Introduction to DMX

Contributors: Englandsaurus
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In this tutorial, we'll cover DMX512 (Digital Multiplex with 512 pieces of information). Originally intended as a way to standardize communication among lighting dimmers, DMX512 has been adapted to control a variety of stage lighting and effects such as intelligent lights, gobos, lasers, and fog machines. DMX512 is even used in many architectural lighting scenarios (I'm looking at you Las Vegas). In this tutorial, we'll go over what there is to know about how and when to implement DMX.


DMX512 was created in 1986 by an engineering commission for USITT (United States Institute for Theater Technology) as a way to control dimming channels on lights. In 1998, the ESTA began work in getting DMX to the point where it could be approved by ANSI and in 2004, DMX-512A was ANSI approved as the "Asynchronous Serial Digital Data Transmission Standard for Controlling Lighting Equipment and Accessories."

Suggested Reading

Check out this tutorial on serial communication if you aren't familiar with serial communication.

Serial Communication

Asynchronous serial communication concepts: packets, signal levels, baud rates, UARTs and more!