Starting your DMX experience – 5th in a series by Tyrone Blue

December 26, 2012 by Tyrone Blue

Now that you have a controller hooked to a fixture, (in this case, the LED Spot 150), we need to assign an address. In the following series, I’ll teach you how to set an address with “dip switches”. If you’re using a digital push button address fixture, simply go to the address you want by pushing the “address” menu, pushing the “up or “down” buttons for your desired address, then pushing “enter”. Keep in mind, that you DON’T want to cross assign addresses to any fixture. Here’s what I mean: I’ve heard novice programmers mention that they assigned an address of “1” to the first fixture, and an address of “2” to the second fixture. This only works if you have a “one” channel fixture.

Our Spot 150 has 6 channels, so the first fixture will have an address of “1”, and the second fixture can have a starting address of “17” (corresponding to button #2 on the left of the controller). Now, having said that, you COULD give your second fixture an address of “7”, but I’ll explain that later… I call it “cheating”. If you have fewer than 13 fixtures in your show, don’t cheat.

Dip switches are arranged, with multiple micro switches on the circuit panel (red multi switch below).

Every dip switch must have at least 9 micro switches. Some have more, but the extra switches are intended for a “mode” function or other various function. Your owners manual will explain what the extra switches represent.

The first 9 micro switches will assign the address in that particular fixture. The value of each switch has a binary function, that assigns the address. The easiest way to remember this is the value… switch #1, has a value of “1”. Switch #2, has a value of “2”. Switch #3 has a value of “4”. Switch #4 has a value of “8”. The value of each switch doubles as you go to the next switch. In order to assign the correct address, you must do the math.

In our example on the lower left, to get an address of “32”, all you need to do is turn “on” switch # 6. But what if you want an address of “33”? By doing the math, you add the numbers along the bottom of the switch. IMPORTANT: go with the largest number first. Since switch #7 is too great a value, then, start with switch #6, and add switch #1 for an address of “33”.

What switches do you need to activate for an address of “77”?

Switch #7 plus #4 plus #3 plus #1. That’s all there is to it. – 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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