RC4 Wireless: Series 3 SX Line

by Michael Eddy
The new Series 3 SX line from RC4 Wireless
The new Series 3 SX line from RC4 Wireless

RC4 Wireless has introduced their new Series 3 SX product line which includes innovations across the entire RC4 family line: the popular RC4Magic 2.4GHz products, the new RC4Magic 900MHz series for use in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil, the LumenDim line, which is compatible with the Lumen Radio CRMX protocol, and finally, the W-Dim products, which work with all Wireless Solution W-DMX devices. The product started shipping in late August.

The design team at RC4, led by James David Smith, Chief Product Developer (and Founder), has continued to advance the state of the art in terms of wireless dimming. RC4 Wireless is no longer limited to just the industry-standard 16-bit LED dimming. The RC4 Series 3 dimmers provide a maximum of 19-bit resolution for a total of 524,288 steps when using 615Hz PWM. RC4 delivers 8 ‘micro steps,’ within each of the 65,536 steps delivered by common 16-bit technology. You can see the difference, particularly with high-wattage high-brightness LED sources. The result is very smooth dimming, most notably at the bottom end of the inverse-square-law curve.

Users who work with PWM frequencies—most especially those in the motion picture industry—will immediately see the benefits. Now, a slow smooth LED fade is available for high-frame-rate slow-motion videography. 5kHz PWM moves from 13-bit for RC4 Series 3 to top-quality 16-bit with the Series 3 SX, for smoother dimming with motion picture cameras than ever before. At 20kHz PWM, the SX dimmers still deliver a 14-bit resolution with 16,384 steps. Even at 40kHz, the SX products deliver 13-bits of resolution, a visible improvement over 10-bit, and tremendously better looking than other high-speed PWM dimmers delivering only 8-bit resolution with very steppy bottom-end fades.

The RC4 Series 3 SX dimmers now feature RC4 Curve Tweak, which enables dimmer curve crossfading to each individual dimmer. For each dimmer output, the curve can be adjusted with 256 increments from a pure linear curve to a pure inverse-square-law curve. Together with RC4 ColorMatch, RC4 Curve Tweak ensures perfect color rendering by ensuring the dimmer is perfectly matched to the light generation characteristics of any LED.

The RC4 Curve Tweak also gives designers the opportunity to flex more of their creative muscles. Using RC4 Curve Tweak with the SX dimmers, designers can create red-shifting with RGB, RGBA, and RGBW light sources. Simply tweak the red and green or red and amber channels towards linear and watch those channels linger at subtly higher levels when everything is dimmed together. Designers can fine tune the shift with great precision to make it look exactly the way they want. Curve Tweak can also be used create unique looks—like a lamp that shifts blue. For lighting designers looking for the most realistic emulation of incandescent lamps in period props, RC4 Series 3 SX dimmers do that.

RC4 has also made significant advancements in terms of the AC Wave Synthesis features available on the Series 3 SX dimmers. AC Wave Synthesis on the SX 4-channel dimmers is now available separately for two pairs of channels, allowing one device to separately ring two telephones or control other AC loads, each with their own pair of dynamic DMX control channels. When using AC Wave Synthesis for ringing telephones and silent EL-wire dimming, the SX dimmers now delivers double the maximum AC frequency, and are dynamically controllable in real-time by DMX; separate DMX channels control frequency and amplitude, opening the door for a wide variety of interesting effects. In fact, RC4 SX dimmers can even be connected to speakers to create sounds.

The RC4 SX dimmers have also been optimized for use in props. Dimmer power efficiency has been improved, generating less heat, providing longer battery life, and performing more reliably inside props where ventilation is often limited.

Further information about many of the terms above: RC4 Wireless Knowledge Base Glossary.
Further information from RC4 Wireless: www.rc4wireless.com