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Just purchased an Elation FC-400 foot controller and two Eliminator ED15 dimmer packs. Have eight lights and need to set them up for a small band, small club application (maybe 4 in front and 4 back lights). Unfortunately the instructions seem to assume that I already know alot about dmx - not true. This is my first venture into this stuff and I need some help.

Not interested in any of the sound/chase features. Just want to set up a few scenes to be able to easily switch between looks while I'm playing guitar, singing lead, running sound, etc...

Where do I start? This dipswitch stuff is freakin' me out!
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What dipswitches? Where?

IF it's for address assignment, let's start simple. You mentioned elsewhere a non-ADJ dimmer pack, which there's no valid reason why it shouldn't work.

Let's assuming using a 10-position DIP switch. 1-9 are going to be DMX address assignments, most likely.
1 will be ON is 1, while OFF is 0(zero). All off positions are 0 zeros. All on positions are a value. All odds will have position 1 on.

Switch = Value
1 = 1
2 = 2
3 = 4
4 = 8
5 = 16
6 = 32
7 = 64
8 = 128
9 = 256

Add up to get the number you want. 10 is usually reserved for special functions.

And then there are fun things like setting channels to dimming vs switching.

DMX is really simple. Sort of like MIDI: unidirectional signal via any single cable. Just attach the cables and go, you can't go wrong. Just use DMX cables and not mic cables for shows, but for testing, go ahead and use mic cables since I'm sure you have a few of those laying around.

Sounds like you've got the right gear. You are using Parcan's, right? Set your dimmer pack addresses to be identical, starting at 1, go to a 4-chanel mode. Might as well make them match, the FC400 is a 4-channel controller that can call up to 12 scenes.
Start off by turning ALL the DIP switches(wow, 3 banks!!) to OFF!!! DOWN, DOWN, DOWN..... that's right, knock them all to the lower position.

Now, wit the 12-position DIP switch, you have to make a few choices. Here's my suggestion.
1-9 control your addressing. Let's keep it simple and set the channels to start at 1. Move position 1 to up.

Switches 11 and 12 control dimming/switching on channels 1-2 and 3-4 respectively. If you want something other than on/off(switching), move these two positions to the UP position.

That should get you started. Start with your FC400 using channels 1-4 and you should be good t go.

They seem to be cramming a LOT of stuff into that dimmer pack. Not what I would do, but hey, that's me. I'd recommend the ADJ DP-DMX20L's, that's what I'm using.

Dimming vs. switching:
Dimming uses variable voltage output. The higher the DMX value for that channel, the more electricity will flow. So, you can bring the lights all the way up to all the way down. Some type of bulbs don't do as well with some of the lower settings. Dimming is intended for ParCan lights using traditional incandescent bulbs, although there are new LED bulbs for the Par38's that I'm trying to get my hands on that are dimmable. DO NOT confuse this with the new DMX LED Par Cans.
Switching is basically on/off. Anything below a certain value(say, 128, the halftway point to 255) would be OFF, and anything above would be on. Basically, a "light switch". This mode is better for "high tech effects" like the Mystic, Sunray III, Vertigo, MiniSaucer and others that are not DMX capable and you want to use them. They don't like anything less than full current.

Dimming/switching mode depends on what you want. Since you're using Par Cans, dimming might be best. ParCans work fine in switching mode, just recall you're going to be FULL ON or FULL OFF in switching mode and you'll be fine.

Audio mode: Based on the dimmer pack you described, audio mode would make the dimmer pack cycle through pre-programmed scenes in the dimmer pack in response to typically a loud bass note(say, kick drum is ideal). Scenes are usually a channel or channels being in either a full on or full off position. Neat, but you don't want this for your application.
Auto mode: Dimmer pack cycles through programs all by itself, usually based on a timer-type setting. Again, neat, but not what you want for your application

Master/Slave mode: This is the "poor man's" programming mode, but don't take that as an insult. What it does it lets you use 2 or more fixtures and have them match without having to go nuts with DMX programming or even using DMX. One fixture is identified as a master. The next fixture is identified as a slave. Some fixtures can support multiple slaves but may have limitations, so read those manuals. Anyhow, using DMX cabling, you connect the slaves to the master in normal DMX-wiring sequence, and whatever the master fixture does, the rest follow.

Master/Slave mode should not be used in a DMX environment. It will break your DMX signal flow.

The FC400 doesn't care or KNOW what modes you're using on the dimmer pack. DMX is a one-way stream: It is sent from the controller, there is no response back from the fixtures.

My suggestion: you're using Par Cans, go dimming mode. How the FC400 gets from scene to scene is not something I know. Chances are you'll figure out how to make this work best for you in time. This is the fun part: learning your new gear. Have fun.
Thank you so much for the help and advice!

Believe it or not I actually figured out the dipswitch set up - with a huge exception. It took me a while to realize that I had to turn switch #1 on in order to set the start channel. Once I did that everything was golden. I really like the FC400 - very cool and easy to use.

Your info has really helped out as far as the differences between the different modes. I'm excited to delve further into DMX.

Thanks again!
You're welcome. Just remember, I'm a lowly sound engineer, lighting isn't my main thing.

Getting help from interactive forums like this tends to usually work faster than from equipment makers, even ADJ. When online fails, the phone is my friend.

I am migrating to LED fixtures, but in the meantime, I myself have to buy another ADJ dimmer pack, so I'm going to order an ADJ DP-DMX20L soon, bringing me to 4 of those. But I have to mark this one special because ADJ added a new feature between my previous ones and the new one: Selectable switching/dimming on a per channel basis. Right on ADJ! More functionality and saves me from buying more in order to ensure things are done properly.

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