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BriTeq DMS 26 - DMX Splitter / Isolator / Merger / Lifesafer!
The invaluable DMS-26 belongs in every lighting setup although not many people know or understand why they need one or how it works. DMX can be a fussy protocol where the smallest bit of electrical interference or foreign signal intrusion interrupts it and DMX stops working.
2012-06-29 - by Travis Vermuelen
It does not stop there either - bad equipment earth can also pose potentially fatal risks to equipment. With bad earthing, foreign electrical current can be introduced down the DMX cable, damaging components that control DMX. This can be avoided with a DMS-26 in the DMX line.
But how does it work?
The DMS-26 is a 3-in-1 component that ensures DMX chain stability, free from interference. The DMS-26 acts as a splitter, isolator and merger.
This function is used to distribute the DMX signal over the 6 available outputs. The splitter first accepts the signal from the controller, monitors its strength, and then ensures the correct signal is sent to the output at a stable voltage. This in turn ensures the communication from the controller is instantaneous and uninterrupted.
The DMS-26 also isolates each of the outputs from one another. This is essential for three reasons:
If a DMX line had to fail for some reason (for example, a faulty fixture) then that line is isolated from the remaining outputs.
If a faulty fixture in the DMX chain had to introduce excessive electrical current into the chain, the DMS-26 will then dump that excessive voltage to earth, thus avoiding potential damage to units on the other outputs.
In many cases, different brands of lights are used in a chain. Using these different fixtures in a chain can play havoc on the DMX signal and potentially halt it. By splitting and isolating these various fixtures, the DMX signal can be preserved and will function correctly.
Not often used, this function remains useful in both large and small setups.
In larger setups, the merger allows the user to connect two separate controllers - a primary and a backup. Once connected, the DMS-26 will only accept the primary signal. The moment this signal is lost, the DMS-26 will switch to the backup signal to ensure continuity. This function allows the engineer to find and remedy faults without interrupting the show.
For smaller shows, two small controllers can be connected into the chain, for example, one for "intelligent" and the other for generic lights. When the controllers are connected, the second controller gets its own start address to match the first fixture that will be used on it. The controllers can be independent of each other and control their intended fixtures correctly. This is a very useful feature for simplifying installations at schools and churches that need simple controllers on a small budget.
The DMS-26 splitter/merger is a tool that should be used in every lighting situation, large and small, as DMX is what it is regardless of the size of the lighting rig.