New! Field Programmable DMX to RS232

DecaBox - Laser Etched


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Our customers have used variations on this design to drive the internal shutter of every modern large-frame video projector – including Barco, Panasonic, Christie, and Sanyo. It’s also possible to control video projectors, video switchers, DVD players and other production gear with this interface.

The DecaBox chassis makes this sort of interface very simple to implement.

In the past, we’ve offered a service whereby customers sent us a list of the commands they needed implemented, and we programmed them into the device’s firmware.  It worked amazingly well, and our customers were very happy.

However, we wanted to make an even more user-friendly product.  At the top of the new feature list was the ability for people to input, test and edit their own serial commands.

So we’re happy to announce new firmware for DecaBox, which allows DMX to RS232 triggering, and can be edited in the field.

The DecaBox contains an internal SD memory card, on which is stored a very simple, human-readable .txt file.  It can be edited on any modern computer.

At boot time, the memory card is read and the user-generated RS232 strings stored in memory.

That’s it!  Totally stable, very user friendly and simple to configure.

Here’s a sample text file:

 ; DecaBox Protocol Converter
 ; Engineering Solutions Inc
 ; Firmware for converting DMX512 input
 ; into RS232 output in a user configurable way
 ; This file is called patch.txt and should be edited
 ; in either TextEdit (OS X) or Notepad (Windows).  Other programs,
 ; such as Word, may introduce unwanted garbage characters in the file.
 ; Note that lines which begin with a semicolon are comments, and
 ; are ignored by the firmware. A line can contain a comment or a command,
 ; but not both.
 ; Set the global baud rate.  Default here is 8N1, no handshaking
 ; Regular options are 9600 19200 38400 57600 115200
 ; no commas are needed
 baud 19200
 ; Up to 29 string characters can be assigned to each DMX channel,
 ; Up to two commands per channel may be stored (ie,
 ; 5% < Channel < 50% --> Send One String
 ; 51% < Channel < 100% --> Send a Second string
 ;Commands are divided up into several columns as follows:
 ; and columns are separated by the space character ' ' in the table below.
 ; Channel Number | Lower Limit | Upper Limit | Repeat | Data to Transmit
 ; Channel number is a 1-3 digit DMX channel value, range is [1 512]
 ; The serial commands are tied to this channel. Channel numbers are
 ; always preceded by a lower-case 'c'
 ; Lower and upper limit refer to the range of DMX channel values to which
 ; an RS232 string will respond.  Often users like to have a range (say, 5% - 10%)
 ; or only trigger above a specific value.  Value valid range is [0 255]
 ; Each command needs a valid lower and upper range
 ; Repeat refers to what the system will do as DMX data is received. Since the
 ; incoming data is sampled ~ 40 frames per second, we could either (a) only
 ; transmit a serial string when the DMX value changes or (b) transmit continuously.
 ; For single string generation (by far the most common choice) enter the character
 ; S in the table
 ; For constant generation, which will result in a constant spewing of RS232 characters,
 ; enter Z
 ; Finally, add the desired serial string:
 ; Characters which aren't human readable and editable in a
 ; text editor (such as carriage return, line feed, STX,
 ; ETX and so forth, are defined by the escape sequence $AB, where AB is a two digit
 ; hex representation of a single byte to be transmitted. Valid range of AB is [00 FF]
 ; Leading zeroes may be required, depending on desired value.
 ; The protocol is not case sensitive.  $AB == $ab == $Ab == $aB
 ; Strings made entirely of hex characters can also be built using the abovementioned
 ; escape sequences.  Here's how to send the five bytes $02 $04 $10 $22 $38.
 ; $02$04$10$22$38
 ; If the $ character itself needs to be transmitted as part of a serial
 ; string, it must be encoded as the hex character 24.
 ; $02$04$10$22$38$2F$24
 ;The actual DMX to RS232 Patch Chart begins here:
 ; Send 'Hello World' and a carriage return one time,
 ; when channel 3 is between ~5% and 50%:
 c3 10 128 S Hello World$0D
; Add a second string when the slider is at the top half of its travel:
c3 129 255 S Second String Here!$0D
 ; Send 'Projector Off" when channel 16 is at any value greater than 5:
 c16 5 127 S ProjectorOff$0D
; And here's a second string for fun:
c16 128 255 S Projector On$0D
 ; Send six hex bytes when channel 22 is between 100 and 200
 c22 100 200 S $23$24$25$26$27
 ; etc etc etc


System includes a USB port for easy field updates and firmware changes.

We can usually ship these systems the same day or – or worst case, the next morning. Overnight delivery and international shipping is no problem.


