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ogremasch

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The intention of this post is to establish a single place for a concise DMX guide excluding the use of Arduino. That can be included as a secondary post but this primary post is for DMX directly to the Server.

My apologies for a slightly misleading topic post, please remove/rename if needed.

I have read everything I can read on DMX and Artemis and I keep running into guides that have discontinued parts. I certainly appreciate the posts and they are a wealth of information but I am unsure of what to purchase in order to establish a working DMX set up. The intention of this post is to provide a clarifying spot where the DMXperts can pool their thoughts and deliberate on what is the definitive current guide.

I understand that there are multiple ways to skin the DMX cat so to clarify, this is intended to be the first foray into establishing DMX for a beginner with no existing DMX experience or hardware. additionally the ideal set up described in this post should be expandable as time goes on so if one wanted to add additional DMX Hardware or effects all they should need to do is attach an additional DMX capable device or strand of LEDs etc...

Components
Based on the guides provided thus far I believe the minimum requirements to establish a DMX effect (lighting based on DMX trigger) are the following:

  1. Computer Running Artemis (Server)
  2. A to B USB Cable
  3. USB Interface 
  4. DMX Controller
  5. Power Supply
  6. Cat5 Cable
  7. Light fixture (LEDS or othe such DMX Device)
  8. https://d28lcup14p4e72.cloudfront.net/145634/3054316/DMX.jpg


Many of the guides are using Holiday Coro as a source and when I attempted to locate some of their products it appears that some may no longer be available. Assuming that Holiday Coro is the go to for this sort of project (or Amazon) are there updated product lists that can be made available?

Connecting it together
The basic connection methodology that  gather from the existing guides is that you connect the Artemis server via USB cable to the USB interface. the USB interface connects to the DMX controller and the DMX controller has connections for power input and the DMX device (LED Strip or other).





Additionally the "DMX For Starters" post has the following list supplied by Commodore Erickson:

1) an ENTTEC Open DMX box 
2) A 5-pin to 3-pin DMX cable adaptor (very important!) 
 
3) a dmx light 
 
4) a dmx 3-pin cable 



As well as this list supplied by Badge guy:
I believe that the current set of known links to non-Arduino based Artemis compatible DMX solutions are:

1) Enttec Open DMX :
     http://www.enttec.com/index.php?main_menu=Products&pn=70303&show=description
     http://sirs-e.com/shop/open-dmx-usb/enttec-open-dmx-usb-interface/

  (third party sales)
2) Holiday Coro:
     http://www.holidaycoro.com/mobile/Product.aspx?id=37787
3) FTDIChip Cable:
     http://www.ftdichip.com/Products/Cables/USBRS485.htm
4) USB to RS485 Module:
     http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/200720518972?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649  (UK - eBay)
     http://dx.com/p/usb-to-rs485-module-black-221402  (DealExtreme)
     http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/USB-2-0-to-TTL-RS485-Serial-Converter-Adapter-FTDI-FT232RL-SN75176-double-function-double-protection/812021_583268610.html  (AliExpress)


Glossary:
   DMX - a standard for digital communication networks that are commonly used to control stage lighting and effects.
   FTDI- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FTDI
   RS485 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RS-485
   Open DMX - Artemis uses the OpenDMX, and only the OpenDMX standard, which requires an RS485 based communication channel to the computer.  Unless a device specifically states that it supports OpenDMX or an RS485 based configuration, it will not work.  uDMX is a keyword that should state that a device is not RS485 based


References:
List of references/existing DMX posts that I have read through:

How-to: Modular Smart/dumb DMX Using cat5 cable
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/howto-modular-smartdumb-dmx-using-cat5-cable-8116278?highlight=dmx+smart&pid=1296251179 

LED circuit help - Beam and torpedoes firing effect.

https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/led-circuit-help-beam-and-torpedoes-firing-effect-8481861?highlight=dmx+smart&pid=1295461855

Cheap USB interface and DMX LED strip build
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/cheap-usb-interface-and-dmx-led-strip-build-7833577?pid=1292306390

My DMX RGB strip for ultra cheap
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/my-dmx-rgb-strip-for-ultra-cheap-6467023?highlight=dmx&pid=1279946128

My DMX project
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/my-dmx-project-7024874?highlight=dmx&pid=1291839809

DMX for starters?
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/dmx-for-starters-6648535?highlight=dmx&pid=1286283503

DIY DMX Panel and Workshop
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/diy-dmx-panel-and-workshop-7156593?highlight=dmx&pid=1304114219

DMX Help Needed
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/dmx-help-needed-8119353?highlight=dmx&pid=1305901748

Has anyone tried this USB to DMX Solution?
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/has-anyone-tried-this-usb-to-dmx-solution-7167027?highlight=dmx&pid=1285047045



This post is a constant work in progress and ideally would be more like a wiki, staying updated as better solutions and more correct/up to date information comes out. I am not a DMX expert and have zero knowledge or experience with DMX, Just trying to get this sorted out and figured that it wouldn't hurt to collect everything together and hopefully get others onboard with this as well.

