[DMX512 Home] [Link Finder!]
Google
 
www.dmx512.com Web
New!! Come and visit the brand new DMX512.com Forum

Be sure to read our disclaimer.


DMX512 Standard Pinouts

XLR

The Standard connector for DMX512 is the 5 pin XLR connector [Note 1]. A female is fitted to a transmitter (eg a console), and a male to a receiver (eg a dimmer).

PinUsual colourUsageNotes
1ScreenInterference screen, and ground reference[Note 2]
2BlackDMX512 Data -ve
3WhiteDMX512 Date +ve
4GreenSpare data -ve[Note 3]
5RedSpare data +ve[Note 3]

Notes

  1. The XLR5 physical pinout is very different to a 5 pin DIN!
  2. The body of the connectors is not connected to the screen. This is very important. If they were, and if you were to pickup two DMX connectors that have different earth potentials you could get a very nasty (or fatal) shock.
  3. That "spare" data pair referred to hides a multitude of sins.

Goto top of page Goto DMX512 index Goto lighting index


Other DMX512 Connector Pinouts

XLR

Pulsar & Clay Paky- DMX512 & Power on XLR 5 pin

Golden Scan, Stage Scan

PinUsual colourUsageNotes
1ScreenInterference screen, and ground reference[Note 2]
2BlackDMX512 Data -ve
3WhiteDMX512 Date +ve
4GreenNo connection
5Red+25V DC[Note 3]

Notes

  1. The XLR5 physical pinout is very different to a 5 pin DIN!
  2. The body of the connectors is not connected to the screen. This is very important. If they were, and if you were to pickup two DMX connectors that have different earth potentials you could get a very nasty (or fatal) shock.
  3. The power is referenced to screen, pin 1.

    Commentry

    Pulsar (who make the electronics for Clay Paky) stepped into a right hornets nest with their public announcement of their non-compliance. However, it is possible a lot of good may come from this. A group under the auspicies of ESTA has been set up to look at the use of pins 4 & 5, and Pulsar have generously donated their input protection circuits that they maintain make non-low voltages on a DMX (or MIDI) input or output a survivable event for about a dollar per connector.

    • Article from Steve Terry of Production Arts (no longer online)
    • Pulsar's presentation to ESTA (no longer online)

XLR

Scrollers - DMX512 & Power on XLR 4 pin

The 4 pin XLR is used mostly by scrollers and colour changers to deliver both control and power to a lighting accessory.

The following pinout is believed to be correct for:

  • Chroma-Q color changers
  • Wybron Forerunner
Not the Wybron ColorRam!

PinUsual colourUsageNotes
1ScreenInterference screen, and ground reference[Note 1]
2BlackDMX512 Data -ve
3WhiteDMX512 Date +ve
4Green&Red+24V DC[Note 2]

Notes

  1. The body of the connectors is not connected to the screen. This is very important. If they were, and if you were to pickup two DMX connectors that have different earth potentials you could get a very nasty (or fatal) shock.
  2. The power is referenced to screen, pin 1.
XLR

DMX512 on XLR 3 pin

The 3 pin XLR is used mostly by moving lights. Of course, as the XLR3 was never standardised as a "proper" DMX512 connector, there is no "proper" pinout, so of course, both variations are used.......

PinHigh End Systems
(Cyberlight, Intellabeam)
Martin Professional
(RoboScan)
Notes
1Interference screen, and ground reference[Note 1]
2DMX512 Data -veDMX512 Data +ve
3DMX512 Date +veDMX512 Date -ve

Notes

  1. The body of the connectors is not connected to the screen. This is very important. If they were, and if you were to pickup two DMX connectors that have different earth potentials you could get a very nasty (or fatal) shock.

Goto top of page Goto DMX512 index Goto lighting index


DMX512 - Cables

DMX512 is a bit fussy about the cables it is shoved down. Lighting control cables have to satisfy the conflicting requirements of being physically tough, to survive life on the road, and also electrically impressive to conduct and contain a signal that is transitioning at speeds over an order of magnitude faster than traditional RS232.

That said, DMX512 will survive being conducted along almost any twisted pair cable, and I have even seen DMX512 sucessfully being run down two cord zip lighting flex. However it is likely that such installations will be more problemsome than one done using the correct cables.

There are two cables that seem to have the nod, judging by their wide use:
ManufacturerReferenceNotes
Belden9842The original. Suitable for installations
ProplexPC224PTough! Recommended for non-fixed use

The theoretical length limit of a DMX512 cable (from source to final terminator) is 1KM, about 3280 feet. However to work reliably at this distance you must have perfect source, termination, and cable of adequate cross section. Being pragmatic, it's best not to run a show at the limit of technology, and choose a smaller 'maximum' for your own peace of mind, say 1500 feet.

Goto top of page Goto DMX512 index Goto lighting index


Comments and suggestions are welcomed by the webmaster, please use this contact form
DMX512.com site and linking information. And be sure to read our disclaimer.