LED strip lights and DMX control

LED strip lights and DMX – what is DMX and why would I use it?

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What is DMX?

In short, DMX is a standard control protocol that is used in the lighting industry (and other industries too). It has been around for many years and is well known as a great, reliable way to control your lights. It is a wired control lighting system, with a DMX controller sending a signal to a DMX receiver (or multiple receivers) to control the lights.

When and why would you use DMX?

You would use DMX in larger projects, where RF (radio frequency ) could face issues with range, reliability, or an excessive quantity of units to be controlled.

Like RF, DMX allows you to control as many lights / areas as you require. You can control them individually or synchronised depending on your controller.

The high reliability of the hardwired signal cables makes the DMX protocol ideal for larger homes or commercial applications such as restaurants / clubs/ bars / hotels / gyms etc.

DMX is a standard protocol, so in some instances you’ll find that previously installed lights are controlled already using DMX, meaning that any additional lights can easily fit into the current (scaleable) system.

For example, a theatre may have downlights and groundlights controlled via a DMX controller, and they want to add some LED strip lights onto the same system and controller… this is very easy with DMX, as all DMX receivers and controllers work together, no matter their brand / manufacturer!

The advantages of DMX?

  • Universal control – as standard control protocol you can use any brand / manufacturer’s controllers, knowing they will work together.
  • Very reliable.
  • Hardwired .
  • You can control one or many zones.
  • Controllers for all budgets – from simple up to laptop-control software.
  • Unlimited number of receivers can be controlled – ideal for any size project.
  • Been around for many years and well renowned.
  • Wiring is relatively uncomplicated.
  • You can use off-the-shelf cabling to wire the system.
  • Large range of manufacturers, so you can choose controllers with a variety of styles and finishes.

The disadvantages of DMX?

  • Needs to be hardwired (you can now get wireless DMX, although it’s not common – and that’s a topic for another blog!)
  • Not a lot of electricians have used DMX, so sometimes struggle to understand it’s requirements the first time.
  • Troubleshooting can take some time / cost money. For example data corruption can occur if the signal cables are fitted too close to 240V cables, causing the lights to flicker every now and again. Unless your installer knows this, as well as a range of other dos and don’ts, it can take many hours to resolve.)

Why InStyle LED?

We stock all of our LED tapes for next day delivery.

You can provide us with any sketches / plans and we can advise on the most cost effective way for wiring / control.

We can speak to any installers, before, during and after your project to answer any questions.

Please call us today on 0116 2799083 or email [email protected]