Scrollers without DMX

drawstuf99

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Feb 5, 2006
Somebody told me a while ago and I was wondering about this: Is there a way to use a DMX accessory (ie a scroller or gobo rotator) without using DMX? This person, as I recall, mentioned a DMX -> stage pin converter or something that could be used to convert the digital signal to a usable stage pin or something of the sort.

Our old theatre doesn't have DMX that's able to be patched into (our rack is so old) and to get that done would cost lots of money. Any ideas?
 

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there are 0-10v scrollers and the like out there, but they are hard to find these days. as far as a 0-115v to DMX converter, I am sure there is something out there, but I have a feeling since it woul be such a specialty product it might cost you way more then getting DMX to your stage. Does you console have DMX out, and if so does it offer more then 1 ouput? The cable cost to get DMX to your stage are pretty small compared to the cost of the actual gear.
 

soundlight

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Get a second console (Elation or something of the likes) that has DMX, and use it solely for the DMX accessories. That's what I'd do. It's juggling to consoles, but I've done that before, more than once.
 

soundlight

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The 0-10 Volt refers to the control signal, if I remember correctly. You send a 0-10V variable control signal, but you still have to supply it with standard power.
 

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The only 0-10v scroller I know of where "the scroller" made by wybrom (I have 2 sitting in my attic, and no you can't have then). From what I know they havent been made for a very long time. They run on 0-10v DC, not AC like your dimmers do. What kind of console do you have, and along with that what kind of dimmers. Getting any device to convert dimmed power to a digitial signal would be problamatic at best. If you have a DMX console getting an opto-isolator/splitter and getting a run to stage should not be that big of an issue, (a mic run will work in a pinch), if your only other option is some type of black box solution.
 

Van

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Somebody told me a while ago and I was wondering about this: ..... This person, as I recall, mentioned a DMX -> stage pin converter or something that could be used to convert the digital signal to a usable stage pin or something of the sort.

Any ideas?
I get the idea that this person might have been referring to or thinking of something similar to an "X-10" or "RF over A.C." type device. These are essentially a device that uses the neutral circuit of a building electrical wiring to transmit an R.F. < Radio Frequency> signal. While it's a great theoretical idea, sadly, it often has poor real world application. There used to be several "phone Extenders" on the market, "why install a new phone jack when you can simply plug into your existing wall socket ?", Why ? 'Cause the interference on these devices can be Incredible ! DMX is a digital protocol, and while it might be cleaner and more reliable to send a true "digital" signal in this way, there are several reason why this "R.F. over A.C." solution wont work in your present situation.
If you could get the transmitter plugged into an available stage pin circuit, the signal would still have to travel to the dimmer connected to that outlet. Without getting way to technical, the signal would still have to travel back through a lot of electronics that would make it impossible for the signal to find its way to the circuit you plugged the receiver into. I really think that splitting your DMX signal out of the board and then running a new cable , or using a wireless repeater, would be a much better solution to you problem. I hate those solutions that cost money as much as the next guy, but sometimes you simply have to bite the bullet.
As far as X-10 devices go they are really sweet geeky things. You can run your whole house off them from your computer. Funny thing though, I used to work for an electronics firm that sold intercoms that plugged into the outlet and used R.F. over A.C. if two houses were on the same side of the transformer suppling power to the house they would be able to hear everthing going on it each others houses.

Good luck with your challenge. Post again and let us know how you fix it !
 

drawstuf99

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Feb 5, 2006
Well it doesn't look like there is a cut/dry solution to this problem except maybe running cable.

FYI, the board is an ETC Express. So, I can run a DMX cable backstage somehow from the board and it should work fine? Are there any additional measures that have to be taken or is that it, and then assign the dmx address on the scroller?

Thank you guys for your help, I haven't really worked with DMX devices that much as our space is lacking in it but any way we could get this accomplished somehow soon would be nice

Thanks guys.
 

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Well it doesn't look like there is a cut/dry solution to this problem except maybe running cable.
FYI, the board is an ETC Express. So, I can run a DMX cable backstage somehow from the board and it should work fine? Are there any additional measures that have to be taken or is that it, and then assign the dmx address on the scroller?
Thank you guys for your help, I haven't really worked with DMX devices that much as our space is lacking in it but any way we could get this accomplished somehow soon would be nice
Thanks guys.
That console has two universe output, so this will be rather easy. If you understand the addressing part (and if you don't do a search for it here... there is plenty of advice/instruction on that), then all you have to do is get the physical DMX to the stage. You can buy DMX cable in 100' lengths or more if you simply want to drape the cable through the space or you could do the cat5 route (also do a search, I have posted tons of info on that as well). Sounds like you are almost there.
 

zac850

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What Footer said.

