Control/Dimming Difference Between USB to DMX Dongles

CameronLD

Member
Hey All!

I was looking at the different options for controlling a few LEDs from a computer and was confused about the differences between the pieces of hardware.

To my untrained eye it seems as if there are 2 main types of dongles, the expensive ones that consist of a box that you plug the USB and dmx cords into (like this: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...F3BgrzlhF9vqKcVgrx48_ZNkzn0k_Pjrg8aAkkG8P8HAQ), and the inexpensive kind which is simply a cord that has one end that is 5 or 3 pin dmx and another end that is USB (like this: http://www.dx.com/p/usb-to-dmx-adap...t3G7SZstt_ZGAahZeVmqgaApKG8P8HAQ#.V6tm-XopDqA).

What are the differences between these two types? Do they all generally work with any DMX control software? Any advice?

Thanks!
 

Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
The software dictates the controller really.

Most software will make a driver for Enttec because it is a known working and solid box hence the price.


Could you get away with a generic dongle sure but does it come with support, good parts, built tough, etc etc.

Like anything in this industry you get what you pay for.
 

TJCornish

Well-Known Member
Not all dongles/interfaces are supported by all software. You need to pick your software and then get the hardware that software package supports. Entec is reasonably common, but far from universal.
 

JD

Well-Known Member
Two very big things:
1) Direct cables rely on the computer's processor clicks to do the encoding. If the processor gets distracted doing something else, the DMX timing gets thrown off. The "box" style contains a processor that only handles the conversion and encoding, so the computer's processor can play with other things without messing up the DMX that is being sent down the line.
2) Often the lighting software looks for a brand specific dongle to identify itself. This is true especially when some of the software development cost is recovered via the sale of the dongle.
 

TupeloTechie

Active Member
1) Direct cables rely on the computer's processor clicks to do the encoding. If the processor gets distracted doing something else, the DMX timing gets thrown off. The "box" style contains a processor that only handles the conversion and encoding, so the computer's processor can play with other things without messing up the DMX that is being sent down the line.
.

Be careful, not all "box type" adapters have internal encoding. For example, the Enttec DMX USB Open, is in a box form factor but uses your CPU for encoding.

The Enttec Pro and Pro MkII are both great devices that work with a handful of programs.

Many programs also output Artnet, which is a bit more universal. The Enttec ODE is always a wise investment, especially with MA Lighting just opening up a free universe for the dot2onPC, and the option for tablet control such as Luminair.

Before you buy anything though, I would advise picking a program that does what you need and then find the correct interface for it.
 

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