This article will share our top tips to stop DMX lights from flickering and acting erratically. People new to LED lights often ask about this, so we’ve put together a list of 4 quick and easy things you can check to troubleshoot.

Quick Answer: Check all lights are set to DMX mode, that you’re using proper DMX cables, that you aren’t chaining too many fixtures together, and try a DMX terminator for a quick (temporary) fix.

Diagnosing DMX issues can be frustrating. You may discover symptoms on a light fixture that isn’t close to where the problem originated. We put together these tips to help you find the issue with your DMX Lights.

1. Fixture Mode

Chauvet Freedom Par Quad4

If you have a series of DMX lights daisy-chained together, they all need to be set to DMX mode.

If one light in the chain is set to a static color or sound active mode, it can send reflections up and down the chain that causes other fixtures to act erratically.

This isn’t easy to troubleshoot as it could be that fixture 1 is causing the problem, but it only affects fixture 6 in the chain.

2. Cable Type

DMX Cable

XLR cables are not the same as DMX cables.

While the connectors for each cable have the same physical appearance, the resistance of the actual cable will be different.

In our experience, 80% of the problems in lighting rigs are caused by XLR microphone cables accidentally finding their way into the setup.

Related: DMX vs XLR Cables

3. Fixture Count

Chauvet Professional NetX ii

We recommend capping DMX chains at 12-15 fixtures.

According to the DMX specifications, up to 32 fixtures can be chained together. We find that going to the upper limit leads to unreliable results.

Optical splitters (Not a Y cable) will allow you to create longer chains where necessary.

Chauvet NetX ii Splitter:

4. DMX Terminator

DMX Terminator

A DMX terminator will stop signals bouncing back and forth.

The DMX terminator is designed to eat up the resistance left in the chain, stopping the signal from running up and down it. You plug the device into the DMX output of the final fixture in your chain.

If you have to use a DMX terminator, it likely means you have another problem. One of your fixtures could have suffered physical damage, or it could be any one of the above issues in this list.

While it might get you out of a tight spot, know that it is not a long-term solution!

DMX Terminator:

Fixture Quality

Sometimes you’ll experience problems that can’t be solved by the troubleshooting steps above. These issues are often the result of using cheap fixtures.

We find that high-quality fixtures and cables allow us to get much closer to the 32-fixture DMX limit than cheaper equipment does.

Wireless DMX

Chauvet D-FI Hub Wireless DMX

If you don’t have an optical splitter, you can use a wireless DMX Transmitter with multiple wireless DMX receivers.

With this technique, the single DMX transmitter can connect to your lighting console, and you can have multiple DMX receivers that each have 10-15 lighting fixtures connected to them.

Wireless DMX Hub:

Pricing For Equipment Mentioned In Article

How To Stop DMX Lights From Flickering Topics