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DMX Guide


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#1 YourBigEvent

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 06:11 PM

A quick (and easy) guide to DMX

Setting units in Master/Slave link mode

Setting all Dipswitches 1 through to 9 OFF will put the unit in MASTER mode when linking units together, this causes the unit to transmit data to any SLAVES which may be connected. Units are put into SLAVE mode by setting Dipswitch 1 ON and 2 through to 9 in the OFF position.

DMX Address setting

Each of the Dipswitch has an associated weighting, meaning each numbered switch is worth a certain value. This is represented mathematically by the Formula 2^(X-1)=weighting (where X is the number of the switch)

(This ^ symbol indicates that the proceding number is the power to which the number before is raised to. ie 2^2 = 2 = 2x2 = 4 and 2^3=2 = 2x2x2 = 8)

Example:-

Switch 2 has a waiting of:- 2^(X-1) (Where X is 1 for switch 1)

2^0(*)= 1

* (Anything raised to the power of Zero is 1)

Similiarly Switch 3 has a waiting of:- 2^(3-1) (where X is 3 for switch 3)

2^2= 2x2 = 4

The value of each switch that is set in the ON position accumulates. For the Picture above switches 1-5 are OFF and 6-10 are ON. This is best displayed in a table as shown below.

Dipswitch 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Weighting Calculation 2^0 2^1 2^2 2^3 2^4 2^5 2^6 2^7 2^8
Weighting 1 2 4 8 16 32 64 128 256
ON = 1 OFF=0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1
Values 0 0 0 0 0 32 64 128 256
Total 32+64+128+256 = 480

Therefore a Unit with the Dip-swtich configuration as shown in the picture above will begin recieving DMX512 data at channel 480.

It is important to remember that the address set by the Dip-switches is the DMX base address, this means that the unit will start reading data from this address and procede to read remaining channel functions on consecutive addresses.

For instance if a Scan (Requiring 4 DMX channels), dip-switch settings were set as shown in the picture above channel 480 would control its PAN movement, 481 would control its TILT movement, 482 the COLOUR wheel position and 483 the selection of the GOBO.

Hopefully this helps a little

Edited by ADS Entertainments, 19 October 2003 - 06:12 PM.

.....but what do I know ?



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#2 Whisky In A Vase

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 07:15 PM

As stupid as this sounds, but I follow that. Cheers, I never understood other people directions on the switches

#3 ChrisPointon

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 07:18 PM

Thanks Andy - Very Useful

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#4 Gary

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 09:27 AM

Im about to be getting into DMX a bit further than I have previously (in the next few days in fact).

The above shows how DMX Channels are allocated. Is that per "Effect" or per "Type of effect"?

EG: Using the above example of Channel 480, lets say that you had ONE scanner effect requiring four channels of data (EG: One for Pan, one for tilt, one for colour, one for gobo choice). Channel 480 is just "there" (you dont send data to it effectively), 481 would be Pan, 482, would be Tilt, 483 colour choice, 484 gobo choice.

OK..I understand that - it was very well explained using the Binary Abacus style above.

Now, if I added a second scanner (another identical one to the one above), would I simply Slave it up to the first unit, or would I set the DMX channel of the second unit to the same channel (480) as the first, so it copies all the movements/colour/gobo changes of the first, or simply through it into Slave mode and daisy-chain it from the first, or...would I give it its own DMX address eg: 485 (with 481,482,483,484...for pan,tilt, etc..) (next spare addresses) or simply 300 (or any other spare address with the next 4 channels for pan/tilt etc.)...

Also, as far as setting/programming pans/tilts/gobos etc...is this done by "firing" a value between 0 and 128, (or 256, or 512) from the controller to a particular channel? EG: If Channel 484 is colour...and your unit offers 10 colours, and the DMX controller slider offers a range of 0~255, would value 0~25 make the unit change to colour 1, values 26~50 change to colour 2, 50~75 = colour 4 etc..etc...?


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#5 Hugmaster

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 06:58 AM

Hmmmmm

Anyone selling any front screens? smile.gif

they said intelligent lighting, they failed to say thick as pig :cense:* dj

Got I feel so thick, but then again I just chain them all together and hit the sound to light switch, works very well.

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#6 Gary

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 09:07 AM

You can play with the "addressing" on light screens too...

When I used to run several light screens, instead of just the four that I have now, I used to use a channel reverser.

It was simply one of those little metal boxes with 4 bulgin sockets on it, but I reversed the channel wiring on two of the sockets. So channel 4 was where Channel 1 should be, channel 3 was channel 2, channel 2 was 3, and 4 was 1.

