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Troubleshooting DMX

   

  How to get DMX to work in LD2000
  Summary

  DMX GENERAL
  About DMX512
  DMX devices
  Potential DMX problems
  DMX compared to other protocols
     
  DMX AND LASERSHOW DESIGNER
  DMX in LD2000
  Using DMX512 within Showtime
  Troubleshooting DMX
  
  DMX CONTROLLER BOARDS
  DMX price list

  LASERSHOW DESIGNER
  Using multimedia in Showtime 2000
  Combining two shows into one
  Running two projectors from one board
  Pinouts and info for Pangolin boards:
       QM2000 (new, PCI bus)
 
  GENERAL INFO
 
Scan angle tables
  About the ILDA Test Pattern
  About DMX512 (lighting control)
  Making 3D, floating images
  Laser Show Resource Guide
 
  TROUBLESHOOTING
  Troubleshooting LD and LD2000
  Troubleshooting DMX
  Returning hardware to Pangolin
 

The following information is based on a message, written by William R. Benner Jr. of Pangolin, to a client who was having trouble getting started with DMX in LD2000. Should you also be having any trouble, please review this information.

How to get DMX to work in LD2000

We have quite a number of clients using DMX with LD2000, to control everything from simple beam actuators to complex intelligent lighting fixtures. We know it works; if you are having problems, here are some items to check.
        First and foremost, you must have the LD2000 software with DMX capabilities. This is available from the download section of our website. Any version after August 2000 will have DMX capabilities.
        Once you have this DMX-enabled software, the most important thing is to make sure that DMX is "enabled for output". This is done by selecting the Settings/DMX Settings menu, and then selecting the 'Enabled for output' option. When you do this, you will be presented with some other options such as how many channels you want to output, the DMX Start Code, etc. So the first thing to do is make sure DMX is enabled, and that it is outputting as many channels as you need it to.
        Once you enable DMX for output, you can check the DMX signal with a scope or with some other DMX receiver to make sure that it is outputting. Even if you don't have any special DMX frames or anything else selected, LD2000 will be outputting DMX if you have it enabled.
        Once you have enabled DMX and verified the signal, you can decide how you want to work with your actuators. There are at least two ways:

  • Use TTL "emulation" where the TTL actions are routed to DMX channels. This routing is controlled by options in the "DMX Settings" menu. Once the routing is set up, use the TTL actions in Showtime's Effect Editor and DMX will work just like TTL did on our older QM32 board.

  • Use special frames called DMX frames. This can often be easier and more powerful than the simpler TTL emulation method. As long as the Starting Channel Number within the DMX frames is correct for your actuator, this should work just fine.
         Also, be sure you have the correct DMX protocol chart for the device you are trying to control. Click here for a list of DMX devices and their protocols.

There is another aspect which could get you, and that is the pinouts and cabling. You should make sure that the cables you are using are good, and that they have the correct pin configurations. If you have an adapter in line, you must make sure that the correct pins are routed to the correct connections.
        Some DMX devices use 3-pin XLR connectors. Our output is the DMX-standard 5-pin XLR connector. Because there is no room on the QM2000 board for an XLR connector, we provide an adapter cable that goes from the QM2000 board's DB15 connector, to a DMX-standard 5-pin XLR connector. Obviously, you must have the Pangolin-supplied adapter cable. If you have lost your adapter cable, replacements are available by contacting Pangolin.

QM2OOO-to-DMX adapter cable 

Summary

So you have a few things to check:

  • Do you have the latest software?

  • Is DMX enabled?

  • Can you confirm that you have a DMX signal?

  • Do you have the correct cables?

DMX is far more powerful than the simple analog outputs, or TTL outputs that we have offered in our prior software. But, being a serial multiplexed signal, the actual operation can be a bit more mysterious. With analog and TTL signals, you can use a simple volt meter to do troubleshooting. With DMX, you need either a scope, or a special DMX receiver to help troubleshoot problems. (Try the MicroTech DMX Tester, or the DMX Line Tester from Doug Fleenor Design.)

< Previous page: Using DMX512 within Showtime

   
  This page last updated: Thursday, June 25, 2009 12:00 AM

 
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