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Getting Started with DMX Control

If you want to control DMX-512 fixtures from a laptop, you’ll a USB-to-DMX converter, and software that speaks to it. The The DMXKing UltraDMXMicro is a very simple, low-cost, reliable USB-to-DMX converter. The Enttec DMX USB Pro works quite well also. Both plug into USB, and then into a 5-pin DMX cable to the fixtures. 

One of the easiest programs for DMX control is  QLC+ . It’s not fully featured, but lets you set up a set of basic sliders to control as many channels as you need.

To get QLC+ going:

  1. Plug in DMX Controller
  2. Open QLC+
  3. Click Inputs/outputs tab to see if your DMX adapter interface is visible to QLC+
  4. Click Fixtures tab
  5. Click + to add a new fixture or bank of channels
  6. Set starting channel  and number of channels
  7. Then click the “Simple Console” tab to control the channels.  

Once you know the channels are working, if you want to program it in node.js, the node-dmx library works pretty well. Here are a few samples for it:

On the ITP floor, we have a range of fixtures. See the DMX Resources page for a list of what we have.

If you want to control DMX from a microcontroller, here are a few options:

  • From the Arduino Uno, the DMXSimple library works. It handles only one universe, and it’s only for the Uno and other AVR-based Arduino boards.
  • From the MKRZero, or other MKR or ARM M0-based boards, theArduinoDMX library and anRS485 shield does the job.
  • From an Ethernet or WiFi-equipped board like the MKR1000 or MKR1010, you can use the sACNSource library in conjunction with an Ethernet-to-DMX converter like the DMXKing eDMX1-Pro.
  • For LED strip pixel control over DMX, the DMXKing LeDMX4 Pro works well. You can control it using DMX512 or sACN.