As entertainment, architectural and home-based audio-visual systems continue to converge along an Ethernet backbone, we've encountered more and more systems where a Crestron or AMX automation controller must drive DMX-based fixtures or dimmers.
Because these controllers operate at a relatively high interface level - only issuing commands when a change is required - they are not well suited to producing a streaming protocol like DMX. Unfortunately, they are most often asked to control LEDs, which are particularly unforgiving of imperfect or slow DMX.
The Pathway Network Fade Processor (NFP) provides a solution. Sitting on the Ethernet wire, and acting as an interpreter between high level commands and a standard Pathport gateway, the NFP removes the computational overhead from the Crestron or AMX controller, while ensuring the Pathport gateway maintains a clean and adequate DMX refresh rate.
Using unicast UDP as the transport layer, the NFP receives easy to program text-string commands from the user's front end, converts them to Pathport Protocol xDMX, which the Pathport gateway then transmits as DMX to the end devices. The NFP must be used in conjunction with at least one regular Pathport gateway.
Unlike RS232 serial converters, which can only address a single universe of DMX, each NFP will handle up to 1024 channels out of a possible pool of 32,768 channels (64 universes), and multiple NFPs can exist on one network. A regular Pathport output gateway is required to send the DMX to the end equipment, but there is no limit to the number of output gateways on the network.
- Control up to 1024 DMX channels, non-contiguous, from a range of 64 universes
- Multiple NFPs may reside on the same network
- Requires separate Pathport output gateway to provide DMX
- No limit to number of output gateways
- Simple command structure
- Compatible with any controller capable of sending ASCII text strings via UDP unicast (Crestron, AMX and most automation controllers)
- Handles all fade algorithms and maintains DMX refresh
- 1024 simultaneous fades possible
- Power-over-Ethernet or 24VDC operation
- Power-over-Ethernet Class 1 device - 4W maximum
- Operating Conditions: -10 to +50°C, 5-95% relative humidity, non-condensing
- IEEE 802.3af Power over Ethernet
- USITT DMX512 –1990 ANSI E1.11 DMX512-A R2013
- E1.20 RDM - Remote Device Management
- E1.31 sACN - streaming ACN
- RoHS 2002/95/EC
- Class 2 Low Voltage
The automation controller sends a text string via UDP to port 3793 of the NFP (network fade processor). The NFP calculates the fade curve described by the command and generates corresponding Pathport Protocol xDMX data, containing the channel level information. The packets are broadcast back onto the network. Any Pathport gateway patched to those data channels will output the appropriate DMX levels to the end equipment. The controller, NFP and output Pathport gateway are connected together using a standard Ethernet switch, such as the VIA10, in a star-wiring topology.
Pathport D-Series Gateway with two internal user-configured DMX ports