Starting your DMX experience – 4th in a series by Tyrone Blue

December 17, 2012 by Tyrone Blue

We’re going to hook up your controller to a fixture… let’s say a “Chauvet Intimidator LED Spot 150”. This fixture has 6 channels of operation. What that means is, there are six parameters within this fixture, which will allow it to perform various functions. Your fixture will undoubtedly be different, with the channels controlling different functions of that fixture. Once you set an address that coincides with the button on the controller, and the address set into the fixture, you are ready to make magic happen.

First, we need to talk about assigning the correct address. Once you know how to do this, your DMX experience will begin to move you into the “big leagues”. Since this is our first fixture, it makes sense to assign an address of “1” to the fixture, which will coincide with “scanner” or button #1 on the left side of the controller. Please note that there are “default” address settings for each of these 12 “scanner/fixture” buttons on the left (see picture below for values). Each progresses by 16, which is the number of channels allowed for each fixture when using this controller. Button #1 has a STARTING address (with the use of the sliders) from one to sixteen. Button #2 has a starting address of seventeen and goes to thirty two… therefore button #3 starts at thirty three and goes to forty eight… and so on.

In an attempt to make this make sense, remember that there are 512 channels available in a DMX universe. There are channels sliders which permit you to utilize each one of these channels all by itself on any controller (remember, with this controller, you are limited to 192 channels). The brand and design of your controller is the means in which you control each channel by the use of a slider. So, on this controller there are 12 buttons, each able to control 16 channels. You will notice only 8 sliders (in the yellow box from “series #2). In order to access the channels from 9 to 16, you need to “turn the page”, using the button immediately to the right of slider #8. This now turns your 8 sliders from 1-8, into 9-16. This requires the operator to push the “page” button if your fixture has more than 8 channels. With our Spot 150, we have only 6 channels, so we won’t be using the “page” button, and will only be using sliders 1-6.

In order to control our first Spot 150, we will assign an address of “ONE” to this fixture, and control it by activating “Scanner” button #1. Now, our first 6 sliders will affect the fixture (with channels 7-16 having no effect). As mentioned earlier, somewhere on every fixture is a dip switch (or channel assignment) panel. I’ll tell you about how to set this in the next series.

The first thing you want to do, is hook your DMX cable to the fixture, and plug everything in. Then, activate the “PROGRAM” button. – 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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