Moog Animatics, a division of Moog Inc., has designed custom Class 5 SmartMotor firmware to accept DMX protocol – bringing the benefits of fully integrated motion control to the entertainment industry.
DMX512 is a standard for digital communication that’s most often used in entertainment to control lighting and stage effects. A single DMX controller has 512 8-bit channels (commonly called a ‘universe’) with each channel capable of controlling color, focus, intensity, on/off, pan and tilt and more.
Custom DMX firmware allows the SmartMotor to be programmed by the user to read any range of channels and ignore channels not assigned. Adding additional axes to a machine is simple with the SmartMotor and requires minimal cabling. Multiple SmartMotors on the same network can read separate or overlapping DMX channels where multiple channel ranges can be read and data can be stored in variables to set parameters for motion.
Not only does the DMX capability simplify programming but all SmartMotor advanced motion control features such as phase offset, cubic spline interpolation and advanced gearing and camming can be triggered off of the DMX input. As fully integrated motion control benefits include smaller machine footprint and reduced cabling, the odds of DMX false triggers from electromagnetic interference or extensive cable lengths are greatly reduced.
For example, if one wants to know the position of a theater light, they would assign the DMX controller a channel for that data and then program the base address in the SmartMotor aligned with that particular channel. The user can then write a program and indicate that array variable in the SmartMotor, calling out a subroutine or assigning corresponding parameters in the motor including position, velocity, acceleration, torque, and more. The entire motion control system becomes more compact with no control cabinet needed and axes can be easily added without the limitations of choosing a 4-, 6- or 8- axis controller.