opto-splitter

aka "opto," "opto-isolator." A DMX data-distribution device, used when more than one data stream is required, or when the number of devices on a single line exceeds the maximum of 32. Required as the protocol does not permit "Y" cables. The "opto" part is short for "optically isolated," a desirable feature so that a fault on one output cannot propagate to other outputs.

Some opto-splitters just provide electrical isolation between the input and the outputs, but the best types have a separate transformer-isolated power supply or DC-to-DC converter for the input and each of the outputs. This provides isolation between each and every data link entering the unit. A quick way to tell if a unit has this type of isolation: With the unit unplugged from power and data links, run a dc continuity check with a VOM between pin 1 on each of the data links. If it's an open circuit to all other pin 1's, the link has full isolation.


Above picture is from Doug Fleenor Design, generally recognized as the best, and also the most expensive. Other manufactures include Pathway Connectivity, Elation, Swisson, and others.

Enttec makes a very affordable four-way splitter:

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