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Old 08-18-2010, 12:52 PM   #1
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Default DMX Controller Advice (Updated with more questions)

I know I'm spammingbut,
I posted this on the B/S/T section (no reply's yet) so thought I'd post it here also. There might be more scanner gurus here to read it.
I just bought my first scanners and need a DMX controller.
Is this one any good? Worth the price and wait? (8/30 until they are in stock). Will it work alright with my units?
Buy Chauvet Obey 10 DMX Lighting Controller | Lighting Controllers | Musician's Friend
My scanners are 4-head RGYV animation, 15Kbps, one is 7 channel and one is 9 channel.
I know ILDA control is better but I need to start cheap. Later on, I'll move up to ILDA.
I know almost nothing about scanners and the manuals that came with them are worthless.(where do they find the translators for these manuals? The homeless shelter?)
They do produce (what I think) are good smooth animations using the built in software. I have never seen a good scanner in person, so I have nothing to compare them with. They look almost as good as most I've seen on youtube
I do want to make my own banners and logos. (the only one pre-loaded banner is "WELCOME") and only 42 animations and 200 effects came with them. That is pretty limiting when I have so many ideas.
Also, if anybody has a decent controller I could buy and avoid the wait.
I'd appreciate any advice or comments. Thanks!
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650nm=33
635nm2
532nm=14
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Scanners and Other Show Lasers=8
Red & Green He-Ne lasers=15
488nm Argon and other Gas Lasers=1
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Last edited by Greenmechanic; 08-19-2010 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 08-18-2010, 01:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: DMX Controller Advice

If you want to have actual control of the output(i.e. make your own banners), I'm pretty sure you will need to move to ILDA control software, as DMX's are preprogrammed, without the option to edit the data.
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Old 08-18-2010, 03:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: DMX Controller Advice

There was a thread somewhere about reflashing the Patterns on a Spacelas DMX board, but dunno where and how far it did go :S
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Old 08-19-2010, 12:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: DMX Controller Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solonar View Post
If you want to have actual control of the output(i.e. make your own banners), I'm pretty sure you will need to move to ILDA control software, as DMX's are preprogrammed, without the option to edit the data.
If my understanding of DMX control is correct, nothing is "preprogrammed" in the controller. You create "scenes" by using the sliders to control X axis, y axis, horizontal, circle,etc. This creates, for example the letter "H" Then you move on to the next scene, creating the letter "E" and so on. Then when you run the "chase's" in a series, it projects the banner. Correct?
Adjusting the speed of the chase's to a fast setting creates complete sentences without flickering, correct?
Like I stated before, I am a beginner when it comes to scanners. Please forgive all the "noob" questions.
But, I have been reading up on DMX all afternoon and I am still confused.
Another question; Just because a controller says DMX on it does not mean it will run a laser scanner, correct? It must be a DMX-512 controller to run a laser scanner?
I found a very cheap DMX controller on eBay (Martin 2504 for $25) but after reading the info carefully, found out it will only run Martin built lights.
Also a lot of controllers say DMX, but state they are for LED light shows. As long as the controller states DMX-512, it will run a scanner?
Somebody please help me get this straight.
I have been reading until my eyes are bleeding and still don't quite get it.
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Laser count = {88}
Builds by me = 19
670nm=2
650nm=33
635nm2
532nm=14
445nm=2
405nm=13
Scanners and Other Show Lasers=8
Red & Green He-Ne lasers=15
488nm Argon and other Gas Lasers=1
Laser tools (not included in total)=12
METERS
Kenometer Lite
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:14 AM   #5
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Default Re: DMX Controller Advice (Updated with more questions)

lols. martin makes top of the line gear.
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Old 08-19-2010, 11:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: DMX Controller Advice

[QUOTE=Greenmechanic;768229]If my understanding of DMX control is correct, nothing is "preprogrammed" in the controller. You create "scenes" by using the sliders to control X axis, y axis, horizontal, circle,etc. This creates, for example the letter "H" Then you move on to the next scene, creating the letter "E" and so on. Then when you run the "chase's" in a series, it projects the banner. Correct?

End quote.

