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DMX is almost here!

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Poll Question: Are you planning to use DMX with Aurora this year?
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27 [55.10%]
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MrChristmas2000 View Drop Down
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  Quote MrChristmas2000 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2009 at 9:38pm
DMX is the protocol (the digital language that the computer/controller communicates with equipment) used by the professional lighting community to control all kinds of lighting units.

Standard DMX equipment uses a 3/5 pin XLR connector instead of the RJ45 connector found on equipment like LOR or d-light. There are adapters for connecting the two physical methods together. However the software control is the same no matter what physical connection is used. If you want a real good primer on DMX check out this WIKI.

http://christmasinshirley.com/wiki/index.php?title=DMX

There are controllers which use DMX to control lights just like a LOR/d-light controller does. Having Aurora supporting the DMX protocol opens your ability to use not only these standard type of controllers but things like spotlights, laser etc. Each piece of equipment usually comes with controlling information. For example if you have a spotlight with a movable head and perhaps supporting RGB you would have a channel for controlling each of the RGB lamps just like a firefly has RGB capability. Another set of channels would control the positioning of the spot, like a channel for X, a channel for Y and a channel for the Z positioning.

Sequencing for a DMX based light controller is really no different than sequencing for any light controller.

I hope this helps.

Tom


Holding breath for DMX.
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  Quote LightsOnLogan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Sep 2009 at 8:37am
Most of the differences are "under the hood" so to speak.  For Christmas lighting, the D-Light and LOR protocols are actually better suited for the purpose and less CPU intensive than DMX (because the controller hardware does the FX rendering, whereas DMX only knows one command: intensity... everything else has to be software rendered), but DMX does have some rather nifty toys to play with as well as some rather inexpensive controller kits out there.

For standard lights (par cans, color washes) all of the standard Aurora functionality will apply by software rendering (intensity, ramp, shimmer, twinkle, RGB, etc.).

We will be developing detailed plugins for some moving lights as well to give a better interface to them than just using the intensity control to set things (e.g. vector control, rotations, etc.).  [Hint: I just bought a Q-Spot 300 so that will probably be the first plugin.]  There is an API in the works which will allow third parties to develop their own tool plugins (and even protocol plugins) as well.  The Q-Spot plugin will not be included in 1.2 due to time constraints... look for it between now and November.
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  Quote christmas 01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2009 at 8:58am
has there been anymore advances with dmx control through aurora yet?
cheers colin , uk

Many hands make christmas lights work
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  Quote Pony_God Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2009 at 9:51pm

Okay, not really DMX, but....

We're half way though Sept, can we get an update on the release? If it has to be Oct, just say so, just leave us haning though.
Fine. You're so smart you rig up the lights.
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  Quote LightsOnLogan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 1:05pm
I think I need to duck after this announcement...

Until yesterday I really thought we were going to make the end of September, but yet another issue which slips the schedule was encountered.  This release has encountered far more "speedbumps" in the road than usual even for a release of this magnitude.  We're already 3 weeks behind the intended release date and all I can say at this point in time is "October".  I wish I could give a specific date, but I can not do so accurately yet.  You are correct Pony_God, everyone deserves to know what is going on.

Here are some details on what has happened over the past two months which has led to the delays (a bit technical):

Due to a bug in the DLS database (file format) which went uncaught for 2 years, it became impossible to add DMX (or other protocols) to the DLS files without a significant rewrite that affected more than 60% of Aurora.  The bug was extensive enough to require breaking compatibility with older (pre 1.2) DLS files.  Since there are other issues with DLS already in the problem log (most notably the 37xx ADO errors, the occasional lockup during decompile, and slow copy/paste), it was decided to change the feature timeline in favor of everyone here. 

Earlier in the year about 6 months of work went in "Aurora 2" which included a new database format (DLS2) with significant speed increases (particularly surrounding copy/paste), a new networked COM system, the foundation of a third party plugin system, and which did away with the "compiling" wait during sequence preview.  With DLS1 broken and the timeline for 2.0 behind schedule, the decision was made to remove DLS 2 (and some other features) from Aurora 2 and to incorporate them into Aurora 1.2 instead (killing several birds with one stone)  DLS1 files would auto-convert to DLS2 in 1.2.  This moving of features came at a great cost to us (no 2.0 upgrade sales in 2010) but was the right thing to do for our customers.  Basically, the plan was to deliver 50%+ of Aurora 2 as Aurora 1.2 on September 1.  In typical Aurora tradition, specifics on the feature set were not made public until we were within one month of release (or so we though). 

The release was supposed to be BIG news and a huge boost to sales.  Instead, we've hit some 11th hour issues and this has become a PR nightmare right as the Halloween customers are depending on us the most.  There is no doubt that this failure on our part is going to greatly hurt our sales this year.

We made a huge mistake on the timeline estimates, and for that I do apologize.  If you were counting on DMX for Halloween and have already ordered an adapter, please contact me by email so we can remedy this situation to your satisfaction.



Edited by LightsOnLogan - 22 Sep 2009 at 1:07pm
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BigDPS View Drop Down
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  Quote BigDPS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 2:45pm
So basically, for us who don't use the DMX, we'll have an upgraded version of Aurora 2 mixed with 1? At no cost? If so, I'll take whatever you throw at us!!!Thumbs%20Up

Like everything in this world, things never seem to run as planned. I guess your program isn't bullet proof therefore, you guys will run into technical difficulties.

I'd rather have a stable program than one that barely works. Too hard on my nerves!!!

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ChrisL1976 View Drop Down
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  Quote ChrisL1976 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 3:04pm
Originally posted by BigDPS



I'd rather have a stable program than one that barely works. Too hard on my nerves!!!


My thoughts exactly.  

Technical difficulties = High blood pressure and threats of divorce.  Wink
Chris

www.lightsonsixth.com
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  Quote JohnnyL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 5:54pm
Thanks for the headsup. Now that you responded to PG's question will you answer mine? Are you going to fix the RGB bug? 
"In God We Trust" all others pay cash
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  Quote beavis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Sep 2009 at 5:47pm
I'm really interested in the dmx concept (mostly for the moving lights.) Sounds like maybe it's safest to wait until next year.

I think I understand the basics of what DMX is and how it works. I just can't visualize how movement programming would be accommodated through the existing interface. Would they visualize just like light channels (with varying intensity) with it being up to us to figure out how that translates to movement?

Just trying to get my head around how it will work. I don't think I'd get into DMX just for fades and color changes. I'd probably stick with dlight for that type of stuff. It's the movement controls that mostly interest me.

On a separate topic, anyone know of a good place to get more information on dmx devices? One question I have is how this stuff will hold up outdoors. Especially for those of us in the (or maybe near) Great White North. :)

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  Quote Pony_God Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2009 at 8:51am
Thank you for the update.

We have been extreamly happy with Aurora, and it's capability, updates, and thoughtfullness to it's customers, just as D-Light does.

We would much rather see something be delayed, and be done correctly, rather than pushed out and patched later. Also, being a programmer, delays and unforseen bugs are the norm and are perfectly understandable.
In general, I don't buy upgrades just because it's new, but we feel as though the quality of Aurora and work that goes into it will make Aurora 2.0 conciderably more advanced, and we're still planning on upgrading when available, so you've still got out money. That and, we want work tward Aurora 3 to continue, and are happy to hand over some cash to keep Aurora alive and well.
Fine. You're so smart you rig up the lights.
D-Light users Unite!
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