Running a hazer via DMX relay

R45glasses

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Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Location
Washington, DC
New ME in a new space here. So I've got a hazer tucked up all nice in this grid. It's receiving non-dim power at present, but was previously run (for a long time as I understand) on dimmable power. When it broke at the end of last season, Barbizon suggested running it via a DMX relay instead of plugging it into a dimmer. So we have a power strip running to non-dim power from the rack; plugged into the power strip are the hazer, fan, and relay. Data is running through the relay to the hazer. Does the hazer need to be patched into the board (ETC Element) with a particular profile? Am I running something incorrectly? Any help would be appreciated.

Cheers.
 

KLM

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Joined
Apr 14, 2012
Location
Southern UT
What kind of hazer do you have? Does it have a DMX In port?

DMX Relays are used to control devices that don't have DMX capabilities built in. We have a DF-50 Hazer, so I do this, too. The relay gets a dmx line and constant power, and the DF 50's power just plugs into the relay. Then I address the relay, but at the board I control it as a regular channel, I don't even change the type (my hazer is only one parameter, so it's just on/off).

If your hazer has a place to plug in DMX already, you're just adding a step you don't need. Plug the hazer into constant power, run DMX to it, and address it. Most hazers are only two channels, one for haze, and one for their built in fan. You can either control these two channels separately (just patch them in without changing the type and remember which controls which), or actually patch it in as a hazer (recommended). If you don't know the brand, the Element has "Generic" in its manufacturer list. Click that, and then click "generic hazer" or whatever sounds close to that.

If you can tell us the specific hazer and relay you're using, you'll get a much clearer answer.
 

derekleffew

Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
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Aug 21, 2007
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Las Vegas, NV, USA
It's not a DMX hazer, correct? I think you've explained it wrong. The power strip should be plugged into constant power; the hazer and fan should be plugged into the power strip.

Depending on the relay, it will likely turn on or off when the DMX value is above or below 51%. It will work fine in this scenario, but may lead to unexpected behavior: turning on or off at a peculiar time during a long fade, for example. Two better options on the Element: 1) Patch the DMX address as type non-dim, or 2) patch it as a dimmer with profile "Full at 1%." Someone else can explain how to do either one.
 

porkchop

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2008
Location
Vegas
I've seen this done two ways, there is one I like much more than the other.

The first and easiest way is to have the hazer set in manual mode (were whenever it gets power it heats up and then starts emitting haze at a preset level). In this case you would have only the DMX relay patched into the board as a non-dim. You would connect the relay to some source of constant power (could be a wall outlet to save dimmers). The fan and hazer would be plugged into the relay. Then when the non-dim channel for the relay on the console is given any value above 0% it powers up the hazer and fan and a short time later you have haze. This setup is easy, but has several problems namely the lack of control of exactly when the haze will happen (there will be a delay because the hazer has to heat up before it can emit haze).

A better and more typical situation is to have the hazer patched into the console as well as the relay. In this situation you still have the relay plugged into any convenient constant power source and the fan and hazer plugged into the relay. The only difference physically is the extra data cable running to the hazer. In this case when you know you're going to want haze soon (like say, at 15 minute call before the show) you give the non-dim channel for the relay a value above 0% and leave it there until you're done using the hazer (For instance, in the last cue of the show). Then when you want haze you bring up the channel for the hazer to the desired level and it will more-or-less immediately start spitting out haze at whatever level you set it to. This is a much better situation both in terms of the health of your equipment and repeatability. Also you can potentially free up a dimmer in your rack. I don't remember if an Element can patch a fixture profile, but even if it can't the hazer should only be a channel or two.

As a side note many DMX controlled hazers have a place to plug the fan into them so you can control both the level of haze emitted and how fast the fan spins. I'd look into that and see if you can do that with your setup. That way you don't have the fan spinning at full blast all show long.