October 17, 2012

DMX Lighting Tutorial Part 2: What is Addressing?

Learn how to set addresses on DMX lights in part 2 of this DMX lighting tutorial. If you don’t know a whole lot about DMX lighting, give part 1 of this DMX series a look. It will get you up to speed. In the following video we will cover how to address lights with multiple functions, discuss how to address lights using dipswitches as well as LED panels, and get into the mechanics of how it all works. We’ve got part 2 of our DMX lighting tutorials posted below.

DMX Lighting Tutorial Videos

Part 1. What is DMX?
Part 2. What is DMX Addressing?
Part 3. Dipswitches
Part 4. DMX Wiring
Part 5. Hardware and Software Setup


Hello my name is chris. Welcome back! This is part 2 of the uniquesquared DMX lighting series in which I’m explaining some of the basics of DMX lighting with the help of this marker board and these turkeys. In this video segment I’ll be talking about DMX addressing. Ok let’s begin.

When we left off we were talking about a single light with a single function and our DMX controller. Now let’s say we’ve got two lights and our DMX controller. And instead of having just one function, each light has 8 functions. That means each is going to need 8 different unique addresses with 8 matching channels of control. The first address given to any light in a series is always given the DMX address 1. Since our first light has 8 functions, it will occupy addresses 1 through 8 and match up with channels 1 through 8. Any package sent from the controller with an address between 1 and 8 will go to that light.  Luckily we don’t have to set all 8 addresses for each function within that light. We just set one address for the entire light and any package that is addressed to one of those 8 functions goes to the light’s main address before being directed to the appropriate function within the light. We want to make sure that control of the second light is completely separate from control of the first light. So, we have to give it an address outside of the 1-8 channel range. 9 is the next available channel so that is the address of our next light. Since that light also has 8 functions, they will occupy the next 8 channels of control. So now the second light will accept all packages with an address in the range of 9-16.

So how do we set the address for each light? This is the back of a light with a set of dip switches. It’s old fashioned and doesn’t have the nice led panel that some of the new lights have. To set the address on these you’re going to need a toothpick or some other dip switch setting tool. A good dip switch setting tool will let you adjust each switch without messing with the others. Dip switches are coded in binary. And we’ll go into depth with all of that in the next video. Now this is a light with an LED panel. Setting the DMX address of this light is really straightforward. You just have to look at your lights manual and it will show you how to navigate to the address setting mode and then it will show you how to set the address.

So that’s all for part 2. I hope you stick around for the next video where I’ll talk about how dipswitches work. Also be sure to checkout for great prices on lights, DMX controllers, or any pro audio gear you may need. If you have a questions you can follow the link to our blog in the description below and leave them there. We’ll answer them as soon as we can.