# Bulk DMX cable

#### derekleffew

##### Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
That's more expensive than the 44¢/ft. that Alex quoted here:
...Last time I bought DMX it was $0.44 per foot (plus connectors). You may be able to do better, but that was the best price I found at the time, from here. ... And you don't have to buy 1000' at a time. Looks like the same exact cable. Personally, I prefer TMB ProPlex, but it's expensive ($0.90/ft.), and probably more robust than your needs call for.

#### JD

##### Well-Known Member
Interesting but fatal error in the Proplex cable. Although it will never be a problem on current 3 conductor DMX, data lines require independent twisted pairs. If a second data universe was added, or an advanced future revision actually made use of the second "pair", the cable would be obsolete. The picture on the cut sheet shows four conductors traveling in the same shield without an effort to have two twisted pairs. (Although the text seems to hint it.) The Gepco cable looks the same way. Proper data cable would look more like cat5 or snake cable with independent twisted pairs, although I don't like cat because of the lack of a shield and thin solid conductors. Guess the manufacturers never quite got the message! I am hoping that when one cuts into these cables they really are twisted pairs and only the pictures are deceiving.

Lucky DMX can be run through a barb wire fence!

Fight Leukemia

#### Stoldal

##### Active Member
The one Alex suggested has a minimum of only 171 feet.
That will yield (6) 25 foot cables (1) 20 ft and a 1 ft jumper.
That seems whole lot more manageable than a full reel.
Ya, we are going to do that, but also in the new theatre that i help at we are going to have to run some of the DMX cable our self. that is why i am looking for a 500' or 1000' reel.

Right now there is no DMX(control cable) planned for the electrics, or catwalks, just the FoH. This is what i am been told, i hope what i was told was in correct, but plan for the worst and hope for the best.

#### icewolf08

##### CBMod
CB Mods
Last season I bought a full roll (1000') of the Gepco cable from the site I posted the link for. It is a good robust cable, and the price was nice. Built a bunch of 3 and 5 pin cables as well as some 3-to-5 and 5-to-3 adapters. It works fine, and it was easy to work with. Also, the company I bought it from ships fast, which was a bonus.

#### derekleffew

##### Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Alex, was it in fact two twisted pair, or 4 conductors in a single shield?

I just stripped back some ProPlex PC224T, and the BLK/WHT ARE twisted separately from the GRN/RED pair, though not as much as say in a Canare Quad-Shield audio cable.

Other than some motor load-cells, and headset applications, the only device I know of that must have all pins populated is the HogII Rigger's Remote (RFU).

#### icewolf08

##### CBMod
CB Mods
I don't remember offhand, but I believe each pair was twisted individually but all within one shield. I could go open up a connector and look, but I will probably forget to do that...

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
Two pair DMX cable is very common to the market. All these days are often very good based upon user demands and normal - been around this ball park for years type of needs for the cable. Was buying Gepco before it was even DMX grade as with ProPlex / TMB years in the history. Add to that stuff on sample or that works well enough from any number of manufacturers such as Rosco, Clark, Gepco, TMB, LEX, Creative Stage Lighting, Coast, TechniLux amongst many others all pass the general test. TMB ProPlex cable is the king though touch it to a lighting fixture and it melts down. The inner conductors it would seem are fine in being rated for a higher temperature but stage hands don’t know this in rejecting a more expensive cable which melts down on contact. Given this and price they went with another option as with many brands of what is cheap DMX single or dual pair verses what is their best.

Got some Rosco test cable for instance that has been almost ten years now in play test, suppose it is good cable at this point. Often buy both Lex and Creative but also Clark and TMB with lots of other options and these are just the start of DMX protocal cable with decent cable jackets which also fit the spec. Gepeco, Coast and others also of corse in being good.

Most reasonably priced DMX cable these days is more or less the same, certain subtleness about the cable jacket itself and overall cost of what is supplied as a spool or built for you than becomes the solution. Even Tomcat cable is good in testing, Martin cable is bad still though High End cable not bad in my remembering of it.

