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Author Topic: Ethernet Interface For Dimmer
Mark Gulbrandsen
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From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-17-2016 03:54 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'd really love to see an ethernet interface board that can go inside any existing Kelmar or Eprad dimmer and be able to be on a theater's network. I have discussed this with Thomas at Kelmar on a couple occasions but I'm not so sure he understands why.
Is anyone aware of any interfaces that are made?

Mark

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 11995
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 02-17-2016 04:21 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well Eprad's eCNA can control THEIR dimmer directly.

What, exactly are you trying to get on the Ethernet? just the presets or full control?

You can always go hog-wild and get something by an architectural dimmer company like Lutron. We have some sites that have them already and we did connect to them via Ethernet...what a crappy communication language they have too...always having to log in for each command! But we have eCNA5s talking to them.

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Dave Macaulay
Film God

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From: Toronto, Canada
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 - posted 02-17-2016 10:49 PM      Profile for Dave Macaulay   Email Dave Macaulay   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have an ethernet controlled dimmer that I set up for LED lamps - an NCD Pulsar. It was a dual channel 375W dimmer I used but that's plenty for a normal auditorium with all LED lamps and they make different power ones.
It works nicely but... it was a pain to set up: there's a Lantronics ethernet-serial module to be programmed and then the actual dimmer to be programmed with the right settings for your LED lamps. Very flexible though.
Plus, there's no way to have manual control... so if your server fails you should have bypass switches to get lights off or on in an emergency.

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Carsten Kurz
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From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 02-18-2016 05:21 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It sure would be nice to have these dimmers come with Ethernet-IO from the factory, but what about adding a JNIOR (or using an existing JNIOR)? Yes, a JNIOR just for this task may be too expensive.

I think Kelmar should just buy into one of the existing Ethernet-GPIO modules that are flooding the net now with the IoT idea growing bigger and bigger.

Others might say that a full Ethernet interface is just overkill for a device that needs only a few pushbuttons to be operated. After all, that's why the JNIOR is there.

- Carsten

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 02-19-2016 08:55 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What I want is a board that will retrofit in to existing Kelmars, eats and be able,to control them via Ethernet link.

I hate Lutron and smallish commercial dimmer systems because they are built crappy and many put a lot of noise background on the line.... They have poor output filtering, Strand, ETC and the big ones are very good but way too expensive.

You'd need to be able to interface to a half dozen different commands to cover most dimmers, Low, Mid 1, Mid-2, High, Screen Low, Screen Mid, Screen High, etc.

Imdo have some EPRAD dimmers in, I love how they work, I hate their huge cabinet size.

Mark

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 02-19-2016 12:41 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Carsten,

I want to be able to have the servers interface directly with the house dimmers through the local switch.

Mark

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

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From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
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 - posted 02-19-2016 01:28 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What does Thomas think about it? Everything is getting IP-control nowadays - he should know. And it can be done with very little money nowadays.

- Carsten

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 02-19-2016 01:53 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
All he has ever said is they have looked in to it... I can sure see there would be some sales there for a retrofit and if they pulled that off they would be the only dimmer manufacturer to offer it in a compact package. They do not build an ethernet based theater automation either, so they would certainly be extending the life of the Kelmar the company.... until someone offers annethernet feature theater dimmers will stay in the dark ages.

Mark

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Louis Bornwasser
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From: prospect ky usa
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 - posted 02-21-2016 10:17 AM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was happy when momentary closures because usual.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 02-21-2016 12:11 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thats what I'd love to completely do away with Louis. Today's relays minus the cadmium in the contacts make for relatively short lifespan relays and switches... There were lots of problems the last few years with Kelmar automations going through both relays and cam timer micro switches, and failsafe switch's.

Mark

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 11995
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 02-22-2016 06:10 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I like the Ethernet solution due to much more simplistic wiring. However, gold relay contacts are ROHS and also non-oxidizing. Kelmar's relays had an issue in that they were not sealed and had 3A current ratings when trying to switch milliamps. The high current relays didn't have issues turning motors on/off...it was always the low current stuff that bites you.

Most of the automations for DCinema have several low-current relays that can be used for lights so there shouldn't be a long term issue but I agree that electromechanical ROHS compliant stuff sucks. That said, I've not had a problem with the gold contact stuff...you just can't use it on higher currents. But there is little high current stuff any more unless you are switching outlets for things like sound systems, exhaust fans, projectors...etc.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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Posts: 16064
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-22-2016 08:45 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
No gold contact issues here either. I use lots of DIP relays with gold contacts in audio for muting and gain select, etc. My biggest issue with past Kelmar's was the cam timer micro switches failing more so than internal relays. But we saw some relay failures as well.

Ethernet is today, relay contacts are so yesterday.

Mark

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 11995
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 02-23-2016 06:31 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The cam timer switches had the same problem as the failsafe microswitches as the 3A relays...switching low current with ROHS contacts. They just can't do it for long due to oxidation. We also had problems on microswitch platters too...in the end, we were burning through microswitches where they just got flaky.

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