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In a previous thread James (jingles) advised that maybe I should switch from my stage setter 8 to perhaps an operator 192. I am starting to gain an understanding of DMX, but I still have lots to learn.
So here is my question as I am considering the switch. On the operator there are the scanner buttons for choosing fixtures. So if I assign all the fixtures 32 channels apart then each scanner should control each light individually correct?

Assuming that is right, then if I turn on 3 of the scanner buttons then bring up a fader that fader should work for all the fixtures that i have turned on despite the fact that they are 32 channels apart from each other, is that right.

Sorry for the questions it just seems that each step into the DMX world brings a whole new set of circumstances. If this is indeed how it would work then I will be comfortable in taking the next step, after that I think I would be able to figure out how to program scenes and chases with the new controller... Thanks
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You are correct. EXCEPT on the dmx op it is 16 channels. so scanner one addressed to 1 scanner two addressed to 17 and scanner 3 addressed to 33. basically each fixture button holds and controls 16 channels all the way up to 12 fixtures. so if you hit fixture button number one you will have control of those first 16 channels. fixture button 2 the next 16 channels and so on and so forth. make sense? Read this PDF if you haven't yet.
Thanks James, I think I get it. I'm not sure where I got the 32 from ... looking at the online manual for that I can clearly see it's 16 ... which is plenty. So to build on your explanation, if I turn on fixture button 1 and 2, then fader 1 is acting as a fader for channel 1 and 17 at the same time, correct? Is it safe to assume that fader one is actually designed to continually send out data on channels 1, 17, 33, 49, 65, 81, 97, 113, 129, 145, 161 and 177 and then the scanner buttons just turn on and off the ability of the fixture to receive the data? I had read through that document before, but I think that I may have not been familiar enough with the terms to understand it at the time, perhaps I should go over it again.

I will have to think this over a bit more looking down the road and decide if I need the operator the operator 192 or the operator pro. Thank you so much for helping me get the basic understanding down it helps alot, just wish I could have learned this stuff before I purchased my lighting equipment in the first place, but really at that point you have to rely on the people in the store, and frankly i think they know less than me.
Yes that's correct. and DMX is really a constant data stream anyways. there is a certain series binary of code every time the faders moves up or down to any given value and even a "0" value code. which is why you still get a dmx signal even though all your channels are at 0. make sense? but there is no need to think of it at that grand a scale for you yet. haha. Never seen anyone ask that question before. ha.
disclaimer i am not a DMX expert so if anyone finds a fault in my explaination please do correct.
I'm jumping into this a bit later than I normally would, but I don't normally read this forum, despite the fact that I should.

I have the DMX Operator. So, I know how it work quite well. I can't say I know it 100% inside and out, but I can get around it quite easily. I need to refer to the manual for programming it because I can't recall those steps. Other than that, the DMX Operator is my buddy. It is my reliable fall back for MyDMX.

Issue 1: The scanner buttons.
Each scanner buttonis really saying "activate this bank of 16 DMX channels", not necessarily a scanner. Many people do use it with a scanner button controlling a specific scanner or type of scanners or groupings of scanners. Not me, I look at it as pre channels, but I also logically address my fixtures so they can be controlled easily. To each their own, whatever works best for you is the right way to do it.

So, let's say you hit scanner buttons 1, 3 and 5. You just activated channesl 1-16, 33-48 and 65-82.(assuming I did my math right in my head, do check me!). All other channels will be OFF/not used.

With a scanner button or buttons ON, and you move the corresponding fader(s), all activated channels associated with that fader will be affected. In those regards, your assumption is 100% accurate.

In programming mode, the DMX Operator behaves MUCH differently. It does make sense, but it helps to have something plugged in, sucha as a dimmer pack(or packs) in case you can't really set up your lights when designing your scenes and chases. I'm not saying this is a negative, it's just something you should be prepared for.

When programming scenes, it is best to do this one scanner button at a time, or at least matching like for like channels/fixtures.

Let's say your first 8 channels are banks of ParCans. Your second set of 8 channels(9-16) are "high tech effects. That covers scanner button one. When you are done making those settings for scanner 1, you turn it off and then go onto Scanner 2. Let's say on Scanner 2 you have color wash fixtures that use 7 channels, and you have one type using 17-24 and another type using 25-32. Again, after you make those adjustments, you turn off that scanner button. If you do pay attention to what you are doing and if you have the luxury of some sort of sanity check(say, actually having the lights set up or dimmer packs as place holders), you can se that things are turning on and off according to the scanner buttons. But if you save and recall the scene, you'll see that all your settings are saved.

