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Thread: DMX lighting control

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  1. #1 Default DMX lighting control 
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    So over the past few years I've gotten my hands on a few Color kinetics Lights, the latest of which are these:

    They're Color Kinetics icolor fresco lights. One is 12" one is 24".

    From what i've been able to research tonight, they are DMX controlled, which I guess is a lighting standard over RS485. So my question, does anyone know anything about this? For instance, what do I need to control these? Can I just throw a 24V power supply up to them and connect the data line to a USB RS485 adapter and use a free program, or do I really need a fancy controller box? The end goal is to put them on the daytona for entertainment at night, but I'm considering installing them in my living room as well.


    I'm guessing BeanTown Sam may know something here.
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  2. #2 Default  
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    FWIW, color kinetics (now owned by Philips) is responsible for just about any lighting installation you've ever seen.

    Empire state building


    The Zakim


    Radiohead's tours


    the showcase page on their site is super impressive.
    Futility Motorsport - 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby (dead), Saab 9-5 Aero Wagon, BMW 313rx
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  3. #3 Default  
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    My favorite use of colored lighting is in that one canadian guy's absolutely epic basement aquarium. Johnny and Mike probably know the one I'm talking about but I can't remember which forum it was on, reef something?
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  4. #4 Default  
    Indeed, we use DMX control for all our lighting. DMX stands for Digital Multiplex, and is the industry standard for networking and controlling lighting. Your fixtures likely have a box with 10 dip switches, or a little screen with a menu where you can set an address. Knowing what address to set them is important, depening on how you want to use them. Every light has different capabilities, some requiring more channels of DMX than others based on it's function, and any pre-built in macros. TYou'll want to know how many addresses your fixture uses, to properly control it. This can be a little confusing if you've never done it before. The lights likely also have an input and maybe an output (for passthrough) for your data cable, which can be an XLR cable. As far as going RS232 to USB into your PC, I've never tried it. We use DMX controllers (Software and hardware), which can be expensive, but allow us unlimited control of our fixtures. Feel free to shoot me any questions you have.
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  5. #5 Default  
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    Some of the lights do have dip switches, the new ones do not. From what I can tell the new ones want a color kinetics specific programmer to set the address. They do default to an address, I Just need to figure out which one. These do have pass through wiring. Out of each end there is a red (+24Vdc), black (ground), and blue (data) line. Some of the other lights have 4 wires since they run off AC and can't share a ground.


    I think I can make these work. I found someone that made their own DMX Driver module for this family of lights. I'm going to build one up of my own and see if I can make them work with a computer. The hardest part so far is trying to find fixture profiles for the software to drive the lights.
    Futility Motorsport - 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby (dead), Saab 9-5 Aero Wagon, BMW 313rx
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  6. #6 Default  
    Very cool. You'll have to keep me posted. It can get super complex, but it sounds like you're on the right track! We have so many lights, we have to run simultanious DMX-512 universes sometimes. A single fixture can sometimes be 14-20+ channels of DMX. Yours are likely RGB? So they are 4-5 channels if I had to guess. Should be managable!
    Samuel C. Lurie - Owner/President
    The Beantown Sound - Professional Disc Jockey Services
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    2011 Ford E350 Quigley 4x4
    2002 Porsche 996TT
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