DIY Entertainment Technology

Posts tagged ‘DMX’

Update on the original console

The original lighting console was rushed together overnight for submission and needs work before it has all the features of a standard console. Some things I’ve learned, on reflection though:

  • Capacitive buttons are terrible for this – you need the force feedback to be sure you’ve pressed the button.
  • An X86 PC was overkill to drive a theatrical console. Realistically, an AVR would have done a better job than the PC running PHP.
  • The case is far too dodgy (due to the rush to finish). And I still can’t quite get over the fact that I had to make it out of wood.
  • The connection from inputs to the PC wasn’t nearly fast enough. I think I may use MIDI rather than USB serial next time.
  • Where I should use capacitive touch, is in detecting which fader is touched (like the MA2).

So, my new plan, is a combination of aluminium panel and black matte plastic base. I’d have to 3D-model it to explain it properly. Slightly complex shape.

I need to find some good buttons too. All in all, I don’t think I can fabricate this myself – will get professional prototyping I think.

We’ll see how it goes.


DMX Guitar

Yesterday I built a simple Windows Forms C# application to try out the language. It would display a list of serial ports, ask you to connect and enable a “send red” button. This sent a precalculated byte array to the DMX USB Pro on the serial port, calculated from ENTTEC’s API documentation.

From there, I added “TrackBar” controls, read the values into the byte array and sent the result.

Then I added flash buttons and HTP calculation, then wrote a quick method to link keyboard keys to flash buttons.

Having flash buttons on the keyboard led to using the keyboard guitar-style (with a neck strap made out of spare cat5 cable). Then I remembered: we already have a guitar controller for the Wii – and so a quick Google search yielded GlovePIE to translate between Wii Guitar actions and key presses.

I mapped strum down to master intensity flash, strum up to master and strobe, and the colour buttons to matching colours (except orange to pink).

Works great 🙂

Now I just need to OO-ify the code and develop a more sensible control surface than a Wii guitar.

Image attached.