DMX512-A is a standard for digital communication networks that are commonly used to control stage lighting and effects. It was originally intended as a standardized method for controlling light dimmers which had, prior to DMX512, employed various incompatible, proprietary protocols. However, it soon became the primary method for linking not only controllers and dimmers, but also more advanced fixtures and special effects devices such as fog machines and moving lights.
DMX512 employs EIA-485 differential signaling at its physical layer, in conjunction with a fixed-size, packet based communication protocol. It is unidirectional and does not include automatic error checking and correction. Consequently, it is not used in safety-critical applications such as controlling pyrotechnics or laser lighting display where audience or performer safety is at risk. Instead, RDM or MIDI are sometimes used for this task.
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