DIY USB DMX Adapter ethernet cable

DIY USB DMX Controller for under $10 – Ethernet Cable

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.


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)



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

  1. GND => Brown-White
  2. Data- => Orange
  3. 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.




The best free software available is Freestyler DMX, download and install  HERE.

Freestyler DMX Loadscreen

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 :

  • DMXControl
  • Martin M-Series Software + (Fixture Library)
  • (Mac Appstore)JV Lightning DmxControl free & pro
Passive DMX Splitter

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.


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 DMX Tester




157 Responses

  1. I noticed you’re using a mac. Are you running FreeStyler DMX in a VM or are you using another piece of software? Thanks

    1. I use my mac only for testing DMX with JV Lightning DmxControl. It’s the only software that stil works with mavericks without changing the driver. My shows are still made in freestyler on a windows laptop.

    1. indeed, install Freestyler, select your dmx device (Enttec Open DMX), add your fixtures and you should be able to control your lights.

  2. Hi Steven, thanks so much for these tutorials, this is what I’ve been looking for! Can you clarify for me, if I try the method you describe on this page, is there still a chance of needing to hack the chip, like you describe on the “Wrong Board Fix” page?

  3. Is it possible for you to post the pinout from Ethernet to XLR adaptor? The Ethernet cable I have seems to have a different wiring color scheme than what you posted above and I want to make sure everything is soldered correctly. (And no, it’s not a crossover cable).
    Also has this been confirmed to work on Martin M-Series Software? Haven’t read a confirmation yet on this page or the XLR page yet.


    1. I added a picture of the pinouts of the usb adapter, also the Martin software should work with this device (since it’s the same as the Enttec open DMX which should be compatible according their site).

      1. Perfect!
        I ask about the Martin software because it can detect if a genuine Enttec device is plugged in. If it isn’t genuine, it’s unknown if it will output dmx to the unknown device. When my USB/Ethernet-RS485 adapters arrive, I will test it out and report back.

        Thanks again!

  4. Hi Steven! thanks so much for the post. It works great. I am using Windows7 and Freestyler. Apparently there is small “inconsistency” on the wiring instructions. The picture shows Orange as the middle pin on the XLR but above that you mention Orange as the 2nd pin (Data -). the middle pin is the 3rd one not the 2ns. So, to make it work you need to flip orange and orange-white on what you see on the photo. Did it work for you the cable on the photo??
    Text is correct though.
    1 : GND => Brown-White
    2 : Data- => Orange
    3 : Data+ => Orange-White

    thanks again!

    1. Great to hear it’s working, i will fix the wiring instructions… I got confused myself since i had 3 straight cables and 2 cables were wired different for some reason (messed up the wire order, no cross-cable).
      Thanks for the reply.

  5. Hey Steven- Thanks so much for doing this.

    I bought the USB adapter that you linked to on Dealsextreme, and it came with an install disc that only has drivers for operating systems up through Windows XP. Do you know where I could find the driver for Windows 7 or 8?

    1. This allows as many devices as you want, you go in your first light with the ethernet cable, come out of the first light with a xld cable in the next light…

  6. I solderd everthing as said and set the output to open dmx. but i get no reaction from my fixtures. Only one fixture goes on and of randomly.

    1. Are you using Mac or Windows and what software? If using Mac try “JV Lightning DmxControl”, other software may have problems with the new FTDI driver in Mavericks/Yosemite.

  7. This looks very interesting to me. I am looking to do something a little bit different. I want to see what is coming across the DMX512 line to troubleshoot an install with a possible wiring problem. Do you know if this device will work with any sort of software to troubleshoot? Preferably free software.

    1. As far as I know, this device can only Send signals. However a RS485 device that has In and Output should be able to read the DMX signals. I am not familiar with existing troubleshoot software but theoretically it should work when you got an adapter like the image below (with Rx+ and Rx-) :

  8. Anyone have a problem where you plug in the device and Windows say “USB device not recognized”? I would have expected the driver to be picked up automatically if it is the stand FTDI chip… Windows won’t even let me ‘update’ the driver to one on the provided driver disc. This happened to me on two different systems. Windows Vista and 8.1. Do the drivers need to be manually installed? Any suggestions welcome…

      1. Yeah, I think my device is bad. Looking to getting a replacement. Four different PCs could not recognize the device. Anyone figure out how to open the case without destroying it? Then I can check for cold solders and such…

  9. After returning my first device, I got another one from a different supplier. It works great! Even better, it is fully compatible with the Artemis Bridge Simulator game. So now I can have two bridges up and running with full lighting with $10 controllers and $25-30 LED stage lights.

    1. where did you buy your’s. I bought mine on amazon and I think they sent me the wrong thing, although it looks just like the picture

      1. i bought mine from ebay or dealextreme i think, there are multiple different devices available looking exacly the same as this adapater, you will need the RS485 version (not usb-ethernet adapeter) only these will send dmx.

  10. Hi, Thanks for everything, I’ve made one. I tested it on Macbook Pro with Maverick and JV Lighting. Everything work except when cpu is working, my fixtures are blinking. It’s too blinking to work with it. Can I do something?


  11. hi steven nice work dude..
    i’ve selected entecc open dmx for interface in freestyler but it shows no usb-dmx found. if i need to install any driver for usb to ethernet?
    thank you

      1. is this driver for usb to ethernet adaptor?
        because when i”m installing it shows windows unable to install usb serial converter
        i’ve windows 7 steven.

          1. steven help me i bought usb to ethernet adaptor it has a lan driver cd also . should i install that driver for dmx conversion?
            will this adptor work for dmx?

  12. First of all… Thank You very very much, for your amazing job. My question is: can i send directly the dmx signal out, in to a mediaserver on rj45 port, for controll it? Lot of vj software accept dmx control from artnet. It is possible?

  13. Just FYI… If you get an adapter that the PC cannot detect, check the solder points between the USB cable and the circuit board. I did find you can easily pull the casing apart without damaging it. The solder joints were rather poor quality. With an iron and a little bit of solder, a friend of mine was able to repair the adapter.

    1. Not sure if this device will work, usually the adapters i used had a FL232RL chips in them, not tested the FT232RQ chip yet but you can give it a try. Should work but i can’t guarantee it will.

  14. I purchased the USB RS485 network interface from DealExtreme and soldered together the whole setup….it works fine using JV Lightning, but DMXis doesn’t detect it, and so doesn’t work at all. My goal is to sync lighting with sound within Ableton, so DMXis as a VST would be ideal. Any ideas why DMXis doesn’t detect the adapter? (I’m on OSX 10.6.8)

    1. Hmmm… if DMXis is compatible with Entec’s Open DMX interface it should work out of the box with your RS485 adapter, the problem may be with OSX, is there any way you could try the setup on another laptop… or update your FTDI drivers since your OSX versions is pretty old. you can also try this setup on a windows PC.

      1. Thanks for the reply, Steven! Yeah, DMXis is Enttec software, so you’d think it would work. It sounds from reading other comments that Yosemite might not have full compatibility with FTDI, is that true? Should I upgrade to something less than the latest Mac OS?

        1. I also want to use this adapter wit Ableton and Freestyler on Windows. Jeff, have you figured how to make it work?

          1. It should work but that is not a question you have to ask here, you should go to the ableton or freestyler dmx forum and ask your question there. I’m sure they can and will help you.