In the MYS special edition of Superyacht Technology News, our ETO X talked about the struggle to find a reliable DMX RGB lighting systems. Now, VBH shares its views.

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There has always been a huge demand from owners to incorporate a variety of lighting systems on board superyachts. Architectural lighting is often talked about as it is typically what is used in the interior lighting on board. Other typical installations include RGB lighting, for specialized interior and exterior areas such as mood rooms, pools, Jacuzzis etc, and event-party lighting (and other equipment).

Ideally, there needs to be a convergence of all of these systems. Instead of having one lighting system (designed originally to control large homes and/or offices) for the yacht’s architectural lighting, another sub-system for RGB lighting and yet another system for event and party lighting (commonly thought of at a very late stage), the industry is now moving towards unified DMX based systems that take care of the entire luxury lighting system, from courtesy lighting to RGBW Jacuzzi lighting down to moving heads and other effect equipment.

In order to implement these systems successfully, there has to be a focus on planning ahead, starting from the design stage. For example, the integrator must take into account and make arrangements for DMX input and output points around the vessel that can be used to connect event lighting and equipment with ease, whenever the need for additional lighting effects are required. This ensures that these connection points and more importantly their cabling is pulled and installed only once, during the build of the vessel, meaning greater signal quality is maintained. After all, cabling is one of the most important factors of a successful lighting system and is very commonly overlooked.

DMX is versatile in such a way that many different types of cables (including typical audio cables) can be used to distribute the signal – but this is often rather unsuccessful. Ultimately, unsuitable cables will create problems. We very often see incorrect type of cabling used in DMX based systems and always recommend properly shielded and professionally installed RS 485 cabling.

Our lighting systems, which focus almost solely on DMX for both architectural, event and RGBW lighting, have made a transition from systems based on dedicated hardware processors and controllers to a hybrid IP based system of virtualized lighting intelligence and a small amount of hardware distributed over a typical network. Because of this, actual DMX cable runs are kept to a complete minimum while allowing for very flexible, robust system designs with true redundancy.

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