DMX flavor problem?

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amoyer
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DMX flavor problem?

Post by amoyer » Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:39 pm

I've got a show in that brought in their own console (Grand MA ultradark...err.. ultralight). No problem. I'm taking one of the outputs of the console and inputting it into a Strand N21 Node. The inputs on that node start at Shownet 4001 so as not to conflict with anything we are outputting to. The inputs are patched to looks 1 thru 100 on a virtual look page patched to Shownet 4001 thru 4100.

When the operator on the Grand MA brings up some channels and leaves them on, we get an occasional, random flash, as if the console stopped outputting DMX for a brief moment. I thought at first it was a flaky submaster on the Grand MA that had those fixtures in it but then it started happening even when those fixtures were on in a cue. Then I started wondering if it was a DMX flavor issue.

Does the N21 node have the same problems the SN110s did with some flavors of DMX? (Probably more of a question for the factory.) Would the inputs on the back of the console be better then into the node? Suggestions, comments questions?

The other comment I got from the Grand MA operator was that he felt there was a bit of lag between his consoles and what he was seeing on stage. I'll watch that a little bit more tonight.
Andrew Moyer - Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts
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GaryDouglas
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Re: DMX flavor problem?

Post by GaryDouglas » Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:49 pm

Andrew,

Can you record a few minutes of net traffic using Wireshark, then send that to me, along with your show?

I have the ability to replay these capture here.

http://www.wireshark.org/
Gary Douglas - Lead Software Developer - Pathway Connectivity - A Division of Acuity Brands Lighting Canada.

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amoyer
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Re: DMX flavor problem?

Post by amoyer » Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:17 pm

Here's the problem with a road house, the show and the Grand MA console are now gone. I think we get a show coming in with a Compulite next week. I'm sure they will be using our house dimmers via the Light Palette too. I'll record some of the network traffic then. Although if it is a Grand MA problem then we might not have the same problem with the Compulite. I'll see what I can do.
Andrew Moyer - Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts
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GaryDouglas
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Re: DMX flavor problem?

Post by GaryDouglas » Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:42 pm

Do you have a DMXter? If you do, it has a fairly wide range of timing to try with the N21. Otherwise a 100 console of some other little DMX source may exhibit a similar problem.

Strangely enough, the GrandMa can also spit out shownet -- so my guess is that they were sending an odd idle packet or 2 that confused everything. If a simple DMX desk into an N21 displays the same little glitch It's worth sending over a Wireshark capture.

The N21 shouldn't exhibit the same receiver issues as the SN110 -- that guy had an issue that no software in the world could overcome. The N21 is not shackled in this way!

The next time you're using the DMX In function, just start Wireshark quietly in the background and let it run. That way if you see anything strange, you have EVERYTHING that's happened on the system for us all to look at!
Gary Douglas - Lead Software Developer - Pathway Connectivity - A Division of Acuity Brands Lighting Canada.

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amoyer
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Re: DMX flavor problem?

Post by amoyer » Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:04 pm

We do have a Strand 301 hooked up to the N21 all the time that we use for control of our work lights (or whatever else we put in the 12 faders it has). We DMX out of the 301 into the N21 all the time but we also use another port on the N21 for touring consoles. The Strand 301 has not exhibited any problems with the N21 for us, once we figured out that the N21 didn't like see only 12 DMX channels coming from the 301. We patched something further on in the 301 so the N21 could actually see the 301, but once we did that we had no problem getting DMX into the Palette OS.

As for Wireshark, when you mention running it in the background, do you mean on the console itself, or any PC connected to the network?
Andrew Moyer - Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts
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GaryDouglas
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Re: DMX flavor problem?

Post by GaryDouglas » Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:09 pm

Run it on any PC.

You can tell the program to just hold the last 20 Megs of data or so -- which should give a good window of time if there's a problem.

Did the GrandMa use your Ethernet network as well?

Another possibility if the GrandMa was connected is that it was sending a Pile of NSP traffic that was swamping the system.....
Gary Douglas - Lead Software Developer - Pathway Connectivity - A Division of Acuity Brands Lighting Canada.

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amoyer
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Re: DMX flavor problem?

Post by amoyer » Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:17 pm

We talked about trying the ethernet connection from the GrandMA but didn't. Maybe that would be easier anyway next time. Although, not knowing what sort of crap the GrandMA is outputting, I wouldn't want it to flood the network.

With the problems described to me by the GrandMA operator when using an SN110 in past, I would imagine the reason the Shownet capability is in the console to prevent the need to use an SN110 too.
Andrew Moyer - Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts
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GaryDouglas
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Re: DMX flavor problem?

Post by GaryDouglas » Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:31 pm

Yeah -- they can be pretty Bandwidth-heavy -- especially if you have any backup stuff happening.

As for their Shownet implementation -- it would allow you to avoid the N21 input.

Another tool for your arsenal as a roadhouse would be a DMX to DMX converter -- something that can re-time the DMX signal in the case of a problem. These are good for getting you out of a jam, or helping to find the source of a problem.

You can find good ones from Pathway (Ultimate Converter / RDM Repeater) or Goddard design (DMXter 2). http://www.pathwayconnect.com http://www.goddarddesign.com

I'd love to know what the timing of the DMX signal form the GrandMa is as well. Most timings that are on the edge can be fixed by converters, but there are a few products out there that still adhere to pre-1990 DMX standards. These cause all sorts of problems and are quite difficult to receive with a modern CPU.....
Gary Douglas - Lead Software Developer - Pathway Connectivity - A Division of Acuity Brands Lighting Canada.

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BrianEvans
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Re: DMX flavor problem?

Post by BrianEvans » Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:05 pm

Too many devices that don't adhere to recieving DMX per any standard at all.
Especially all this cheap Chinese knock off crap floating around.

Old school Horizon only spit out 20HZ DMX, but it was per the standard,
some crappy lights out there can't handle that.

So that is soemthing folks need to keep in mind if fixtures are not behaving properly.
Not only is DMX being too fast a problem, but too slow, as well.
Last edited by BrianEvans on Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Brian Evans - System Specialist - Horizon Control Inc.

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BobbyHarrell
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Re: DMX flavor problem?

Post by BobbyHarrell » Tue Nov 25, 2008 10:44 am

Here is some information about Grand MA and Shownet…



Grand MA's work best plugged into an SN102 but there are timing issues with their DMX output. The best choice is to get the software upgrade into the GrandMa that has ShowNet support. Remember too that the GrandMA can generate huge amounts of network traffic and must be set up correctly.



There are some problems with Grandma DMX512. For instance, the DMX512 they drive out of the desk is a different "flavor" than the version that they drive out of their NSP. As I recall one works, w/SN110, and one doesn't but I don't recall which was which.



Probably their best bet is to "get" the version of the GrandMA OS that outputs Strand ShowNet directly onto the Ethernet system. We licensed it to them, and this is how we have done a bunch of projects with their desks in the past.
Bobby Harrell - Product Specialist
Philips Entertainment - Strand Lighting

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