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Practical DMX

In this highly topical and important title, the author discusses DMX Networks and Installations and the equipment involved. Analogue networks are also covered and there is an introduction to Ethernet networks and cabling systems. The title has been updated to include the recently ratified Remote Device Management (RDM) standard and how this affects DMX networks and the benefits it brings.

Author: Nick Mobsby
Publication Date: 8th September 2005
Book Format: Paperback
Kindle Version: Click here to buy from Amazon
Price: £16.95


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There are many books that deal in some way with DMX data distribution and the electronic signals that are DMX512 – even Recommended Practice for DMX 512 by Adam Bennette still serves as a staple reference on the subject. Although they’ll all teach you how the protocol works and what the electronic parameters are, very few give instruction on setting up large DMX (or other) lighting control networks. 


Mobsby, however, has aimed to take a fresh look at what modern systems entail and his book covers the knowledge that a technician working with the ever-growing nature of lighting control systems needs. It’s not limited to DMX either: it also details older analogue dimming as well as the new Advanced Control Network (ACN) protocol and other Ethernet-based networks – and as such, this book is unique.


The introductory chapters cover the various types of control protocols in use around the world today (or that may still be discovered running in an older installation) as well as a little history on each. It then moves on to look at the basics of DMX and how it works, as well as simple interconnections and equipment such as protocol converters, buffers and demultiplexers. Throughout the book there are references to current products from various manufacturers – even with rough price guides to help with budget planning at the design stage. 


Mobsby moves on to look at the design and planning of the infrastructure of a system and covers patch bays, inlet and outlet connection points, DMX universes, DMX over radio and alternative network topologies such as the buffered distribution systems offered by manufacturers such as XTBA and Howard Eaton Lighting. Cabling and connectors form the next sizeable chapter and a good level of detail is given to what is literally the backbone of any good system, covering touring, installation and Ethernet cables and connections, good installation practice and cable identification/installation schedules. 


It would be prudent for anyone planning a new installation to consider the growing use of standard computer-based Ethernet networking over, or aligned with, DMX, and Mobsby has a chapter set aside for this. It also includes a detailed section on CANbus, now widely used in buildings for building management purposes, but of course also relevant when it comes to interfacing with house or working lights, amongst other things. The final chapter takes a look at the various items of test equipment currently available, from the simplest to the most complex DMX testers, as well as Ethernet cable testers – and there is also a section on cable testing.