  • DMX In & Through on XLR-5 connectors
  • DMX input section is optically and galvanically isolated from the rest of the system for your safety and protection.
  • RS-232 port generates industry-standard RS-232 levels for clean, consistent control.
  • 2 line x 16 character LCD for system messages / user interface
  • 3 ‘soft’ keys for input and parameter setting
  • 3 LED indicators for status display

System power supply is 9-12V DC, 300 mA, center positive, with a commonly-available 2.1mm barrel jack. Power supply is an international switching type, so it will work with mains power anywhere in the world.  However, it has two ‘American’ style prongs.  A travel adapter may be required to connecting to other mains outlets.

In Stock – Buy Online Now

A few happy customers sent in reviews of their DMX – Serial Converters:

“Engineering Solutions Inc. had a product we needed at a great price but what really made us happy is their customer service and support. They were able to accommodate our very tight project schedule and custom programming needs without batting an eye and were great on follow up.

They’re definitely part of the solution.”

Sarah Roos

BBI Engineering

In June ’09 I contacted Response Box (Engineering Solutions) to request a DMX to serial converter. I needed a specific output setup to match Pioneer industrial DVD player V7400s.

The whole process from initial contact to receipt of the unit took only about a week. The unit sent to me matched my specific needs precisely and it work flawlessly from the first time I plugged it in.

John from Engineering Solutions stayed in frequent e-mail communication with me to assure he programmed the unit properly. When he mailed the unit he contacted me offerring to give installation advise.

Turns out I needed no advise because the unit was so easy to operate. And I really appreciate knowing that the unit can be reprogrammed via the Response Box pros by e-mail attachment and usb connection.

John offerred more than just advise, he also offerred to construct connection cables for me according to my project’s specifications.

Engineering Solutions was friendly, helpful, efficient, communicative and very competent in dealing with me. The price beat a Danish company making similar units by about $300.00, and beat Lanbox by about $450.00.

I will definitely use Engineering Solutions again when needed…and I highly recommend them to other audio/video artists, studio/stage producers, and engineers.

Robert W Townsend, PhD

Albuquerque, NM

In our business, when you encounter a problem, you need a solution quickly. That is what Engineering Solutions did for us, analyze our problem, think of a solution, and ship it out. Within 36 hours we had this nifty little box that did the trick for us: controlling the lamps of a Barco CLM HD8 projector.

I’m looking forward to think out other crazy connexxion stuff with Engineering Solutions,

John, you saved the day.


Michel Buchner

LiveLAB ,The Netherlands

I was commissioned to deliver animation and a video control system for a 12 month theatre production tour. The producers wanted everything to be triggered from the lighting desk so I Googled for a DMX to Serial converter to send control codes to a solid state video replay device.

I found John Chapman’s solution for a video shutter control that seemed to send a limited range of serial commands so I emailed John to see if that could be adapted to trigger up to 25 serial strings to play up to 25 different videos. John responded saying there was no problem adapting it to my spec and the price he quoted for two of these delivered to me in Australia was extraordinarily reasonable.

After more testing I found I could also make videos loop with a different serial command and after a couple of emails John happily accommodated the revised spec. My client was late giving approval but still kept the same delivery date (of course) but John was still able to deliver the DMX-Serial boxes on time.

Once we had them in the theatre we needed to make a small adjustment to how the DMX messages were handled but thankfully John had implemented a USB firmware update process. Within 24 hours John had sent me the new code and I was easily able to apply update.

The whole process has been a delight, John was unbelievably responsive and professional and I can’t recommend his company too highly. To arrive at a solution like this with John 1/2 a planet away via Google, email, UPS and never having met has been nothing short of very impressive.

Mal Padgett

Mal Padgett Design, Melbourne Australia

Gateway Church is a large Church in Southlake Texas. Our attendance this past Easter 2008 was 16000 people. We had a need for a DMX to Serial device that would allow us to control one of our projectors with our lighting board.

I called Engineering Solutions and I was blown away.

This company delivers an awesome product that has nailed our application and need. They are fast, customer friendly and reliable.

Engineering Solutions completely exceeded my expectations and I will use them again.

-David Leuschner, Director of Technical Arts, Gateway Church

Thank you for all the help in getting a dmx to serial converter created and programmed for my install. The timeline was short and I felt a little unsure about going down that path, thinking that a standard servo dowser would be a safer choice. After our initial discussion about my desired product however, I felt completely at ease with the idea, and was certain of your ability to get me exactly what I needed. The box was perfect, and the custom programming works like a charm. The clients absolutely LOVE the silent nature of the internal shutter that we now have control over, and the ability to remotely turn the projector on and off, and to select different inputs. Everything can now be programmed into the show as needed by the lighting designer.

The client, and I, couldn’t be happier. I look forward to working with you on future projects. It’s also great to have a collaborator for designing high end custom pieces for each new need.

Michael Miceli, Principal

Miceli Productions, LLC

Grab yours from the online store today! We’ve got plenty of stock that’s looking for a good home.  On the store page, scroll down a bit, then look for the ‘Custom Decabox’ section.

Note that if the firmware currently being offered doesn’t exactly match what you need, we’d be delighted to customize it. Contact us for more details.


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