How to Use RC4 S3 ColorMatch (firmware v71 or higher)

These instructions apply to all RC4 Series 3 Harmonized Design devices with firmware versions 4.071 / 2-71-x.x or later.  Applicable devices include:

  • RC4Magic Series 3 and RC4Magic-900 DMX2dim, DMX4dim, DMX4dim-500
  • LumenDim4, LumenDimM4
  • W-DIM4, W-DIMm3

RGB (red-green-blue) LED products deliver visibly different colors, due to variations in intensity and balance between the primary light sources.  Differences are easy to see when comparing white, the full mix of all primary light sources at 100%.

When whites do not look the same, neither does the rest of the color palette.  RC4 ColorMatchTM allows color rendering to be quickly and easily corrected, visually.

OneTouch color offset capture is a Long-Press Button Feature, which is described in detail in http://rc4.info/s3-ui-nomenclature/.

Find and Save the Desired White Balance

  • Be sure the dimmer is in Simple DMX Mode.

If the dimmer device is not in Simple DMX Mode, change to that mode.  If you don’t mind clearing all settings, including DMX channels and curve assignments, use the Restore Factory Defaults functions (Func+SetA).

  • Assign the desired DMX channels and curve for the RGB or RGBW light source to be ColorMatched.

This is done with OneTouch Single-Press button features and requires DMX data to be streaming in, either wired (via miniplug input) or wireless.  For LEDs the ISL (inverse square law) should be used.  A typical source is RGB LED tape.  Connect RED to DimA, GREEN to DimB, and BLUE to DimC.  If you are using RGBW, connect WHITE to DimD.  If you are using RGBA, note that the RC4 v71 HSL engine does not support this format and AMBER is not modulated within the HSL spectrum.

  • Adjust the DMX levels of RED, GREEN, and BLUE to visually find the most attractive white balance.  When using an RGBW source, keep the WHITE level at zero for this step.

This step is often done beside a reference white source, adjusting for the closest possible equivalent white.  For best resolution and brightness, at least one of the three control channels must be at 100%.  In many cases, a white that looks too “cool” can be adjusted by reducing just BLUE or BLUE and a small amount of GREEN; a white that looks too “warm” can be adjusted by reducing just RED.

  • Long-Press SetA to capture the offset values.

The displayed color will change, indicated that the offsets have been applied and you are now seeing the color set by the DMX channels as set.  Raise all three DMX channels to full (100%) and you will see the white balance you selected.  All mixes and ratios of RGB are now adjusted, referenced to your selected white.

Compare Corrected and Uncorrected ColorMatch White Balance

  • With DMX levels at 100%, Long-Press SetA to toggle back and forth between corrected and uncorrected color.

This only works with DMX levels at 100%.  If one or more DMX channels are less than 100%, the new values will captured as a new ColorMatch offset.  You cannot use this method to compare mixed colors with and without correction.

When ColorMatch corrected color is output by the dimmer, the COP indicator LED presents double-blips.  When raw uncorrected DMX data is routed directly to the dimmers, the COP indicates single-blips.

“Off Label” Uses of RC4 ColorMatch

RC4 ColorMatch can also be used to scale the brightness or maximum average energy output by dimmers A, B, and/or C.

To scale an RGB light source to 70% without modifying color, set all three levels to 70% and capture this as a ColorMatch offset.  Now, dimming the assigned DMX channels from 0 – 100% will control color mix and overall brightness normally, but the range will be 0 – 70% of maximum brightness of the light source.

This can also be applied to individual dimmer loads that are not used together, and can be useful for motors as well as lamps.  To limit a motor speed to 30% of maximum, set a 30% ColorMatch offset level to the dimmer connected to the motor.  Now, dimming the assigned DMX channel from 0 – 100% will control the motor from 0 – 30% of it’s maximum speed.

For loads like motors and incandescent lamps, which are not particularly sensitive to pulsed over-voltage, ColorMatch can be used to correct for a high supply voltage.  For example, if you are using a 24V battery to spin a 24VDC motor, but want to use a 12V MR16 lamp on one of the other dimmer outputs, configure the lamp dimmer with a ColorMatch offset of 50%.

RC4 dimmers use pulse-width-modulation (PWM), which delivers full input voltage with varying periods of on and off.  A 24V supply that is on for 50% of the time delivers the same overall power as a 12V supply that is on 100% of the time.  But beware of devices that can be damaged by even very brief spikes of high voltage, which includes LEDs.

RC4 Wireless cannot be responsible for damage caused to dimmers or connected loads because of incorrect offset settings.  Use this technique at your own risk.  Mileage may vary.

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