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The Real Deal on: Controlling Moving Heads

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The Real Deal on:  Controlling Moving Head LED Lights

Polaris Spot

So, you want to learn about moving head lights. Well, here are some basics you need to know. Most modern moving head lights use the DMX protocol. This is a digital control system that allows precise, repeatable control of all kinds of club lights, fog machines, bubble machines and a few other devices. The actual name is “DMX-512” with the 512 referring to the number of discrete control channels available. Check out this article on DMX basics. Each channel can be used to control a different aspect of a moving light like color. Each channels value can be from 0-255 giving 256 steps. So, let's look at a typical moving head light for dj or club use. Today we will use the Blizzard Polaris Spot as an example. This is a full moving head LED fixture that has up to 12 channels of control. It also has a “simple” mode to allow easier wrangling. This uses only 9 channels.

Channel 1 controls the “Pan” - side to side movement.

Channel 2 controls the “Tilt” - up and down movement.

Channel 3 controls the color wheel, which has many colors or “open” which equals white.

Channel 4 is the “Gobo” control – Gobos are patterns that can be put in front of the light source to project a pattern. There are 7 different patterns on this LED light.

Channel 5 is the “Gobo Rotate” control, and allows you to spin the patterns in a circle at a variable speed.

Channel 6 is the 'Prism” control. A Prism splits up the light beam into 3 parts, making a more complex looking projection.

Channel 7 is the Dimmer, which controls the overall brightness of the LED source.

Channel 8 is the Strobe, which is used for flashing the light automatically, up to a very fast rate that is similar to a dedicated strobe light.

Channel 9 is for special control features which are beyond the scope of this article.

So, say I wanted to have the Polaris Spot shine up to the ceiling, parallel to the stage, with the color blue and gobo #7. I would set my DMX controller using the pan/tilt channels until it is in the correct position, move the color channel to the blue value, and move the gobo channel to Gobo #7. This setting can be stored in the controller as a “scene” and precisely recalled at a later time.

 

Performance LED lighting carries the fixtures you need for a amazing light show. If you need assistance with selecting a system or fixtures, drop us a line and we would be more than happy to help. Send us an email on your LED Lighting needs.

Connect with Performance LED Lighting:

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DMX Cables

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DMX Cables - A good reason not to skimp

 

 

DMX Cables



We get a lot of inquiries about DMX cables.  For most LED lights these days, DMX is carried via 3 pin XLR cables.  Many ask if it is ok to use microphone cables instead of DMX cables.  Our rule of thumb is if failure is not an option, use DMX cables and not microphone cables.  The reason is that DMX cable is specifically made to transmit and receive digital signals like DMX.  Microphone cable is designed to carry analog audio.  Using the microphone cable can confuse the digital DMX signal, making it bounce around and triggering the lights to do unpredictable things.  This usually happens not at setup, not at rehearsal, but during the show when you least expect it!  The line of DMX cables we carry are quality built, and very affordable.  All of them are 120 ohm DMX certified and they carry a full 2 year warranty. There is no reason to skimp on the backbone of your lighting system, get real, dependable DMX cables!

 

Performance LED lighting carries the fixtures you need for a amazing light show. If you need assistance with selecting a system or fixtures, drop us a line and we would be more than happy to help. Send us an email on your LED Lighting needs.

Connect with Performance LED Lighting:

Performance LED Lighting on You Tube Club Lights Facebook Performance LED Lighting Twitter

   

Lighting for DJs - Top 5 Reasons to Go LED

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Top 5 Reasons to Go LED

  1. Color Mixing – Each LED light has 3 (or more) colors on board that can be separately dimmed to create virtually any color at any time.  Each light can be set to a different color in a bank, or all the same – no color gels required.
  2. Lighting for DJs


  3. Bulb Replacement – LEDs have an average life of 20,000 to 50,000 hours, eliminating the need for costly bulb replacement.
  4. Weight – LED lights are light weight, and easy to set up and take down.  Heavy duty lighting truss is not required, also making lighting rigs more portable.  In many cases, the lights can remain pre mounted and pre wired on a t-bar or truss for easy set up and break down.
  5. No Dimmers required – All LED lights are DMX controlled and require no external dimming.  Plug in power and DMX and they can be precisely controlled by any DMX compatible hardware or software.
  6. Low Heat - LED's don't emit any heat from the front and very little from the rear, keeping djs cool. No heat means as soon as the light is off, it is ready to put away at the end of the show.

