As the connected, smart-home movement expands, system integrators and installers are finding that professional products are the perfect solution for their various issues. Case in point: when integration/AV consultant Vincent Blake of MediaFLOW, LLC was asked to repair a one-of- a kind LED chandelier that was part of a residential project in Columbus, Ohio, his search for a solution led him to consider products designed for the professional lighting industry. “The chandelier had a lighting feature that was installed as a piece of the art that basically stopped functioning at some point in the project. So that’s when we had to investigate why,” he explains.
Blake looked inside the approximately 1.5’ by 9’ chandelier and decided that the only reasonable course of action was to simply re-work the internal electronics. “We knew that as soon as we touched it that it would become our baby— we would have to maintain it and do service calls potentially on it.”
In his search for the right parts, as well as the right supplier, Blake contacted ENTTEC Americas of Hillsborough, NC, and struck gold. He says, “ENTTEC had product, they were accessible, and they immediately sent us some samples.”
Time was critical, since the client had an event scheduled and the chandelier had to work. “We tried a few different things, and wrapped our heads around how we might be able to get this to work and worked with Jeremy to come up with a more comprehensive spec, which included the ENTTEC E- Streamer, and some other network options that we could then control down the road through both an iPad and potentially integrate into the overall automation system,” notes Blake.
The best solution included 477 ENTTEC 40MM Flat LED Dots. “We had to set the LED dots up so that there were nine different arrays of 53 LEDs, which we attached to a board so they would sit directly on top of each crystal. We used three different ENTTEC Pixie Drivers that hand off to their ODE modules,” comments Blake. The Pixie Driver is an all-in-one LED driver and power supply, and the ODE is a DMX to Ethernet module that can be used as either input or output.
Working with ENTTEC General Manager Jeremy Kumin, the team at MediaFLOW did some chandelier programming. “We have several different shows—cool washes, warm washes and a video captured of an American flag rippling with video that’s overlaid into a lighting program; that’s recorded into the ENTTEC E-Streamer,” says Blake. The ENTTEC E-Streamer Mk2 can play back an unlimited number of shows, and offers a playlist that allows show scheduling based on minute, hour, day and month time frames.
Currently, the LED chandelier is being run off of the E-Streamer Mk2 web-based control interface. Blake is hoping that will change soon, if things progress with home automation firm Savant Automation, Inc. “Savant has a profile for the ENTTEC ODE modules, but they don’t have profile for the E-Streamer Mk2 yet. We’re working with Savant to get that profile developed, and once that profile is developed, we’ll be able to control the on/off function of the shows, we’ll be able to select shows and hopefully set schedules,” he concludes.
The foray of ENTTEC products into the home automation market is a welcome one for the firm. Kumin explains, “Over the last several years we're increasingly seeing growth in the home automation market for some of the products we used to think of as being made for the entertainment industry. Installers and integrators who are coming at these assignments from the point of view of either AV system design or the more recently spawned smart-home trend, will come across projects where the DMX512 helps out immensely. While that's a protocol that we've been using in stage lighting for a couple of decades now, in some of the newer applications it's a fresh infusion of technology to solve problems that as little as 5 years ago people didn't realize they had. Methods of working with lighting control that are old standbys in a theatrical context appear new and fresh in a home, and this gives the project a boost, while using off-the-shelf solutions.”
In the end, the project was a success due to the hard work of everyone involved. “This was the type of project where we were literally working 24 hours straight to get everything buttoned down, and Jeremy hung in there with us to get the shows recorded and doing all sort of things remotely with us to make these projects work in our short time frame. It would have not happened without Jeremy and ENTTEC,” Blake concludes.
ENTTEC of Melbourne, Australia designs and manufactures innovative lighting control systems and LED lights for a variety of applications in and out of the entertainment industry. The firm has an extensive line of products, LED control products, RDM tools, LED drivers, DMX USB products and the Aleph line of LED lighting solutions. ENTTEC offers their loyal customers worldwide cost effective solutions and an unprecedented level of support.
ENTTEC Americas, based in Hillsborough, N.C., imports, distributes and services the North American market. For more information, go to www.enttec.com or contact Jeremy Kumin, general manager of ENTTEC Americas, at email@example.com or 888-454-5922.