Posts by cadcoke5

    If it is a true pendulum, it will be quite accurate in maintaining time... after that is how clocks were done before we had electronic clocks. In fact, you may have a fight on your hands, if the pendulum natural period is not quite the same as the lighting timing, and you try to force it to match.


    If it doesn't keep as wide a swring as you waint, for as long as you want, you can use a true clockwork mechanism to keep it swinging. Depending on how big the ball on the end is, you may want to add more weight to help it overcome the wind resistance, and to keep swinging for a more time. If you can do that, then you just manually start it swinging. You can vary the weight or the length of the pendulum to adjust the period, so that its natural period matches your lighting.


    Note that if the pendulum is not powered, the width of the arc it sways, will gradually lessen, but the time for each stroke will not. Yes you can speed up or slow down a pendulum by applying force, but again, it will certainly be easier to not do this, and I suspect it is unnecessary.


    Another approach is to let the pendulum own swing be use to time lighting. Just divide your lighting into several cues, and press "go" when your pendulum crosses a certain visual mark.


    But, to your original request for a linear actuator. It has been many years since I was involved with a company that would have made use of these types of system, and technology has certainly marched on. So, this knowledge is somewhat old.


    You can find linear actuators that are just driven by DC motors. Look at some of the robotics web sites for sources. www.robotshop.com is one.


    If the actuator incorporate a sensor, they can act as a servo by attaching an appropriate servo board is connected to it. This the typical type of servo system used in industry. I don't have a good source to refer you to, for this type of industrial system. They also are controlled by applying a DC voltage (I don't recall if it was typically 0-10 or 0-12 v, but either would probably work as you described in your first message.


    There is another category of servo systems, created for the radio control toy industry. These are also commonly used in the low-end hobby robotics. This type of servo has the servo-board already mounted inside the motor/gearbox. They accept a pulse, where the width of the pulse tells the servo where to position itself. That industry has driven more development in that category, so that you can get pretty sophisticated and powerful servos


    For both of the above types, you need something that will interpret the DMX signal, and then give out a signal that the servo will accept. I imagine there are a couple of companies that can provide something, but Blue Point Engineering has been doing it for a while. I think they are over priced, but I don't know how reliable their products are compare to others, so I can't really say for sure their pricing is not warranted.


    This page has a number of their DMX interfaces for servos.
    http://www.bpesolutions.com/dmxproduct.html#anchor457452


    Their $325 USD, DMX - 8866 accepts DMX, and seems to directly control a DC motor with feedback.
    Their $135 USD, DMX - 2000 accepts DMX and provides the pulse-width signal for up to 8 radio-control type servos.


    -Joe

    I am a little vague about what OSC is. I looked in the Wiki, but don't see an explanation that has OSC in its title. Some ofthe pages were listed in a search, but when I look at the page itself, there is no content. Would you know a specific page to read about OSC?


    Is there any physical hardware that works with the OSC system? Personally, I find that I really want something to feel with my fingers, so that I can keep my eyes on the stage when I need to press a button.


    -Joe

    I experimented a while back with using a remote control for PowerPoint presentations. It has been a while, and I have forgotten which keystrokes the remote control actually creates. It may have been pg-up pg-down, but there were others as well. I was using DMXControl v 2, which did not allow you re-assign keys.


    I ended up using a utility to re-assign keystrokes to something DMXControl v2 would accept. I have not been able to get v3 working on my new laptop, so I cannot comment about v3.


    Searching this forum for the word PowerPoint should bring up the past threads I created on the topic.


    Another solution are one of the macro keyboards or keypads out there. They started around $30 USD a few years ago, but for some reason I am not finding them that cheap at the moment. They seem to be starting around $60 now. The keypad versions have removable key covers, so you can label them yourself. A search for the terms "Programmable" "Keypad" turned several up on E-bay.


    -Joe Dunfee

    I downloaded and installed version 2 of DMXControl. Then, I re-ran the vbctrls registry file you linked to ealier. DMXControl did not give an error message when it was started, but the interface didn't seem to run either.


    So, I copied the new Enttec Pro.out.dll file over the existing one in the program directory, and re-ran DMXControl. The error message attached below came up. I went past it, and tried to use it, but there was no DMX output. I have also attached a screen shot showing the details of the configuration. Note that the settings screen showed the same thing on both attempts. Also, I looked at my device manager to see that the device is connected on COM5.