Lots of suppliers of it, lots of suppliers of it out there and often even if different brand, for the most part what is made by one the same from another thus the point in some general grade of cable. While I like neopreme, and rubber more than that - though what I bought with rubber nine years later is expent even if when bought supple and more substantial in many ways. What you most often get these days is thermoplastic and for the most part the same one brand to another. Lots of cable suppliers out there for the same for all intensive purposes cable. Sample away and price it out amongst as many as you can. Heck, even Rosco cable in being a sort of WalMart type of thing is decent cable.

Brands above posted, decent cable also, all about subtileness, abrasion and cut resistance, and quailty in addition to price.

On the TMB ProPlex, while over-priced (in having a less expensive grade now available) and melts down in outer jacket at first contact with a hot light, on the other hand it tends to last forever when not melted down or breaking a conductor at the plug as normal to all.. Good stuff overall if budget for one cable that might last years upon years and perhaps best in bulllet proof assuming it doesn't touch a lighting fixture. I don't really buy it these days but have huge amounts of it in the system that is as good as new in being dependable years later. As an option it is amongst a few brands that did set the standard.

On lead time to get your cable, most or many suppliers either have it on the shelf or can get it out to you quick. Others can get it out quick or reasonably in all cases would if special needs when otherwise busy need at least a day. Such is normal and supply/demand is not much a factor in getting it given at least a weeks notice. Heck, my crew of two not including me could knock out 40x cables in a day - or they had at best. More than that and I might help but one might pay extra for shorter notice than a day and assuming we were not otherwise busy. In general, short notice means you pay extra no matter where you shop if not something pre-made and off the shelf.

This all in addtion to a ETC branded cable I remember - though not Electronic Theater Controls sold cable. Had blue writing to it. Sure they used two pair DMX type cable in this case for our three pin XLR plugs. Unfortunately as opposed to terminating all conductors given two pair into three pins into a terminal, they just left all conductors alone and only stripped and soldered what was requested into the plug. Just kind of left the extra full length conductors hanging out inside the plug. This caused constant gremlens in the system in one would not guess the amount of times a only just slightly twisted free floating wire one one end might say touch pin three, yet on the other end touch pin two if only in one certain position in a one in a million chance and Murphys Law. Yep, been there and done that and even in cutting back the free floating conductoros it didn't even solve the problem. Only solution is to cut back both conductors at least once initially, and a second time after use of some amount of time. That or terminate all wires into a terminal though not such a fan of that concept either given a cable might seem to work but if one conductor in two per terminal break off, it might test good but if broken off from termianl conductor strays to another terminal you again have gremlens. Say two conductors going to pin three, one of them breaks. You still have continuity, yet the second conductor in having broken loose at some times could short to pin two. That's a really hard problem to find over that of the concept of added security two conductors per termaina is a selleing point for. Nope, not for me, only one conductor per terminal, second conductors assigned to a terminal are only asking for problems.

On the other hand also, single pair verses dual pair DMX cable... used to be Hog Remotes, and other gear would use pins 4&5 at times though rare in use these days. As been explained to me to some limited extent for the future, by the time pins 4&5 get used Ethernet or an alternate language/cable will be already in use. I wouldn't worry about as I call it "true five pin cable." Only these days real use to having that second pair of wire other than for very limited situations is in having spare conductors to use when another pair breaks. This granted I only buy true DMX cable with two pair these days, still I might not if on a budget. Just don't hook up the other pins and there is lots of single pair as called "DMX grade" cable available from all those that sell two pair DMX. Much less expensive that way not that I do it in that I do buy true DMX Protocol these days. Still just a concept in me wasting money on the second pair in recognizing it as not necessary for 99% of all shows and needs.

Single pair cable from any number of brands, say 1/3 the cost.

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#### JD

##### Well-Known Member
The second pair comes in handy when running a second universe. In that case, a splitter divides the cable at the board and stage end.

One neat thing is that "Audio" snake cable is actually Data cable (Always has been) that is used for audio. Being such, the cable is foil shielded and is 110 ohm. I have a "mini" snake (6 pairs) which allow me to run U1, U2, and Com to the stage, have plenty of spares, and only run one cable. I guess "Everything Old is New Again!"

#### porkchop

##### Well-Known Member
ship you just wrote wrote the book on DMX cable holy cow... How long did that take to write?