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Funny you should ask. Elation has been selling wireless DMX gear for years.

[URL=http://www.elationlighting.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ItemNumber=1401&MainId=1&Category=DMX Solutions]EWDMX[/URL]

Considering the costs vs. cable weight savings AND the fact that you STILL need to do DMX wiring(just to a lesser extent), it's not a viable option for me. I'm only giving up maybe 4 cable runs and for the time it takes me to get extra power to certain locations to operate the receiver, I can already have a cable run.

I've been told Elation has been using these at trade shows with no problems.. That's encouraging because that can be a rather hostile environment, what with others using the same non-licensed frequency band for their stuff as well. However, talking to lighting guys(I'm a sound guy), it's just not something anyone is willing to risk a show on.

I think this is a strong product, but it's going to be more widely used in corporate and commercial type environments where wiring simply ins't a convenient option. For tours, it's going to take a while before it takes off. Since we(people who tour) gotta run cables of some sort or another for various other things(multi-core for audio, or even Cat5, fiber/optical), there's no big deal in just running another few cables for DMX or other transport protocols(Dante, ethersound, MADI are just a few options).

This stuff is too expensive for the DJ market.
Actually a lot of the larger tours will run on Cat5 cable anyway. For example, Ma Net will let you run 64 universes down one Cat5 line. ArtNet is also becoming bigger. Wireless DMX is one universe per receiver which is dwarfed by things like ArtNet and Ma Net. I also wouldn't be surprised if you could use a wireless router setup for something like Ma Net or ArtNet since they are network formats, they just saturate the whole network (meaning no internet, no computer file sharing, etc).

As for why I haven't used it, a $100 dollar 100' cable does the same job as a $1,500 wireless setup. I also simply wouldn't trust it on some of the shows I do with the types of clients and the amount of money those accounts mean a year. I would want to field test it to death before I ever trusted it on a show.
One of the issues with a router is that the router(s) need to be able to route and/or switch the protocols being sent, and these days, that would be IP as the protocol of choice(the core part of TCP/IP or UDP/IP). If it's IP, you might be better off with a Layer 3 switch instead of a router, then use the router in a one-armed routing mode for anything that needs to traverse to another network. But that's a whole other issue.

I had 2 customer 200-foot Cat5e cables with those Nuetrik ethercon connectors done with STP(I said I wanted UTP, idiots didn't listen) for $134 at dealer pricing. It would have retailed for around $200 for the pair. CHEAP!! Cheap!

It's not worth it to me to go wireless. It's too expensive and I can just use longer DMX cables.

Another issue that I have against the Elation solution is that it uses the 2.4Ghz band, which is saturated with cordless phones, WIFI and even some other bits of stuff here and there. Now that I'm using a WIFI network in my set-up so I can use my iPhone to control my iTunes library for pre-show tuning as well as for controlling the media player, it's one more thing to collide.

The other issue is that for me it's just plain inconvenient for me to have to lug around receivers and plug them in where needed. One more object or set of objects to have to deal with.

I'd rather go cable. The chances for something gong wrong decreases.

I know talking with Jingles that Elation has been using the wireless stuff at tradeshows without missing a beat. That sounds good, but regardles it's outside my price range. I'd rather get another 500 feet of cable for the time being.
I'm telling you guys it's stable. Smiler I don't know for sure but I think we had a install in a city is CA that lit up some palm trees and we used our EWDMX system to send wireless DMX to the inground LED units.
Here is a pic and a copy of the text from the article.

Acclaim LED’s Make Lindsay, California’s

Downtown Trees Bloom With Color

LINDSAY, CA – Nestled in the foothills of the Sierras and best known for olives and orange groves, Lindsay, CA isn’t your typical cutting-edge metropolis. Yet this quiet San Joaquin Valley agriculture town (pop.10,571) has become known for some very innovative municipal programs promoted by its forward-thinking Mayor Ed Murray , along with City Manager Scot Townsend, Head of City Services Mike Camarena, and Associate Engineer Neyba Amezcua.

Lindsay’s motto sums it all up: “Small Town, Big Dreams!” So when the city recently undertook an extensive downtown makeover that included new roads, sidewalks, street lights and trees, Mayor Murray and his team wanted to do something that would really put the town on the map and make it stand out.

Anyone who visits Lindsay will see they succeeded in stunning fashion! Hundreds of ornamental Chinese pistache and palm trees that line a 5-6-block area in the city’s downtown district are now aglow in brilliant color — pinks, purples, blues, oranges, and a whole spectrum of dramatic hues. The trees are lit up with inground color-changing RGB LED fixtures from Acclaim Lighting, designed and supplied by Illuminate Production Services (IPS).