    -Joe Dunfee

    First, thank you for your attention to this problem.


    I had uninstalled both versions of DMX control a few months ago, when I couldn't get them to work. So, for this new round of tests, I installed the Version 3.0.1.2 beta 1, and then ran the vbctrls.reg file as you requested.


    However, when I attempted to install the Enttex DMX USB Pro interface, Enttec brand was not listed. I searched the entire program directory for anytyhing with "enttec" and nothign was found.


    Then, I placed the Enttec Pro.out.dll file in the same directory where the other brands are located. C:\Program Files (x86)\DMXControl3.0\Kernel\Plugins. I restarted DMX Control 3. However, again, the Entec brand interface did not show up.


    -Joe Dunfee

    That link is to a message that has the file, Enttec Pro.out.dll.pdf. However, when I attempt to open that PDF, I get the message from Adobi Reader that it is not a PDF file. Is this file intended to be an Adobi PDF? Should I rename it to remove the ".pdf" part, so that it is named Enttec Pro.out.dll ?


    Then, if the file should end with .dll, what do I do with the dll file?


    [edit... I used a translation site, and yes, it looks like you must remove the .pdf. It was added because apparently uploading a .dll is not permitted. But, I still don't know what to do with the .dll file. ]


    -Joe Dunfee

    I taught a lighting workshop a month ago, but had to omit DMXControl, since it would not work on my computer because of the problem with the Enttec USB Pro not working. I was going to volunteer to teach a lighting class for another group, but I want to wait until I can get DMXControl to work. I saw another thread that linked to a German language thread.


    Here is the message that linked to the German thread, new user - software won't start


    Is the problem solved?


    Joe Dunfee

    I have the same problem. I have a Enttec Pro running on Windows 7.


    Note that I was working fine on an earlier version of DMX Pro a year or so ago. But, my Vista laptop broke, so I had to start over. But, I had not actually needed to do any real lighting since then. When I finally got around to working with DMX Control on the new laptop, I became frustrated it wouldn't work, and just forgot about it.


    I picked up on it again, when I agreed to do a lecture on the subject, and was going to demo DMX Control. I installed version 3 again, but when it would not work, I installed version 2 also. When that failed, I uninstalled both, and then reinstalled version2. But, the same results as the prior folks.


    Note that there are no "drivers" for Enttec's DMX Pro for Vista or Win 7, since it is just a serial port, and the USB Serial drivers are already in the Operating System. On my system it is on Com port 5.


    My lecture is on Thursday PM in the U.S. I just tried Freestyler, but couldn't figure out how to get it going in a short amount of time. The Mini Stage Console from chromakinetics.com was my next effort, since it is such a simple interface. But, it will not accept keystrokes unless it has the focus. So, I can't run sound cues and use this.


    Can anyone recommend a super-simple lighting program that I can demonstrate for this group of puppeteers and other variety artists who may have a small lighting system? I really can't afford to dump more hours into this, so I need a program with a very short learning curve.


    Joe Dunfee;

    The version I had used in the past was on a broken computer, so I don't know the version number. As I think about it, the biggest problem I had was that the English manual was not clear enough on a number of subjects. Everyone here was quite helpful, and part of the problem was that I was trying to make the program do things it wasn't really programmed to do.


    I probably didn't investigate the program's audio ability, since I was focused on a show that needed video. My current system uses PowerPoint as the media player, but I will check out DMX Control's ability to play sound cues, since video playback is not normally needed for puppeteers.


    Has the English version of the manual been worked on over the past year? Do you think it is safe to set a bunch of DMX novices loose on the program?


    Joe Dunfee

    In a few months, I will be teaching a workshop on lighting for the Puppet Guild of Greater Philadelphia, in the U.S. Part of this workshop will be me showing how I can control lighting cues using a PowerPoint remote control. Puppeteers are interested in this, since typically it is only one or two people doing a performance.


    I was able to get the remote to work with DMX Control by using a keystroke macro program that would convert the characters that PowerPoint uses to advance slides, to also send the keystrokes that DMX Control needs. PowerPoint also receives its keystroke signals, and so a person can use its sound and video playback abilities.


