Exhibit has a wide ranging remit, essentially inspired by a need for an easy way to interface lighting, sound video etc in a museum or gallery, or interactive performance. This project was inspired by the 5sq XGO I used for the War Horse Exhibition, and also incorporates the features of the MIDI to DMX bridge. I have designed Exhibit to be as flexible as possible:

• 84 contact closure inputs (expandable) for switches etc.
• MIDI out – programmable Notes, Controllers, SysEx, MSC etc
• DMX 512 in and out – control lights, trigger consoles, media servers.
• Analogue sensor cards can be fitted to allow environmental sensing etc.
• LCD display shows status of inputs and outputs.
• Internal logic – The unit can be programmed to do useful things eg lockout inputs until an event, AND, OR, NOT sort of operations of inputs can simplify programming of installation.

• Inputs are via RJ45 connectors, allowing use of cheap network cable for large installations
• ExhibitTerminal is a RJ45 to terminal block PCB – for easy connection of switches to network cable.
• Internal PSU for easy and secure installation.

Missing your Strand 500?

For those of us who are occasionally ridiculed for referring back to the desk that we once knew and loved, I have bodged this Strand Designers keypad to work with the ETC EOS. Kindly donated by a friend this original designers remote has 71 actual Cherry keys, with the familiar click of a Strand 500 console, not a nasty membrane keypad in sight. The device was originally used with a 510i backup unit or a designers PC so you didn’t have to remember the shortcut keys. These shortcuts are embedded in the hardware, with a single PS/2 connection to the device you wanted to control.

I have removed the original PS/2 cable and implanted a Teensy2.0 USB microcontroller, allowing me to remap the Strand keys to EOS functions, and use a normal USB connection to a EOS PC or console. Wait becomes Follow. Preview becomes Blind. You get the idea. Its just for fun… but you could use it for a bit of offline programming. Or just to remember what nice keys felt and sounded like.

Buttons! – Enclosed!

Steel enclosures for the 4×2 button interface have arrived from HOLT Broadcast. This project might now appear on a production desk near you.

Remote controlled alarm: Metamorphosis

Practical projected – Alarm clock on stage with switch, wirelessly controls bell unit. Both units have a button that can start and stop the alarm ringing. The remote bell unit also has an auxiliary contract closure input to allow cabled control. Actor can stop ringing bell, started by Stage Management, or vice versa.

new radio dimming boards have arrived!

New version of 3 channel radio dimmers have arrived. Similar to the original model, 3 channels of remote controlled PWM dimming suitable for LED tape etc but this time improved with a double sided PCB, an addressing button and greater dimming capacity.

The boards construction will mean that the interface between the terminals and the PCB is much stronger, so failures due to over tightening should be lessened.

The first version of these boards controlled the LED Orbs you can find in another entry.


Latest project is 8 good quality programable buttons. Plug into your computer or console via USB. It can press keyboard keys (to suit any lighting online/offline software package) or MIDI via USB, to interact with Qlab etc. The original idea came from a need to give a Lighting designer a remote to navigate his channel display screens. Just needs a box…..anyone with CNC facilities, please call!


This project has been on the table in various prototypes for about two years now. It started as a need for a way to measure current usage in a venue were we were on the edge of what was available. It has been through a number of different hardware iterations and here is the latest one. It is able to measure current and voltage across three phases, log and display the results through an internal webserver. The eventual aim is to allow Midi Show Control input so that the current consumption per cue can be evaluated.

Current sensing input is via three 300A capacity current clamps. It needs a live feed from each phase, that could be 3 16A supplies. It has a LCD display so that it can work as standalone, or you can plug into a standard network and investigate the results via a web interface – graphs etc.

Still lots of work to do on the, but for the moment this is a working prototype that hopefully I can start some experimental logs with on a show soon.

Prototype shown at the Green Lighting Social 15th Jan:

ArtNet to Video pixels.

This application takes five universes of ArtNet and turns them in to RGB values for squares. You can choose the square size from 1 to 100 pixels, and how many squares are on each row. For turning a console output into something you can use for VersaTUBE.

Mini DMX Tester: STATE

This project has been on the table for a very long time, and probably will continue to be developed as it still has incomplete features.

The idea was to create a better DMX tester. There are five modes,
DMX State – Where each channel level is retained and a state can be created.
Chan Check – Channel @ Level Rem Dim.
Autofade – A sine wave is applied to the chosen channel.
Autofade range – A sine wave is applied to a number of channels in sequence.
DMX in – Displays 8 channels per page.

The unit has a tiny OLED screen, and a LiPo battery charged by a mini usb socket on the side.

As it hold the state, it could be used to replace a lighting desk in one of those “we just need to turn the LEDs on” sort of situations.

Developments to include:

Storing of more than one state.
DMX in socket.
Better housing.

NEW, board, enclosure, and in production for sale! – see here…


MIDI to DMX – Why??
Because sound people want to control things too! Developed for Tom Hackley @HAVE this unit takes MIDI Control Changes and converts their values into DMX levels. As MIDI is only half the resolution of DMX, the MIDI data is doubled.

TouchEmulate – update


I have been working on some software to do keyboard emulation for iPad. You can use it to emulate the facepanel on your console for use with your offline editor.

Previously I have done this with hardware (see other TouchEmulate projects). This time I did it entirely in software, so you just run a little app underneath your software. Here are some pics of it working with the ETC EOS and my iPad. I am using the TouchOSC software from Hexler on the iPad to talk to my mac application.

Email me if you want to try it.

Instructions here

Camera Flash?

Flash Box – Does what is says. Inserted this into an old camera flash gun for ‘Bartered Bride’ at the Peacock Theatre.

5Sq. – XGO Mini for WarHorse Exhibition

I have supplied and installed a 25 button to MIDI interface for the Warhorse exhibition in the National Theatre. The button interface takes input from 25 buttons mounted in a wall and fires a Qlab computer to playback an interview of choice to listeners on headphones.

The unit is based on the XGO Mini project for Have Sound.

Wireless colour changing orbs!

I have recently supplied 10 wirelessly colour changing LED orbs to Walk the Plank and lighting designer Adam Povey. The orbs were used in their ‘Sparks Will Fly’ event in Chelmsford, part of a festival to mark the passing of the Olympic Torch through Essex. The orbs were controlled from the lighting desk as part of the main lighting design. One descended by parachute in the hands of a Red Devil.

LED Birdie

So i’ve got bored of the flickering birdie transformers, the plugs that are almost as big as the lamps, and the socca spider on the front of the stage just to get a bit of nice looking foot light.

Behold the LED Birdie.

Powered from your 24V scroller PSU, the birdie has a 4 pin XLR in and out (just like a scroller) so you can loop them together with your existing 4pin scroller cable. Inside is a tiny DMX decoder and LED dimmer. The birdie takes one of the new 12V MR16 high-power LED Lamps. Addressing is set with a single switch (operated by paper clip) – Set the channel and only that channel to be used 50% or more on your console or DMX tester and press the button. Done!

Depending on your PSU, you should be able to run a fairly serious amount on one line, due to the tiny current requirements.

I will be using these this summer with a car battery instead of a scroller PSU, for a bit of mains free dimmable, easily controllable light.

These are some photos of the first run of birdies. They were used to light Goat and Monkeys ‘The Seed’ project in a yurt in Wakehurst Place Gardens, East Sussex.