Once you have all of your light fittings connected up to your DMX drivers/decoders, you need to assign addresses to the units from the 512 channels available to you. Each individual zone of control in your lighting system will require its own unique address.

All of this is done using dip switches which are normally located near the DMX input and output sockets.

Generally, there will be 10 dip switches on the device and these are used for setting a binary address. Each of the switches has a corresponding value and the DMX address is calculated by adding together these values. Below is a chart which shows that switch one is worth ‘1’, switch two is worth ‘2’, switch three is worth ‘4’ and so on. The value doubles each time to a value of 256 for the ninth switch.

Dip Switch Binary Values

DMX Address Example: 004

If you noticed that dip switch 10 was missing on the chart, that is because it is usually reserved for a test mode and is not normally used as part of the addressing system.

When you set the starting DMX address of a given light fixture, you are setting the starting point of the DMX signal for that unit. Within a single ‘DMX universe’ you have a total of 512 channels. Once you’ve set your first light fixture (which should be set to ‘Address 001’) on your DMX decoder, you then need to calculate how many channels are being used and set the second light fixture to the next available DMX channel.

For example, RGB LED tape has three cores, therefore, requires a total of 3 DMX channels to operate (one channel for red, one channel for green, and one channel for blue). The first length of RGB LED tape would be set to ‘Address 001’ and the next length of tape would begin on DMX channel 4.

The above right graphic shows that dip switch number 3 is equivalent to DMX channel 4, so this is what the decoder would be set to on the second length of RGB LED tape in the above scenario.

If for example you were using an RGBW light fitting, the additional white LED chip would require an additional cable core, and therefore an additional DMX channel. That would mean the DMX address required for the second light fitting would be ‘5’ instead of ‘4’.

The dip switch configuration for this would be the same as the above example with an additional ‘1’, which means dip switches one and three would need to be set to the ‘on’ position.

DMX Address Example: 005