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Review of the NJD Datamoon 250W DMX Gobo Moonflower

I bought my first Datamoon in 1997, when it was one of the first affordable DMX moonflowers on the market. Back then it cost £349 and was built at the original NJD Factory in Nottingham. From it's debut at the PLASA show the previous year, the NJD Datamoon quickly become a very popular effect amongst Mobile D.J's and became something of an industry standard, going on to win numerous 'best mobile lighting effect' awards from various industry sources, including the then called TVDJA in 1998.

In 8 years very little has changed, unlike other effects of its time we haven't seen an almost yearly launch of the Datamoon 2 or Datamoon 3 - The Sequel smile.gif , as we have with the Abstract Twister for example. The Datamoon has always remained a 250W Goboflower with DMX control and the same routines and probably always will!.

What makes the NJD Datamoon so popular??

The NJD Datamoon features 8 colours and 7 gobos so it isn't the features which keep the DJ's buying it!. Many far cheaper effects feature 14, 20 or even 28 colours and gobos so the Datamoon is a little dated by comparison. There is no split colour or anything which sets it apart from any other competitors products, if anything the Datamoon is still more expensive then cheaper products with more features!.

The Pros

The secret remains in the control of the Datamoon. Using stepper motors, the Datamoon makes for faster, smoother colour and gobo changes than the jerky, whirring dc motors used in some other products. The Datamoon seems to integrate better and more smoothly to the music than most other effects. Both the mirror and gobo changes are controlled by the music circuitry which gives it the edge over rival products which just have a music controlled mirror and randomly change the gobo at timed intervals. Despite being 8 years old in design, and still using the same features as it did from day 1, the program routines and music integration really do work!.

The price of the Datamoon has fallen dramatically over the years to a little over £130 each. This is thanks to it's mass production in India rather then the UK - something which I will move onto later. Whilst there are now many alternatives to the Datamoon, and despite owning Abstract Twisters and Constella's nothing really comes close to the simple, but effective lightshow provided by the NJD Datamoon, and this effect still remains my favourite and today I still use either 2 or 4 of them at every function.

The Datamoon can be used stand alone, or linked to other datamoons using a simple DMX link lead. You don't need an electronics degree or a course at Jodrell Bank to use this effect. The Datamoon is DMX compatible but you don't really gain anything by linking it to a controller. Sadly NJD have discontinued the handheld and IQ range of controllers for its effects, possibly because they are actually a better effect when used linked together.

NJD Products are for the majority product compatible which means you can master-slave link them to other NJD DMX effects such as the New NJD 250 scanner or the older DMX range for full synchronisation without any controller.

In short purchase 4 Datamoons, or 2 Datamoons and 2 NJD250's and you have a lightshow for under £500 that is both powerful and effective. You will also have full synchronisation without the expense of a controller or having to learn about DMX protocols and programming.

My 1997 Datamoon is still working 100% today, a tribute to the original manufacture. Since then I have bought 3 more, all of which have never given me a minutes trouble.

Another excellent selling feature of the Datamoon is the inclusion of a lamp life extender switch, by switching this into lamp saver mode allows you to get upto 300 hours lamp life from a standard 50 hour A1/259. NJD were the first to incorporate this feature and thanks to the precision optics used, the slight reduction in light output as a result isn't noticable. In fact the Datamoon, is still brighter than some rival 250W units even in Lamp Extension mode.

The Cons

The Datamoon could certainly benefit from a re-design, perhaps by adding more colours and gobos would make it even more value, after all it's not the cheapest 250W DMX Moonflower around, but it still is one of the best.

Since moving production to India, the Datamoon has suffered some reliability problems, mainly with fans. Recently (September 2004) the Datamoon has been a victim of numerous failures which may suggest the arrival of a faulty batch into the UK but could be corrected in the near future. It's sad to see such a good name like NJD suffer from reliability problems due to the competitive nature of the industry.

NJD now fit 5 pin XLR's to their lighting effects as opposed to the fairly standard 3 pin types, so users may find that they need to puchase 5 pin XLR leads in order to link them together.

Conclusion

All Mobile DJ's should own at least one NJD lighting effect at some point in their career and the Datamoon is still the better pick of the bunch smile.gif . Although a little outdated by todays standard of gobo's and Colours the actual software allows for a more accurate and controlled sound to lightshow than the majority of its rivals. Given NJD's 30 years of lighting design expertise then users should experience a solid realible effect which will still work several years from purchase, although like most manufacturers this rock solid record has taken a hit from its decision to move production abroad.





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Hey

Great read there chris, I own 2 datamoons and must admit Iam highly impressed with them and they come to every function without fail. The built in programs fill the floor with colour and movement and look fantastic when synced. I also have the NJD250's which are linked to my datamoons via a controller, I have never tried to link a datamoon to a DMX 250, however I presume this should be possible as they are virtually the same.

