Light sequencing and decoding DMX with Arduino

Akiba of Freaklabs and the Tokyo Hackerspace has written an excellent tutorial on using the Arduino to decode the DMX protocol, a standard protocol for stage lighting displays. It includes a three-part video presentation (Part I, above) and a link to the source code.

As Akiba notes, these techniques could be used in developing some serious Arduino controlled holiday lighting displays.


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  1. An error in the video. DMX has 512 “payload” bytes numbered from 1-512. The video incorrectly includes the start code in the count and numbers the count 0-511.

  2. It was a very interesting tutorial , BUT , I could not find the reference or the direction how to connect the DMX – it seems all is going via USB , which is not DMX. it would be great if someone could tell how this was connected and what electronics were used to do this

    1. DMX is electrically compatible with the RS-485 specifications, therefore use a cheap transceiver like the MAX485 or a FTDI one. A quick Google search for “rs-485 dmx” yields relevant results if you are looking for schematics.

  3. there are many USB adapters which output DMX along with a variety of software to drive it. Take a look at Open DMX USB

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