Rick Franke of IPS said that his company won the bid for the Lindsay project after demo-ing the Acclaim LED fixtures and submitting a proposal. “The City Manager asked me to help him think of something innovative they could do to their downtown area that would enhance the town’s atmosphere and make it more inviting and friendly,” said Franke. “He wanted something that would have the potential to be very festive and thematic during each season. We created this by lighting the trees with unique color sequences.”

The fixture used for the project is Acclaim’s X-Drum HIP, an IP68-rated outdoor RGB LED fixture in rugged diecast stainless steel housing. Mountable inground, it is powered by 36 bright Luxeon RBG LEDs. Franke said he chose the X-Drum HIP because it is “a powerful LED fixture. To my knowledge there is not another LED fixture as bright that is rated for inground and even submersible applications. It has great intensity and color saturation, along with a nice beam angle for many things, specifically trees on this project.”

Some 225 downtown trees have been “lit up,” with 2-3 fixtures per tree. The fixtures are controlled via a wireless DMX system from Acclaim’s sister company Elation Professional, the EWDMX system. Three universes of DMX are transmitted wirelessly from a 50’ mast at City Hall to more than 20 pedestals filled with power supplies throughout the downtown area. Inside each pedestal is an EWDMX receiver with an individual IP-rated antenna designed for signal boost as well as all-weather application.

Designing such a massive outdoor wireless DMX lighting installation presented some challenges, said Franke. But now that it is up and running, “the EWDMX system has been flawless,” he reported. “The first challenge was where to locate the power supplies. We determined that each side of each city street would need a pedestal to house the power supplies. They would also need to have thermostat-controlled fans as well as filters to keep out dust. The second challenge was upsizing the multi-conductor cable to account for voltage drop to get the long runs required on each street. We sold miles and miles of Tray Cable for the installation, which was installed in conduit from the pedestal to each tree.

“The wireless DMX system itself is working very well,” Franke added. “We are broadcasting over a Southern California Edison Substation to the furthest street from City Hall. We were concerned we would have significant field interference from the substation – but surprisingly there has been none at all!”

Programming of the trees is done at City Hall, using Compu 2048FC PC-based DMX lighting control software from Elation. The entire installation is run off two Compu 2048FC USB dongles on a single computer, which are set to activate with the computer’s internal clock. “Right now we have three full DMX universes,” said Franke. “The Compu software has provided good, solid control for the great shows we are creating. We have festive shows for different seasons and holidays, and we also do a little extra for the big Friday Night Street Fair that the city has during the warmer months.”

Acclaim LEDs are also being used at one of downtown Lindsay’s newest indoor attractions – a Slot Car Track in the city’s huge 170,000 sq. ft. sports and recreation facility. The lighting on the top side of the track is done with Acclaim’s X-Band 300 Pro, an IP65-rated indoor/outdoor LED wash fixture that contains 36 RGB LEDs. The X-Bands are being programmed to simulate a dawn-to-dusk environment that runs via Elation’s AR-32 DMX recorder/playback system. The underside of the track is lit with 72 Acclaim X-Chips. “This too is a very innovative project,” said Franke. More information about the Slot Car Track can be found at http://www.mcdermontfieldhouse...ctions/slotcartrack/

So pleased are Lindsay’s leaders and residents, Franke reported, that the city has just placed an order with IPS for more Acclaim lights to expand the project. A Warm-White version of the X-Drum will be used to highlight the Lindsay Gateway of Palm Trees, which line the streets entering the downtown district.

In this small town with very big dreams, “the feedback has been amazing,” said Franke. “I met a guy on the street and he said, ‘I’ve lived in this town my whole life and never thought I would see anything like this. It’s beautiful!’”
While the technology may be proven, it's still tough for me to want to bring in.

The article you posted is actually a good example of a rather difficult situation. In this case, you're dealing with the logistics of the wiring and omitting as much as possible through the use of wireless. But this isn't exactly a mission critical application.

Take for example, an urban concert venue. With 10-18 thousand fans, 60% or more with WIFI-enabled smart phones, as well a those NOT using the WIFI and streaming the games and concerts(illegally mind you) via their cell phones, WIFI for networking and credit cards, wireless phones, radio(2-way, as well as wireless mics, headsets, IEM's and more), along with broadcasters(radio and television), police, fire and other emergency services nearby for "just in case" stuff, a live environment is unfortunately a very RF hostile environment.

Right now it's difficult enough with the United States FCC taking away a large chunk of RF due to the digital television migration. That sucked for me on multiple levels because I lost 2 channels, and I can't right now afford to replace them. But, on the frequencies I do have, it's getting harder to find something available. And I'm not alone in those regards, but I can't afford a decent RF sniffer either right now, AND I might have to buy 16 more channels of wireless fairly soon, which will include antenna distros as well. With that many RF channels coming in, and my 5 IEM's that will jump to 9 or more, plus my older VHF wireless, it just bring a lot more to manage.

