DMX Generator manual 

For use with the USB-RS485 module.

Introduction
The DMX Generator was developed to allow our USB-RS485 to control lighting scenes using a DMX512 data stream. It provides a record mode where a scene can be setup and recorded on to 1 of 60 sub-masters, either being faded up to a stored level or switched straight to the level with use of the no fade option. Once a sub-master has a scene stored the playback mode allows the scene to be easily manipulated.

First Step - Get The Drivers
The USB-RS485 module uses the FTDI FT232R USB chip to handle all the USB protocols. The DMX generator uses a driver to make the USB-RS485 appear as a comport and is available here http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm. Please install this before connecting the USB-RS485.

Connections

Industry standard 5-pin XLR connections:

Use 5-pin XLR Pin number DMX512 Function
Common Reference (0v screen/ground) 1 Data Link Common
Primary Data Link 2 Data 1-
3 Data 1+
Secondary Data Link
(unused)
4 Data 2-
5 Data 2+

 

Operating Modes
The DMX Generator has two operating modes: Record mode and Playback mode. The modes are easily switched between record and playback with use of the "Mode" menu item in the top menu strip. When the DMX generator is run for the first time you will be in record mode, Later after you've saved a show it will automatically load the last show and be in playback mode when started.

Initial Setup
Go to the mode menu and select the comport from the list of available ports, a tick will then be placed beside your selection. Next we have the option of setting the stream length with the "Set slot quantity", although this can be left at the 512 slots default for most cases. 

Record mode
Upon first execution of the program we are presented with the record screen allowing scenes to be easily modified and saved to a sub-master for use in the playback mode. The 12 faders displayed are the first of 512 faders. The arrow head buttons to each side of the fader numbers will provide indexing to all 512 faders. Below each faders is its level, shown as 0-255. The Flash buttons are useful as a lamp test and will force the channel to 255 (100%) whilst the button is held. Below the flash buttons is a "No fade on slot" checkbox. Gobos or positions may require that the slot is not faded, instead the slot outputs the set level when the playback slider crosses 50%, this is achieved with the no fade on slot check box. Setting a slot to no fade will affect an entire show and not just one scene.

 

To set up a scene set each fader to the level to give you the desired lighting effect. Once the scene has been setup, it can be saved to a sub-master. Sub-masters are the 12 faders you will see in playback mode and are used to fade entire scene up and down. Each sub-master can hold 5 scenes, hence the 5 page buttons. To record a scene first decide which page you would like the scene on, then press the Record button which will light orange and "Flash" buttons will change to "Store" buttons. The sliders now represent the sub-masters.. You can elect to save the scene to any of the 12 sub-masters and once a scene has been saved the index to the sub-master will change its colour, in the screenshot I have saved 6 scenes on page 1.
Should you wish to modify a scene you can restore it with use of the Restore button, pressing it will result in the button being lit green and the "Flash" text will change to "Load". You can now press on a sub-master and it will set all the slots sliders to the previously Recorded levels. The "Zero faders" button provides a quick way to reset all 512 slots to zero.

Continue to store as many scenes as you wish. The show may now be saved as a show file (.shw) from the file menu.

Playback mode
Now that the show is setup, we can fade any scene up or down with the use of  the sub-masters. You will notice in the screenshot that we are still using the same file, but all of the slot navigation and setup graphics have been cleared. We have page 1 displayed and the sub-masters with data have their index boxes background set to orange. If a slot exists on more than one sub-master, the highest level will take precedence. The page that each sub-master is on can only be switched when the sub-master is at 0% (off), if the page is switched and a sub-master is still faded up then the orange background will flash to indicate scene data is being obtained from a different page to that which is currently selected. If the fader is then faded to 0% the sub-master will switch its page to the current selection and the new scene can be faded up on the same slider.