New Product Review: City Theatrical- DMXcat

By Andrew Quinones on Mar 14, 2017


We recently added City Theatrical‘s DMXcat to NewLighting.com and were excited to test it out!

The DMXcat is designed for the lighting professional who is involved with the planning, installation, operation, or maintenance of theatrical and studio lighting equipment. The system consists of a small hardware interface device and a suite of mobile applications. Together, they combine to bring DMX/RDM control plus several other functionalities to the user’s smartphone. The DMXcat operates on both Android and iPhones.

We used 4 Chauvet Rogue R1 Wash fixtures and an iPhone 6 to make a quick demo video of the DMXcat.

NOTE: Since we used an iPhone to demo the DMXcat, we couldn't test the Light Meter and RF Spectrum Analyzer features.

Hardware

The DMXcat’s interface device is a compact battery powered unit which fits easily in a pocket or tool pouch or may be worn on a belt. It uses Bluetooth LE technology for communication with the smartphone/applications (up to 35’ range). Without the limitations of being physically connected, the user can move about the workspace as needed with his/her smartphone and run the various apps while still using the phone for on-the-job communication. The device’s 5 pin XLRF connector/cable asembly allows it to be connected to a point in a DMX data chain to allow testing and or control of the various DMX/RDM channel functions. It is charged using a standard USB to Micro-USB cable and charger.

Applications

The DMX Controller app allows you to control 512 channels of DMX data. Two different user interfaces are included. The first emulates a conventional slider control arrangement such as is found on many simple manual lighting controllers. Touch and swipe gestures control the various level adjustments. Users can work with and easily switch between screens displaying 8, 64, or 512 (Live View) channels of information. For those who prefer a numeric based interface similar to what is found on a full sized lighting console, command line instructions can be input using familiar keypad and thumbwheel controls. An active 16 channel display provides current channel status. With either interface, users can adjust/work with indivdual, groups, or ranges of channels, record and play presets, customize names, and display levels as %, decimal, or hex values.

The Fixture Controller app has been designed to serve as a setup and test tool for the vast selection of lighting fixtures in use today. Many of today’s moving light fixtures use over 40 channels of DMX control data, and can be configured to operate in a dozen or more modes (profiles). This can make it difficult to identify a particular channel’s function when setting up or testing a fixture with a small DMX controller. Using an extensive built in database of manufacturers, fixtures, and operational profiles, users can easily select and assign the fixture’s attributes and starting address, and a control interface specific to the fixture is displayed for testing its features. The various fixtures/personalities may be saved as “favorites” for future reference. When connected to an RDM enabled fixture, DMXcat identifies the fixture’s address and attributes and loads its control interface automatically.

DMX Tester - Connect the DMXcat to a point in a DMX data chain and view DMX information and levels. Parameters of the controller’s transmitted DMX signals may be adjusted and parameters of received DMX signals may be viewed including: Break Time, Mark After Break, Inter-slot, Mark Before Break, Number Of Slots, and Refresh Rates. A Flicker-Finder function is included for identifying intermittent problems within the data network. 

The RDM Controller is an application designed to control RDM enabled fixtures. Features include:

•Control & monitoring of RDM devices

•Full discovery- detects and generates a list of all RDM devices.

•Detects all sub devices for a selected device

•Shows all supported parameters

•Shows descriptions for all PIDs •GET and SET for all PIDs (even user defined)

•Monitors fixtures for any sensors with easy to view info

The DIP Switch Calculator app is an indispensable tool used in the conversion of numeric values to their binary equivalents. Used when configuring DIP switches for setting DMX channels and other fixture parameters, users simply enter a three digit numeric value and its corresponding DIP setting is displayed. Both the numbering order and reading direction can be reversed to match the switch orientation as needed.

All-in-all this is a great tool to have in your toolbox. We let our 4Wall moving light techs play with it, and they were really impressed with the responsiveness of the DMXcat. There was little to no lag time when using the fixture controller app, and the app was simple to use and has a wealth of useful features.  This tool will be an indispensable resource for people in the lighting industry.

For more information on this new tool or to purchase your own, visit NewLighting.com.

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