Oct 222013


Giant Pushbutton from Adafruit

An AV provider on the east coast contacted us with a fairly specific request.  They were designing a ‘live action’ video game.  As part of the setup, participants would be pressing a pair of giant (4″) arcade buttons.  When the buttons were pressed, they wanted some fairly complex lighting patterns to be displayed on nearby LED tape and a series of DMX controlled dance floor panels.

The LED fixtures were programmed with software called Venue Magic, which is a sophisticated show control package.

The customer’s bottom-line questions was

“How can we get these LED cues to happen exactly when the buttons are pressed?”

We suggested that our PropWatcher DMX trigger machine would work very nicely in this situation, as it accepts simple contact closure inputs and can output arbitrary DMX channel:value combinations.  This meshes nicely with Venue Magic’s ability to recall cues based on incoming DMX values.

Here in the shop, we programmed input #1 to set DMX Channel 1 to 255, and input #2 to set DMX channel 2 to 255.  The buttons, of course, can be triggered in any combination.  For these two cues, the DMX outputs were set to be ‘on’ for either .5 seconds or the duration of the button press, whichever is longer.  These capabilities are available in the stock PropWatcher firmware.

And thus, three weeks of searching the entire Internet, plus many phone calls to local A/V companies and equipment manufacturers, was distilled to a simple wiring exercise.  The entire system was working perfectly very shortly after our gear arrived.

We even provided a rough sketch for connecting the pushbuttons to the PropWatcher using a pair of regular 9V batteries:

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The final system, installed at a trade show

The final system, installed at a trade show

 Posted by at 6:16 pm

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