Understanding DMX Hardware Devices

There is a wide variety of DMX devices in the market. The most common include lights, flame projectors, cryo jets, fog machines, spark machines, and smoke machines. Every DMX device typically has an interface whereby the user can set the DMX channel which typically represents the starting channel as many DMX devices have multiple channels. For example, a simple fog machine may only have one channel where value 0 is off and any value between 1 and 255 sets the fog to output at a set rate. However, an RGB lighting fixture with red, green, and blue lights may have upwards of six or more channels to control individual colors and other features such as strobing and reacting to other inputs such as audio. While more complex, the variety of DMX hardware and associated channels and values allows for a wide range of SPFX devices that can produce really cool and fun effects for your audience.

Example DMX Device (RGB Light)

In order to better explain DMX devices and how they work with channels and values, please find the following RGB example.

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Channel Value Description
1 0 = Off
1-255 = 1% to 100% intensity
The LED intensity. 0 is off. 1-255 controls the light intensity from 1-100%. This is a single master control for all colors including red, green, and blue.
2 0 = Off
1-255 = On
The red LED. 0 is off. 1-255 controls the overall intensity from 1% to 100%. The intensity will not exceed the master intensity on channel 1.
3 0 = Off
1-255 = On
The green LED. 0 is off. 1-255 controls the overall intensity from 1% to 100%. The intensity will not exceed the master intensity on channel 1.
4 0 = Off
1-255 = On 
The blue LED. 0 is off. 1-255 controls the overall intensity from 1% to 100%. The intensity will not exceed the master intensity on channel 1.
5 0-7 = Off
8-255 = Strobe frequency from slow to fast
The strobe effect. 0-7 is off. 8-255 controls the frequency of the strobe effect with 8 being the slowest strobe and 255 being the fastest strobe.

 

For an example DMX script using the above RGB light device, see Understanding DMX Events.

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