NO, only intelligent lighting fixtures use that method. Its too slow for laser users, it would take forever to enter a image, which has between 350 and 700 points on average, often more.

There are two systems at the low end.

DMX controlled preprogrammed patterns,these are the 30$ boards. They usually have 16 low resolution, 8 bit, beam effects preprogrammed. There is no editing. This gets very boring, very fast. They are almost always slower then any scanner set on the market.

Second choice,
PC driven software and hardware that generates analog voltages to directly control the scanners. Usually has 10-16 bit resolution, the ability to create animation, and often some form of music sync. Most people are highly upset when they buy any package less then 200-300$, ruling out the cheap EBAY clones.

There are a few 6 channel USB based sound cards that can be modified for DC coupling so they will work with scanners with no distortion. For 25$ and shipping you get the sound card, and another 20-40$ in parts will get you the DC coupling and offset correction. Then you can run freeware such as LFI Player, Heathcliff, etc, and even games like Asteroids. Or Sphagetti, which is 50$ and has a timeline editor. Going this way gets you graphics, animation, file transfer, and beam effects. Its worth the extra time.

For the actual DMX, and I have some effects in my projector that use DMX for beam selection and effects wheel rotation, I use the Velleman USB DMX sender and a laptop. A Northlight systems DMX decoder board controls the effects. A Pangolin takes care of the graphics, and I also have a Riya Board and LDS for beam shows.


Steve

Last edited by LSRFAQ; 08-19-2010 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 08-19-2010, 01:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: DMX Controller Advice (Updated with more questions)

Thanks Steve. This answered most of my questions and will help guide me in what to buy.
Can you point me in the right direction for the USB sound card and DC coupling,etc. (websites)
I can build anything electronic if I have the parts and schematics,so that is not a problem.
I'll get the ********* for software
I know you are very busy, but PM me when you get time.
I'm swamped with work at the moment so It will be a while until I can build the controller.
I'm anxious to play, but work comes first and don't have the time right now.
That is why I wanted something "out-of-the-box"
Several other of my show lasers have DMX, but not ILDA, so that is another reason I want to use DMX based control.
Thanks again for all your help and hope to hear from you soon.
__________________
Laser count = {88}
Builds by me = 19
670nm=2
650nm=33
635nm2
532nm=14
445nm=2
405nm=13
Scanners and Other Show Lasers=8
Red & Green He-Ne lasers=15
488nm Argon and other Gas Lasers=1
Laser tools (not included in total)=12
METERS
Kenometer Lite
Metrologic Photometer
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: DMX Controller Advice (Updated with more questions)

[QUOTE=Greenmechanic;768479]Thanks Steve. This answered most of my questions and will help guide me in what to buy.
Can you point me in the right direction for the USB sound card and DC coupling,etc. (websites)
I can build anything electronic if I have the parts and schematics,so that is not a problem.
I'll get the ********* for software
I know you are very busy, but PM me when you get time.

This announcement came out this morning on PL, Riyas are pretty good. Quoting Dr Lava:

RIYA Multibus Basic and Pro now with DMX remote control option for SD card playback

Hi everyone, RIYA asked that I announce the latest update to the Multibus line of controllers: Along with Ethernet and USB streaming, they now offer DMX remote control of SD card playback. You have been able to load frames and sequences onto an SD card for stand-alone playback for a while, but now these different sequences can be triggered and controlled with DMX. Up to 4,096 different addressable sequences can be loaded (64 banks of 64 frame sequences) as well as position and scale can be controlled via DMX in real time. This will allow easy control of peripheral projectors from a variety of software and consoles. The Multibus controller costs $259 and the pro version with LCD display costs $299.

end quote.

If you check at the top of this section of the forumn, you should see the sound card dacing sticky. All you do is remove the coupling caps and build a summing inverting opamp to get the level up and add in the offset. If your projectors are not using differential on the ilda connectors for the galvos, your done. If you are using diff signaling (and you should) its one more opamp for x and y for the differential driver.

If you cant find what you need in the sound card sticky, post here again. I'll be back from SELEM on tuesday.

Steve

Last edited by LSRFAQ; 08-19-2010 at 05:20 PM.
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