Conventional lighting fixtures require a dimmer pack to convert the DMX control signal into variable mains voltage.
The controllers in this category will control LED lighting fixtures directly using DMX . They can use DMX dimmer packs to control tungsten lighting. These DMX lighting controllers offer simplified control. For features such as programming using que's, or one channel per fader control please see our lighting console section
Please browse the DMX Controllers available for sale by using the "View" button for each product below. For products without optional variations you can add them to your basket directly from the list below
Product listings for Dmx Controller
A single DMX universe has 512 DMX channels. To access them all you would need a DMX 512 controller.
An analogue controller dimmer will not work with a DMX controller or lighting console.
It is possible to use wireless transmitters instead of long DMX cables however the cheap ones are not reliable.
Most multi fixture controllers allow 16 channels per fixture and up to 16 fixtures, that is a total of 256 DMX channels.
DJ lighting and entry level lighting fixtures use 3-pin XLR connectors. Professional DMX stage lighting uses 5-pin XLR connectors to avoid confusion between audio and DMX cables.
Questions and Answers on DMX for lighting
Listed below are some of the common questions we are asked, and their answers:
What does a DMX controller do?
It allows you to control any DMX stage lighting without having to use the lights physical controls.
For example, in a drama studio you can have the controller at the back of the room and your lights suspended over the stage, connected by DMX cables or WiFi DMX and change the colour or brightness of each light without touching the light.
Each light has its own address either chosen by you or pre-defined on the console. You tell the console which light or group of lights you want to send the commands to, and then choose the command, which the console then sends.
Let's assume you are using the Master 64 controller
- you choose the address by pressing a fixture button
- and then set the command by choosing a colour
Depending on your choice of controller it may have the following features:
- Store lighting scenes for easy recall during a show
- Have pre-set sequences for discos or allow you to program your own
- Allow you to select pre defined colours rather then mix your own
- Have a 'sound to light' function for dynamic beat driven lighting
Do you need a DMX controller for lights?
If you have decorative or stage lighting that is designed to be controlled by DMX then you can use a DMX controller.
Many of the DMX lights we supply have controls that allow you to set up the lights basic functions without using a DMX Controller. Some have a 'Sound Active' mode or built in programs that allow use without a controller
Having said that, it would be impractical to run lighting for a drama without a lighting controller of some kind
How do I choose a DMX controller?
Your choices are limited by the number of lights and how many channels of DMX you need
First of all you need to understand your lighting fixtures, ask these questions:
- How many individual lights do I want to control separately by themselves?
- How many pair or groups of lights will I have that share the same DMX address?
- Now you need to ask:
- How many lights or groups can use only 1 channel?
- How many lights or groups can work on only 8 channels?
- How many lights or groups need 16 or more channels?
If all your lights work on one channel and you have either 12 or 24 then a controller like the ADJ Scene Setter 24 would be good.
If all your lights are LED par cans using 8 channels or less and answers to Q1 and Q2 give a total of 8 then the Master 64 controller would be an excellent choice.
If any of your lights need more than 8 channels and answers to Q1 and Q2 give a total of up to 12 then the DMX Operator 2 would be an option.
How do I connect my lights to my DMX controller?
Apart from physically connecting you equipment together, you also need to set the address of your DMX lighting to match your controller. Most DMX controllers usually assign fixture one to address one.
Following fixtures need their addresses set to start at the next free address. The Master 64 is designed to work with 8 channel fixtures so fixture 2 starts on address 9, fixture 3 on address 9 and so on.
Having set your addresses you can physically connect your equipment
There should be a DMX output socket on your controller
Plug your cable into the back of your controller and lighting
There should be a DMX input plug on your lighting
Do I need a DMX terminator?
If you have a long length of DMX cable over 10m then I recommend that you do use a terminator.
The purpose of a terminator is to mop up stray electrical signals and stop lighting malfunctions.
Some lighting fixtures include built in termination that can be activated on the last fixture in the chain.
I had an installation with a 10m feeder to a moving head, daisy chained to a second 6m away, until I fitted a terminator the second unit triggered unwanted movements in the first
Can you daisy chain DMX cable?
I regularly install lighting bars with six fixtures on each bar and these fixtures are all daisy chained with short 2m DMX leads.
Rather than daisy chain one lighting bar to another I use a DMX splitter and buffer such as the S 8 DMX Distribution Splitter positioned by the first lighting bar.
From this buffer I feed the other lighting bars and each lighting bar's DMX feed is electrically isolated.
I would not daisy chain fixtures over a total length greater than 15m
Does DMX cable provide power?
The DMX connection between a controller and lighting fixture does not carry power. It carries a low voltage digital signal.
If you want to have a 'single cable' then there are specialist cables formed with two halves, one contains the mains power and the other carries the data. This is one option Syntax Combo 2 x DMX Cables
How many DMX channels do I need?
What is a DMX address?
Think of the lighting fixture as building in a town and the DMX address as the post code that tells you where the building is
If you tell the controller the DMX address of a lighting fixture the controller sends out packets of information with that code 'on the outside'. When the light sees a packet with its address on it then it opens it up and follows the instructions inside.
What is a DMX channel?
Every DMX controlled function in a light has to receive a value from 0 to 255 from the controller to tell it what to do. The DMX address given to the light is its first communication channel with the controller.
If the lighting fixture were a department store each department would have its own internal delivery system once mail entered the building using the post code. A DMX Channel is a DMX address reserved exclusively for a lighting function
What's the difference between XLR and DMX cables?
The difference is in the electrical characteristics of the cable, on audio XLR cables as long as there are good physical connections the signal will get through OK.
Because the DMX signal is digital it expects precise electrical characteristics to work successfully over extended distances.
Because of this professional DMX equipment started using 5 pin XLR connectors to stop people using standard audio XLR cables.
How does a DMX splitter work?
It receives the digital DMX signal from the controller, and then redistributes an exact copy to all of its outputs.
Because the cables are electrically isolated from each other it prevents errors due to cable length.
What is a DMX dimmer?
Tungsten halogen lights are controlled by varying the mains voltage to dim the lamp. Where lighting rigs use a combination of halogen lighting and DMX controlled lighting they have to replace the old analogue dimmer packs with DMX ones.
Instead of using a 0v to 10v variable voltage from a lighting desk to control the lighting a DMX Dimmer instead uses the DMX digital value between 0 and 255 to control the brightness of the lamp.
How many channels are in the DMX universe?
The DMX system is based on the computer binary system, and this limits the maximum number of DMX addresses to 512 in any one DMX universe.
with some fixtures taking more than 16 channels, full sized lighting consoles offer multiple DMX universes to allow more lights to be controlled
Do I need a dimmer pack for LED lights?
No you don't and connecting a DMX LED Light to a dimmer pack could seriously damage the lights electronic components.