LawsonThompson

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Nice work!

Did someone say... wiki?

http://artemiswiki.pbworks.com/w/page/68387358/DMX%20Interface contains a (slightly aging...) start of a wiki for DMX content.

Click the "Request Access" link to get an edit-capable account, and you'll be able to make a GREAT contribution with the collection of material you've already gathered! 

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Visit us at http://www.ltebridge.com
ogremasch

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks. Request sent. Hope to help while I learn about dmx and Arduino.
ogremasch

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Dipping my toe into the DMX pool I ran through several dead ends and links that didn't work or products that had been discontinued to cobble together the solution below ( solution is a strong word for it more of a haphazard guess based on my limited understanding of the technology)

1 USB Interface:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07LBPD81P/ref=ox_sc_act_title_7?smid=A1D0G74F310I8T&psc=1

2 DMX Controller
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Q1N1GF8/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?smid=A34YB5GDV2SESP&psc=1

3 LED Strip
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DPQMKBS/ref=ox_sc_act_title_5?smid=A2DCOXAHHBQLDF&psc=1  

4 Power Supply
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071VPGK6R/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A13RPEGYBVY6JL&psc=1

5 (optional) Wiring for custom cutting the LED Strip
https://www.amazon.com/LEDENET-Extension-Cable-Color-ribbon/dp/B00J4HI746/ref=sr_1_4?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1547134764&sr=1-4&keywords=5pin+rgb+wire

6 Cat 5 Cable
I have a bunch of this on hand. I intend to mark it for DMX interface use only with both Zip Ties on the end of the cable and a handy dandy label maker

7 USB A to B
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001GTW5Z2/ref=ox_sc_act_title_4?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1


This design is RGBW or 4 channel... Can the Artemis DMX handle 4 channel or is it limited to 3?

The USB FTDI interface appears to match the one in the forums. I order 3 from China and one through amazon.

I was unable to find the DMX controllers listed in the forums  and so I dug around and found so many options I wasn't sure what was right and what was not. in the end I saw several that offered a White Channels separate from the RGB and I figured that I would try that out.




Based on what I have read in the forums, the wiki, and online, it appears that the USB interface is what connects to the computer and tells the DMX Controller what to do. after the DMX controller has been told what to do it passes that information down the line to either the lights (or other DMX device) that it is connected to or the next addresses DMX controller. I have added a diagram for my plan to ensure I am coming through clearly, this was made in MSPaint. It is ugly but it should be clear.

Based on my understanding of these being "Dumb DMX lights, all of the LEDS on the first controller should do the same function, if you wanted a different light to go off at a different time you would use a second controller. In my case my first controller is planned to run lights on the edges of each of the station that correspond to certain events. I will have all the LEDs on that controller triggered at the same time and all will do the same action. Next I will have another controller that indicated shield activation for example. that will be independent of the lights on the stations and so will need to have its own controller since these are dumb controllers.
 

 

See the source images-l1600.jpg DMX interface.jpg 

There is a spot for Cat 5 DMX input and output, Should I use that instead? is there a difference? Will this even work? Who knows (seriously if you know please chime in)


Angel of Rust

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ogremasch
Dipping my toe into the DMX pool I ran through several dead ends and links that didn't work or products that had been discontinued to cobble together the solution below ( solution is a strong word for it more of a haphazard guess based on my limited understanding of the technology)

There is a spot for Cat 5 DMX input and output, Should I use that instead? is there a difference? Will this even work? Who knows (seriously if you know please chime in)



Based on the reading I've done today, the RJ45 (cat 5) jacks for the DMX should work fine, provided the maker of that particular controller are following the pinout convention. Sometimes the D+ and D- are reversed due to confusion about the RS485 (DMX) signalling protocol.

Recognizing that some reliable USB interfaces can be hard to come by, I decided to sketch up a design for one that is made to work with Artemis:
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/diy-dmxusb-interface-for-artemis-9995968?pid=1307077618

I am thinking about building one to see how well it works (it should -- but you never know). The design could be an alternative to the other sources.

ogremasch

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks. I have purchased the items listed and they seem to comply with the details provided by the nice folks here on the forums. I am going to do my best to document every step of the DMX build Maybe I am thick headed but it took forever for me to halfway know what was supposed to be happeneing. I want to same someone else that trouble and hopefully get a better ship in the process. 