It made some interesting effects and enabled me to adjust the lighting a little, mid-show (with that particular controller "OFF" for a few seconds, during the change).

For example:

If Channel 1 on all my lightscreens were RED, Channel 2: Yellow, Channel 3: Green, Channel 4: Blue, then I could either have all the RED's on together, or by moving the bulgin plug for the top half of the screens into the reverse-wired socket in one place (the little black box) then I would have the Red's on with the Blues etc...etc...

Not as much fun as DMX by the sounds of it though... scared.gif biggrin.gif

Edited by Gary, 04 November 2003 - 09:10 AM.

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#7 johnnyb

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 09:12 PM

Shall try and answer a couple of questions.

QUOTE
The above shows how DMX Channels are allocated. Is that per "Effect" or per "Type of effect"?


Normally every effect is set like this, with a different starting address each.

QUOTE
EG: Using the above example of Channel 480, lets say that you had ONE scanner effect requiring four channels of data (EG: One for Pan, one for tilt, one for colour, one for gobo choice). Channel 480 is just "there" (you dont send data to it effectively), 481 would be Pan, 482, would be Tilt, 483 colour choice, 484 gobo choice.


In this example channel 480 is the first channel which you send data to. eg channel 480 would be pan, 481 is tilt, 482 is colour and 483 is gobo. The next effect would be ste to channel 484, so its pan would be 484, tilt 485 etc.

QUOTE
Now, if I added a second scanner (another identical one to the one above), would I simply Slave it up to the first unit, or would I set the DMX channel of the second unit to the same channel (480) as the first, so it copies all the movements/colour/gobo changes of the first, or simply through it into Slave mode and daisy-chain it from the first, or...would I give it its own DMX address eg: 485 (with 481,482,483,484...for pan,tilt, etc..) (next spare addresses) or simply 300 (or any other spare address with the next 4 channels for pan/tilt etc.)...


When running DMX you do not use master/slave operation. Every light in the chain is controlled from the main controller, not the light before it in the chain. You have two choices, you can set the DMX address the same as the prev light (or any other in the chain) and it will do exactly the same as long as the other lights channels are the same (pan then tilt then gobo etc). Or you can give its own address which will mean more controll over individual lights (the next available address normally).

QUOTE
Also, as far as setting/programming pans/tilts/gobos etc...is this done by "firing" a value between 0 and 128, (or 256, or 512) from the controller to a particular channel? EG: If Channel 484 is colour...and your unit offers 10 colours, and the DMX controller slider offers a range of 0~255, would value 0~25 make the unit change to colour 1, values 26~50 change to colour 2, 50~75 = colour 4 etc..etc...?


Yes, it is a case of sending a value form 0 to 255 for each channel which the light uses to determine what to do. If it has say 10 colours then yes, it will prob be about 0-25 for the first and so on. It normally says in the lights manual the corresponding values.

Hope this helps.

#8 Gary

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 03:56 PM

QUOTE
You have two choices, you can set the DMX address the same as the prev light (or any other in the chain) and it will do exactly the same as long as the other lights channels are the same (pan then tilt then gobo etc). Or you can give its own address which will mean more controll over individual lights (the next available address normally).


So, when I buy a controller, If I set two lighting effects up to the same Address, then use any dip switches that the units might have on them to reverse left/right movement, then I could have one effect going left, while the other goes right etc..

Do I take it then, that the difference between DMX 256 and DMX512 then is how many addresses the controller can allocate? EG: A DMX 256 controller could control about 50 x 5 channel devices, whereas a 512 controller could do twice as many 5 channel devices.

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#9 johnnyb

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 07:12 PM

QUOTE
Do I take it then, that the difference between DMX 256 and DMX512 then is how many addresses the controller can allocate? EG: A DMX 256 controller could control about 50 x 5 channel devices, whereas a 512 controller could do twice as many 5 channel devices.


Yes. So for example a masterpiece 48 can controll 48 dmx channels (say 12 4 channel lights), a masterpiece 108 can do 108 dmx channels (say 27 4 channel lights) and a masterpiece 216 can controll 216 channels.

QUOTE
So, when I buy a controller, If I set two lighting effects up to the same Address, then use any dip switches that the units might have on them to reverse left/right movement, then I could have one effect going left, while the other goes right etc..


Yes. Most of the time anyway. This will work for most lights, but you will need to check that these switches will effect the light when being controlled by DMX. Some lights will only let you invert the pan or tilt when it is working in master/slave operation.

