USB / DMX512 Generator
The USB / DMX512 Generator was developed as as a low cost and compact equipment to integrate lighting technology into multimedia projects, hardware based media controllers or even industrial controls with a USB host feature.
In contrast to proprietary control equipment the USB / DMX512 Generator can be operated with any kind of software which is capable to transmit and receive via a serial COM port.
Alternatively to its DMX transmission mode the USB / DMX512 Generator can be switched to DMX receive mode. A variety of techniques is available for evaluation of an external DMX signal.
Primarily all commands are sent and all feedback is received in ASCII text format. As an alternative to ASCII syntax, the most essential features of the Generator can be operated with a compact binary data format, which provides a higher throughput and easier handling together with some kind of control application.
For all essential functions a MIDI compatible set of commands is provided. Together with some additional software, the USB / DMX512 Generator now works together with MIDI typical software like MIDI sequencers.
By means of a driver (FTDI chip) a virtual serial port for the USB bus is generated on the PC. During driver installation a free serial port is assigned to the USB / DMX512 Generator. Optionally any port number can be selected. No configuration of the baud rate is necessary. Independent of the baud setting of the application software the USB / DMX512 Generator communicates via USB with the maximum transfer speed provided by the application software und the USB bus.
This way the DMX512 lighting bus is easily integrated into applications, which support serial ports together with a scripting language. Office applications can be used too, when appropriate DLL libraries are added.
In a most simple case - especially to set up or debug computer controlled lighting installations - manual interactive operation is possible with a simple terminal program.
The most essential control features:
- Any DMX channel no.1 to 512 can be set to any level by sending a short sequence of ASCII text to the device (8 bit resolution). Binary commands are implemented as a more compact alternative.
- Additionally combinations of RGB colors may be set at 3 subsequent DMX channels with simple ASCII text commands.
- For any DMX channel a fade transition can be executed automatically, duration programmable up to 31.9 seconds. This diminuishes the expense for design of complex lighting sequences considerably. Any number of fade processes can be active simultaneously on all DMX channels.
- The actual state of the USB / DMX Generator (transmit buffer and system configuration) can be saved permanently as a preset (=lighting scene). Up to 384 presets can be stored and be reloaded at any time.
The transition from the previous lighting scene is performed with the actual fade time.
During power-on preset no.0 is loaded automatically.
- By means of the flexibly configurable chaser function automatically sequences of lighting scenes are loaded to DMX OUT in a cyclic manner. Soft fade transitions are possible. The flash feature pushes all DMX channels to a defined level for a short period of time.
- The cycle of DMX data packets can be set by command between 24 and 512 DMX channels. If a DMX channel out of the active DMX cycle is adressed, the packet length is readjusted automatically.
- An alternative DMX512 receive mode is implemented with following features:
--- poll the actual level of individual DMX channels or a block of subsequent channels of an external DMX bus which is fed into the XLR connector.
--- if individually selected or all DMX channels of the external bus change more than an adjustable threshold, the new DMX level may be messaged automatically via USB.
--- external lighting scenes may be stored as a preset and recalled at later time in the DMX transmit mode (= copy of external lighting scenes)
--- up to 104 user defined strings (text or binary) can be stored permanently - they will be sent automatically via USB when the external DMX bus takes defined levels on channels 500 to 512.
Plastic enclosure with aluminium front panel
Mechanical dimensions: length 8,1 cm, width 8,5 cm, height 4,0 cm.
DMX-OUT: standard compliant 5 pin XLR connector (on request available with 3 pin XLR).
DMX-IN: DMX OUT connector is alternatively used (with gender changer or cable assembled with male plug).
via the USB bus (5Volt, max 100mA).
A red/green dual LED signalizes attachment to the USB bus, mode of operation and data transfer.
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