The DMX protocol is exactly the same as the RS485 protocol, so we can use any RS485 USB converter to control DMX devices. DMX controllers are usually not that cheap, using this guide, you save money for possibly a hardware midi controller for your lighting software.
[su_spoiler title=”Requirements” style=”fancy”]
I have a second similar USB DMX Controller tutorial Here. If you decide to build this one, make sure you order a USB-RS485 adapter and not a USB-Network Adapter as these will NOT work. We specifically need a USB-RS485 adapter with an RJ45 output.
- Soldering Ion+Tin
- A spare Network cable
- Female XLR Connector (Buy Here)
- USB RS485 network interface (Buy Here, Here, Here, Here)
[su_spoiler title=”Wiring” style=”fancy”]
Take your network cable and cut one RJ45 connector off:
Then strip the end of your open wire:
Now cut off all wires EXCEPT Orange, Orange-White, and Brown-White :
Now take apart your XLR Plug
Take your cable and slide the last 2 parts over your cable, This cannot be done once your cable is soldered!
This will be the 3 wires we will be soldering to our XLR plug :
Then solder these wires in the following order onto your female XLR Connector
- GND => Brown-White
- Data- => Orange
- Data+ => Orange-White
Solder the connections, screw your plug together, Your cable is now done. I made a short and a longer one and both are working perfectly.
[su_spoiler title=”Software” style=”fancy”]
The best free software available is Freestyler DMX, download and install HERE.
Now in settings choose the interface “Enttec open DMX”.. this device is based on an RS485 and works with any RS485 device.
Now click save, add your fixtures and start programming your show.
Other compatible software :
- Martin M-Series Software + (Fixture Library)
- (Mac Appstore)JV Lightning DmxControl free & pro
[su_spoiler title=”Passive DMX Splitter” style=”fancy”]
You can buy a simple RJ45 passive splitter to split your DMX signal. I have to mention this is a bad way of splitting DMX signals and may cause interference or signal drops. The chances for these drops increases by the length of each fixture in the DMX chain that’s attached.
[su_spoiler title=”FAQ” style=”fancy”]
I wired everything correct but no signal
Are you sure you used a “Straight” network cable?
What is the maximum length?
I’m not sure but network cable has a maximum length of 100meters, I only tried 15meters and had no problems.
The FTPI chip should work without manual driver installation, if for some reason you want to install drivers manually or you are using Windows XP or older, download these drivers :
Small, quick and easy test software
kmtronic.com DMX Tester