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Wireless DMX for permanent install?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Alfonso, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. Alfonso

    Alfonso Member

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    Hello, I am the tech at my local theater, we are currently in the process of getting quotes for a new lighting system. One company wants to do a complete wireless system using Elation E-fly transceivers. I haven't had very good luck with wireless and I'm not sure that it's a great idea for a permanent install. Does anyone have any opinions on this?
     
  2. seanandkate

    seanandkate Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
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    I imagine you'll get a LOT of opinions on this. My 2 cents is that for a permanent install, it should be a hard wired line. Actually, for me, ANY mission critical DMX run should be hard wired.
     
  3. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    I’m in the wired camp and would do Cat 6A and a lot of it. Do multiple lines for audio, video, etc....

    Get nodes, gateways, ETC or Pathway. Greater flexibility and more universe capacity for future use.

    Our new system came with 28 ETC 1 & 2 port Net3 nodes and I’m using 16 on a show, who’s would have thought.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  4. Amiers

    Amiers Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.

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    I don’t think you will find anyone on this board that would say yes to wireless for a permanent install.

    A one off yes. A 3 or 4 day circus tour yes. A few uplights in a waterfall for a month while you wait for Electrican’s to pull your wires for hard line yes.

    Forever no!

    Whatever company is quoting you that is trying to upsell you. I would look at the rest of the quote with a fine tool comb cause of that.
     
    BLPisani and RonHebbard like this.
  5. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    I have two new build projects that are all wireless. No reports of problems and no regrets. They do use the ColorSource Relay, so it cost less than wired. Not requiring other relays. YMMV. You are probably safer with wired data.
     
  6. maccalder

    maccalder Member

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    If I were doing a new install - decent 24-48 port PoE switch, an enttec Storm 24's and cat5e cable to XLR(5)/F on the bars, with additional (3-4) shielded cat6a's run between rack and the same locations as well as all possible control positions (wings, booth, mid-auditorium) and call it a day. That way you have cabling if you need to do video - either using a video over IP solution or HD-baseT. Depending on access in the venue it is a relatively cost effective solution.
     
  7. dbaxter

    dbaxter Well-Known Member

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    The local public television studio just did a revamp to all led. They used an ETC wireless configuration. Although, I must admit, my tummy feels better with a copper connection.
     
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  8. Ken Summerall Jr

    Ken Summerall Jr Member

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    I had an interesting experience with wireless DMX last week. I was working a corporate event and the DJ (insert eye roll) provided the uplights and connected them via Wireless DMX. Every time the photographer took a picture the lights would change color. Something in her wireless flash remote was interfering with the DMX! I had a good laugh watching them all change to different colors during the show.

    I personally would not use wireless for an entire system. It might be nice to have a few transmitters and receivers to use when you need to put a light somewhere unusual but just don't see the benefit in a normal install. To me it's like running wireless audio to a powered speaker. You have to power it anyway why not run an audio cable to it?

    Just my .02.
    K
     
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  9. theatrewireless

    theatrewireless Jim @RC4Wireless #RC4DoesThat

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    Occupation:
    Wireless DMX and dimming product design
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    I agree with your observations -- and the eyeroll :)

    But please understand, you're NOT outlining a fault that dooms all wireless DMX -- you've noted a problem with one particular system, one that sounds like possibly the worst embodiment of wireless DMX ever made. It's horrible!

    Just as a bad experience driving a 1977 LADA doesn't mean all cars are disasters waiting to happen, you can't say that all wireless DMX is a mess of interference and failure after this particular event. :)

    **

    Just because wireless is part of a rig doesn't automatically mean wireless has screwed everything up...

    The most common problem with wired DMX is channel jump. This occurs when the fixtures receiving the data misinterpret noise or dropouts on the data line as the start of a new DMX packet, then count frames from the wrong starting point. What if the camera flash caused noise in the DMX signal before it ever got to a wireless transmitter at all?

    What if the DJ (insert eyeroll) was using mic cable for DMX, or made his own DMX cables out of unshielded power cords, or something else that's kinda dumb? What if the DJ was using 1000 feet of cable with no terminator at the end? We would probably see channel jump, and it really sounds like that might be what you were seeing.

    Jim
    RC4
     
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  10. Ken Summerall Jr

    Ken Summerall Jr Member

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    Jim, You are absolutely correct. I did not intend for my anecdote to encompass all wireless. Simply outlining that it does not work correctly all of the time. The same is true with any wireless technology. I simply feel that using wireless in a permanent install is not the best course of action. I believe that it has its uses but given the choice I would hardwire where I had a choice.
     

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