I order a few extras of the items I bought with the expectation that A I will mess something up, B Something may arrive broken, C it would be nice to have a spare or maybe enough for a second ship and D if it is simple enough Maybe I can make the basic boxes and provide them as a starter kit? not looking to retire or anything, just enough to get the money I put into the thing back and help get some more people into the game.
ogremasch

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Reply with quote  #7 
Update, good news bad news

I ordered a DMX controller from Amazon that was to be sent from China. This was a mistake and the package I ordered on Jan 10th has yet to arrive and the customer service has not been very good, nothing particular bad but I believe I will not be getting any thing from that company for a long time, if ever.

The good news is that I have order two controllers from Amazon and they should be here in a week or less.

I have purchased two different kinds of USB to DMX converters, one from Amazon and one from Angel of Rust here on the forum. So far they have been sitting on shelves but they should be getting a workout in a week or so once the controllers arrive.

I will be taking photos and videos and documenting my DMX journey for future bridge builders. Many thanks to the helpful people in the forum and for all the documentation that has been so far provided.
ogremasch

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I received my DMX decoders and tested the set up last night. Along the way I Learned a little about Artemis Bridge tools I have to say that I am impressed with the application but it is a little non intuitive. So I plan on making a revised how to. Their website has a lot of information and it was certainly helpful to me but as a complete newbie I was finding myself struggling to catch on to what they were trying to tell me as I was not using anything that seemed to line up with what they were describing. 

A bit of a disclaimer, I am not a DMX expert and while what I did worked for me, your setup may not be the exact same. Even if you have the same equipment, I cannot guarantee that your results will be the same as my own, in other words your mileage may vary.

So without further ado...

DMX SETUP GUIDE

This guide is divided into 3 parts Prerequisites, Step by Step Instructions, and References.

Prerequisites
     1.     Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator (software)
     2.     Artemis Bridge Tools (software)(optional but highly recommended) (http://www.armidalesoftware.com/Artemis/DMXTools.htm)
     3.     Hardware/Equipment for DMX
               a.   A to B USB Cable
               b.   USB Interface 
               c.   DMX Controller
               d.   Power Supply
               e.   Cat5 Cable (technically optional but highly recommended)
               f.    Light fixture (LEDS or other such DMX Device)
     4.     Various tools and supplies (Solder, soldering iron, electrical tape, screwdrivers etc...)


20190303_090355.jpg 

Step by Step Instructions
     1.     Collect all DMX hardware prior to beginning assembly. before you make any cuts or solder anything to anything else you should line everything up and make sure that you have everything you think you will need. Do a dry fit of all the items, basically line everything up and pretend that you are connecting it up without actually plugging anything into anything else, this will help you to ensure that you have all of your parts and that you have at least a vague idea of where they are supposed to go.
     2.     Remove any packaging that is in the way, put it to the side incase one of your components is bad so that you can complete a return if it is needed.
     3.     I found it helpful to work from the light/s back to the computer interface. starting with the lights I removed them from their packaging but left them on the spool for testing. determine which end is the male and which end is female, I use the female end of my lights to connect to my DMX decoder.
20190303_091001.jpg 
     4.     Either cut the adapter off of the end of the lights or do what I did and fit some wires into the female adapter of the LEDS matching up the colors of the wires. This will allow you to test these lights without making soldering anything yet. be sure that you don't have any of the wires touching any of the other wires as this will cause a short. 

