Trouble networking a new Ion into an existing system.

I'll try to be as specific as I can because I've been working on this problem for weeks and I can't seem to get it. I'm having a difficult time getting all of my hardware to talk to each other.  

My theater recently purchased a new Ion to replace an existing Stand console. The existing system in the space consists of a series of Strand N21 DMX nodes (see link below) in each pocket, on the catwalk, and on each electric. A Total of maybe 2 dozen nodes. There is another N21 node located up by the console that allows connection to the rest of the system. These N21 nodes however are only compatible with Show Net so we also purchased a new Strand DMX node that is compatible with sACN, Art Net, and Show Net, among others. (see link below) 

With some help from ETC's tech support I've managed to get the new node networked to the Ion. In the networking tab it shows that it is online and it can be pinged successfully. 

That is the current state of affairs. Now the end goal is to have all of the nodes talking to the console and be able to set up different universes for each area and each electric. Each universe would accommodate around 3 nodes for a total of maybe 8 universes.

I don't know how to proceed forward to get this set up, the networking stuff is all fairly new to me as I did not set up the last system. 

Here are some links to the products we're using. 

Strand N21 DMX node: http://www.strandlighting.com/product-catalog/controls/n21-shownet-nodes/

Strand DMX 512 Rack mount node: http://www.lighting.philips.com/main/products/entertainment-lighting/products/dmx-networking-nodes

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

6 Replies - Page 1 of 1

  • Sounds like you need a net-to-net translator. (ie. sACN to ShowNet) I'm not sure such a thing exists.

    For one universe your new node could have one port take DMX from sACN and then you jumper to the other port to go out as ShowNet. I'd hate to do that for 8 universes.
  • In reply to RickR:

    I think I might be confused about how I need to connect the console to the networked nodes. Do I not just run Ethernet over to the new node as the first link in the chain and then Ethernet from that node to the rest of the network? If I do that will I be able to output all DMX universes over Ethernet through sACN and then let that first node send the data to the rest on Show Net? Now that I ask it that way it sounds ridiculous. If I connect the first node to the console via DMX can't I only set up 2 universes of control because of the limitations the DMX cable?
  • In reply to SebastianDB:

    there is no ETC product that does ShowNet (i think). the console doesn't do it, the nodes don't do it. so what you can do with you new node is two things:

    either use it like your N21 nodes, i.e. getting networked signal and output DMX. that networked signal could be sACN received from your element.
    or (and i think it could work but didn't really read through the strand documentation) output dmx from your console and input into the new strand node that then outputs ShowNet to your N21 nodes.

    what Rick suggested is probably what i would look for as well. one box with two network ports that accepts sACN (or ArtNet) as input and outputs ShowNet on the other port. don't know if that exists either
  • In reply to ueliriegg:

    The new Strand node should be able to do both ShowNet and sACN. You might inquire with Pathway about a net-net translator. Something in the back of my mind is suggesting them.

    You do sound a bit confused on Ethernet basics. Ethernet is always a 'star' arrangement as every device requires a 'home run' to the switch/router/hub (terms have changed) You can only daisy chain if every other device is a switch, and that's usually a special case. If you only have one run from the booth to backstage you might put a switch in the booth for the console, wifi point, backup console etc. and one run to a backstage switch that would then feed the electrics and catwalks. You might see if someone around has some good general IT skills to help you devise the best arrangement.

    You might also be a bit confused over how the nodes work with different universes. Each node port (typically) is assigned to a universe, so any nodes on the same universe will have identical DMX on them. You don't need to allocate addresses to specific nodes. It can be done, but is rarely desirable.

    I also doubt you need 8 universes, but it can be nice to divide things that way. If you have to use 2 ports as a translator for each universe then you will want to cut down on how many you really need. If you hang every mover and LED and use all dimmers, how many DMX addresses would you need? Nodes can be expensive and the Ion only has a few DMX ports. If yours is the new 4 output version then I would try to fit into those universes and send them all into the new Strand node if it has 4 ports.
  • Sebastian,

    The new 8 port rack mount node has two Ethernet ports - but I couldn't find any place in the manual or documentation that shows how to set one up for sACN (from the ION) and the other for ShowNET (out to the rest of the system).

    If that is possible - which is a question for Strand tech support- then you might be able to use the new node as a sACN to ShowNET converter.
  • In reply to tdrga:

    Having spent too much time dealing with this the past, lets start with some basic questions:

    1) how many universes are you using (and looking to use moving forward)
    2) Is there an N21 input at FOH?

    3) I assume the 8 port node is already configured with the appropriate IP information to match the existing system scheme. 

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