May 152012
RS232 to DMX Dimming Engine

RS232 to DMX Dimming Engine

Edit 8/6/2012 : Programmer Wes Albert was kind enough to provide a demo video and several Crestron modules.  Take a look here and let us know how they work for you…


This little guy has been for sale now for a couple years, with great success.  It’s very popular with systems integrators who need simple, straightforward control of an entire DMX universe through a serial port. Our customers have connected it to everything from an iPad, standard AMX / Crestron controllers, custom-written software for Mac or PC platforms, and surely many other systems we’re not aware of.  Its easy-to-parse, human-readable serial command set results in a very short learning curve and very stable operation.

We’re well beyond checking for firmware bugs* at this point – the system has been field-proven by many many customers.

But here’s where we need help.

This summer’s goal is to make the system even more user-friendly and powerful.

We’re what the IRS would classify as a ‘very small business’, and don’t have resources to tackle this alone.  So we’re offering converter boxes to a select group of people.

What You Get

  • One standalone RS232 to DMX engine
  • One 9v DC adapter
  • As much email and telephone tech support as it takes to make you happy

What We Want in Return

  • As you can probably imagine, we just don’t have the time to buy / borrow / rent hardware and software to test against each and every major system out there.
  • So, we’re looking for a complete ‘plugin’ or ‘module’ or whatever it’s called on your particular platform, which we can publish here on this site and share with other customers.  Basically, you provide with us everything a brand-new customer – someone reasonably skilled in their trade, but new to using our gear – would need to get up-and-running, as quickly and painlessly as possible.  Source code, screenshots with annotations, even short video clips would be much appreciated.  Full credit for your work will be given, including links to your website and a quick company bio if you’d like some extra exposure.

Interested?  Drop a quick note in the comments below.  Include your email address (which will be sent to us, but not shared with anyone else).  Please mention your platform of choice, as we certainly don’t know who all the big players are in this arena.  We’re hoping to work first with integration systems which have fairly broad market penetration already.

This is a first-come, first served-per-system sort of project, probably.  We can sneak five or maybe ten boxes out the door before the accountants start to gnash their teeth.  If someone else has claimed your platform already, make your best case for why we should double down on free bits of $200 kit.

And of course, as people have a chance to program against their gear and submit results, we’ll post them in a helpful gallery on this site.

Note that comments submitted are read and moderated by an actual human being, so they may not appear immediately below.

Thanks for visiting our little corner of the Internet.


* New feature requests are always welcome, and existing gear may be easily and quickly updated in the field.  We thrive on that sort of feedback.  If there’s a function we’ve not considered which would make your life even easier, please let us know.

EDIT: As of June 13, 2012, we’ve got a group of several programmers working on different Crestron modules for this system.  So no more freebies, sorry.  However, if you’re familiar with a different automation platform, please let us know.  Otherwise, keep an eye on this space, as we’re hoping to publish the finished modules within a week or two.  Also, if you enter your name and email address in the top right corner of this page, you’ll receive automatic updates when new content is published here.


 Posted by at 12:31 am

  14 Responses to “Free RS232 to DMX Converters!”

  1. I have been loosely associated with DMX control while working with an associate in a church camp situation. The camp is a one week high school age camp where on Sunday afternoon sixty to eighty high school aged campers arrive and during the week we work on a variety of activities involving music (everyone sings in the choir and some will bring instruments to play in the band/orchestra), drama, art (the art folks make all of our sets and props) and dance. Those whore interested in the tech aspects sign up to work with us to provide all the lighting and audio support for the camp.
    My experience has been as an observer for the most part but I am presently working on an upgrade to the lighting controls at my home church so I intend to become much more hands on. At camp our control system is PC based and then in addition to the DMX signals we convert to both Sunn analog multiplex equipment and an old EDI portable dimmer system.
    For my home church I will be replacing the controller on our Strand Environ 2 dimmer rack with a Johnson Controls Envy interface. The DMX will also be available at all of our lighting mount locations for use in more modern lighting equipment. The basic preprogrammed scenes will be handled with Lightolier Lytemode DMX equipment for ease of use in general while the DMX controlling will initiate in a PC environment for complex requirements.
    I would enjoy the opportunity to work with your interface product.

    Gordon Frost

  2. I can put a module together for Crestron.

  3. I am interested in working with this and creating a Crestron module for it. I have looked for interfaces like this in the past and was always stuck designing a custom solution instead.

    Thank you,

  4. I am the Technical Director at a large church. We would use this to upgrade Robe Colorwash lights and attempt it on Martin Mac 500s as well. We have an Avolites Pearl 2004 board. Thanks!

  5. Hi Kris. I’m curious – what would you be using as an RS-232 source? It seems like the Pearl console would be able to drive the different fixtures natively, yes?

  6. […] 8/6/2012 As a result of our ‘Free Gear in Exchange for a Programming Module‘ offering a few weeks ago, programmer Wes Albert was kind enough to provide these […]

  7. As a follow up, programmer Wes (see other comments) has provided Crestron modules and a demo video. Take a look!

  8. […] a result of our ‘Free Gear in Exchange for a Programming Module‘ offering a few weeks ago, programmer Wes Albert was kind enough to provide four Crestron […]

  9. I’d be glad to make a run at creating control for Extron and Biamp / Mediamatrix / misc audio DSP controllers. We find that a lot of churches and conference rooms will need just that one more feature that is the difference between having the audio DSP / simple projector control handle everything and needing a Crestron or AMX solution.

  10. @Mike – sounds great. Let’s discuss your shipping address on the phone. Shop number is 801 949 8294.

  11. Your product looks great. I would be interested in creating a driver for RTI to work with this. Similar to Crestron or AMX but a bit more affordable.

  12. I have looked at the Modules provided by wes and they are great, I would be interested in going a little further with the crestron, I am also an Extron Programmer and could take a crack at that as well. If there are no more testing units maybe wes could test my additions to his existing set.

  13. I made a modification to Wes’ Crestron module to allow me to simplify control of a single channel.
    Inputs: On, Off, Raise, Lower.
    Parameters: Channel, On Intensity, On Ramp Time, Off Ramp Time.
    Output: Tx$.
    I do nto have the equipment so we will be testing at a clients house on Friday. I would prefer if someone tests it before that…anyone interested?

  14. Alex – thanks for the update. If your testing goes well, please consider sharing your updated code.

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