DMX Checklist

Troubleshooting your DMX set-up.

If a DMX problem arises, the solution is sometimes a simple overlooked item. Please look over the general checklist below before submitting a Field Service Support Request.

Are you using the proper Cabling/Wiring?

To ensure proper signal strength, 120-OHM shielded twisted-pair or Cat-5 to Cat-6 UTP cables are required.

Are you wiring to the DMX512 Standard?

Daisy-chain is the proper method of connecting DMX fixtures and controllers. With each fixture having an input and output, consider the signal as going straight-through from fixture-to- fixture. With the use of a DMX splitter, you can branch the daisy-chain, otherwise there will be electrical reflections and issues within the system.

Use DMX Splitters when needed.

If you need to go in multiple directions, use a quality DMX splitter. Without the use of a DMX splitter your signal will be weak to any branches on your topology. Remember to properly terminate your run.

Limit the number of devices on your DMX Loop.

The DMX standard for a single DMX Loop is 32 fixtures. The use of more than 5 fixtures will require a DMX splitter.

Limit the length of your wiring.

Our recommendation for wiring distance is an approximate length of 800 feet to the last fixture per run. The use of a DMX splitter will be required to increase the overall wiring distance.

Properly Terminate the last fixture on your DMX Loop.

Every DMX run should be properly terminated with a single 120-OHM (1-WATT) resistor.  A DMX signal that reaches the end of the loop that isn’t terminated can bounce the signal back causing interference and result to flickering lights and loss of control.

Use a DMX Tester.

Use a DMX tester to analyze the signal at the far end of every DMX run. We recommend DMXcat for RDM addressing, monitoring, and testing.

Check your cables and connectors.

Check all DMX cables for cracks or breaks, including any solder joints. Also check connectors and terminators for cracks or a loose fit.

Check sources of electrical noise.

Keep unshielded cables clear from electrical motors or equipment that can create electrical noise or interrupt the DMX signal.

Is there a bad fixture?

Check your fixtures. It is possible for a damaged fixture to introduce noise or a bad signal into the DMX run. Try temporarily removing a fixture out of your DMX chain to see if problems disappear.

 

For existing customers that need additional troubleshooting support for their Insight Lighting products, please fill-out our Field Service Request form.

 

DMX/RDM Guide

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Insight Lighting Cable Guide

Remote Device Management (RDM) is an enhancement of DMX that allows bi-directional control and feedback from lighting fixtures and devices. Combined you get a robust and reliable system for lighting control. Contact us for ordering information.

Connectorized Cable Guide

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Digital Multiplex (DMX) allows bi-directional control and feedback from lighting fixtures and devices. It is a robust and reliable system for lighting control. However, without the proper cables and connectors, problems can arise such as random flashing of lights, erratic operation and delays in responding to commands. The following is a cable guide of our cables, connectors and terminators for proper and seamless connections with our lighting system. Contact us for ordering information.

Dimming Guide

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0-10V Dimming

0-10V Dimming

0-10V dimming has been used as an early fluorescent dimming system and still used today, 0-10V dimming has been adapted to become a reliable LED dimming control protocol and more commonly used within our industry.

DMX Dimming

DMX Dimming

A non-traditional though highly effective method for dimming and color tuning, DMX (Digital Multiplex) is a highly configurable protocol that offers control by individual sections or entire global systems. Consisting of 512 channels of data per stream, each stream in a system is referred to as its own Universe. The fixtures in each Universe receive channel data sent from a controller at a designated refresh rate.

PHASE DIMMING

Phase-cut dimmers work by taking the line input power (typically Mains Voltage) and modulating the signal to reduce the power to the load. By chopping the signal, the load experiences a lower voltage, resulting in a lower light output. The two most common phase-cut controls are forward phase and reverse phase controls.

Forward Phase DimmingForward Phase Dimming (TRIAC)
Forward phase-cut dimming (commonly referred to as incandescent or TRIAC dimming) is the most common dimming method. It is designed for resistive or magnetic low-voltage (MLV) loads, including incandescent and halogen, but certain models allow for more usage with LED loads. It usually uses a TRIAC dimmer that phase cuts the leading edge of the AC sine wave. Forward phase dimmers are often more affordable and simpler in terms of design than other types of dimmers.

Reverse Phase DimmingReverse Phase Dimming
Reverse phase-cut dimming is very similar to Forward phase in which it phase cuts the AC sine wave but on the trailing edge of the it, allows it to dim according to the cut. ELV dimmers are generally very compatible with LED loads, offering smoother dimming to low levels. This dimming almost always requires the use of a neutral wire.