I'm a frequent visitor and sometime contributor to a forum group called
geared toward high-school and college kids interested in theatre
technology, but there are quite a few very knowledgeable professionals
who hang out and offer guidance as well. It's a good bunch of
people, working on the idea that "all of us is smarter than some of
us." While I'm a heavy-duty electronics geek, I'm still
pretty-much a neophyte when it comes to actually lighting a stage -
I've learned a lot there.
Some of the kids are really into electronics as well. This
construction project is the result of a discussion on the order
of "gee, it would be nice if I could build a little handheld gadget I
could control a few channels with, so I'm not running back and forth
from the stage to the booth while I'm trying to focus and adjust the
lights." It's basically an eight-channel, one scene controller,
but the eight channels it controls can be placed anywhere in the 512
addresses of a DMX-512 universe.
Disclaimer - As a little, fun "side project" I didn't spend a lot of
time testing it - there may be a few bugs in it - but I did build a
prototype and get it to control an American DJ PocketScan intelligent
lumiere. I also didn't go into construction details - I figure a
true geek should be able to organize the parts on a piece of perf-board
well enough. All I'm providing is a schematic,
the program source and theory of operations.
It's built around a Philips 87LPC767
microcontroller, a little 20-pin chip with a microprocessor, A to D
converter, RAM, ROM, a couple timers and a UART (...and a partridge in
a pear tree!) built-in.