We offer DMX network solutions for the following applications, which contain one-line schematics and detailed information on how to use Pathway products in a variety of scenarios.
In a multipurpose space, both performance DMX lighting and general non-DMX lighting must coexist and operate together seamlessly. The Pathway solution below includes an NSB Touchscreen and Wall Stations for lighting control for most days, and a Cognito DMX lighting control console for special events like the school play.
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A building facade, bridge facade or water feature most often has controls that respond to time clock events, external triggers such as contact closures, or both. Occasionally, there may be a need to connect a guest console for a special event. Due to the scale of these installations, remote monitoring and management are often required. The Pathway solution below is both comprehensive and scalable.
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DMX Network Solution Guidelines
How do you choose the right Pathway DMX network products for your project?
Each DMX lighting project has a unique layout and controls requirements. The questions below will help you determine which Pathway devices are appropriate for your dynamic lighting network.
Does the number of DMX lighting fixtures influence the design of my control network?
The DMX wiring standard limits a maximum of about 30 lights per DMX wiring run. For example, if there are 50 lights on your project, you will need more than one wiring run of DMX. You may decide to divide the fixtures across even more runs, based on the location of all the lights, but for 50 lights, two DMX wiring runs would be the minimum.
Does the type and quantity of lighting fixtures influence the number of DMX universes required?
Different models of DMX luminaires use different quantities of DMX slots. For example, an RGBW DMX luminaire typically uses 4 slots of DMX, one each for Red, Blue, Green and White emitters. Luminaires used in entertainment lighting can easily require 10-30 DMX slots each, for additional parameters such as aperture, focus, position, pattern and secondary color emitters such as lime or amber.
If you have 10 luminaires that each use 4 DMX slots, your total requirement is 40 DMX slots. If you have 10 luminaires that each use 15 DMX slots, your total requirement is 150 DMX slots. More than one luminaire can listen the same DMX slot on the same DMX wiring run, but that means those luminaires cannot operate independently of each other.
Each wiring run of DMX accommodates a maximum of 512 DMX slots, and this is called a DMX “Universe”. As you plan out how many slots you need, keep in mind that a luminaire must stay within the bounds of its Universe, and can’t have some of its slots in Universe 1, and some in Universe 2. Each DMX luminaire is setup with its DMX “start address” and the rest of the slots it uses are sequentially higher based on this start address. For example, if a luminaire needs 10 DMX slots, its start address may be 500, but it may not be 510, as that surpasses 512.
It is not uncommon for lighting control designs use several DMX Universes but not fully use all the DMX slots. In some cases, this is done to allow for luminaires to be added in the future. In other DMX controls designs, this is simply a way to group luminaires together in a logical way.
How many DMX control devices are there?
Some projects that use DMX, particularly in entertainment spaces, have more than one controller for the lighting in the space. In a theater, there could be wall stations that control the audience lighting, but during performances, the lighting console in the control booth overrides the wall stations for control. In planning the DMX network, it’s important to know how many controllers there are, which lights they control, how and when they share control, and if the DMX controller needs to control non-DMX luminaires.
Will the location of the lighting or controls be static?
Dynamic DMX lighting for applications like accent lighting or building facades tend to have static locations for both the luminaires and the controls. In performance lighting applications, however, the location of both the controllers and the luminaires needs to be flexible, and therefore the DMX control designs must include products to allow for changes to the lighting and controls layout. Pathway has both DMX and DMX-over-Ethernet devices to create the ultimate in network flexibility and reconfiguration options.
How far does the control signal have to travel?
A good rule of thumb is that from controller to last luminaire, the wire length of the DMX control cable should not exceed 1000’. Keep in mind that DMX daisy chains from light to light, and the wiring cannot run as a star topology without using Pathway devices such as Repeaters. If there are extreme cable lengths and high numbers of luminaires, Pathway’s DMX-over-Ethernet products extend DMX data further, using higher speed transmission and fewer cables.