    In past correspondence here I learned that the next version of DMX Control would have the ability to re-map its keyboard shortcuts, and thus avoid the need for the keyboard macro program. I am also curious about the state of DMX Control's ability to trigger sound cues. The current version requires that you use a 2nd computer to run any sound or video cues unless you use my approach.


    However, it would be nicer to avoid the multiple programs, and just use DMX Control. How soon might we expect the next version to be released?? Will it have the ability to play sound and video cues?


    Joe Dunfee

    I know I am a member, and perhaps I am already automatically signed in. If this message shows cadcoke5 as the user name, then I am apparently signed in and didn't realize it.


    I actually am using an old computer since my newer one died a number of weeks ago. So, this computer does not have the cookies the other did. But, perhaps I have forgotten that I did sign in somewhere.


    I am able to post, but like you, cannot see where to sign in or out.


    Joe Dunfee
    [edit - I see I was signed in, by the appearance of my username on the message. Perhaps once you are signed in, the board will not allow you to see the log-on choice. Nor will it give you the ability to log off]

    I have had some limited success. I have been able to run a PowerPoint presentation, and simultaneously go to the next lighting cue. The set-up is as follows.


    + Re-map the Page Down key to the letter G.
    + Run DMXControl with the Scene List window open with the play button pressed AND have also highlighted the first scene (got stuck for a while by omitting that last step).
    + The small version of the keyboard control window is open.
    + Then I minimize DMXControl.
    + Run PowerPoint in 2-window mode (i.e. presenter view on laptop, and the external monitor shows the slides full screen).


    With this all set-up I can press the Next Slide button on my remote, and both the PowerPoint slide and Scenes will advance.


    Regarding Keyboard Control;I have tried to view a German translation of the help file, which has more about it. The screen shots are still German, of course, and the translation inaccuracy was enough of a barrier that it didn't help. I still have significant problems, but at least I can make it go to the next cue. No other function I have tried seems to work. For example, the device/function "previous" command only goes to the next cue, not the previous one. Note that this is all without using the AutoHotKey program, and using DMXControl alone.


    Regarding PowerPoint; for some reason when I have this all set-up, I cannot use all the buttons on my remote normally. I have a very simplified version of the AutoHotKey script running. Upon a PgDn keystroke it will send a "G", and a PgDn keystroke. From my understanding of how the scripts work, I should not have to include the PgDn keystroke, because it should send it automatically. So, perhaps my understanding is incomplete, or it is misbehaving.


    Will someone with the English version of DMXControl be kind enough to show me a screen shot of their Keyboard Control, with it set up to show a keystroke that will go BACK one scene and one that will start a show at the beginning?


    Thank you very much for your help.


    Joe Dunfee

    Sorry, but it seems I am not understanding the "Keyboard Control" window. The English help file has no explanation. In the past, I got it partially working, but after making some changes, none of the keyboard commands work. Note that I am not using the remote or Auto Hot Keys at this point, I am just trying to get the physical keyboard to work because I know it must be working before I can get the remote control working. I know you posted about it in the past, but something is still not right in my configuration and I can't figure it out. Attached is a screen shot of my current settings.


    After these settings in the "Keyboard Control" window are done, I click OK and the window goes away. The small "Keyboard Control" window stays open, and I keep it open because it needs to be open in order for DMXControl to receive keystrokes.


    Also the scene list window is open. I press the green triangle "play" button to start the show. If I press the "GO" button on the bottom of the scene list window, it functions normally, and will progress to the next scene in sequence. So, at least I understand how to make a list of scenes.


    Can anyone tell me what might be wrong with my keyboard commands?


    Joe Dunfee

    Thank you Stevan for reminding me about the Auto HotKey program. I had forgotten about it. I do recall looking at in a while back, and spending a while trying to figgure it out. It proved to be too complex for me at the time. However, since it seems to be my only option right now, I am revisiting it.


    Part of my motivation for avoiding it in the past was that I was also trying to come up with a solution I can pass on to other puppeteers. A complex scripting language would not qualify. However, upon re-reading the description of Auto HotKeys, I see that it is possible to save a .EXE file with the shortcuts you program. So, that one I get it working, I can just make the .EXE file available.


