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Source for dmx cables

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Has anyone located a bargain source for dmx cables? I am going to need four 50 footers and one 20 footer. I don't mind using standard xlr mic cables if they will work no problem.

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Search for DMX cable.

I believe you can use standard XLR cables unless you are using the 5 pin versions.

Don't know if they have the best prices or not.


Found some more info about using standard XLR mic cables.

Officially DMX is carried on 5 pin connectors, which carry the data (RS485) on pins 2 & 3, screen (and common mode reference) on 1. There is a second data link on pins 4 & 5 the format of which has never been well defined and it is seldom used in practice. This means that at an electronics level, the signal is sent through 5-core cable (but only 3 are ever used) consisting of 0v, +ve and -ve signal wires. Cable for DMX-512 installations should be 110 ohm impedance shielded twisted pair cable. A normal microphone cable (shielded twisted pair) works OK for short runs, but can cause problems in long runs (so using it is not recommended).

In DMX-512 world there has been a long debate on 3-pin vs 5-pin connector. The official standard says 5-pin connector. Unfortunately some manufacturers use a cheaper 3-pin XLR connector instead of standard 5-pin. Cheaper/budget lighting kits (like many disco effects) are almost always 3 pin, probably because the plugs are cheaper! It seems that 3 pin is becoming the modern de-factor norm (although not conforming to the DMX512 standard) and 5 pin is becoming more unusual. Current Martin kit uses 'pin 3 +ve' but older Martin stuff is the other way round. It's therefore worth carrying 'change-over' connectors as well as 3-to 5-pin adaptors if you are working with systems consisting of components from many different manufacturers.

Source: http://www.sound-light-company.co.uk/technicalpages/dmx-512.htm
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bhays wrote:

Wow, $30 for a 50 footer 3 pin and out of stock to boot. Got to be a little better deal out there.


I agree! pssl.com was the first site that came to my mind. I personally would make my own cables.

Tim, DMX is getting a lot of attention with this new addition from LOR. I know the cord is pretty standard, but wiring the connectors is key. Any chance of a How To on the DMX cables?
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I jsut searched through my list of sites and stumbled across bulk cable for those who wish to do it themselves:


I have never bought from them so I don't have any expirience with that particular company. Making custom cables is the way I'd go, especially if you have to make adapters from 3-5 and reverse pins for older Martin fixtures.

Will Sanders

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  • 1 year later...

just a word of warning:

If you use an 3 pin XLR (mic cable) there is a strong possibilty that you might run into problems. Especially if you use cheap cable. DMX uses 120ohm cable. The capacitance of the cable must also be taken into account, especially in a long cable. the longer a cable takes to discharge voltage ultimately distorts the DMX waveform.

An alternative would be to use cat 5 cable and solder your own connectors on. Both DMX and Cat5 cables are designed to handle RS485.

In DMX-512 world there has been a long debate on 3-pin vs 5-pin connector. The official standard says 5-pin connector

I understand this is me nit - picking, but this statement is incorrect. USITT DMX512 does not make any desigination on what the type of connector is to be used.

on the otherhand - USITT/ ESTA DMX512A does specify the connector as a 5 pin XLR.
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I got a dozen each of the male and female, not that I anticipate ever needing that many, but you can't beat less than $20 for a couple dozen connectors.

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