USB DMX 512 Transceiver

Remco Bloemen

2009-10-17, last updated 2014-03-03

The dimmer pack I build (and will blog about soon) supports DMX 512 as a controlling protocol. However, professional light controlling equipment is quite expensive and limited in functionality. So I went with the open source solution, Q Light Controller (QLC). Now I only need a way to connect the software to the hardware.

The way to go is with an USB-DMX transceiver. Yet these still cost at least €100, which seems too much for what you get. After some research I found that most of the cheaper and DIY transceivers use a FTDI chip. I just happen to have one of those! It came in a kit. Now it was easy to build the Enttec Open DMX USB Interface. All in all less than two hours to build and assemble. And one hour to debug and discover that the DMX cable I used had a fractured lead.

And yes, I’m well aware that the DMX standard explicitly requires a five-pin connector. The reason I went for three-pin is because I had those laying around. In fact, I shopped around for five pins in Enschede, but it would have cost more than the entire transceiver.

It works wonderfully with the generic FTDI driver distributed with QLC.

Photo’s of the finished transceiver

TODO: These photo’s must be somewhere.

USB-DMX Top View, Top view of the USB-DMX512 tranceiver.

USB-DMX Front View, View of the USB side.

USB-DMX DMX side., View of the DMX side, showing the non-standard connector everyone uses.