help with controlling TriphaseLED w/ dmxusbpro object

    Oct 31 2010 | 6:51 pm
    So I just bought an enttec dmx usb pro and the "dmxusbpro" object, hoping to use them with the new DMaX patches inside Ableton. I got my 4 other Chauvet lights to work awesomely (2x Colorstrip, 2x LED shadows), but the last light on my chain (the American DJ Triphase LED) is not working. Maybe this is just a simple DMX misunderstanding on my part, but I am only able to control channel 2 of the Triphase effects (it has 4 channels total: 1-color, 2-rotation, 3-strobe, 4 dimmer). And it only seems to work when I change the address on the unit to 1 (which is the same address all my other lights are on). So all I get is to change how fast the mirrors spin, but I can never actually get the light to come on. I have been able to temporarily force the lights to turn on by sending the messages "refresh 40" followed by "startcode 0" but then when I send any other dmx control information to my other lights it cuts out again. What am I doing wrong?
    So far, I have just been trying to use the DMaX collection inside live, but I'd almost rather just build my own interface from scratch using the dmxusbpro object so I can familiarize myself with how everything works. I am not opposed to using OLA however, but the most recent version that I downloaded seems to be slightly different then how it is described in the DMaX documentation, so I'm afraid I'm not doing everything correctly, and I will probably need some more help setting that up.
    But for now, can anyone just help me set up the Triphase LED just using the dmxusbpro object? I'll forget about the other lights, and focus on just being able to control this one on all 4 channels, so then I can go back and add the other 4. Here are some troubleshooting questions that might help you answer my problem...
    - Is it possible to control all 3 different light fixture types (i.e. 2xColorstrips, 2xLEDShadows, 1xTriphaseLED) and all of their respective channels using just one dmxusbpro object. If not that is probably the source of my problem.
    - I'm still not clear on the difference between "address" and "channel". The enttec says it sends DMX over 512 channels, but I have to set my lights to a fixture address between 1 and 512. Are the 512 "channels" equivalent to the 512 fixture addresses that I set on my lighting units. If so, then how do I control the 4 "channels" of control that I have on for instance my TriphaseLED. If I have the address set to 33, does that mean that the 4 possible control channels (color, rotation, strobe and dimmer) are laid out on channels 33, 34, 35 and 36? I guess I'm still confused between the difference between "fixture address" DMX channel and the channels of control specific to each lighting unit.
    - I guess most of this confusion is because I'm upgrading from a physical controller (the Chauvet Obey 40) to this max object. On the Obey 40, I had each different light type on a separate fixture address. The color strips were set to address 1, the LED shadows were on 17 (fixture address 2) and the Triphase were on 33 (fixture address 3). This allowed me to use the eight faders to control each individual effect for each individual light. That's exactly what I want to do with the dmxusbpro object but I guess I still don't understand how to access these individual parameters, how many objects I need to use, and how to set up specific faders for specific controls. Could anyone help me replicate what I was doing with the Obey 40 by what I described above? I just need to know
    - what addresses to set on the units themselves - how to set up the dmxusbpro objects, and how many of them I need - how to access individual channels of control on each light (colorstrips use 2 channels, LED shadows use 2 and the Triphase uses 4)
    Thanks a million!

    • Oct 31 2010 | 8:41 pm
      Not sure about the hardware specs, as they're often unique to the device. But your question:
      "If I have the address set to 33, does that mean that the 4 possible control channels (color, rotation, strobe and dimmer) are laid out on channels 33, 34, 35 and 36?"
      My guess would be yes, so if you had an entire DMX universe with lights like these, you'd only have 128: light value, rotation, strobe, dimmer. But there's possibly additional confusion with color: for an RGB light you'd need three channels, and things like rotation might need two, if there are different axes of rotation, for example.
      As far as I know, you should be able to use just one DMXUSBPro object, and in fact, I don't know if two running at once will work---each trying to communicate through the USB might not be possible, without making one inactive (so it frees up the port). So you *should* be able to just send indexed lists to one object and manipulate the channels that way. I'm pretty sure the "fixture addresses" are the same as the DMX channels, but again, some hardware might use a different numbering system for clarity (or confusion). So they might have packets of 4 addresses each, but numbered 10-13, 20-23, 30-33, etc. to have grouping. But the DMX channels would probably be consecutive, so that you can send a partial packet, still access them all, and boost your frame rate.
      You might try using [line] and send a four-second ramp up and down to each channel in sequence, just see where everything goes.
      Hope that helps a bit, there's a lot to figure out. I'm still looking for a nice cross-platform solution to send DMX data out using [serial], which should be possible. It's the formatting which seems to be the headache.
    • Oct 31 2010 | 9:50 pm
      Send me an email ( and I'll try and help you out with DMaX. If you want to get something working quickly then it's definitely going to be easier than building something from scratch yourself. I'm currently developing the new version, which will hopefully address the current issues of lack of documentation. To answer your specific questions though:
      - The difference between 'address' and 'channel' is as follows. A DMX signal consists of at most 512 channels. A channel is a value between 0 and 255. So each DMX transmission consists of a stream of 512 numbers. A fixture that receives DMX needs to know which channels to look at for it's control data. So say you have a fixture that has three channels of control, and you are transmitting those channels via DMX on channels 14, 15 and 16. The fixture should be given the 'address' of 14. This tells it to start reading data at channel 14. The fixture will then read its data starting from channel 14, meaning that because it is a 3-channel fixture, it will read channels 14, 15 and 16.
      So in short, set the fixtures addresses to the first channel that it needs to read data from.
      - Take a look at the help patcher for the dmxusbpro object. That will show roughly how to set it up. Once the object is transmitting DMX, to change the data being transmitted you send integer pairs. So send your dmx information as a list of data alternating between channel number and value. Eg. 1 0 2 255 3 100 4 150, etc. Also bear in mind that you don't have to specify values you aren't using. If you have one device on channel 1 and another on channel 100, you don't need to send values for the channels in between.
      You only need one dmxusbpro object. You can run more than one, but it would only be of use if you had more than one hardware device and wanted to send two DMX signals (known as DMX universes) at once.
      - Think my last answer should explain this one.
      As I've said, you're probably better off using DMaX. It's built to handle stuff like this. Send me and email and I can help you get it working. If you really want to start building your own DMX patches though, check out this tutorial I made on doing things with Jitter (which simplifies things).
    • Sep 18 2011 | 11:39 pm
      GMIX - Can you please tell me how you got your chauvet colorstrip to work with your enttec DMX usb pro via DMAX? I am having trouble communicating with the light. The blue indicator light is rapidly flashing on the back which I assume means it is receiving data. but I can not alter the lights behavior such as on/off, switch colors, etc. Right now I am using the DMXUSBPRO device but it is the demo version... I suppose I'll try buying it if it works for you.
      I think I'm too much of a newbie to create my own patch with the dmxusbpro object.
      emitidy @ gmail dot com