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chamsys purchase and configuration choices


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Hi all,


This is a followup on my previous thread where I asked for advice on what desk to choose for my touring dance company.

We've chosen Chamsys, and now we're wondering about configuration.

Here is what we care about :


- we need a powerful system, that has an intuitive and pleasurable user interface, to be able to work quickly and enjoyably

- we are in a completely theatrical cue stack, traditional lights situation. so we need to be able to work quickly during focus and encoding cues, but during the performance we basically need just a theatrical cross-fader. Possibly a couple faders to make small live adjustements (for example small intensity changes in front lights), but not many.

- we absolutely want a synced live backup, and we are very intent on minimizing the points of failure.


When the MQ60 comes out, we'll certainly be purchasing it.


We need the ethernet to DMX interface on one end of the system, so we need to purchase that from Chamsys.


Right before that we need an ethernet switch. Chamsys sells a very expensive one. What do you think about purchasing theirs vs purchasing a normal ethernet switch ?


We need two systems running.


One could be laptop + PC wing.

The other laptop + touch screen.


Any particular advice regarding model of laptops to use ? I would tend to choose Macs nowadays, because of the quality construction, and I feel that they don't have heat / stability issues.


When we get the MQ60, the laptop+PC wing will become the backup.


Here are some questions :


- what are the best touch screens to buy for running Magicq ?


- do you recommend directly getting a touchscreen laptop, and if so which model ?


- how many / what power / model UPS, and what parts of the system should be connected to them ?


Thank you in advance for any advice you may have !





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1. I have used touchscreens with both chamsys and avo soft. No diff.Do not buy a touchscreen for "a device"


Buy a touchscreen to work with multiple devices.


2. Any off the shelf pc is powerful enuff


Dont be fooled by technology


3. Bear in mind DMX IN for submaster control from ikkle desk

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Don't waste your money on buying Macs. Whilst I love using them and own a couple myself they are simply overkill for Magic Q.


For the price of one Mac laptop you could buy two all in one touchscreen PCs and a couple of Peli cases to safely carry everything about in. Asia make a great range of all in one systems and I've successfully used them running 12 universes of DMX.


The Chamsys Ethernet switch is good but any gigabit switch will be fine.


Do you need a UPS? What are you going to do when the power fails to the building leaving you with no dimmers? If you really feel you need one then pretty much any rack mounted one will be fine for running your control equipment.


Don't forget to get a decent CAT5 multi plus a spare. VDC make their own and are usually cheapest.


Sounds like you're going to end up with a great system.

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Do you need a UPS? What are you going to do when the power fails to the building leaving you with no dimmers? If you really feel you need one then pretty much any rack mounted one will be fine for running your control equipment.



A small basic UPS should protect you from a 'glich' (New 'Banking Term' for corrupting all customers data, having no backup and taking weeks to fix) in the power which could reboot/crash your computer. A laptop would be OK in most cases without one, but the wing uses external power, maybe someone who has one could say how fast the wing boots if it loses power and (hopefuly not) if you have to restart MagicQ or the PC to get them to talk to each other again.

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Might be worth getting a touch screen laptop, because you can hinge the lid flat and this makes using the touchscreen easy for MQ.

And this solves the UPS problem. Two birds, one stone.!



This was my thoughts as well, but I had a quick look and could not find a touchcreen laptop with a decent size screen. A nice Panasonic Toughbook with touchscreen would be ideal if you were happy with the screen size and maybe an external touchscreen as well.

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But it doesn't solve the UPS 'problem' as your laptop may stay running, but you're still scuppered if the wing, DMX node and network switch lose power.


Personally I think you would be very foolish to build any control system without a UPS - for weight/cost reasons you may opt to reduce the number/capacity of UPS' by seperating certain elements off of it. But I would always keep at the very least the master (or the backup depending on which way round you choose to run your master and backup) on a continuous supply just in case! Yes, your LX desk going down and stopping the show isn't a safety critical issue, but given the cost of a UPS do you want to be the one who has to explain why it has gone dark, and will stay so or the next few minutes while you reboot?


Your opinion may obviously vary but I reserve the right to my opinion that you would be wrong!

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Hi guys,


Thanks for all the replies.


Regarding the UPS, I was thinking of "glitches", and I was also wondering if there might be some models that clean up the power signal.

Recently we were in an old theater in Buenos Aires, and the power was obviously not of the best quality, the more sophisticated machines seemed to be having quite a bit more bugs and hangs and various issues than usual.

Obviously if the power fails for the whole building it's no use to have just the lighting control still be online, but if it's just a partial failure, or a very short one, or some weird incident, I don't want our lighting control to be the last thing to come back online, or to have it be damaged.

I was actually thinking of putting the model of UPS in our rider for all our shows, so that wherever we go the venue will have some ready for us. So the weight won't be that much of an issue.

I did want to put the ethernet to DMX and switch on it also, so that they would have protection as well.


Anybody have any hands-on experience with a toughbook or other laptop with integrated touch-screen ?


@ScottishCol : what is an ikkle desk ? does it mean something like "whatever desk" ? If I understand you correctly you're suggesting we using the faders from whatever desk is already in the venue to add submasters via DMX in ?


@grum : is "asia" the brand ? did you mistype asus ? Thanks for the advice on the cable. Yes I'm hoping to end up with a great system, that will be light when we travel and robust during use, and that we will progressively be able to forget about the tech aspect, have it become intuitive, be more relaxed during lighting calls, and do ever better light work :-)

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If the venue power goes then yes... if however someone plugs something into the wrong part of your distro, or a lamp goes taking part of your rig but not all, then keeping your control up for whatever of your rig is still powered is rather more important.
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Do you really need a back up system?


it would save you a good few thousand pounds not having one. Iv done most academy type venues in the uk with no backup system in place and have been fine.

I understand the need for one but sometimes you do need to trust the desk you are spending the money on.

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Although a little OT and on the offshoot topic of power I believe Rezmu is concerned that in some locales the house power supply is a tad iffy and to avoid the egg-on-face-moment he wants a belts and braces system which will be "problem proof" in that if the power trips it won't take out his processors and cause his system to reboot last, so to speak.


I gather the aim is to have a system that carries on regardless until the local power is back on and his kit simply carries on regardless. Just how long his UPS has to work to cover the power outage is a moot point of course.


(In certain parts of the UK, eg Kernow, it is not unknown for power to be off for hours (doubtless duff English electricity...). By that time the audience has gone home and is in bed drinking a hot cocoa brewed on a gas hob...)

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Regarding the UPS, I was thinking of "glitches", and I was alsowondering if there might be some models that clean up the power signal.


Most good UPSs will do that. What you want is a 'On-Line / Double Conversion' or failing that a 'Line Interactive' UPS. What you don't want is a'Offline' UPS, these only switch over to battery when the voltage goes under or over a preset level and the switchover its self may cause a spike in thesupply. In saying that a Offline UPS is far better than no UPS. Needless to say there is a big difference in price between the different makes/type, with AP Cbeing the most common quality manufacture.


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