afford an Eos hardware console) and then adding a DMX to MPX converter to go to your dimmers.

With a more modern console you will get so much more capability out of your newer fixtures.
 

Steve Robinson

New Member
Basically we need more info from you but here's where I'm presently assuming you're at:
Possibly you are running Leviton Microplex control into Leviton Microplex dimmers and wishing to run DMX-512 to new fixtures. Possibly your board can output both formats simultaneously, Microplex wouid be output on a 3 contact connector while DMX would be output on a 5 contact female XLR. Another possible option is to run Microplex out of your board, through your dimmers and then out of your dimmers and into one of Leviton's 501 series of protocol converters then on to your new DMX devices. Either way, check the back of your board for what connectors are fitted. I seem to recall that board being offered with Microplex only and also with an optional DMX output fitted in addition. Sorry to have been of so little help, if any, but check your board and its manual for exactly which options were fitted when it shipped. You can likely learn much about your Leviton gear on-line but note the spelling. You should be Googling for Leviton, note there is no 'R' in their name.
Another consideration is Microplex dimmers often provided powering to operate your console via Leviton's proprietary Microplex format thus, should you abandon your Microplex dimmers you may find yourself needing a means to power your console. I'm making FAR too many assumptions about your existing system here so please post more detailed info at your convenience.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.

Well we haven't actually purchased the light controller yet, was just wondering if that really is possible to run both microplex and DMX from the same controller if indeed it is equipped with both. I am attaching the manual that shows both connections are possible. Do I just run the microplex from channels 1-24 and the DMX from channels 25-48 and then slowly migrate the LED's into the mix as needed? Also, can anyone give me a good argument to an older light man that is dead set that LED's do not work on a Theatrical environment? He thinks it is impossible to get the lighting right. Again being relatively new to this I don't have a good answer for that.

Thank you
 

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Mac Hosehead

Well-Known Member
Yes, if both connectors are present then you get DMX and Microplex outputting at the same time. Both connectors will be outputting all 48 values so you can use the mix anyway you like. It is my understanding that if you go to 48 channel mode then you lose the crossfader and are limited to either a single scene or 24 submasters. The DMX upgrade is just a line driver chip and a wire assembly with a XLR5 female. Show the old guy what a good color-changing cyc wash you can get with LEDs.
 

Mac Hosehead

Well-Known Member
"......Leviton's proprietary Microplex format". While Microplex may be proprietary, both Lightronics' LMX and Leprecon's Microplex are fully compatible, so you have a choice of their consoles which output microplex and DMX as well.

Due to the somewhat imprecise output, I would be a bit hesitant to recommend a NSI 7024 for LEDs. The Leprecon's 624 has limited soft-patching and better faders but I'm sure it costs more. I don't have much experience with Lightronics consoles.
 

dramatech

Well-Known Member
The Lightronics TL5024 is a great little board that does both Microplex and DMX if equipped with both connectors. It can have the DMX added with just a 75176 IC and a 5 pin connector. It also has a "GO" button capability. It is however limited to 24 channels and only 256 addresses. Lightronics has a larger board that can do both formats and has some moving light capabilities of 12 - 8 channel or 8 - 12 channel lights plus 48 conventional channels and a "GO" button. The moving light channels can be used instead for LEDs. Not sure of the model number, but it can be found on the website.
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
No one else has said this yet, so I will:

If you try to run LED stage lighting with a board that doesn't know how, you won't be all that happy with it. Nor will your Older Light Man.

If you're going to upgrade to LED lighting, even as a subset of your rig, you should be looking at controllers that understand multi-channel dimming, even if you have to go with free/cheap PC based software for budgetary reasons, like Martin M-PC, Chamsys, Enttec D-Pro, and the like.

The ETC Nomad, which someone mentioned above, is just above those, pricewise, and it goes up from there.

The other side of the coin is that nothing comes with a fader wing for much under a grand, and your OLM won't necessarily be happy with that, neither.
 

jack63ss

Member
I have a Leviton MC7524 and I mix DMX & MPX dimmers and LED DMX fixtures all the time. The board will output both signals on separate connectors, and I actually do my DMX using wireless. As long as you understand it requires two sets of control cables you should be okay.
 

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