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A channel is a particular circuit on a particular controller which can control lights (or servos in the case of the Servo Dog controller). The Sequencer can be used to assign effects to channels, to make the lights turn on and off, fade, shimmer, twinkle, and so forth.
Single channels can control a string of traditional incandescent or LED lights, or a single-color flood light, or perhaps some strobe lights. We will refer to these as "Regular Channels" to distinguish them from "RGB Channels".
A single channel from an AC controller
An RGB channel is a group of three channels - a red channel, a green channel, and a blue channel. By varying the amount of red, green, and blue light, any color can be produced. A device may have a single RGB channel, like an RGB flood light (sometimes referred to as "dumb RGB"); or it can have many RGB channels, like a Cosmic Color Ribbon (sometimes referred to as "Smart Pixels").
Mixing red, green, and blue light
Pixels are just a collection of RGB channels, 1 RGB channel controls one pixel. So a string with with 50 pixels would have 50 RGB channels. Light-O-Rama Pixie Controllers, as well as the PixCon16 controller, are used to control pixels.
When defining a channel, you first start with the Device Type. Device type specifies the type of commands the controller understands (i.e. command protocol). The S5 software can send commands using the Light-O-Rama protocol and also the DMX protocol.
When using the Light-O-Rama protocol, a channel has a unique combination of:
•Network, which is the COM port that this channel's controller is hooked up to;
•Unit, which is the unit ID of the controller, allowing different controllers to be distinguished from each other;
•Circuit, which represents an electrical circuit that can controlled. It could be a single output from an AC controller, DC controller, or servo controller. Or a group of circuits could be used to control a string of RGB pixels - one RGB channel per pixel.
When using the DMX protocol, a channel has a unique combination of:
•DMX Universe, and
•DMX Channel. There are 512 available channels in each DMX universe.
Channels are assigned to props in the Prop Definition screen within Preview Design. A preview is assigned to a sequence, and the sequence can only control the channels defined in its assigned preview.
There are 2 variants of the Light-O-Rama protocol: there is the non-enhanced protocol for "Gen 1" devices and the enhanced protocol (ELOR) for "Gen 3" and later devices.
There are also 2 variants of the DMX protocol: there is DMX sent over a USB adapter and DMX sent over Ethernet (also known E1.31 and sACN).
Which variant to use as well as other connection properties are set using the Network Preferences program.