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Thread: Choices of Control Software & DACs - what combinations work?

  1. #1
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    Default Choices of Control Software & DACs - what combinations work?

    Just a quick question regarding how one achieves the analogue RGB colour selection & blanking, & what combinations of Control Software & DAC work?

    So the control software running on the laptop (e.g. Pangolin) generates the 'data' to control the laser & galvos, which is then passed to the external DAC via a USB lead?

    The DAC then converts this data into analogue voltages of say 0v to +- 5v for each of the X & Y galvos? Presumably using some 8 bit DAC ICs. These voltages are passed to the projector via a standard ILDA connector/pin out? Somehow the R, G & B analogue modulation voltages of 0 to +5v for 0 to 100% are also present within this connector? Are there extra DACs present to generate these? ( Some laser modules e.g CNI from GoldenLasers appear to have strange modulation characteristics, like TTL signals running at 0 to 30kHz instead of the analogue 0 to +5vdc?).

    These X & Y galvo & the RGB analogue modulation voltages pass to the projector, possibly going through an ILDA Break-Out Box, before being distributed to the galvo drive boards & the R, G & B laser modules?

    Thus the control software on the laptop is in direct control of all aspects of the R, G & B intensity levels & the X & Y position of the galvo scanners?

    If that is fundamentally the way things are done, what are the options for DAC & Control Software? The choice of these are the only components of the system that can vary, if everything downstream of the ILDA standard connector is built iaw the ILDA Standard Projector.

    So examples I know of are Pangolin Quickshow running with their FB1 DAC, but there must be others, like LSX & Popelscan Control Software & RIYA, Norms & other DACs.

    Just wondering how/what the combinations of Control Software & DACs are if I want to run blanked RGB graphics or multicoloured beam shows. Especially any freeware/open source or budget configurations, like this iShow I keep seeing on eBay!

    Many thanks,

    Simon B.

  2. #2
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    "We thought our liFe by aN allegory with a jOurney, with a pilgRimage, which haD a serious purpose at the end, the thing was to get to that end. Success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after your death. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing, or dance, while the music was being played."

  3. #3
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    Ok. This is one of those questions that splits people into two camps on here... like PC vs Mac.

    Pangolin make various software, the cheapest/most common being Quickshow, but also Beyond, LivePRO and LD2000. These run their FB3 or QM dacs.
    I and many others use this. It's pretty stable and Quickshow is easy to get started with, though can be limiting if you try to make custom graphic animations... Beyond is more expensive but much more complete and complex package if you need it to be, or it can pretend to be a slightly beefed up Quickshow... (please don't shoot me Pangolin, I know there's plenty more to Beyond than this!)

    The other camp is LSX and etherdream or ryia(?) DAC.
    LSX is a cheaper option, but needs a little thinking about before you get the most out of it. There's guys on here that can do amazing stuff with LSX, but even they will admit the GUI is a bit intimidating to start with.
    I've played with the demo and it looks almost as capable as Beyond to the layman/uneducated amateur like me... but I decided to go the Pangolin route because Quickshow was so easy-to-use as a 'my first laser' package.

    So far I've not regretted my choice, but tomorrow's a new day...

    One thing to note however... Pangolin's dacs (with maybe the exception of the QM series, I m not sure...) only work with Pangolin software. Also, as far as I know, Pangolin software won't control a third party DAC...

    Other software includes Spaghetti, LaserBoy, Moncha, Phoenix and iShow...

    Stay away from iShow!! You may as well burn your money from what I've heard about it!

    Moncha comes from German company MediaLas I believe. It looks ok... but just ok frankly. Saying that, I think it's had a serious overhaul since I saw a demo, so may be worth a look... I'm sure someone will chime in with more info on it.
    It's used professionally in it's latest iteration by a few people so can't be that bad.

    Phoenix was a LaserWorld distributed product? and looked quite interesting... so interesting in fact, Pangolin bought the rights to the software and the programming team. It's now under the Pangolin banner and may be sometime soon made compatible with the current Pangolin range.. Or maybe not.

    LaserBoy and Spaghetti are written by active forum members here. LaserBoy is, I believe, free and open source. Don't know about spaghetti.
    I think you can build your own dacs for these by modding a pc soundcard if you have basic electronic and soldering skills...

    Umm... there's probably plenty more options out there and I'm sure there's many more opinions than just mine. Others will chime in with theirs soon enough!
    But I hope that'll get you started!
    If in doubt... Give it a clout?

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    Quote Originally Posted by WookieBoy View Post
    Moncha comes from German company MediaLas I believe. It looks ok... but just ok frankly. Saying that, I think it's had a serious overhaul since I saw a demo, so may be worth a look... I'm sure someone will chime in with more info on it.
    It's used professionally in it's latest iteration by a few people so can't be that bad.
    Moncha and its big brother, Fiesta, are made by Showtacle. I think they are based out of Slovenia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnYayas View Post
    Moncha and its big brother, Fiesta, are made by Showtacle. I think they are based out of Slovenia.

    Doh! Yup. I knew that but got confused.
    MediaLas just distribute it with their gear? Or am I still confused?
    If in doubt... Give it a clout?

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    Quote Originally Posted by WookieBoy View Post
    Doh! Yup. I knew that but got confused.
    MediaLas just distribute it with their gear? Or am I still confused?
    You're probably thinking about Mamba Black. That was their laser software product. Used to hear a lot about it on here before Quickshow. I can't remember the last time I heard it mentioned, though. I just checked their website and they have something called Mamba Elements and also MIII which I assume is their next-gen software.

  7. #7
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    Oops! Yep. That's the sausage!

    Cheers Johnny.
    If in doubt... Give it a clout?

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