In stores, there is too much stuff coming out all the time. For example, Guitar Center carries ADJ, Chauvet, Martin and some new generic company that looks like they are making cheap ADJ and Chauvet knock-offs. Not to defend the store sales people, but there is so much product out there that it is not practical or really possible to know it all. With lighting fixtures, it can be a bit easier getting an idea of it based on the manual and specs page. Wiht a controller, it's not so simple. For example, on the surface, the DMX Operator doesn't look like much. And maybe it isn't, but I still love mine. It looks like a simple yet easy to use controller, and it is that and it does it very very well. This controller I have had since late 2001 and I still haven't fully utilized it yet. Once you get past the overly simplistic design and really dig into the short manual, you begin to understand that ADJ/Elation pack a lot of functionality and features into a very convenient and easy to use package. While you may think "wow, that's a lot of money" on an up-front purchase, but when you really start to utilize this controller, the value really becomes apparent.

In the data communications and computer world, it's rare to find stuff that is meant to be around for 7 years because technology moves so fast. Entertainment is matching that speed and in some cases, faster. Despite this, controllers haven't had to change a whole lot. Why? Well, certain things don't change, such as DMX signalling. So, we're not doing DMX-512 over IP or over UTP or fiber(or at least not quite yet). Good controller design is good controller design. Period.

Another option for about the same money might be MyDMX software. With the 3D Visualizer, that might give you better programming capabilities since you can see what you're doing easier. But I can't say a controller is a bad thing, it can also serve as fail-over in case MyDMX gives you some headaches at an event.

To the DMX protocol. It is continuous controller data. Why? Failure recovering I think. should something fail and get swapped out or need to be reset, it can then recover because it's instructions are continuously being resent. This is unlike MIDI, which while it does have continuous controllers, most of it is note on/off and other intermittant signals.

The best way to learn DMX is to simply get into it and start doing. Buy lights that do what you need and figure out how you want to control it. My words of advice: When it comes to controllers, buy something good and maybe above what you think you need now. In this case, my DMX Operator is on the lower end of things, but as I've said, it puts a lot in a small package. It's a good all around controller.

And, the DMX Operator really shines in scene mode. Design and document your shows and have fun.
James and Chris, Thank you for your explanations. Being at entry level every bit of understanding helps alot. I can definitely tell now that any of the operator models will give me alot more control as compared to the stage setter 8, So I think a trade-in is on the near horizon.

Chris I have a small set up right now just 8 par 36 LEDs I may add on a little later, but not much they are just for my band. With this small set up I can set the whole thing up in my basement and create the scenes, so I will just play around with it, until I figure it out. My son usually comes out to the shows now that he is 19 and works the lights for us, he has learned to use the stage setter to run scenes and chases and just taps in the tempos for each song. He is having a lot of fun learning this stuff as well...

Thanks again to both of you.. I'm so glad I found this forum.
James, your explanation about DMX is right. A way (but VERY BAD and by no means recommended way) to prove this is plug it into an audio console and the channel get's constant single. Again, don't do this on purpose, you most likely will fry the pre-amps on that channel effectively killing it and/or can fry the DMX transmission device if phantom power is on.

Chris, DMX constantly transmits do to its nature, not for failure. In fact, there is no error check in DMX which is the reason it is not used for things like pyro control.

As for networking and DMX, it has been done for a while now. Ma Net is a good example. Over one Cat5 line, Ma Net can send 64 DMX universes along with auto back up, some monitoring features, and console fail safe in the event of a crash. The guy who was on the nation tour for Fame a few years ago had 3 full sized Grand Ma's. One he set up at front of house and ran the show off of, one back stage in case the one out front died during the show, and one he rolled around on stage to update focus positions and whatever else. What he did on one automatically copied and backuped to the others. Really jealous of him.

ETCNet is another quick example. They have DMX nodes which can turn a Cat5 into 4 universes and back again at the console. This also carries other ETCNet functions, like dimming monitoring for Sensor racks, RFU (Remote Focus Unit) ports, console linking, and video monitoring for LDs and SMs.

ArtNet is also becoming the wave of the future slowly as more and more fixtures come with it built in.

The problem with DMX networks is they take up the whole network. This means you can't run internet over them do to the amount of info running across them constantly.
Something else I just thought of while on the subject of DMX and Cat5. You can actually use Cat5, Cat5.5, and Cat6 cable for DMX since it is digital cable and standard DMX cable is digital technically. There are actually Ethernet to 5 Pin DMX turnarounds for a few fixtures out there that don't have DMX 5 or 3 Pin in and thru. Martin StageBar 54s are just such a fixture. Not sure of any others that come to mind right now, but ColorBlaze 48/72s have 5 pin and Ethernet as well as the power supplies for ColorBlasts.
Originally posted by jingles:
Really your fine with just 8 p36LEd cans? those tiny little things? Me and Chris could throw some cheap recommendations your way when your ready to upgrade. haha.

Seriously yes, I play in a small 4 piece band and we play fairly small clubs and those little buggers light us up just fine. In fact I like the fact that it's not too bright the colours and the mood seem to stand out more. But really our focus is more on making sure we play great rather than on the light show. That being said the lights have added another dimension to the show and I am having so much fun playing with them and working with my son to create some cool stuff. I should say that we also have a dual gem moonflower that we hang up behind the drummer pointing down towards the stage that looks really cool with the fog going. So I still may add a few more lights down the road ... maybe some of those little LED trispots... see what hits me when the time comes ...

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