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To cut down on the amount of cat5 can you use a splitter at one controller to feed other controllers that are located in different areas. Im trying to avoid feeding one controller thats 100' away and then having to come back that same 100'(+ 50') to get to another controller.

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To cut down on the amount of cat5 can you use a splitter at one controller to feed other controllers that are located in different areas. Im trying to avoid feeding one controller thats 100' away and then having to come back that same 100'(+ 50') to get to another controller.

Make sure that you don't use a switch. LOR boxes can't use the Ethernet signal that comes out of a switch.

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To cut down on the amount of cat5 can you use a splitter at one controller to feed other controllers that are located in different areas. Im trying to avoid feeding one controller thats 100' away and then having to come back that same 100'(+ 50') to get to another controller.

You really do not want a splitter you want a RJ-45 male to 2 RJ-45 females and all pins are paralleled. That means all pin1's are tied together pin2's, etc.

Here is one: http://www.computercablestore.com/Cat5e_Splitter_PID8787.aspx

I used one last year and it worked great.

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I may have a similar situation that could be solved if the controlers do not have to be hooked up in order. In other words can I go from control 1 to 3 and then to 2?

Gary

The controllers do not have to be order. Even if they were, you could renumber each controller to put them in order.

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Here is one: http://www.computercablestore.com/Cat5e_Splitter_PID8787.aspx

I used one last year and it worked great.

The splitter on that site says that it "Supports one active connection at a time."

Would that mean even though you have two components hooked into it, only one will operate at a time?

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I was in the same boat. I want 4 places in town to find a CAT5 splitter, to find they don't exist. Finally my last stop, an electronics supply store, they told me they don't work well, if you can even find one, and said I was better off to just use another cable.

My situation is that I have 5 controllers, laid out in an 'L' pattern, and the center of the L is where is closest to where I intended to put my mini director (close to the window I was running the cable into. Because the controlers only have 2 ports each, the controler closest had both used, so I had to run from the closest end controler back tracking to where I could go into the window.

Good news is that if you chop around you can find good CAT5 cable for about $30 for 100 feet. I paid $20 for the 50' I needed.

It was either that or buy a bunch of components at lowes/HD and build my own "splitter" but it was going to cost me roughly $35. And no gurantee it would even work.

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Splitting the RS485 signal (which LOR, AL, and Renard uses) is not recommended and is unsupported. If you can get it to work, great, but if you do it and then have problems, that's the first thing to suspect...

Phew... Than I'm glad I didn't waste that much moola on building a splitter!

What's bad is that I already had a 25' and a 10' cable extra, but needed something longer. Live and learn. Buy longer cables to start with. They coil up neatly, but don't grow longer so well.

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I wonder if you run telephone wire to 1 controller, if you can use both of the RJ45 jacks as outputs with Cat5...

That's the same as a split. Once again, if it works for you, great, but it's unsupported and might cause problems. RS485 is supposed to be one long line (except for tiny on-board drops on the board for each controler)

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You are really looking for a RS485 data isolated splitter. Luckily DMX is based on the RS485 standard and a common DMX splitter should work. Looking at AL's documentation, I was able to find that there network only runs on 2 connectors of the CAT5 cable. Most DMX splitters are 5 wire so you should be covered. Here is a link to one of the industry leaders in DMX based devices. He also many other cool things that may be relevant to some of our setups...

http://www.dfd.com/

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Yeah Tim I realize it's the same as a split.. I'm wondering more if there's anything in the LOR card circuitry which would prevent it from working. If I wasn't all set up I'd test it, but I'm not running another 50 foot cable in to the mega tree just to try it out. ;)

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Couldn't you use something like this too? http://store.lightorama.com/uscoadwivobo.html

USB485B does allow 2 connections, but is designed for the connection from the PC to the first controller...