DMX cable is cheap, or if you have lots of extra mic cable around you can get by using it (yes, there are many debates about why you shouldn't, but to be honest when push comes to shove it works well). You can get 5 pin to 3 pin adaptors for $20 or so and then just use mic cable to run out to your scrollers.

If you have any questions with using DMX output 2 (labeled 513-1024) on your console do a search here (I think I wrote a fairly easy how-to a while back). If you can't find anything/still have questions feel free to ask.

Oh, and you can also check the boards manual, that could help to Link to download page

Good luck,
Zac
 

soundlight

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Most scrollers use 4-pin scroller cable, which is powered by a power supply. You run the DMX in to the power supply, and the power supply sends the control signal and the power over the 4-pin cable. I'm pretty sure that there are non-power-supply scrollers out there, but I don't know what they are or even if they exist.
 

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Another option for you would be wireless DMX, city theatrical has a pretty good system. It is rather pricy, but for that price the systems are very reliable. If there is no way you can run the cable/don't want to run the cable/etc... its an option. It tends to be very cost prohibitive, but it is out there.
 

Esoteric

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Yup, just use a DMX Splitter.

Mike
 

xander

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Is it possible to control DMX scollers from a console with only one DMX output which is being used to drive a dimmer rack? The console I am using is a Strand200 series (48 ch.) and Strand WallRack dimmers.
While a splitter would work fine like Mike said, there are cheaper solutions to look at. I am not sure, but I think that the WallRack has DMX thru, so that you can dasiy chain on to your next DMX unit (granted the location of the dimmers allows this). Another solution would be to take the DMX-out of your board to your DMX units and then go back to your dimmers, making them the final thing in the daisy chain.

It may take some more DMX cable, but that is cheaper than an opto splitter.

-Tim
 

Esoteric

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While a splitter would work fine like Mike said, there are cheaper solutions to look at. I am not sure, but I think that the WallRack has DMX thru, so that you can dasiy chain on to your next DMX unit (granted the location of the dimmers allows this). Another solution would be to take the DMX-out of your board to your DMX units and then go back to your dimmers, making them the final thing in the daisy chain.

It may take some more DMX cable, but that is cheaper than an opto splitter.

-Tim
Yup, this could work depending on the type of rack, distances involved, if doors would have to be left open, etc.

But it is a possibility.

Although splitters only run about $300 or so.

Mike
 

dramatech

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Winter Haven, FL
While it seems that the primary problem has been discussed and there are many solutions, I thought that I might just clarify a few things on the scroller issue. Yes there were scrollers made that were powered with wall mains of 120 or 240 volt ac, depending on which side of the pond you reside. Wybrons very early model "the Scroller" was mains powered and received DMX with a standard 5 pin XLR. I still see them on Ebay frequently, but having owned a few, they are very finicky about the gel strings being cut and taped in the proper size and mounted perfectly. If they were not, they would hit the limit on the feedback pot and then lock up and burn out the supply or the motor.
As for scrollers that run on 0-10 vdc (analog) the earliest models built by Camelont in Sweden, could be either DMX or analog. In either case, they still required 24 DC on pins 1 and 4 with the signal on 1,2 and 3. There is a small switch, that determines the signal protocall. These scrollers were sold under the name "Rainbow". The sme scroller was also sold by Strand as the "Colour Call", only in this case they also had third protcall choice that was uniquely Strand. These scrollers had 5 pin XLRs with the signal on 1,2 and 3 and the power on 4&5. Kind of a unique idea so that you could use the original DMX cable where all pins were supplied the length of the cable. This didn't last very long and most people changed the connectors to 4 pin and used along side the Rainbows. The company Spectrum Engineering, in Canada, either licensed or some similar arrangement with Camelont, and builds scrollers under several names such as CromaQ, Apollo Spectra and Ranger. I believe but can not prove it, that they also build the Morpheus. The very early "Rangers" were 0-10 analog.
While studying scrollers online, I found a document that stated the scroller was first invented by a man in Dallas Texas, and that he used 0-10volt analog control.
Now some of this information I give as I have heard it, but I own Strand Colour calls and rainbows and Chroma Qs and the statements I have made about those are fact. I have remove the signal selector switches and jumpered them to run only on DMX, so that none of the electricians in the theatre can accidently set them to analog.
 

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