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Zero 88 Lightmaster XLS DMX Problems


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I had a small problem with setting up for a show in the week ,as the show has gone and I don't expect to be using the venue again, it's not that important now, but it has been bugging me for the past few days. Please help me sleep at night!!!


Venue: Nice schooll hall - reasonably well equiped - control is via Lightmaster XLS into Crown(Furse) dimmers - 24 Channels - DMX 5pin XLR.


However as I had a couple of movers, some DMX controls to Star cloth, haze and mirror ball I took my Fat Frog in. The set up is to use one of the DMX outputs on the Frog to feed all my DMX kit and the other to feed the Schools dimmers. I use an identical setup at another venue which I regually use. (Also with a XLS and CRown Dimmers, Furse were big in east midlands schools!)


Problem: Cannot drive the the school dimmers from the Frog in any way, shape or form. So thinking there may be a problem with the socket on the dimmer rack (ie a cross), used the schools DMX cable to connect Frog to Dimmers - still no action. Tried feeding the schools dimmer from the DMX splitter on my DMX kit, with mine and their cable, still no good.


Solution: turn into an octapus and run two lighting desks and a mixer.


Any ideas about what I might have missed? Interestingly the XLS had a 5 pin XLR on the rear - I seem to rember others having a DIN plug (could the cross be here?)




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The Lightmaster XLS can have the DMX addresses that it outputs the 24 channels to remapped, in the 'superuser' menus, so it is a possible addressing issue. You would need to check what addresses the DMX dimmers were set up as, before you could remap your frog to control them if that is the problem.


The 8 pin DIN connectors were for analogue control of dimmer packs. The version of this desk that I have in my warehouse has both the (4) DIN connectors and the 5-pin XLR DMX connector fitted, although I don't know if this was standard on all Lightmaster Desks.


Hope this may help



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Just a quick suggestion, why don't you take the Lightmaster XLS to where the dimmers are located and then plug the first dimmer ONLY into the chain check it works, if so move onto the next dimmer and so on, then you can find out whether there is an address conflict,


If this still doesn't work try starting the chain with the other dimmers to check the sockets on the dimmer as you suggested,


If none of the above work, then my advice would be the same as Peter chivers, to check the super user because I used a lightmaster XLS once and there are modes that the desk can be put into that they only power alternate channels, make sure that the DMX patch is right. The manual provides everything you should want to know about the DMX patching.


Also when you are trying the first steps maybe change the cable or check the cable that you are using to make sure it can fully Send/Receive DMX


Hope This Helps



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The Lightmaster XLS can have the DMX addresses that it outputs the 24 channels to remapped, in the 'superuser' menus, so it is a possible addressing issue. You would need to check what addresses the DMX dimmers were set up as, before you could remap your frog to control them if that is the problem.

It's a straightforward matter to check the DMX patching of an XLS.


Simply set the Mode switch to Patch DMX.


There are two soft patch memories and the Memory Control Display will indicate which one is selected - P1 or P2. (Pressing the Go button will toggle between the two patches).


Now pressing the Page + & - buttons will step forwards and backwards through the DMX channels (starting from 1). For each DMX channel the preview lights (above the A faders) indicate which desk channel (if any) is driving the DMX channel - yellow for dimmer channels (controlled by the faders) and red for Auxiliary memory channels (Aux/Colour section).


Take care not to press any of the channel flash buttons - since these are used to re-patch DMX channels. (One press selects dimmer channel (yellow LED), a second press Aux channel (red LED) and a third unpatches the DMX channel).


If DMX soft patching is not the problem then there are some other possibilities.

  1. The DMX standard is for pins 1, 2 & 3 of the XLR to be connected to 0V, Data+ and Data- respectively. Some DMX equipment however operates with the data lines inverted. It's possible that this may be the case with the Furse dimmers and that the connections to pins 2 & 3 of the XLS' DMX output have been swapped over internally.
  2. Some older DMX equipment cannot respond as fast as modern standard equipment and the XLS has a setting (in Superuser mode) that inserts pauses between successive DMX channel bytes. This option is labelled as Fd (Fast DMX) and options are on and no for fast and slow respectively. The Frog desk doesn't appear to have the delayed option so that if this is your problem then you are probably stuffed.
    (There's also an issue with DMX break time - the 1986 standard was for 4μs and the 1990 standard 8μs. The XLS has a Superuser option to switch between the two whereas as the Frog doesn't but I've no idea whether this could be a problem).
  3. It's possible that there may be a break in one of the DMX lines between the desk and the dimmers. If this occurs then behaviour is unpredicatable - sometimes the dimmers will work perfectly, sometimes erratically and sometimes not at all. You may also find that terminating the DMX line can make the problem worse. It's just possible that you may have such a problem and the XLS produces sufficient amplitude (or perhaps is using the slow DMX setting) to continue to drive the dimmers whereas the Frog can't. Trouble-shoot this by moving the desk to the dimmers and connecting directly with a known good cable.

Note that the Lightmaster XLS manual is available for download from the Zero88 website.



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  • 1 year later...

Hi Simon


I have the exact same problem, infact I have a feeling that you were in the same school.

1, Don't plug the lightmaster into furse dimmers, it will fry channels, learnt that the hard way.

2, furse haeve their own protocol (FMX) hence the problem above. Sends power backwards. It is also not anolog. I tried a DMX to anolog convertor. No good.

3, I have search the web for a way to get DMX working with FMX and in short it is much cheaper to throw the dimmers away.


Hope this helps set your mind at ease, all be it late.


All the best


Ryan (not Ryandell)

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