Anyway, check my review out for the NKD250's and I must say combined they will make a really nice light show to fill the floor, The only downside i have had personally is the weight of NJD items compared to many others, I cant moan about stability, performance or anything along those lines, my NJD lights have never once let me down during a gig.

goodjob.gif Again, Nice read chris, thanks! thanks.gif

Regards
Mike

<center>MDM Roadshows - Professional Mobile Disco Service For The South East

 

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Datamoons were my first intelligent lighting purchase and I would recommend them. I changed the white open aspect for a multicolour one using silicon and dicros. I had four and they never let me down.

Good read Chris. goodjob.gif



















biggrin.gif " Chris Pointon is proudly sponsered by NJD lighting ......and has left the building!" biggrin.gif

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These are great lights, how much can you get them for Chris, or more importantly how much can I buy one or two for ?

.....but what do I know ?

 

 

 

Your Big Event

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The need for a new gadget finaly got ads rolleyes.gif

I will try anything,once!

 

The Cornish will arise again !

Manager of the Andy Harris Fan Club.

Keep pasties Cornish

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Don't Soundlab own NJD electronics now ?
That was a good read, thanks for that.

 

Email :: info@nrgize-disco.co.uk

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  • 1 month later...
thumbup.gif Spot on Chris we have a pair and they do captivate a crowd when used on their own.
We have one problem with one of ours at the moment in that due to overheating the lead into the lamp holder has become brittle and is giving a poor connection. Can I just join on a new lamp holder with a couple of connectors and do you supply spares or do you know how I can sort this problem wacko.gif Thanks

AJsounds & Co (the old man)

 

 

 

 

adamriggs255@hotmail.com

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P.M me your address and I'll send you a replacement lamp holder FOC.

Depending on the model of the Datamoon you'll probably find that it uses a lampholder with short leads, which then go to a crimped connector which in turn leads to the wires from the transformer.

Either way you'll need to cut the wire, and then re-terminate the two leads from the new lampholder to the two leading from the transformer, it doesn't matter which way around they go.

When I replace a lampholder I often re-crimp the wire, but first feed them through heat shrink which is then shrunk over the leads from the lampholder, this just gives you some added heat protection and extends the life of the new lampholder.

However the wires are already heat resistant, so you don't need to go to those lengths if you don't have the equipment required to do so. Just re-crimp the wires, or use a heat resistant ceramic terminal block if crimps aren't available.

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I have had the NJD Chaos lights both the original, and the 2002 model.

For a cheap effect there ok. but not enough power. But the data moon was suppost to supercede the Choas....

... But instead of buying them i went for the Abstract Galactic stars.

QUOTE
Don't Soundlab own NJD electronics now


No... SoundLab, NJD, PowerLab, Eagle and Altai, are members of the [I haven't read the rules] Group. now.

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  • 5 months later...
Been using a pair of the new LOWER priced Datamoons this weekend. They are chinese manufactured and are slightly lighter than past models. However the beam brightness, colour and spread are just as good as previous models. Theres one down side and that is for some reason NJD have put 5 pin xlr connectors wallbash.gif for linking and dmx control.

A good light and i'm well please with them. Now only time will tell if they are as "bomb proof" as there older relatives. thumbup.gif

Member of The Musicians Union

 

 

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like hard work."

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The 5-pin connectors aren't a new thing..

I had a pair bought about 4 years ago with 5-pins on. Its better than jack plugs though cause at least you can fit a 3-pin socket in place without having to drill out a bigger hole.

Revolution Discos - Covering Midlands and the Cotswolds - 01386 898 113 - 07791 261 263

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QUOTE (Kingy @ Sep 4 2004, 10:36 AM)
I changed the white open aspect for a multicolour one using silicon and dicros.


Hi,

I'm very new to intelligent lighting fixtures - I'm just getting started with building a rig. I bought a datamoon as my first purchase, and am quite impressed with it, but, similar to what you've mentioned, would like to replace the white open aspect with a dichroic colour (the wife, who's a DJ says it's like someone went and turned the lights on when the gobo wheel moves to white - and I'm inclined to agree with her!)

The trouble is, I'm an absolute newbie at this! I've searched the web for gobos etc but I can't find anyone who would supply a small (14mm square) peice of dichroic glass and the correct silicon adhesive. I shouldn't think that these should be that expensive - should it?

If anyone could point me in the right direction to get a hold of a dichroic and some adhesive I'd be most grateful!

