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Why You Need a DMX Tester and How It Can Simplify Your Troubleshooting

If you are a lighting professional, the chances are that you have dealt with DMX before. The DMX Tester is a simple device that can save you time, headaches, and money. It's beneficial for anyone who wants to troubleshoot their lighting system or other DMX-controlled devices but doesn't want to spend hours of trial and error. 


Have you ever experienced getting two different lights lighting up on the same prompt?


Are the fixtures running in the wrong mode?


It can be challenging to check on the lines while they're up in the air and you are on the ground. Thanks to DMX testers and remote device management tools, it is possible to test and correct these lines with just a few clicks. There's no more guessing which wire goes here or there! You'll be able to know precisely what your problem is without any hassle.  


This device has been used by many event professionals and corporations like Disney World and SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. Therefore, it's a must-have for anyone in the events industry looking for an affordable way to simplify things!


How do DMX Testers Work in Stage Lighting?


A DMX tester is a small device that plugs into the computer via USB or MIDI and shows the data on the screen. They allow you to type in commands like "Set Output" for specific channels, which will then be displayed on the UI as an actionable line.


DMX testers, which are essentially remote device managers, communicate over the same lines as DMX data (pins 3 and 2).


DMX goes through the airwaves as a series of messages, and each message contains information about which light fixture should be on or off. When not enough communication is present for these lights to function correctly, "the controller sends out dead air" messages in an attempt to see which fixtures they can successfully control. These RDM messages are what DMX testers pick up on.


How Does an RDM Test Work?


The test goes as follows: One light will be programmed to a specific output and given the input command that it should respond to. These commands must be sent through a single line for the sake of simplicity, so make sure your tester does not have more than one input and output. The DMX tester will then be sent the command to send this light on or off, which should now confirm that it is working correctly.


The process is repeated for each set of lights until you are confident in your system's functionality.


These tools are perfect for event professionals who don't have to program DMX devices. Plug them in, and they're ready for use!


Why Do You Need a DMX Tester?


DMX testers are extremely simple to use, and they can save you a lot of time in the long run. You don't have to spend hours troubleshooting your lighting system if it's not working correctly anymore!


There are many different DMX tester manufacturers out there with their own set of features, so take some time to research the best DMX tester for your needs.


Types of RDM Controllers with DMX Testers


Several types of remote device management tools exist for configuring your fixtures and testing the wiring. Hand-helds are one common type, but some users prefer consoles or pc software.

Technicians have been utilizing DMX testers for years to troubleshoot lines. 


Hand-held Testers


A hand-held tester can test the cables, output basic commands, and check signal strength- all from one device. 


Optimally, DMX testers should be used to identify and modify the lighting fixtures quickly and easily. Some even allow for complete control of fixtures without having a unique address to set first.


These units are not designed for switching or monitoring large quantities of fixtures, but they can be used in remote locations and the shop. Some great hand-held controllers include the City Theatrical DMXCat, which is controlled using a smartphone app. It is battery-powered, and you can directly plug it into the DMX light for testing.


Console and Console Software


Console DMX tester helps technicians understand and adjust the settings of their fixtures easily. They are also used to test fixtures and cables. Console software is another option that can provide the user with control of DMX lighting from a PC, tablet, or smartphone.


Lighting Programmers should use a console tester to check their work for accuracy before going live in an event location. They will make sure all settings are correct without having to make a trip to the event site.


The console will read and set data, but it won't transmit it over DMX lines- this is where the tester comes in handy!


This type of testing requires precision with wiring, so you'll need an RDM controller. Console testers are built into some consoles as well as pc software.


There are a few different types of RDM controllers that you can use for your DMX tester. They include Arduino boards, Raspberry Pi boards with the proper software, and computer-based control systems, which will offer full remote access to every device connected to the network via their specific tool.


The Arduino board will be used by those who have a limited budget or are just getting started in the event industry. It's also more simplistic and simple to use for beginners, with only two control options: Send Data and Receive data.


The Raspberry Pi board is being used by those who want remote access but don't need as many features as computer-based control systems offer. It has a few more options than the Arduino board and is far more customizable.


PC Software


Some pc software will allow you to configure and test DMX devices through your computer, in addition to monitoring them for changes with a console tester or hand-held device. The installation process is usually done on the PC, which can be convenient for those who do not want any more hardware than necessary.


This type of testing can be done without a console tester, but it will require more time to troubleshoot.


Computer-based control systems will be used by those who need advanced features like password protection or custom layouts for their lighting boards. They also allow you access to devices that may not respond well to an RDM test with other controllers such as DMX-512.


The best kind of tester for you will depend on your unique needs; however, it's important to note that not all tools are compatible with every type of control system out there. Keep this in mind as you're looking into which pieces might work the best for your event.


DMX Testers and Non-Compliant Fixtures


If you have non-compliant fixtures in your system that don't respond to RDM test commands, DMX testers will not work for troubleshooting purposes. These lights are often found in older buildings with outdated wiring or alternate power systems like batteries.


The best way to ensure these fixtures are functioning correctly is by using a DMX test fixture monitored by the controller. You can either purchase one of these fixtures from your local lighting supply store or make your own using an LED bulb and some common hardware items like toggle switches to control it with.


Why Do You Need Upgrading of DMX Splitters for DMX Testers to Work?


If you're using a DMX tester to troubleshoot your system, make sure it is compatible with all of the equipment in your lighting booth! It means that any splitter or connector being used must be an RDM-compliant device.


So, for example, if you are using a non-compliant splitter with an RDM tester and it doesn't work properly even after troubleshooting the system multiple times, then this is not your fault. It would be best if you upgraded all of the connectors in your lighting booth to be compliant so that they can function correctly with DMX testers.


Wrap Up on DMX Testers


DMX is a complex protocol that can be difficult to troubleshoot. Lighting technicians have experienced line glitches, and it can be challenging to configure the direction of the commands when the fixtures are already installed in the air. The DMX Tester will help you get the answers you need quickly and efficiently without wasting your time on trial and error. There are several options for you when searching for the best DMX tester and remote device management tools. Ensure that your system is compliant with the testers or RDM systems you will purchase; otherwise, it will only waste resources.


It would help if you also considered getting Sirs E Lighting Control System Evaluation Report, which includes evaluating our lighting control system for any venue or event. It's perfect for anyone who needs professional advice from experts in their industry! Visit the Sirs E website for DMX tester and RDM tools with complete details on their features and compliances. 


Contact us today with questions about our products, or if you would prefer we contact you back by email about specifics that interest you most. We look forward to hearing from you soon!