[linux-audio-user] Linux Lighting

Olivier Guilyardi ml at xung.org
Mon Nov 28 06:43:03 EST 2005

Jacob wrote:
> DMX512 is just a serial protocol, where a vector of 512 8-bit values is
> send periodically over the wire (this 512 block is AKA universe). At the
> sender side you'll need a PC interface (an old ISA card would probably
> be the cheapest ;) and at the receiver side you'll need your light
> source (dimmer pack or scanner or ...). 

I've seen some 100 € DMX controller on the parallel port (IMG Stageline DMX-60).

> The 400 EUR limit seems to be a problem. Either you are really lucky and
> get a used set of lamps, dimmer packs, cables, ... or you'll have to do
> some not-so-simple hardware/programming stuff on your own. 
> An important influence on the money you have to spent has the power
> consumption of the light sources: e.g. if you want 16 PAR64 with 1kW
> each you'll spent much more than if you used PAR56/300W.

Power consumption is not included in this price. I want to play in some Parisian
clubs: electric power is their problem, not mine.

> The DMX approach is IMO the more professional way, you can extend your
> equipment easily, you can rent or borrow some special equipment for an
> event. You can connect your computer to any professional light
> installation and you have less worries about the audience's security.
> If I had a project like yours and able to get all of the above for 
> 600 EUR, if would definitely take it.

Audience security... I forgot that one. Okay, DMX is the way to go.

Renting is ok for me. But say that I simply use the lighting installation of the
club I play in : would I just bring my laptop and DMX controller ? If the club's
lighting installation isn't "DMX compatible", would a set of dimmers do the
trick ? Can I expect to find such "DMX compatible" lighting installations (like
dimmers I just plug my controller into) in most of clubs/discos/concert halls ?
(I suppose that I should just ask places I know...)

I'm very new to lighting, sorry if some of these are silly questions.

> On the other hand, if you really want to spent a lot of time with
> soldering, hacking and (kernel) programming, you might use the following
> approach for the electronics (no, I don't have schematics). This is
> probably more fun but you won't be able to connect any light device to
> it that ist more 'intelligent' than a simple light bulb. AFAICT this is
> the cheapest approach if you look at the bill of material only:
> The blinkenlight guys had done something like that for the arcade
> project in Paris some years ago and it worked:
> http://www.blinkenlights.de/arcade/backstage.en.html

Wow.. Amazing. But well, these guys are real hackers I can't compare with. As I
said DIY is ok for me, but to a certain extent only. This is too complex, and
would take too long to build, not to mention audience security.

Thanks a lot !


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