    I have spent a few hours with the program today, though I haven't made any progress yet. Part of the challenge is that the "key presses" coming from the PowerPoint remote are not normal keys people type in a word processor. So, I had to do some work to make sure I had the correct keystrokes. I will report back here when I have made some progress.


    Joe Dunfee

    Thank you for the reply, but I think the MediaCenter requires that the program running PowerPoint be on a different computer than the one running DMXControl. I am trying to do this on only one computer.


    I visited the support forum for one Macro editor I came across called "Macro Express".

    Quote

    Is it possible to work in one application window while a macro is running in another application window in the background?


    Normally, no. Windows only accepts keystrokes and mouse events (clicks & moves) for the window that has focus. However, you may have success if you use the Window Control commands and avoid certain macro commands that only work with the foreground window.


    So, I need to ask if DMXControl will accept what is called "Windows Control Commands" to advance to the next cue without its window coming up? I am not certain what a "Windows Control Command" is. But, I think it refers to how the program exposes itself to other programs. I am guessing that DMXControl does allow this.


    Joe Dunfee

    Since my effort to run PowerPoint from DMXControl, or to run DMXControl from PowerPoint have failed, I am considering other options.


    Perhaps there would be a 3rd party program that will accept any keystroke, and then send a different keystroke to other multiple programs. I suppose this might be called a macro or shortcut editor program.


    The idea is that I can use my PowerPoint remote control, and this software would receive the "next slide" keystroke. Then it would send the "next slide" keystroke to PowerPoint and a "next cue" keystroke to DMXControl.


    If there are no existing programs, I have programmed in Visual Basic in the past. Does anyone recommend me trying to do it myself this way? I would be concerned about performance problems, since Visual Basic is not a quickly performing language. Also, I am not sure if it can run hidden, and also send keystrokes to DMXControl while keeping it hidden. I need PowerPoint to stay on top with its slide show running full screen. I have programmed in machine language on the Atari 8-bit, but that was MANY years ago. I have no clue how one would go about grabbing focus of programs in Windows low-level languages to send them keystrokes.


    Any further suggestions?


    Joe Dunfee

    Just an update on my efforts. I have been talking to others in our local puppet guild, and several are interested in the idea of using the computer to run both lights and sound cues. However, I have been unsuccessful with DMXcontrol in this idea, so perhaps it is a dead end.


    I did do some additional research using the Open Office equivalent to Power Point, called Impress. It will play MIDI files embedded in a slide, but as with all other MIDI players I test, I cannot see any MIDI input using MIDI-OX. I don't know if these programs will generate the MIDI data in such a way that DMXcontrol can see it. It could still be my own inability to properly use MIDI-OX.


    Joe Dunfee

    On a lighting deck, the "Go" button is what tells the console to start the next cue that was stored in memory. I.e. "Go to the next cue".


    Yes, it was the "Channel" setting that was missing. If I set my keyboard window to;


    Control | Module |Device/Function | Channel | Flags | Value
    Key 'G' | Disabled |Next | GO! |-,-,-,- | -


    Argg.... it seems that the message board ignores multiple spaces, so I can't format the table above to line up.


    Pressing "G" on my keyboard will cause the scene to jump to the next one. However, I am still puzzled about the settings. I would have thought the "next" and "GO!" meant the same thing. I have no idea what the flags or value fields are. I also cannot figure out what to set to make it go back one scene.


    I was successful in getting the blackout key on my PowerPoint Remote [which generates a "."] to trigger the next scene.


    Joe Dunfee

    Thank you for the Keyboard activation window hint. I was not using it. However, I still can't use the keyboard to advance scenes. Attached are screen shots of the pertinent windows. Note that I have tried every possible combination of the check marks in the Keyboard activation windows. I have also tried capital and lower-case G.


    I don't recall reading this, but I believe you must press the green triangle button in the scene list before you can start to advance scenes using the "Go" button below it. I tried it without, just in case that was somehow necessary, but there was no difference in behavior using the keyboard.


    Also, for future versions, I do recommend that your keyboard and MIDI settings window have a statement like, "Close this window and open the Keyboard Control Window to use keyboard."


    As always, thank you very much for your help,


    Joe Dunfee