The way I read the issue is out where the controllers are it is needed to split and go 2 different directions.... the LOR RS485 network repeater would be more appropriate to make that split an not have any signal degreadation.

http://store.lightorama.com/rsnere.html

Edited by mnkyboy
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Yeah Tim I realize it's the same as a split.. I'm wondering more if there's anything in the LOR card circuitry which would prevent it from working. If I wasn't all set up I'd test it, but I'm not running another 50 foot cable in to the mega tree just to try it out. ;)

Nothing LOR does should prevent you from doing this, but it's not allowed per the RS485 industry standard. It might work, it might not. Some have gotten splits to work.

Yes, there is no difference between using a T-Tap as shown and adding another controller to the system. They are wired the same way for RS-485 use.

The difference is the "split" on the LOR board is less than an inch long, and the splits people want to do are dozens, maybe hundreds of feet long... That makes a big difference as far as signal dynamics go.

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Here is part of a white paper on DMX and splitting the signal. Although it is for DMX, it applies to this situation.

Splitting

Never split a DMX signal with a "wye" cable. Use a splitter device that buffers each line separately or daisy chain from device to device.

The problem with splitting the signal with a wye cable is that the signal going up one leg of the wye is reflected back down and corrupts the signal going down the other leg. The longer the legs of the wye, the worse the problem. A wye where each leg is 10 feet may work fine but may fail if the legs are increased to 100 feet. A lot has to do with the quality of the cable, the strength of the signal at the wye point, and your relationship with God.

If you must split the signal, and you don't have a buffered splitter, do it as close to the source as possible, i.e. at the console. If you have an isolator available, place the wye at the output of the isolator. If you have two isolators available, place the wye at the input to the two isolators (which is like making your own splitter).

If you wanna read more...

http://dfd.com/primer.html

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Phew... Than I'm glad I didn't waste that much moola on building a splitter!

What's bad is that I already had a 25' and a 10' cable extra, but needed something longer. Live and learn. Buy longer cables to start with. They coil up neatly, but don't grow longer so well.

What you are looking for is an RS485 hub, not a cat 5e splitter like the above link shows. You can use that device listed above, but only in one direction, from your computer to the controllers. Anything coming back from the controllers is likely to get garbled.

The Light-O-Rama USB485B is a two port hub connected to a USB cable. It would work fine in the center of that "L" configuration, with a cat5 cable going to one or the other of the two RJ45 connectors.

I have no experience with any of them, but I understand there are third party RS485 hubs available; you'll want a powered one that can buffer signals from the downstream devices (light controllers) so it won't garble the signals coming back from the controllers. The computer/MP3 director sends out control packets to all controllers; it's up tot he controller to look at the ID bytes in the packet to see if it should react to the command in that packet.

A more feasible (although more expensive) solution may be the ELL's - the Easy Light Linkers. If you're a kit builder, you might try the wireless products at http://diylightanimation.com/wiki/index.php?title=Equipment There's a member of the Christmas Carolina TASL group that is attempting to mix LOR and the DIY products to verify compatibility, other than the cable adapters that will be required. Going wireless will eliminate the need for the signal cable almost entirely

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  • 2 weeks later...

As Jack mentioned, there are RS485 hubs/splitter/repeaters. These are popular in the DMX/stage lighting world, since cable runs go 1000's of feet in all kinds of directions.

The DIY folks have designed some less expensive repeaters that isolate/repeat the segments, and retime the signal. These should work for AL, DMX, LOR, and just about anything that uses the RS485 signalling method.

Be aware that some repeaters are uni-directional, which means that they work in only one direction. That could be a problem if you expect your controllers to talk "back" to the PC. The AL ones do, and perhaps LOR and/or D-Lite do as well.

The thing about RS485 is that signals can get "reflected" back down the wire, and confuse the controllers unless it's properly terminated at the last controller in the chain. Many controllers (DMX, AL and possibly others) have a jumper or self-terminate when there isn't anything connected, but again, beware, as mixing controller types (LOR and Renard, for example, I've read elsewhere), can cause one or the other to not function. Putting a terminator at the end of the line is always required on DMX, but helps on others.

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