Computer Controled DMX stuff

The_Terg said:
The problem with serial is that I think it's a Liiiitle too slow for use for DMX. If you think about it, DMX is nearly identical to MIDI in the way that it uses individual commands (channel 53 off, channel 53 intensity 127.... etc) sent at a rapid speed to achieve control.

Actually, the DMX signal itself is based off of an existing serial protocol, however it's RS422 (I think), not the RS232 we're used to seeing. If you're interested in learning about DMX as a control signal, as well as just about any other control system used in Entertainment, I suggest reading John Huntington's book, "Control Systems for Live Entertainment." He is one of my professors, and I have taken several of his classes. He is one of the foremost experts on Control systems and show control (they aren't the same!), and his book explores many different control types in Audio, Video, Scenery, etc, as well as lighting.
Mayhem said:

A little late I know, but just whingeing about the Behringer.
I use it in a studio application, controlling approx 12 lights at a time (we sometimes may use wide mode and go up to 20 or so) and it's great for manual presets - BUT HORRIBLE FOR SOFT-PATCHING or MEMORY.

Very confusing software, and it often develops bugs if you dont have the foot pedal.

Besides that, a reasonably good board.


Inexpensive PC DMX interfaces= $60 and free DMX contsoftware

You can get a $60 USB DMX PC widget from and you can download free public domain open source software from the website. Complete info on writing your own software for use with this widget is provided including source code in Visual BASIC and other languages. There are several complete theater lighting control programs with full source code available so you can customize them as you like.


Well-Known Member
Garen said:
you also want to consider that computers are not as reliable as light boards, if you are considering using this to run a show on. Also, you can get the free DMX control software, but the actual hardware is VERY expensive. 3000+. The hardware runs in USB to DMX conversion, external DMX conversion boxes, and then the in-the-back-of-your-computer PC cards. All are pricey, although Chauvet, a more dance lighting company, sells a <1000$ external DMX box, although I dont know how good that is, although I have never worked with I, but I do know that Chauvet is a reliable company with good products.

hope this help you, or anyone else interested

In 10 years, averaging 2 shows a week, week in and week out, and replacing the computer only once to buy more memory and a faster processor, and using those same computers for other things, and moving them around, on airplanes, etc, I've never experienced a pc crash, yet I have a number of crashes on various hardware boards. Also, LJ sells for about $1,400, and HogPC a little more. Far less than your $3,000+ estimate.

As for some other comments about $$$, I believe pc based solutions cost what they do is two-fold: if I'm Martin or High End I don't want to sell lights that cost an average of $2000, and control them with a $200 interface. It just doesn't "fit." Mfg. of the actual hardware probably costs them $10, but they have to maintain the perception. Also, someone has to pay for the software upgrades.

The hardware may work with another brand of software, but there's no guarantee.


Active Member
Try Enttec ( they have a dmx-usb box that sells for about $70, maybe less on eBay. You can use all the open source software thats available off their site, as well, I've heard it works with the Sunlite program as well.

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