     5.     The other end of the wires you just fitted into the LIGHT/LEDs should now go into your DMX decoder's output. Your DMX decoder's output may be different from the one I used but the concept is the same. the red cable should go to the red lights, green to green etc... so when you connect your DMX output it will be important to know what channel connects to what. The decoder I purchased did not come with any sort of description as to what each channel was for so I had to try out a few different combinations to get the lights to match up. This particular Decoder is a BRGW or Blue Red Green White decoder as the cables go Blue, Red, Green, White, in channels 1-4. I had to go through several different connections to discover that that one was the correct set up. I found the function portion of the DIP switches to be helpful. basically by flipping switch "FUN" to the on position I could manually control which color came up on the LED strips, flipping FUN to on and switch 1 to on for example was supposed to have the color Red show up, if Blue showed up instead I knew that I was triggering the blue lights on the wrong channel so I needed to rearrange those colors. It took me some trial and error but in the end I got the colors to line up based on this testing. 
     6.     Now that you have the lights connected you should connect the power source to the DMX converter ( the power source should not be plugged in at this point)
20190303_194322.jpg 
     7.     For my setup I bought a Kastar AC Adapter, Power Supply LCD 12V 4A 48W for LCD Monitor, LED strip Light and other Low Voltage Device from amazon. This came with a screw type adapter and made connecting it to the DMX decoder a breeze. I used red for positive and black for negative.
20190303_090552.jpg 
     8.     On the other side of the DMX decoder is a set of dip switches, Ethernet ports and XLR or DMX cable ports. I had purchased several DMX cables just for this project and assumed I would need them eventually when I connect additional decoders. for now though we need to connect one of the DMX cables to the input of the DMX decoders. I want to again remind you that at this point the Lights and the power adapter should be connected to the decoder but that the power adapter should not be plugged into the wall. Once you have the cable for the DMX connected to the DMX input we are going to cut the DMX cable somewhere in the middle. I chose to cut the cable so that my input cable was about 2/3rs of the original cable and the other end was about 1/3rd of the original cable length. You can place the cut where you think it makes the most sense for you but you will want to leave yourself room on both ends to be able to make use of each portion later on, especially if you are going to connect a second DMX decoder later.
 20190303_194330.jpg
   
     9.     Now that your DMX converter has lights, power(not plugged into the wall) and a DMX input cable it is time to get the DMX signal into that DMX cable. To do this we will need to connect the DMX to USB adapter to the DMX cable you just cut. when I pulled back the rubber coating on the XLR cable I found a copper sleeve and blue and brown wires inside of a tinfoil wrapper. Peel back approximately 2 to 3 inches of rubber coating exposing the copper wire that is wrapped around the inner cables. Be careful not to cut that copper wire as this is actually your ground (if you are using the same or similar cables to the ones I bought anyway). once you have the outer rubber coating peeled off push the copper mesh down and peel off the tin foil wrapper. I also cut away the cotton strings but you could leave them if you like. Strip about a quarter inch of the blue cable and the brown cable so your have bare wire on the ends of those wires. carefully wide a hole in the copper mesh that you can push the blue and brown wires out of, then twist the mesh more into a wire shape since it will not have anything in the middle of the mesh it should be roughly the same size as the blue or brown wire. now that you have three wires you can connect them to the USB to DMX adapter. I connected Blue to the P, Brown to the A and the copper wire to the GND. for reference the P is the DMX negative signal, the A is the DMX positive signal and the GND is the ground.   
   20190303_194246.jpg 20190303_194304.jpg 
     10.   On the other side of the USB to DMX adapter you will need to simply plug the USB cable into it and then plug that end into the computer. a little red light should come on and your computer should automatically install the drivers. If you are reading this guide and are unable to install driver I am actually very impressed at your initiative. If your computer does not install the drivers automatically you can install them by google-ing the drivers you need, I didn't have to do this step as my PC found the drivers for me, I do not have a resource I can send you to for drivers, sorry.
     11.   Check your connections, make sure your lights are connected and none of the wires are frayed or touching the other wires creating a short. check that your power cable is connected and that there is nothing that could cause a problem in terms of electric shock when you plug your power adapter in to a power source like the wall outlet. check it again, don't hurt yourself, burn your house, down or zap electronics. Seriously, check your connections and then if you feel comfortable that everything is correct plug your power adapter in. assuming no magic smoke was released your DMX decoder should have a blinking green light on it.    Be sure that your DIP switches are all set correctly. For my DMX adapter I have them all set to the off position. your DMX decoder may be different.
     12.   Start Artemis Bridge tools. Get in there and play around with the settings. You may need to adjust some things but when you start the bridge tools program your DMX Decoder should be fast blinking. this is a good sign and it means that your decoder is at least getting a DMX signal. if that doesn't take place check those connections and make sure that you have everything where it should be. I had to check my connections several times and adjust and adjust and adjust but once I got the connections correct everything worked.
     13. If you don't want to use Artemis Bridge tools (you really should, its free and super useful once you get better acquainted with the interface) then you can try starting Artemis and seeing if your lights respond to the set up. remember that your server is what sends out the DMX commands so you will have to have the USB cable connected to the server. the shorter your USB cable the better the signal from what the forums have said.
     10.  assuming your DMX is working your will now need those Ethernet cables. You can use the Ethernet cables to connect your lights to the DMX decoder. I am at this stage in my own set up, I'll post pictures and information on that when I get more time/ more information.  