Chauvet has a solution, it's cheap, it's in the UHF band, and really, I don't trust the UHF bands for data transmission because of the clutter. Now my mics and IEM's gotta compete with DMX?

Again, I'm integrating WIFI into my rig, and when I get a digital desk, it will be wired to from the console to the stage rack, with the WIFI providing additional control options for the stage box(that's where the brains of the systme is anyways), as well as providing remote control options for stuff I mentioned before. Since I'm going to be running some Cat5 anyways, at this point, running another cable for DMX isn't a big deal. In fact, I may just design a bundled cable for my rig that covers everything I need for certain runs.

It's going to take a while for this to catch on in the market with big players. We just don't like taking chances when we don't have to.

On my event last weekend, on Friday, I had 2 bands. Due to time, I went with wireless mics for vocals, which was OK. Only 1 vocal on the opener needed to go wireless. For the headliner, they stayed put, so wireless isn't necessary. The second night, only the headliner stayed around so I went all wired. Despite the convenience of wireless, I prefer wired whenever possible.

Now, even though with all that, I do see this being a great idea for club owners who don't want to run cables, or churches and other corporate type organization that also don't want to run cables. This is a good way to avoid the visual distractions based on the way things might have to be done. This is ideal as a fixed install. And as far as Elation using it in trade shows, it's a matter of trying to be neat more than anything, but at the same time showing a product they intend to market.

If I owned a club, though, chances are I'd run a cable or more. If that wasn't an option for a wide range of reasons(because I can find lots of ways to run cables), then I'd go with Elation's solution.
The LED trees look nice. My only concern using wireless DMX is what happens on the 1% of jobs where the system fails. Either through interference or just signal obstruction I think it's bound to happen sooner or later. I'll admit that there are some venues have geometry that would make wireless DMX a nice option, such as where you need to run cable through areas of high traffic. Either way, I can't afford to have my entire system glitch out on the 1% of gigs where the system fails. If I can't run a cable to it I figure out a different solution.

If I were to go wireless with my DMX I would do something along the lines of a data network with dedicated computers running dedicated software that can be programmed to do 'something' with the lights in case of signal loss or interference, even if that's just have them retain their last solid command. Having moving heads or LED Pars suddenly go into disco mode because they lost DMX signal or got confused would be unprofessional at best. A lot of lower dollar units are like this.

Speaking on the reliability though, I think cheap wireless DMX is a lot like using mic cables in a light system. It may work, but sooner or later something will go wrong. At a bar or club that 'might' be okay, but certainly not at a corporate event or ceremony being broadcast on live TV.
Movers and/or LEDs going into 'disco mode' is a setup issue. Almost all fixtures and dimmers will hold last command if signal is lost. Otherwise, you are using less professional gear.

I have been on a number of shows in which the console crashed and everything was fine because everything held the last command and no one realized what happened. The big ones I tend to remember like that are when I first started using a Hog 3/3 PC because the software was very buggy and the Jands Vista when it first came out, same deal. With the Vista, I was use to always taking out another one and run the show on both next to each other because it was basically a grantee that it would crash. Price you pay for cutting edge sometimes Roll Eyes. Now, however, both are really rock solid.
Bleeding edge technology as we call it. Nothing unusual for early versions(be it hardware and/or firmware) to be glitchy, buggy or plain old "WTF" stuff until the developers hammer it out.

The Chauvet solution I think claims to run 3 universe via UHF, meaning it's got to compete with wireless mics, TV, and all sorts of new consumer crap out there. Not something I'd be willing to trust even with directional antennas.

With a wired solution, assuming I got to run things the way I want to, with all video, lighting and audio coming to a FOH position at the typical FOH mix position, I can't see lighting doing anything other than running a cable or cables from their gear at FOH to the stage, and at that point a wireless transmitter being run from that point. At the same time, if you went and got it that far, why not just keep on cabling?

If forced and I had to choose, I would choose the Elation solution mainly because I know Elation will stand behind it and support it in a manner I've come to expect. Plus, it's not in the UHF band, which sometimes I have to fight with to find a clear frequency, and then fight it all show to ensure I stay on clear frequencies at times. I can't do this for a data signal and keep track of the mics, it's too much to deal with.

In the big show I work on, wireless WOULD save set and strike time, but I'd have to get like 6 receivers or more, and the costs are just too high, especially considering I have DMX cable to spare these days.

Now, at another event I do, having wireless would be a major saver, especially during the summer one where I gotta run lights on two stages, and moving gear just isn't convenient and running a cable is just freakin' impossible.

Everyone has to evaluate their needs to determine what is the optimal solution for them. The Elation wireless solution is perfect for those who need it, which is why it exists. The price justifies the work done to ensure reliability as best as can be done.
quote:
Originally posted by SerraAva:
Movers and/or LEDs going into 'disco mode' is a setup issue. Almost all fixtures and dimmers will hold last command if signal is lost. Otherwise, you are using less professional gear.



