How to use a DMX System for Outdoor Lighting

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How to use a DMX System for Outdoor Lighting

Because of their wide variety of applications and easy to use controls, DMX systems are the preferred choice for outdoor lighting packages

Creating a large outdoor lighting facade or light show may seem like an overly complicated undertaking. However, with DMX systems, outdoor lighting is now easier to create and install and control than ever. DMX controllers are not only used in commercial settings, they can also be used for residential lighting projects. Originally developed in 1986, DMX controllers have only become more intuitive and more capable in a diverse range of applications. Let’s find out how you can use a DMX controller for your outdoor lighting.

Which Types of Lights Can Be Used in a DMX System?

Using a DMX system, you can create intricate and elaborate lighting setups

A visual example of the different types of outdoor lighting a DMX controller can operate.

If you are setting up outdoor lighting for the holidays or some other event, no matter how big or small, a DMX controller is the key to get you started. There are a wide variety of outdoor LED lighting applications you can use for your installation including:

  • Spotlights
  • Flood lights
  • Linear lights
  • In-Ground lights
  • Landscape lights
  • Fountain lights

Using these different types of lights connected to your DMX controller you can easily change the lighting quality, lighting sequence, color, and direction of your display. However, before we get into the specific capabilities, let’s find out what separates a DMX controller from other lighting control systems.

What are the Benefits of a DMX System?

Lighting installations large and small can all benefit from easy to use DMX technology

DMX controllers are great for winter light displays. 

It doesn’t matter if your next lighting project is for home holiday lights or for a high budget touring concert, a DMX system will handle both easily. It is only in recent years that large scale lighting installations have become so simple to control. Let’s learn a bit more about why a DMX controller is preferable over other lighting setups.

Smart Lighting

As we previously mentioned, DMX controllers have made lighting technology far easier to control in the last few decades. Intelligent or smart lighting systems can produce complex projections, patterns, and specific colors. This type of automated smart lighting is usually used at concerts, stage shows, nightclubs, and parties to create a randomized and hypnotizing effect. Where these setups would have once taken an expert to execute, they can now easily be controlled via a DMX system.

Easy to Use Programming Software

We’ve heard about how a DMX controller is easy to use. However, we haven’t yet discussed why it is easy to use. Well, it all comes down to the programming. The easier it is to create and control outdoor lighting, the more commercial and residential properties will take advantage. Using your laptop to control your DMX lighting you can control colors, patterns, angles, intensity and a whole host of other factors.

Integrate DMX Controller with Your Existing Lighting

If you are thinking of using DMX lighting, but are worried it isn’t compatible with your existing lighting system — have no fear! A DMX control system easily integrates into your existing home or commercial lighting setup, meaning you won’t have any issues or interruptions in service as you use your DMX lighting as a part of your smart home integration. 

What are Some of the Limitations of DMX Systems?

Though DMX controllers are the best option out there for many applications, you should know there are some limitations

If there are output errors, it can sometimes be difficult to troubleshoot.

Now that we’ve discussed the best parts about DMX lighting control systems, it’s time to talk about some of the limitations of DMX technology. 

DMX Will Not Automatically Correct Errors

Though your DMX system can control complicated lighting settings, it is not able to automatically troubleshoot lighting errors. For a number of reasons, including magnetic interference or poor connections, it is possible that your DMX will produce inaccurate output results. When this happens, you will have to troubleshoot this manually as the DMX cannot correct its own output errors.

Non DMX Cables Will Cause Lighting Errors

One of the ways that you can avoid having to manually troubleshoot your DMX controller is by using DMX cables only. Though different types of cables are compatible with a DMX control system, like XLR cables that deliver balanced microphone signals, they often result in output errors. Microphone cables specifically are low impedance, which means they do not have as much bandwidth as DMX cables, resulting in errors. So to be safe and avoid output errors, always use DMX cables.

Now that we’ve learned about how you can use DMX systems for outdoor lighting, your lighting possibilities are truly endless. From large commercial applications to residential DMX setups, you can use a DMX controller to design a custom lighting landscape. And, as lighting technology progresses, DMX controllers will only continue to add more features.

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