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Old 28th August 2009, 01:10 AM   #1
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Default Stage Lighting Setup

I saw a thread on here for stage lighting and there were A LOT of knowledgeable answers. I was hoping people could help me put together my first setup. I'd like to put together some lamps with basic colors on stage with sequences and as much flexibility as possible in the manipulation of different combinations of those few lights. I'd like this to be as cheap as possible initially so I can practice. From what I can tell this is done with a DMX controller, a laptop running software such as DMXcontrol and then people mentioned using cheap flood lights with gels over them.

Can anyone give me more detail on how this is done, how specifically it is put together and what equipment I will need?

Thanks!
John
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Old 28th August 2009, 05:05 AM   #2
star882 is offline star882  United States
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The cheapest way to start is by using some common dimmers. If you need to dim extremely low, modify the dimmers to do that. (You only need one reset circuit for a purely resistive load, but two would be needed for a transformer or motor load.)
http://techno-fandom.org/~hobbit/lighting/dimmer.html
If you want automatic control, either replace the potentiometers with photoresistors and LEDs (use them as optoisolators) or start from scratch with some triacs, optoisolated triac drivers, and a way to derive the zero crossing references. Then use a microcontroller such as an Arduino to control the triacs or dimmers.

You can also use SSRs but they are often more expensive than making one from a triac and optoisolated triac driver. However, you might find some surplus deals and they are hard to beat for convenience.
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Old 30th August 2009, 10:53 PM   #3
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I'd like to start with a cheap pre-built system before I try to create anything myself. Do I have this correct? - You plug a dmx control board into a computer, you plug dimmer packs into the dmx control board, you plug your lights into the dimmer pack? Is that right?
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Old 31st August 2009, 09:56 PM   #4
star882 is offline star882  United States
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Just make a control panel out of some common dimmers. There's X10 if you want automatic control.
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Old 1st September 2009, 07:17 AM   #5
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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Ask local music stores and sound/light rental companies if they have any old lighting controllers or dimmer packs for sale.

It may be wiser to bypass the old technology and go with LEDs...
http://www.dmx4all.de
http://www.diylife.com/2008/01/25/ma...hanging-light/
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Old 1st September 2009, 10:51 AM   #6
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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Light a stage with LEDs?
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Old 1st September 2009, 05:40 PM   #7
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If you DIY anything with power line AC, remember to keep it safe!
People on stages often do things that no one would expect them to do.
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