View Full Version : DMX Dongles and USB to RS-485 Converters with Renard SS 24's and DMX equipment

01-16-2011, 02:33 AM
I have 8 Renald SS 24's, USB to RS-485 adapter and USB to RS-232 adapter. I am looking at buying DMX Flood lights and in the future possibly some RGB led strings. I think I need to add a DMX dongle of some type. If I do, which one is the most bang for the buck? Also am leaning towards Light Shop Pro or Vixen for the software.

Thanks for your help.

01-16-2011, 01:20 PM
I think I need to add a DMX dongle of some type. If I do, which one is the most bang for the buck?

There are two general types of DMX dongles and some subcategories within each general type:

*A "dumb" DMX dongle, also known as the "Open DMX Interface," is a USB-to-RS485 adapter that depends upon the host PC to deliver the DMX signal. The DMX signal is a consistent stream of 512 codes, one for each channel, sent over and over at a high rate of speed. Because of the way Windows works, you can't depend upon the PC to consistently deliver the signal for a fast-pace show, like trying to synchronize Christmas music to lights. There is plenty of success in using the Open DMX Interface in non-synchronization applications (i.e.: stage shows), but most have found it not to work in our application. Nonetheless, there is a plug-in available in Vixen to drive this type of device:

-- You can buy an Open DMX Interface from Enttec (http://www.enttec.com/index.php?main_menu=Products&pn=70303&show=description) for $60, but you will also need an XLR5-to-RJ45 adapter (~$5-$10).

-- You can probably use your existing USB-to-RS-485 adapter. Compare the specs on your adapter to the specs of the device linked above.

*A "smart" DMX dongle, which takes in the DMX information from the PC and uses a microprocessor to send it back out in a consistently valid DMX signal, perfect for synchronizing music to lights. There are Vixen plug-ins for the various types.

-- Enttec sells one of these as well (http://www.enttec.com/index.php?main_menu=Products&pn=70304&show=description&name=dmxusbpro) for $151 and you'll still need an XLR5-to-RJ45 adapter (~$5-$10). It uses the Enttec Pro Vixen plug-in.

-- Two hobbyists have designed USB-to-DMX adapters that are pretty much Enttec Pro "clones." They sell at least printed circuit boards, if not full bills-of-material for building the full device. See http://www.diylightanimation.com/ and/or http://shop.martinxmas.com/ . Both of these devices end up costing about $50 ($55 or more with enclosure) with RJ45 output. These both use the Enttec Pro Vixen plug-in.

-- Another hobbyist has designed a USB-to-DMX adapter that is not an Enttec clone but that does work; Labrat calls his device the USB2DMX (http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/wiki/index.php?title=USB2DMX); as you can see from the wiki, the BOM costs out at about $26 with enclosure and the PCB in quantity is about $3-$4. It uses its own Vixen plug-in.



01-16-2011, 04:41 PM
Thank you so much for the explanation. I really appreciate it. i think I will try one of the two hobbyist versions. Do both work with Light Shop Pro?

01-17-2011, 01:35 PM
Do both work with Light Shop Pro?

That's Light *Show* Pro, but yes, I believe they do.