Robe Technical Newsletter July 2019 - maintenance and regular inspections, GDTF libraries and other updates
This is a large and important list of news and updates to the user and support documentation, certification, software packages and others, since the last Technical Newsletter. Please read it carefully, mainly the Regular maintenance and inspection section, Documentation and also Software Updates section.
Regular maintenance and inspections
In order to ensure highest quality light output, best performance but also safe operating environment, we need to remind you about performing regular maintenance and inspections of all devices. Make sure that devices are clean, dust free - especially on the optical path but also inside the base, ensure that air filters are clean allowing free airflow for proper cooling and operation. Also, ensure that there are no damages on the plastic covers, compromising their fixation and further safety. Any cracked or otherwise damaged cover needs to be immediately replaced. Pay extra attention to the front lens and it's plastic parts. Please do check user manual of each particular device for details about maintenance, cleaning and inspections.
We recommend to perform regular checkups every two/three months and it is very important to check all fixtures in all applications including rental and fixed installations.
Regular flow of software updates is automatically appearing in the ROBE Uploader, where you can easily see new updates and also list of changes for each software update. The ROBE Uploader is able to auto-update itself, latest version is 4.2 so please make sure to check that this is the version you are using. If you have some older version installed (for example 2.x or 3.x) you might have to uninstall it and use the latest installer.
LED Frequency adjustment
We have been implementing LED frequency adjustment settings into newly developed devices but also in some of the existing products. This allows you to select and fine-tune LED driving frequency. Please check User Manuals and DMX charts for details, we have already implemented and released it for these devices: CycBar 12, CycBar 15, Patt Driver, Spiider, Tarrantula, T1 fixtures (Profile, Fresnel, PC...), SuperSpikie, LEDBeam 150. It is important to mention that this is a power tool with some effect to color temperature stability and requires careful considerations when applying.
Http web server
We have been implementing web based interface to remotely check and adjust parameters and personality settings via web browser. This has been added into newly developed devices but also in some of the existing products, like T1 and BMFL fixtures. It is especially useful for cases where there is only network based connection to the fixtures - for example when using sACN DMX transmission, and while it doesn't replace the multi-device automation based workflow of RDM, it provides a very convenient way of viewing and adjusting personality settings, with some icing on the cake like DMX capture, to see real DMX data as received by the device.
Regular software updates
Many fixtures have received software updates with small and large improvements (like the above mentioned frequency adjustments or the web server), bug fixes and corrections, so generating a full list would only duplicate the list in Robe Uploader. As always, we do recommend to keep fixtures up to date with latest updates to ensure that they contain the latest features, fixes and improvements.
RoboSpot and Motion Camera
We have improved many details in regards to RDM communication between lighting fixtures, splitters and converters. The BaseStation uses new modern visual theme. Multi Device Control system and setup assistant have been enhanced to support up to five calibration points on the stage, allowing us to calculate device location with much higher precision. Color picker can now display values for the selected color.
Also, there has been a small but important update for the MotionCamera, allowing the devices to be patched at DMX address above DMX 500.
General Device Type Format - GDTF libraries
As you know, we have been spending a lot of energy on improving the situation with fixture types/libraries for DMX desks and have been developing the General Device Type Format (GDTF) together with MA Lighting and VectorWorks. This is an open standard that allows describing of lighting fixtures in a way that any DMX desk can implement and utilize. You can find more details and info on the gdtf-share.com website, including full specification, introductory videos and also software to create these files - Fixture Builder, together with a database of existing libraries. As the work on Fixture Builder has been progressing, allowing us to improve our files, we would like to move to another stage of testing and invite you to have a look at the files we have been creating, to further help us with testing. These files can already be tested in MA3 software and in near future, converter from GDTF to MA2 libraries, developed by MA lighting, will also be available, allowing us to re-use our work in the most effective way. We have established a dedicated support address for the GDTF files: firstname.lastname@example.org . See some illustration screenshots below.
ROBE COM NFC personality access and mobile app
Together with the release of iPointe®, we have introduced an NFC (Near Field Communication) based access to our fixture's settings. The iPointe is the first Robe unit equipped with the NFC chip, providing users with access to parameters and personality settings via mobile device. This feature does not require the fixture to be powered on and even the display can remain off. Besides adjustment of DMX address, DMX modes and all other personality settings it also features a Patch assistant for quick patch of consequent devices. The companion mobile app is available in the Android Play Store as well as in the Apple App Store. At this point, parameters readout is available on all devices supporting NFC, writing to NFC works only on platforms which support this feature. See some illustration screenshots below.
Our documentation online is also constantly being updated so make sure to always download/synchronize latest versions.
We have also released multiple new or updated Technical Bulletins including TB64 MegaPointe Calibration and TB65 Viva CMY PCB D heat foil.