DMX > X10 interface

Discussion in 'The Development Lab' started by Mike, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. Mike

    Mike CLAP infected!

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    We were talking in chat regarding an X10 to DMX interface
    What this could enable us to do is switch on or off certain elements in our displays which may not need to be fully controlled by DMX by sending them a remote frequency signal to simply turn them on or off.
    This would not be able to be used for fast control of lights like a standard board. but more for just turing them off for a few mins or hours at a time
    Eg: Window motifs, spotlights etc in a slow song as Ryan pointed out or Radio sign, opening the garage etc

    Share your ideas here
    Hopefully this could evolve into something :)
     
  2. Superman

    Superman I Have C.L.A.P and its very infectious Global Moderator

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    LSP does currently support X10 controllers in v2 however, I have also read on there forum that there is a problem with it not being able to configure the output.
    I currently use X10 to control my front house lights to turn them off before the show, turn on and shut down the power to switch mode power supplies after the show and lift the garage door for the rear projection video on my garage, I have achieved this control from LSP as well by using .exe commands in the LSP sequence to drive Active Home to control the X10 switch in my house.

    Yes, X10 is slow and you wouldn’t use it to flash to music but it does have some uses.
     
  3. David_AVD

    David_AVD Good news, everyone!

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    Another possibility is those remote controlled mains switches. Here's an example of one from Altronics. They are often sold as a set (a multi channel remote + one receiver), but most brands have additional receivers (mains switches) available to make use of the extra buttons on the remote control.

    I have some of these units and they have been great to turn a few lights on and off for school performances, etc. Just plug the light into the receiver which plugs into the wall and you're done! :) They do have a 1000W limit, but can really save the day for temporary events or hard to wire situations.

    I'll drag mine out this week and see if they operate on 434MHz (actually 433.92MHz). If so, a little board with DMX (and/or LOR?) input and a small transmitter module should be easy to design. It may be a candidate for the P-DMX line of boards. That way the transmitter could be on the end of a CAT5 cable outdoors for situations where the receivers (mains switches) were spread out over an area.

    I actually made a 434mHz transmitter with DMX input for a tourist attraction event last year and it worked well. The receivers were also custom made for the horse riders to wear during a show. Their coats lit up at times during the performance, all in sync. :D
     
  4. Superman

    Superman I Have C.L.A.P and its very infectious Global Moderator

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    Had a play with X10 stuff and have now got it going as a controller from LSP when activated it has a reaction time of 1 second to turn on. A member wanted to know if it could be used in a window display to turn off 240v motifs for only some of the sequences.

    Yes, it could do this, however I would still use my old method of turning on the x10 device with a windows command prompt generated by LSP as the device would stay on all the time.
    Then use the sequencer to turn it off then another command prompt to turn it back on. This way the motifs would still stay on in between shows.
    It’s a lot of mucking around and if there was a RF DMX power point module. It would simplify this process greatly. And be more reliable.
     
  5. David_AVD

    David_AVD Good news, everyone!

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    One reason I was thinking of using those RF remote switches was that they are low cost. Not sure if there's a similarly priced X10 power module? Since you'd probably only want one transmitter, it may be worth going for something that has the lowest cost receivers?

    It's also my understanding that with the X10 RF remote, the RF remote transmits to an special X10 unit (sometimes combined with a mains switch) that converts the RF data to X10 data and pushes it over the home's power wiring. I don't know if the X10 (over power) travels as far as an RF remote would? Maybe it's further?

    I guess one thing X10 does have going for it is the availability of different receiver modules. Not sure if that's important for the intended application though.
     
  6. Superman

    Superman I Have C.L.A.P and its very infectious Global Moderator

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    Correct, The X10 RF remote does transmit to a special X10 unit that is plugged into the power point. From there the signal get carried across the power cable.
    I have also had problems with this as I was using LOR 240v controllers as well and I think it caused a bit of noise on the line which X10 doesn't like.
     
  7. David_AVD

    David_AVD Good news, everyone!

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    Yeah, I imagine lots of phase control (AC) dimming could generate lots on noise on the mains wiring depending on the controller and the loads.

    Just dragged my RF remote units out of a box. The remote transmitter is Jackson brand, has 5 pairs of on/off buttons and is marked as 433.92 MHz. Looking good so far.

    I have two different types of receivers; some Jackson branded ones with 5 selectable unit IDs and some PowerTran (Altronics' house brand) units with 8 selectable unit IDs. The PowerTran ones are newer and the first 5 unit IDs line up with the 5 button pairs on the Jackson remote transmitter. The two brands are almost identical in design, so I'm guessing that Altronics brought their own (compatible) version in after selling the Jackson ones for a while.

    I'll need to pull the remote apart and see if they use one of the common remote control encoder chips. That will make it easier to develop something quickly.
     
  8. Superman

    Superman I Have C.L.A.P and its very infectious Global Moderator

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    Let the destruction begin.....
     
  9. David_AVD

    David_AVD Good news, everyone!

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    I've started a new thread for the RF remote mains switches here as the X10 idea may continue on in due course.
     

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