Starting your DMX experience – 9th in a series by Tyrone Blue

January 22, 2013 by Tyrone Blue

You are connected with one, 6 channel fixture in our example. Since fixture/scanner button “1” allows for a fixture with 16 channels, and you’re using only 6, you have 10 channels wasted on button #1. Note the red arrows representing the wasted channels, and the black arrows representing the 6 channels in use. If you connect 3 more of the same fixtures, using button two, three and four, you would then be wasting 40 channels.

If, however, you have 12 fixtures or less in your system, you’d be just perfect, assigning each fixture to it’s own button. But, for a moment, let’s put 24 LED Spot 150s in this system. Well, you can still control all of them INDIVUALLY, by “cheating”. All you need to do is utilize the wasted channels.

Now comes the cheating… (using more than 12 fixtures)

Let’s assign fixture “one”, with an address of “one”, to fixture/scanner button “one”. We can control it with sliders 1-6 on page “A”. Then, we could assign “fixture/scanner button #2 (with a default address of “17”) to the second fixture… but we could only use 12 fixtures this way… that’s why we are cheating.

Assign fixture two, an address of “9” on “page B” (you could actually give it an address of “7”, but that would require you to use sliders 7 & 8, then turn the page for channels 9, 10, 11 & 12 for the additional channels. This is awkward, so I’m suggesting that you simply turn the page and use sliders 9 through 14 for the 6 channels required for the second fixture. Doing it this way allows you to use the same sliders for the same functions on different fixtures. In other words, turn fixture #1 to a point on the floor using slider #1 for “PAN”. Turn the page and continue to use slider #1 (actually #9) to move fixture #2 in the same “PAN” direction.

< Here’s how that would look:

Notice that channels 7 & 8 are wasted on page “A”, and channels 15 & 16 are wasted on page “B”. So, now that you are cheating, you have only lost 4 channels on button #1 instead of 10. See how this works?

Had you been using 4 channel fixtures, you could use up all of the 16 channels without wasting any channels, and be able to use 48 fixtures, and individually control each of them. NOTE: when using software controllers this is exactly what you do, no matter how many channels each fixture has.

As long as your fixtures have fewer than 16 channels, you can use up to 12 fixtures with this controller. If they have 8 or less channels, you can use 24 fixtures. Four or fewer channels and you can control 48 fixtures. I have some 1 channel color changers. Yuup, I can individually control 192 of these (if I had that many).

In the next series, we’ll learn how to make a show, then run it in the different modes. This requires that you record 8 scenes.

– Stay tuned –


Tyrone Blue Tyrone Blue (12 Posts)

I am finishing up my 8th year as a club DJ at the local Resort nightclub ( I have been DJing for 24 years, with a special love/interest in high tech lighting. I teach DMX programming, both hardware, and software. I exclusively use ShowXpress, which I believe is the best DMX software on the planet! I believe I have a couple of years left to do this. I have a crew of 3 DJ’s, who do my “giging” at weddings and the nightclub.

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