Luminex GigaCore Switches & LumiNode DMX Nodes
by Ash Nuendorf, High Impact Lighting.
Ash Nuendorf has been in professional lighting for more than 14 years, and established High Impact Lighting in 2015. High Impact Lighting work on a wide range of shows, from classical to rock concerts, the worship sector, and have recently covered outdoor theatre productions.
I’ve had mixed experiences with DMX nodes in my career. They all have their own minor weakness or eccentricities. But at High Impact Lighting, we recently had an incident where nodes locked up during an album recording for one of our church clients. Not good, and not something that I want to repeat. On high profile events, you can’t say to a client “Yeah, we’ve had that failure before!”
The Great Outdoors
Recently we’d been engaged to do the lighting for EkkaNites, part of the Royal Queensland Show. It is a mixed outdoor show in the arena with horses, monster trucks and fireworks. Not an especially complex lighting gig with only eight DMX universes, but the distances were huge as we had to get data to the four towers around the RNQ Showgrounds, as well as out into the middle.
The arena is an oval 160 metre by 180 metre paddock so it is a monster area to cover. We’ve used various Ubiquity wireless technologies in the past, but I’m increasingly uncomfortable sending mission critical data across wireless links with the radio spectrum congestion getting uglier nowadays.
I want my networks to be rock solid reliable.
This led me to look closely at the Luminex range of network switches and nodes. I came across them in the USA and they have a lot of good reviews over there.
I caught up with the PAVT guys at ENTECH Roadshow and said “let’s do something”. We now have in our inventory GigaCore 10s as well as some LumiNode 1s, 4s and 12s.
Delivery was going to be a critical issue for us. We had the gig coming up and this hardware was the crucial backbone of our entire production. To PAVT’s credit, I know they had some stock challenges due to model updates but they understood the nature of our order and got the gear to us in time.
Out of the Box
I took the gear home and programmed it up that night, ready for installation the next day. The first thing I noticed is that this gear is really built for the rigours of the road. They feel well-made and the packaging (which I’m generally not a fan of) hints of a quality product inside.
The Gigacore 10 switches are heavy! I chose the 10 version because that is the first model that features a fibre connection on either SmartBeam or Opticalcon connections.
A big feature for us is the PoE powering of the LumiNodes directly from the GigaCore 10 PoE enabled switch. This means less cable runs and connections, which of course means greater reliability.
A pleasing surprise was that every device shipped with a different IP address. Most devices ship with the exact same default IP address (usually 192.168.1.1) which means you cannot daisy chain the gear without having to manually change the IP on each device first.
The LumiNodes, with their unique IPs combined with the POE meant that all I had to do was connect them to the GigaCore and I was ready to configure my network.
An interesting feature of the LumiNodes is that they have a brain. That is, you can do protocol conversion on the fly in the box. For example Art-Net to sACN, DMX in to DMX out, DMX through etc. So in terms of nodes, it is best to think processing power, not just DMX.
The configuration is done via a web page. It is clear and easy to use. For our Ekka event, we had Art-Net, DMX of course with some RDM, Spot Track data as well data for lasers (they have their own protocol) and we even had video using NDI.
Our connections were a mixture of Cat5 and fibre using LC connections. We already have a lot of fibre terminated this way so it made sense to order the GigaCore switches with Opticalcon connections which are LC compatible.
Our control position was behind the 1st tower, and we ran Cat5 to the first LumiNode there. From that location, the next run was 140 metres so we ran fibre to the next GigaCore switch. We had primary and redundant networks and the video was eventually put onto its own VLAN using the same connections.
We ran the network for two weeks straight in a hot and dusty environment. The system was completely stable. We had one ongoing problem though – during the days, the show entrants would unplug the power to our remote GigaCore Switches to plug in their hairdryers to dry their cows and cats for showing! It doesn’t matter how much labelling or taping up, they still would do it!
Fortunately they were fairly easy faults to find because the power and data indicators on both the LumiNodes and GigaCores made it an easy process to trace the issues.
Luminex gear is well made and is designed to stand up to the abuse our industry dishes out. The built-in software is validated against all common protocols in the AV industry and it is firmware upgradeable, so it is future proof which is important to us. It is easy to configure and on our gigs, is rock solid!
Models: GigaCore 10, LumiNodes 1, 4 and 12
Product Info: www.luminex.be Australia and New Zealand: www.pavt.com.au
USB port also works as an ethernet dongle
2 processing engines & 1 DMX port
Ideal to use on any fly-bar in a fixed infrastructure or to be wall mounted
4 processing engines and 2 DMX ports
Mount one or two units in a 1U rack space
6 processing engines and 4 DMX ports
M10 insert and safety ear for truss mounting
Ethernet connectivity: 8 x Shielded Neutrik Ethercon connectors
Fiber connectivity: 2 x slot for rugged fibre connectors
Ethernet port speed: 1Gbps
Supported protocols: Dante©, RAVENNA/AES67©, Ethersound©, Q-LAN, REAC©, sACN, ArtNet, MANet2, HogNet, RTTrPL (BlackTraX), IEEE 802.1p CoS (Class of Service), DiffServ (DSCP), PoE (802.3af) (optional), PoE+ (optional), IEEE 1588 PTP V2
Ethernet compliance: IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u, IEEE 802.3x Flow Control, IEEE 802.3ab Gigabit Ethernet
19” rack unit with the highest density of DMX/RDM ports on the market
16 processing engines and 12 DMX ports
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