DecaBox Protocol Bridge – Overview


The DecaBox Protocol Converter

This design rattled around on our back burner for a long, long time.

Simultaneously, we’d been shipping different DMX/MIDI/RS-232 interfaces all over the world.  Usually, each of those systems required a unique circuit board, a custom chassis, new silkscreen artwork and more.

Electrically, each system was almost identical to its neighbor, with the exception of various protocol interfaces and custom firmware.

So, we’ve chosen to standardize all the designs on a single chassis, which now contains…

  • XLR-5 DMX In & Through Jacks
  • XLR-5 DMX Output
  • MIDI Input
  • MIDI Output
  • RS-232 full-duplex bidirectional communications
  • IR Receiver Decoder
  • IR Transmitter using a 36″ ‘dongle’
  • USB port for easy firmware updates

Once we chose all the ports, we added a nimble internal processor, 3 tactile pushbuttons with indicator lights, a 2 line x 16 character LCD.  We call it the DecaBox, since there are 10 different ports on the front panel.

The DecaBox is available off-the-shelf with versions of standard firmware builds, including

The firmware builds listed above each have a page on this site which describes their operating modes and functionality.

Naturally – and perhaps most importantly – we can edit the firmware to allow any combination of these inputs and outputs.  There’s even an internal SD card slot, which makes the DecaBox work surprisingly well as a dynamic DMX recording / playback machine, which can be triggered by MIDI, RS-232 or front-panel pushbutton.

Other custom firmware personalities we’ve recently shipped include

  • RS-232 to MIDI
  • DMX dynamic scene storage / playback (up to 180 minutes), with playback triggered by MIDI note on/of messages

We’re thrilled to have such a flexible platform on which to develop.  If you need custom functionality, we’d be delighted to help.  Call, click or come visit and we’ll take care of you.

 Posted by at 5:38 pm