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Terminator, DMX

Discussion in 'Wiki' started by derekleffew, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    A male XLR connector, either 3- or 5-pin, with a 120Ω, 1/2 - 2W (See Note1 below), resistor soldered across pins 2 & 3, plugged into the output of the last DMX device in the line. Easily built oneself (see, or available for purchase from many manufacturers, one example: DFD Base Model, or (a fancy one with a "DMX-signal present" LED indicator: DFD Deluxe Terminator).

    The terminator is required to prevent reflections from causing data transmission errors on all DMX streams, except those ending with an ETC Source Four Revolution® or SmartPack, which cleverly switch in the resistor if they sense nothing plugged into their DMX out port. See also this thread:

    For more information, see the "Dr. DMX" article, Why Terminate?.

    Steps to build one's own:

    1) Obtain a 1/2W, 120Ω resistor. (Available from any quality electronics component dealer: Allied, DigiKey, Mouser, Newark, etc.; or from The Shack, Cat#271-1108, $0.99 for a five-pack.)
    2) Solder the resistor between pins 2&3 of a Male XLR (5-pin or 3-pin as appropriate) connector. Polarity of the resistor is not important--it doesn't matter which end goes to which pin. Leave pin #1 empty (no connection).
    DL's Photobucket
    3) Reassemble the connector and LABEL IT CLEARLY, as it will look just like an un-wired male XLR connector otherwise.

    Note1: The wattage of the resistor used is often an area of confusion. From Doug Fleenor:
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010

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