Adding DMX Scene Recall to a Dolby DS220 Media Server

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Jun 102019
 
DecaBox mounted to the wall like a glowing bat in the night.

From time to time, on the other end of a phone call is a variation of a problem we’ve not come across before. Over the years, our gear has integrated well with equipment from AMX, Crestron, Control4, Lutron, Savant, and many others. This was the first time we’d officially been asked to help with a Dolby-based platform.

In short, this group needed to record a handful of DMX scene presets and recall them using their existing theatre automation system. Though the stock DMX record / playback firmware we shipped worked perfectly, the installed Chauvet LED fixtures downstream weren’t able to handle full-speed DMX, an issue we solved clear back in 2011. (For the curious, that story is described here.)

It took just a few minutes to pull the ‘slow speed’ DMX output routines from our library and recompile the DecaBox firmware. Fortunately, the system updates easily in the field via USB; the installation has worked perfectly ever since.

From the customer:


Our venue features a relatively old DMX network–and a scene recall system that is somewhat of a relic. When tasked with finding a way for our Dolby DSS220 Media Server to trigger lighting changes during film screenings, interfacing with that system’s contact closure system was out of the picture given the tight time frame. After contacting ESINC, it sounded like the Decabox was the easiest way to go. The scene recording procedure was painless and quick, and the separate dmx “output” and “through” makes the system exceedingly simple to set up. In addition, the serial command set is easy to master as well.

At one point, I noticed some glitchiness with some of our Chauvet LED fixtures. John Chapman, having dealt with the exact problem in the past, quickly wrote us new firmware that would slow down the DMX output baud rate, which immediately solved the problem.

Thanks for the speedy turnaround, John!

Julian Amrine, Shoreline Community College Theatre
Our simple RS-232 scene recall syntax is shown here in the Dolby control panel.

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