An Overview of DMX
lights. DMX signalling only occurs in one direction and does not include automatic error checking and correction. Therefore, it is strongly discouraged for use in safety-critical applications such as controlling pyrotechnics, where audience or performer safety is at risk.
Depending on the complexity of the DMX fixture it may have as many as 7, 8, or even more dedicated control channels for each function. For example a pan-tilt spotlight might have separate channels to control pan, tilt, colour of light, gobo effect and brightness, whereas a fog machine might only use 1 channel to simply switch the fog on or off. Each DMX fixture is allocated a starting channel address and then "X" number of channels after that, depending on the fixture. DMX-512 supports 256 (0 - 255) stepped increments on each channel, which can be used to set intensity, position, etc. If there are 2 or more identical DMX fixtures in a display and they are configured to use the same channels, then they will behave identically.
A more detailed description of DMX and how it works can be found on in the DMX512 article or Wikipedia
Connecting Light-O-Rama to a DMX network
CTB16PC and CMB16D boards). As the name implies, a DMX network is locked down to 512 channels. If more channels are required, then a 2nd network (or universe) is required.
To create a traditional DMX512 universe you need:
- A DMX adapter (the most common is USB based)
- Software that will talk using DMX such as Light-O-Rama S3 Advanced, Vixen or LightShow Pro
To add LOR boards to a DMX512 universe you need:
- An XLR to RJ45 adapter (see wiring documentation); or
- An ESTA/LOR RJ45 adapter (see wiring diagrams)
Connecting DMX to a Light-O-Rama network
Light-O-Rama's product suite, they have the iDMX-1000 (pictured right) which interfaces between an existing LOR network (through the RJ45 connectors on the rear of the unit - not visible in picture) and a DMX network (through the XLR connectors). Using the LOR Sequence Editor channels can be configured to control and support DMX operation.
This method is not the most cost effective solution, and should only be used if a standalone set up using a ShowTime Director is in use. Please note that presently the iDMX can only communicate with 256 channels. However only 64 of these channels can have effects (fade, twinkle, shimmer) applied at any one time - if more than 64 channels are fading, some commands will be skipped over.
Light-O-Rama ShowTime Suite 3 Advanced (the sequencer) supports native DMX output, meaning an iDMX-1000 is unnecessary.
Using separate Light-O-Rama and DMX networks
It is also possible to run Light-O-Rama products from one network and DMX lighting on their own separate network. This requires multiple plug-ins for Vixen, multiple universes in LightShow Pro, or DMX Universes enabled in Light-O-Rama S3 Advanced. The following diagram shows an example setup using one LOR and one DMX network. This method will only work if a show computer is used - a standalone set up using a ShowTime Director will not work.
Standard DMX dongles are supported in the Advanced version, like the Enttec Open and Pro USB DMX products. See the LOR/DMX article for assistance on configuring DMX dongles in Light-O-Rama S3 Advanced.
RJ45 pinout data
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