Cheers
Grant biggrin.gif
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Just got a new pair of Datamoon, already own 2 pairs. The new ones are deffinatly lighter. I had a look inside & it all looks pretty much the same as the old ones appart from the transformer which accounts for the weight of the thing.
5 pin xlr will be changed to 3 pin ones (not that i have ever controled any of the old ones via their jack socket), as I have just orderd a entec usb-dmx box.
One thing that is annoying is that as the transformer is lighter the balance of the fixture is different. To correct this the mounting points for the bracket have been moved, with the consiquense that when packed away the bracket will not rota over the front or back of the unit. An extra 10mm would have fixed that. So it looks like I either get some new brackets made up, or redesign a flightcase for them!
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Not got the New ones, though I have 4 of the original English built ones.

The new ones have different cases than the originals, not quite as robust in my opinion, but that should not give any problems, just don't drop them. LOL

Different connectors, Different rear panel, different case fixings, and possibly different stepper motors.

Same end result though.

and the price is definately a better point.

Old price = £300 each
New price = <£90 each

Regards,

 

Phil Hulton

HeadlineDJ

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I'd say a Twister 4 was a better effect, better build quality, and the built in programs are better, though the datamoons are not as manic in certain cases.

I find Datamoons ideal for filling in gaps at Weddings , where as T4's are good for younger more energetic discos, as is the EVL Spin.

Bottom line is you can't go wrong with the good old Datamoon.

One of the few lights that has been around for years and years and still doesn't need updating.

Regards,

 

Phil Hulton

HeadlineDJ

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  • 2 weeks later...
I don't know whether it's a "special" or a new lower price but I saw Datamoons for sale for £109 new from djkit.co.uk (N.B. I am not affiliated with them in any way).

Pretty cheap for a decent light I think.

Personally I would love to be able to see a Chauvet DJ Squeeze in use to see how it compares - the specs make it seem like a "super datamoon" with more gobos etc. plus the "squeeze" effect for not much more dosh.

Mind you , not having seen one, it could be pants laugh.gif

Cheers
Grant
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I have 3 datamoons and if you buy even a modest controller i got a soundlab one from ebay and if youve got the patience to program them its all left to your own immagination as to the effects you can create by colour changing and chasing and strobing both fast to the music or slow

Alan (Strobe Disco Show)

STROBE DISCO SHOW

 

01782 713277

 

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  • 4 months later...
5 pin DMX leads believe it or not are the INDUSTRY standard and its 3 pin that are the unofficial off cast. They were orginally 5 pin so they could include a live feed to power controller and auxillary devices. This is not longer required by most but you will find a lot of big name, especially theatrical manufacturers still ship with 5 pin connections. GENI, Clay Packy to name a couple.

Most have now changed to 3 pin which is alot easier.

NJD datamoon is the best thing to come out of them. The predator series of scanners were and still are massively overpriced for the features you get and the output is not the best. NJD's chasers and dimmer packs used to suffer from dry joint related failures commonly.

I agree with all the comments though. I had 2 datamoons pretty early on in my DJ life before moving trade and they never let me down. Infact I think they are in the shed or somewhere still no doubt!

Lighting installer/supply & repair agent

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Gifop's right about 5-pin XLR's; there's a bit of talk in the trade at the moment about how everyone will move over to 5-pins in the near future. The need has been forced by the professional use of DMX which has incorporated an amendment involving the 'echo-back' of parameters from the fixture to the lighting desk, esp. with moving heads, this uses the 'other' two pins. Up till now these pins were free, so most people switched to 3-pin to save cost.

Datamoons are still about the brightest 250W ELC flower you'll get, they are brighter than twister 4's although the Abstract has a better stepper movement and control action. Bear in mind how old the Datamoons actually are in design!!

The original UK Datamoons used UK built toroidal transformers, the pro-sound built units (post Electrovision takeover) use a split-bobbin laminated circular core transformer made in India which is partially why they are lighter.

Either way they run very much cooler than Abstract, Chauvet etc which no doubt adds to their long life.

And yes, just for the record, Electrovision (Soundlab/Altai/Commtel/Eagle) now own the NJD brand, the old factory at Nottingham was closed and production shipped to Mumbai (and now China); any remaining staff including the NJD former director & engineer now work at a new office called Premier Solutions who deal with spares and out of warranty repairs.

.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Well folks, thanks for the comments on the Datamoon.

I'll set the matter straight on a few points various people have raised.

"5-pin XLR" is what it says in the standard. We use it:
1) because that's what it says in the standard
2) so people can't get the DMX and microphone leads mixed up
3) So we can run power to controllers down pin 5 (like Pulsar does)

The original UK-manufactured Datamoon used a toroidal transformer. The Indian ones used an R-core. The Chinese one use a toroid again to the original UK Spec. The toroidal ones are almost 1kg lighter.

Our Nottingham factory is still up and running, we make Merlins, Logic 8000s, Dimming packs etc. here, and we do repairs and supply spare parts.
Premier solutions was formed from NJD's installation department they are independent from NJD, and don't do out-of-warranty NJD repairs.
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