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Differences between bridges and controllers

Discussion in 'DMX, E1.31 & Networking' started by bdt, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. bdt

    bdt Apprentice Elf

    Mar 31, 2013
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    Clearfield Utah
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    Can someone explain the difference between a DMX bridge, DMX controller and pixel controller?
    If I understand correctly, the difference between the DMX and pixel controller is that the pixel controller can be configured for specific lights whereas if you use a DMX controller the object you are controlling must be DMX compatible… if this is correct I basically understand the DMX and pixel controllers. However, what is the difference between the bridge and controller. Are they similar in difference between an Ethernet network hub/bridge, switch?
  2. franky_888

    franky_888 Apprentice Elf

    Dec 31, 2013
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    For me, this was best explained in the 101 manual (page 37 - 40 in the current revision).

    Someone else please correct me if I'm wrong here:

    1. A DMX Controller is a single universe of a max of 512 channels, you will burn through this in no time flat in a pixel environment.

    2. A DMX bridge is used to convert E1.31 (DMX over IP) to DMX, you would use this if you have a few DMX devices (LOR for example) and are updating your display to use pixels, but would like to keep using the DMX stuff without needing to use a USB dongle.

    It's *kind* of a like a media converter in network switching terms where you'd use it to go from fibre back to copper, but not really :p

    Some pixel controllers (ie Avatek PixLite) have these tacked onto the pixel controller.

    3. A pixel controller is generally capable of hosting many more universes (eg an ECG P2 can host (was it 4??) total universes off 2 outputs, an ECG P12 can host many more).

    Have a look at the diagram on Page 79 of the 101 manual, for me this was key to understanding how everything fits together.

    I hope I'm not incorrect in my information given here, I'm still relatively green to this hobby too!
  3. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

    Jul 5, 2013
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    I agree with the near enough description of the bridge.

    A big difference between E1.31 pixel controllers and DMX512 controllers is the type of lights they commonly support. DMX512 controllers usually switch the power to the lights on and off. Pixel controllers just send out data so the pixels which are powered all the time turn themselves on and off.
  4. multicast

    multicast Senior Elf

    Jul 13, 2013
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    its probably a lost cause, but it woudl be helfpul if people used the correct terms according to the standards. THis is going to be more important as the new stndards roll out.

    In DMX ( E1.20 )

    A controller is the thing *SENDING* data..
    A device is the thing *RECEIVING* data
  5. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer Generous Elf

    Dec 27, 2010
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    The real difference between a bridge and a controller
    Standards be damned ;)

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