A couple of questions I hear often are what is a DMX fixture profile? Why do I need one? And how do I get one? In this post, I’ll explain what a DMX profile is, why your console needs it, and different ways to get it set up.
If you’re new to lighting and working with your console, it’s a lot of information to try to take in when you’re just getting started. The DMX fixture profile is a troubleshooting topic that comes often when someone is trying to get their console to recognize their lights.
That’s when you keep reading pieces that come up about setting up your fixture DMX profiles in order to get control of your lights.
What is a DMX Profile?
A DMX profile is set up so that your console is able to communicate with your lights. This communication will tell your console exactly what type of fixture you have and what DMX commands the fixture is capable of.
As you may have already gathered, DMX is very popular and used by both pros and amateurs. But something to keep in mind is that DMX is still an older technology that was developed back in the ’80s. Once you know how it works, it’s really simple to understand.
The DMX is really a one way street when it comes to your console and your fixtures communicating with each other. The console just wants to read what type of light you have and what functions can it do? There’s really no communication that goes from the light back to the console.
This is why it’s so important to be able to set up your DMX fixture profile correctly and allow it to communicate with your console.
Setting Up a DMX Profile
The first step to setting up a DMX profile for your fixtures is getting the manual for your lights. This should tell you exactly how to set up the DMX fixture profle.
If you don’t have the manual for your lights, then I recommend using this tool: ONYX Fixture Finder.
If the lights you have are inexpensive units that don’t have a brand name on them, then I would recommend patching into your console dimmer channels or conventional channel to use instead. From there you can then bring up each channel to see how your lights respond.
DMX Address and Channels
A piece of knowledge to note is that generally when fixtures come out of the box they are automatically addresses to channel 1. When you do start patching in your fixtures the console will start with channel 1 as well. But as you go through and patch in more lights the channels they are addressed to will change.
You’ll first need to patch in your lights through the console or software. Then, you’ll need to make sure the channels are set correctly on the fixtures which you would do by switch or menu.
Once you have set up your lights and you have the channels set up correctly you can now go to your console library or system and be able to update the fixture profile.
Updating a Fixture Profile
Depending on the manufacturer of your console it could be a simple process of just getting the fixture profile updated with the console manufacturer.
Some manufacturer’s can be very receptive and responsive when it comes to requesting a fixture profile to be updated. But if you have a manufacturer that is not very responsive or slow at responding then you may have to wait a while for it to get updated.
Another option you have is patching your light through the ONYX Fixture Finder. This would mean that you may not get the exact fixture patched in but you can find a similar model and use that profile instead.
You could even patch in dimmer or conventional channels and get control over your lights for the time being.
If you are working with a more basic type of fixture such as a LED par or strip light that doesn’t have a ton of features, you can set it up in a channel mode and just use the basic functions to get you by.