All in all 5 compelling reasons to go led for lighting for DJs and stage performers.

 

Performance LED lighting carries the fixtures you need for a amazing light show. If you need assistance with selecting a system or fixtures, drop us a line and we would be more than happy to help. Send us an email on your LED Lighting needs.

Connect with Performance LED Lighting:

Performance LED Lighting on You Tube Club Lights Facebook Performance LED Lighting Twitter

   

DMX 512 Basics

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DMX 512 in Nutshell...

DMX is a performance control system for lighting fixtures, dimmers, fog machines and other devices used in a show or exhibit.  The official name is “DMX-512”, and stands for Digital Multiplex, with the 512 referring to the number of discrete channels of control possible.

 

DMX-Basics

Rule of thumb is, if failure is not an option, use real digital DMX cables.

Cabling for this system is either accomplished by using digital shielded cable, either using 3 pin or 5 pin XLR connectors.  More budget fixtures (DJ type) gear uses 3 pin, and more high end fixtures usually use 5 pin connectors.  Either way, the control signal is the same, and 3pin can be easily adapted to 5 pin and vice versa in almost all instances.  Although most fixtures use the same 3 pin XLR connectors that microphones use, it is not recommended to use microphone cables for transmitting DMX signals.  This is because DMX is a digital signal, and needs a very specific type of cable for reliable transmission.  Rule of thumb is, if failure is not an option, use real digital DMX cables.


Fixtures are usually hooked up in a daisy chain configuration, with the last fixture getting a DMX terminator to minimize signal errors.  Each LED fixture has a number of channels for control.  For instance a RGB  LED par will have at least 4 channels of control.  Channel 1 controls the level of red, channel 2 is for green intensity, channel 3 is for blue.  The fourth channel can be for automatic programs, or strobing control.  Addressing or assigning these channels takes place on the fixtures themselves either using dip switches or a digital display/control panel.  If you had two fixtures you wish to control, the first would be assigned to channels 1-4, the second to channels 5-8.  These would correspond to controls on your control board or software.  Using this system you can control many lights with repeatable precision.

 

Performance LED lighting carries the fixtures you need for a amazing light show. If you need assistance with selecting a system or fixtures, drop us a line and we would be more than happy to help. Send us an email on your LED Lighting needs.

Connect with Performance LED Lighting:

Performance LED Lighting on You Tube Club Lights Facebook Performance LED Lighting Twitter

   

Polaris Spot Review

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The Polaris!

Nothing is quite as cool as moving head lights. With a little fog, they say “rock and roll” in so many ways. And with LED technology, they are even better.

 

Polaris Spot LED

 

The Polaris has a 30 watt LED light source with precision optics for a razor sharp beam of light than can be moved almost anywhere. 30 watts doesn't sound like much, but in LED land, that is more powerful than a 250 watt halogen bulb. These suckers are bright. Compared to a 22 watt LED source, these are about 4x as bright and will cut through a pretty heavy wash.

So, what can it do?

It has 9 colors plus white, and the ability to spin through the colors automatically. There are 7 gobos (plus open) that are easily interchangeable. This means that if you want a certain gobo pattern, you can replace one or more of the stock patterns. The coolest feature? The ability to rotate the gobos at varying speeds. Through fog or haze this looks incredible! You can design in so much movement and color, but that's not all. It also has a 3 facet prism, so you can split the beam into 3 parts for even more visual goodness. That and a very wide range of pan and tilt, plus electronic dimming. It has built in programs as well for automatic use without DMX control. Many of these features are only available on lights costing hundreds more. Backed by Blizzard quality control and 2 year warranty, these are an awesome addition to any lighting rig. Get you some!

 

Performance LED lighting carries the fixtures you need for a amazing light show. If you need assistance with selecting a system or fixtures, drop us a line and we would be more than happy to help. Send us an email on your LED Lighting needs.

Connect with Performance LED Lighting:

Performance LED Lighting on You Tube Club Lights Facebook Performance LED Lighting Twitter

   

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Performance LED Lighting is an Authorized dealer for Blizzard Lighting LLC. The LED Lighting fixtures you purchase are Protected by the Full Manufacturers Warranty. As an Authorized dealer we can guarantee that if your product needs service we will get it done. We stand behind every product we sell.

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