Right, most 'pro' gear will hold it's last command. I've had instances where I've had to reboot consoles during shows too, and all the gear I've used was fine with it. I've also had instances with 'pro' level gear glitching because of a bad DMX cable. What would they do if there's wireless DMX interference? The reason I bring up this point is that I have some cheap gear that will go into disco mode when there's no DMX signal present, and there's no way to fix this short of modifying the PC board's circuitry. I can't speak so much about the ADJ gear, but I know that a lot of low end Chauvet gear will do this, and with a UHF signal going to them... I'm thinking that cheap fixtures with cheap wireless DMX sounds like you're setting up for problems there! But then again you get what you pay for!
In my case, I have an event I run where after I set the lights, I disconnect DMX and I'm done. My ADJ lights are all I need, and they are in eihter a solid color(footlights with mega Bar 50's) or sound active(8 64 LED pros and 4 Mega panels), and that's that. IF I had my Chauvet fixtures for that event, it would be acceptable if they chose to go into disco/sound active mode, which would work fine. But that's not the norm to be able to get away with such behavior. It was great during SacAnime Summer 2010, where I set the lights going, then disconnected and walked away. Didn't need to leave my laptop in a high-risk environment. I will say this though, the DJ team does do their best to respect ALL gear on the stage, they are a good group of guys.

Everything we do involves some degree of risk. We have to choose how to manage that risk. Most of us seasoned folks don't like to leave much to chance.

I will say this, if Elation were to send me some of the wireless gear to try out, I would try it out. That's not JUST because I like Elation though. Pricing would be my other worry, because it ain't cheap either.

Now, even though I'm not really a big fan of Chauvet, and I DO have some of their lights that I do enjoy using, I'm sorry but I would not be inclined to even bother with their wireless solution even if they gave it to me. It has to do with how they are choosing to transport the signal, and I don't want a data stream going out over a public UHF frequency. I'm not worried about someone sniffing it and "snagging my show", but mainly someone interferring with it, even if unintentionally. This isn't a slam on Chauvet, because I'd have the same point of view with any DMX solution by any vendor using VHF or UHF.


2 things to keep in mind:
Most people here aren't pros and can't really afford pro gear. That's the reality. I can't begin to count how many people in the MyDMX area constantly needing profiles for cheap lights. But, you know, MyDMX needs profiles for cheap lights, so hey, that's how it goes. We also gotta give props to Jingles for making all those profiles upon request too.
More gear, even cheap gear, is incorporating more pro-type features, such as "hold last DMX command" type stuff. This is in part due to the fact that it's often the same team writing all the DMX firmware and coding, so they just tend to use the same boilerplate stuff over and over again. The upside is folks are buying cheap lights and getting unexpected but highly welcomed features.

For me, for now, it's cabled. Period. I have enough problems as it is. I got NO problem tracing a cable with a problem.
I can actually comment on this from experience. I have three Chauvet wireless dmx units. Honestly I can say they are a load of crap mainly because every time I had used them they would flicker the lights. For example I have a blue scene, all the lights that are wired stay blue but the ones that use the wireless would freak out- blue most of the time and then suddenly/randomly full white or something else.

It was okay on Halloween when I wanted my lights to freak out but when I used it at a wedding I ended having to run cable. Which is why I am so excited for my Elation OptoBranch. Without my splitter I would be lost.

So just putting my word out there about the Chauvet wireless dmx. I would like to try the Elation wireless dmx though. I actually heard good reviews about it.
Well, on the topic of the splitters:

If I were to use wireless, and I currently do have an Elation OptoBranch/4, I'd want to:

Buy another(well, I want to do this anyways, they rock!)

But, send my wireless DMX signal from splitter A near me, to splitter B on stage, then go wired from there.

Just another example.

I've made sure that even though I'm not recommending the Chauvet product for my own uses, I'm using a logical argument for why it would not be an option I would choose for my own personal usage.

At the same time, I'm not choosing the Elation wireless product for my own usage based in an entirely different(but related) set of parameters, but at the same time, based on my busines model and knowledge of the product. But, since int operatates in the 2.4Ghz band, there are allowances in that band for frequency shifting, hopping and changing within the band in order to find usable space.

This does give the Elation solution a serious edge over UFH, which must stay within a very narrow range during the course of operation, and once interference happens, it can be a crap shoot trying to resolve it.

Right now, though, priorities again dictate that even if I were to be offered a trial set, I wouldn't have any decent shows to try them out on, and even if I fell in love with this, I couldn't afford it because the funds are allocated to other projects. Maybe after I get more Elation LED cans, an intercom, some more IEM's, more wireless gear(UHF mics and the like), I might be able to revisit this.

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