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Control/Dimming NON DMX. wireless remote control dimming

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by cm3ars, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. cm3ars

    cm3ars Member

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    Hello everyone, Im working on a show where we have the need for wireless control of lights that are in a moving piece of scenery. Im aware of some wireless DMX solutions, including those from RC4-Magic Wireless DMX & Wireless Dimming, RC4 Wireless Dimming & Wireless Motion, RC5 High Security Wireless DMX, But those systems are out of our price range.
    What i need is a way to control 4 battery powered lights independently, each light will be placed in a moving column. They need to have their own control, and not be DMX based. this show tours to theaters that have ancient systems w/o DMX control. I have thought about taking the guts out of camping lanterns that have the wireless on off switch, but i do not feel this is reliable enough. Id love some form of RF control, with 4 channels, so all 4 lights are on the same control box. The ability to dim is preferred, but not a requirement.

    Any ideas? Thanks!!
  2. dhorn

    dhorn Member

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    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Prior to the introduction of the economy priced RC4 Magic series, we used to use Radio Controlled model car kits to control props with lights and /or motors. You can purchase them at any well stocked Hobby Store. Most control kits include the controller with 2 or 4 control channels and one or two joysticks. The kits come in different voltages; e.g. 6v, 7.2v, 9v, or 12v and standard or Hi-Power motor controllers. Be sure to purchase a kit that will be compatible with the battery voltage you plan to use and the Hi-Power output type. The kits will include at least 2 motor controllers and one radio receiver to drive steering and throttle motors. You can purchase additional radio receivers and motor controllers, just be sure the add-ons have frequency crystals that match the Transmitter Controller. The Hi-Power motor controllers should be able to handle a single 50 watt MR-16 lamp each. The system will be more reliable the closer you can keep the Transmitter to the receivers. Ideally a crew person backstage can operate the controller. Due to RFI generated by the lamps, they should be kept at least 24 inches from the receivers. Also be sure to use the proper wire gauge for the amperage loads you will be using. For example a 50 watt lamp at 12 volts is over 4 amps.

    I hope this has been helpful,
    Dave Horn
    Children's Theatre Company
  3. FatherMurphy

    FatherMurphy Active Member

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    Midwest US
    I did a similar thing with RC aircraft controls once upon a time - it was years ago, but I seem to remember finding one that did four channels, each as a servo (as opposed to a relay channel). I was using them to drive standard light switches, but a sliding dimmer switch with the proper travel distance would allow fades. A motorcycle battery provided power for 12 v MR 16 lamps.

    Only problem was that I was light board op for that show, and several cues happened at once... so someone else got to run it during the performances. :evil:

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