#10 dfinn

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 04:06 PM

yeh how does that work.

how can you invert pan and tilt in dmx mode if you olny have one set of dipswitches, do lighting effects have two sets, one for dmx and one for inversion etc????????

Daniel

#11 High Fidelity Ste

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Posted 11 April 2004 - 06:02 AM

Not doing this stuff for discos mainly for theatre. it depends on the light units themselves, some of them have a feature that if they are slaved off another unit they an be set to do the opposite of the master, but as for not running them in master or slave i imagine some units would have the ability to reverse pan/tilt from what they are recieving from the controllers. i know from usin Mac 500's and 250's it's a lot easier to have them all on seperate DMX patches. But that's my personal opinion.

Ste

#12 MadGutts

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Posted 19 October 2004 - 09:09 PM

There is no standard to the number of channels a light will use.

You may also find this helpfull: biggrin.gif

Abstract CED and 3CE effects use 4 channels however the 1CE effects use only 2.
Martin DJ rance differ through the rance from 2ch to 6ch.
Where as moving heas can have anywhere between 8ch to 64 for the big ones !!!

As for DMX code, here is how i explain it to users...
Image the DMX code being a train with the engine being the controller and start of the DMX Code. This train has 512 carriages, and each can carry between 0 and 255, and it runs in a continuous circle.
So for this example, our light has a base address of 20 and uses 4 channels. Along comes the train and the light will count the carriages... When it gets to 20 it then "counts" the contents in carriages 20,21,22, and 23. it then uses these values to produce the effects.

A common misconception that i have been asked many time is: "What address is the controller?" It doesnt have an address. It will transmit continously so it doesn't need an address. How ever the more expensive controllers can receive DMX through another socket.

So, How do i know where to start?
Firstly you need to work out how many channels all your effects use, an how many effects you have. e.g. 4x Abstract VR8 Scanners each have 4 channels = 16 DMX channels. So you then need a controller capable of at least 16 channels.

So what channels do i need to setup on each light?
Well, Each of light need only the base address configured. Then the light knows how many channels after the base address to look at.

I hope this clears things up a little for those of you whom are confused about DMX!

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#13 DJ Marky Marc

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Posted 19 October 2004 - 09:34 PM

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#14 XPS

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Posted 05 November 2004 - 08:54 PM

QUOTE (johnnyb @ Nov 6 2003, 08:12 PM)
QUOTE
Do I take it then, that the difference between DMX 256 and DMX512 then is how many addresses the controller can allocate? EG: A DMX 256 controller could control about 50 x 5 channel devices, whereas a 512 controller could do twice as many 5 channel devices.


Yes. So for example a masterpiece 48 can controll 48 dmx channels (say 12 4 channel lights), a masterpiece 108 can do 108 dmx channels (say 27 4 channel lights) and a masterpiece 216 can controll 216 channels.

QUOTE
So, when I buy a controller, If I set two lighting effects up to the same Address, then use any dip switches that the units might have on them to reverse left/right movement, then I could have one effect going left, while the other goes right etc..


Yes. Most of the time anyway. This will work for most lights, but you will need to check that these switches will effect the light when being controlled by DMX. Some lights will only let you invert the pan or tilt when it is working in master/slave operation.

QUOTE
a masterpiece 108 can do 108 dmx channels (say 27 4 channel lights) and a masterpiece 216 can controll 216 channels.


well Pulsar Masterpieces are a bit wierd in the fact that they released a Software upgrade and made it so that a 108 can run 256 DMX channels and a 216 can run 512ch's

QUOTE
216 PMX dimmable output channels (Pulsar MultipleX)
512 DMX output slot patching system


QUOTE
108 PMX dimmable output channels (Pulsar MultipleX)
256 DMX output slot patching system


both above quotes are taken from the Pulsar website.
Gareth Foster
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#15 HeadlineDJ

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Posted 18 November 2004 - 02:42 AM

Did anyone mention Terminators?

No not the Arnold kind smile.gif

Bacially most lights have a dip switch for termination, older effects may not, so the last light in the run should be terminated either by a dip or a dongle.

But, and there is always a but... for small light setups and some controllers, they do not require a terminator, but if you have the feature on your last in the chain effect, then better to use it.

(bacially it's just a resitor which lets the controller know it's the end of the line)

Also for reversing of Pan/tilt using DMX,,, you can simply address the light to it's own dmx address and then simply program the pan tilt to do what ever you want, whenever you want. It may take time to program a full show, but it's worth it, then by using the copy command on some controllers you can then copy the program to another store point and edit it so you can save a little bit of time by copying some shows and editing key points.


Regards,

Phil Hulton
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