Understanding DMX Dip Switches

 

Dipswitches are commonly found on DMX lighting in order to set the DMX address. There are apps for your phone that will work out the dipswitch for you, however, we will teach you how to do it.

 

Dip switches work on binary to configure the address. The easiest way to work is from the largest to the smallest. You will notice that the proportion that the dipswitch represents doubles each time as the number increases.

The best way to think of it is to fill a box of lego, each of the numbers represents the largest amount of lego you can fit into its box. The switches refer to the box to put the lego in. You can only put the lid on a box (Switch it on) if the box is full.

In the example below we show you how to calculate the DMX number 101 on a dipswitch.

  1. We always start with the highest number, so in terms of DMX its switch 9. If we think of it in terms of lego box 9 can hold 265 blocks of lego, (to put the lid on the box and turn the switch on we need a full box), number 9 is no good so we can make sure the switch is off and put a 0 in the box at the side.
  2. Next box is number 8, this holds 128 blocks of lego. We have 101 blocks, once again, we cant fill the box so we switch it off and put a 0 in the box at the side.
  3. Next is number 7, this holds 64 blocks of lego. We have 101 blocks so we can fill this box and switch it on.  
  4. As we have now put 64 blocks of lego in box 7 we only have 37 left. Next is box 6, this box holds 32 blocks, we can also fill this box with lego. So we switch it on.
  5. Now we only have 5 blocks of lego left, box 5 holds 16 blocks of lego, as we cant fill the box we switch it off.
  6. Next is box 3, As we have 5 blocks of lego left we can fill the box and turn it on, this leave us with 1 block of lego left.
  7. Box 2 only holds two blocks of logo so we cant fill the box so we switch it off
  8. Box 1 holds 1 block of lego which is all we have left, as it fills the box we can now switch it on.
  9. This leaves us with switches 1, 3, 6 and 7 on. These are what you would switch on on your DMX controller.

Switch

(box)

Number

(holds)

 

9

256

0 – Switch off

8

128

0 – Switch off

7

64

1 – Switch on

6

32

1 – Switch on

5

16

0 – Switch off

4

8

0 – Switch off

3

4

1 – Switch on

2

2

0 – Switch off

1

1

1 – Switch on