      
References


https://stevenbreuls.com/2013/05/diy-usb-dmx-dongle-interface-for-under-10/


How-to: Modular Smart/dumb DMX Using cat5 cable
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/howto-modular-smartdumb-dmx-using-cat5-cable-8116278?highlight=dmx+smart&pid=1296251179 

LED circuit help - Beam and torpedoes firing effect.

https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/led-circuit-help-beam-and-torpedoes-firing-effect-8481861?highlight=dmx+smart&pid=1295461855

Cheap USB interface and DMX LED strip build
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/cheap-usb-interface-and-dmx-led-strip-build-7833577?pid=1292306390

My DMX RGB strip for ultra cheap
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/my-dmx-rgb-strip-for-ultra-cheap-6467023?highlight=dmx&pid=1279946128

My DMX project
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/my-dmx-project-7024874?highlight=dmx&pid=1291839809

DMX for starters?
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/dmx-for-starters-6648535?highlight=dmx&pid=1286283503

DIY DMX Panel and Workshop
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/diy-dmx-panel-and-workshop-7156593?highlight=dmx&pid=1304114219

DMX Help Needed
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/dmx-help-needed-8119353?highlight=dmx&pid=1305901748

Has anyone tried this USB to DMX Solution?
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/has-anyone-tried-this-usb-to-dmx-solution-7167027?highlight=dmx&pid=1285047045



Shopping list/Products used in this guide

1 USB Interface:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07LBPD81P/ref=ox_sc_act_title_7?smid=A1D0G74F310I8T&psc=1

2 DMX Controller
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LXO385L/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1  

3 LED Strip
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DPQMKBS/ref=ox_sc_act_title_5?smid=A2DCOXAHHBQLDF&psc=1  

4 Power Supply
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071VPGK6R/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A13RPEGYBVY6JL&psc=1

5 (optional) Wiring for custom cutting the LED Strip
https://www.amazon.com/LEDENET-Extension-Cable-Color-ribbon/dp/B00J4HI746/ref=sr_1_4?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1547134764&sr=1-4&keywords=5pin+rgb+wire

6 Cat 5 Cable
I have a bunch of this on hand. I intend to mark it for DMX interface use only with both Zip Ties on the end of the cable and a handy dandy label maker

7 USB A to B
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001GTW5Z2/ref=ox_sc_act_title_4?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

20190303_084433.jpg  20190303_090355.jpg  20190303_090508.jpg  20190303_090552.jpg  20190303_090708.jpg  20190303_090723.jpg  20190303_090837.jpg  20190303_090929.jpg  20190303_091001.jpg  20190303_091156.jpg  20190303_091251.jpg  20190303_153326.jpg 


ogremasch

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DMX guide map.jpg 
ogremasch

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https://clips.twitch.tv/VivaciousSpunkyPangolinDendiFace
Angel of Rust

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Reply with quote  #11 
There is no substitute for the moment a plan comes together! Looking good!
ogremasch

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Reply with quote  #12 
Thanks. I have learned a lot through doing this so hopefully this information can help people. I'm going to gather my notes and try to make a video walkthrough as well. I'll be using your adapter in the video as well. I need to film a few more things then edit together but the video is coming along well.
Dave Thaler

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ogremasch
Along the way I Learned a little about Artemis Bridge tools I have to say that I am impressed with the application but it is a little non intuitive. So I plan on making a revised how to. Their website has a lot of information and it was certainly helpful to me but as a complete newbie I was finding myself struggling to catch on to what they were trying to tell me as I was not using anything that seemed to line up with what they were describing.


Thanks for the feedback.  If you have specific feedback or suggestions, or if you'd even like to contribute text for a walkthrough, I'd be happy to update the website to make it be more useful for you.
e4mafia

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Reply with quote  #14 

Interesting experiment today. I set up an ART-Net profile in DMXTools on a non server station, and set Wireshark to monitor the IP output. I connected that system to a server on a different PC, and sure enough, that station, which I set as helm, is in fact putting out DMX.

Did anyone else know this? Does EVERY system output DMX? This opens up some cool possibilities for a lot of things on individual stations, if you don't need some kind of master relay to communicate out to the various areas.


Angel of Rust

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by e4mafia

Interesting experiment today. I set up an ART-Net profile in DMXTools on a non server station, and set Wireshark to monitor the IP output. I connected that system to a server on a different PC, and sure enough, that station, which I set as helm, is in fact putting out DMX.

Did anyone else know this? Does EVERY system output DMX? This opens up some cool possibilities for a lot of things on individual stations, if you don't need some kind of master relay to communicate out to the various areas.




Interesting. I know that every instance of Artemis streams to the FTDI USB chip that is connected at startup. I don't know if the client streams the DMX script output -- may be worth looking into further.

For my setup, I still want the controllers talking to each other (power level updates from engineering, for example). However, the prospect is interesting.

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