Control/Dimming Syncing lights with MIDI/DMX to a click track

ZakkClarkTLB

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Location
Ohio
Hello!
I am the drummer in a band and we play to a click track. We decided we want to sync up a light show to our songs. What we want to do is have two "light towers" that we are going to build and have a column of 3 flood lights in each. We use Logic Pro 9 to run our clicks and backtracking. If we made a midi track that sent out notes when we wanted the lights to be on, what hardware would we need to utilize this?

My idea was to buy a Chauvet Obey 40 and a DMX 4 dimmer pack, and run the midi out of the computer and into the Obey 40, then run the DMX of that out to the dimmer pack, and have the towers plugged into the pack.

I am most confused about this because we won't be using "intelligent lighting". I might have no idea what I am talking about so help me out!
Thanks!
-Zakk.
 

iLightTheStage

Active Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Location
Las Vegas, NV
Hello!
I am the drummer in a band and we play to a click track. We decided we want to sync up a light show to our songs. What we want to do is have two "light towers" that we are going to build and have a column of 3 flood lights in each. We use Logic Pro 9 to run our clicks and backtracking. If we made a midi track that sent out notes when we wanted the lights to be on, what hardware would we need to utilize this?

My idea was to buy a Chauvet Obey 40 and a DMX 4 dimmer pack, and run the midi out of the computer and into the Obey 40, then run the DMX of that out to the dimmer pack, and have the towers plugged into the pack.

I am most confused about this because we won't be using "intelligent lighting". I might have no idea what I am talking about so help me out!
Thanks!
-Zakk.
Yeah, you've got it. Keep in mind though, that dimmer pack can only support a max of 15amps TOTAL. That's roughly 1800w. So, depending on what you're hooking up, you might need more.
Another possible route is this controller with matching LED unit.
Products » COLORstrip
 

ZakkClarkTLB

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Location
Ohio
Alright thanks you! So if I do this: Computer(midi)->DMX controller->Dimmer pack(with correct wattage capabilities) and plug the the lights into that pack, I can select MIDI on the controller and they will come on when a signal is sent out from the computer? What will all the faders on the controller do exactly? I will mostly likely have 2 cabinet-like frames with 3 90w flood lights in each, and all the lights of each tower plugged into a strip of some sort. Just making sure before I purchase anything.
 

iLightTheStage

Active Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Location
Las Vegas, NV
Alright thanks you! So if I do this: Computer(midi)->DMX controller->Dimmer pack(with correct wattage capabilities) and plug the the lights into that pack, I can select MIDI on the controller and they will come on when a signal is sent out from the computer? What will all the faders on the controller do exactly? I will mostly likely have 2 cabinet-like frames with 3 90w flood lights in each, and all the lights of each tower plugged into a strip of some sort. Just making sure before I purchase anything.
Yeah, you'll need a 5-pin or 3-pin dmx cable (depends on what the board and dimmer packs have on them) between the board and the dimmer packs. The manual for the board will say how to assign a midi note to a certain fader. You'll probably just have to record the faders to bring up the respective channel. It should be in the manual, i'm not familiar with that board.
 

ZakkClarkTLB

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Location
Ohio
Non-intelligent lights and MIDI!

I posted something about this in the past, but a few important details have changed*

I am in a band and we want to run a clicktrack/backtrack out of Ableton. I have an M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8R. We want to sync lights to our show through MIDI. We just want the lights to flash on/off. I am looking at the Elation CyberPak to do this (link below). It has MIDI in. Would it work with this setup:

Macbook(Ableton w/ MIDI notes playing that are assigned to each channel on CyberPak)-[USB]> FastTrack (with MIDI In/out)-[MIDI cable]> CyberPak(with lights plugged into it)

Does this seem right?

These are the lights.
photo (1).JPG




Elation Professional - Professional Lighting Products
 

AhClem

Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2011
Location
Los Angeles
Re: Non-intelligent lights and MIDI!

I looked at the CyberPak manual (a little sketchy on the MIDI control) , but it sounds like it should work. I can't tell from the picture how many circuits the lights are capable of using, but if it's just one plug for each box of three, you should be able to use two of the four available CyberPak channels (remember to verify your current draw. The CyberPak specs 5A per ch. - 20A Total) .
The CyberPak also isn't clear if it recognizes the MIDI velocity, so you may need to paly with the CyberPak settings to choose between "dimmer" mode and "switch" mode.
 

ZakkClarkTLB

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Location
Ohio
Re: Non-intelligent lights and MIDI!

It is one plug per light, but I figure I could just plug a group of 2 in two different channels, and then the next two channels just have 1 in each. I'm not sure about the draw. Does that depend on the bulb?
 

AhClem

Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2011
Location
Los Angeles
Re: Non-intelligent lights and MIDI!

I remember it by calling it the West Virgina formula... W=VA (Watts = Volts x Amps)

If each channel can handle 5 Amps, then at 120 Volts it can (theoretically) power a 600 Watt bulb (or 6 - 100W bulbs). That means the entire CyberPAck should be able ot handle 2400W Total (4 ch. x 600W ea.). Unless those light bulbs are 300W each, you should have no problem, but you should always leave youself some 'overhead' rather than maxing out your circuits. For example, should your "house voltage" drop to 100V, the equation's values change to W=100A x 5W, or 500 Watts rather than 600 Watts, or 2000W (4 ch x 500W) total draw.

One other thing you'll need to keep in mind.... While the CyberPak may be able to handle 20 Amps total, you may end up plugging it into a wall outlet that is being serviced by a 15 Amp breaker in a house breaker box somewhere.
 

AhClem

Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2011
Location
Los Angeles
Re: Non-intelligent lights and MIDI!

If the dimmer pack is configured in SWITCH mode, the "dimmer pack" will send either 'full on' or 'full off' (just like flipping on a wall switch). If it's set up in DIMMER mode it allows you to brighten/dim the fixture rather than just having on/off ability.
I've used dimmer packs in SWITCH mode when I've wanted remote DMX control of "Non-dimmible" units like a smoke machine or work/house lights in a theater. (not all smoke machines can be controlled using a dimmer pack, even as a 'switch')

A word of CAUTION... not everything will work with a dimmer pack, even when it's in SWITCH mode. Without going into electronic theory that I'm really not qualified to teach (or even really discuss ;~) ), there are two basic types of "LOAD" ; 'inductive loads' and 'resistive loads' (or "black magic" and 'voodoo" as I like to think of them). A normal incandesant lighting fixture is a resistive load which is the type that dims. An inductive load does NOT lend itself to dimming (think of a flouresant light... they don't typically work off a standard household dimmer).
Should you desire to control some (shall we say) 'unusual' piece of gear and you're unsure if it's "resitive" or "inductive", double checking with the manufacturer to verify it's ability to be connected to a 'dimmer' could save from you smoking your gear and/or pimmer pack.
 

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