Dip Switches are tiny switches on the DMX device that are used for setting the DMX Address of the fixture, As you can see in the above picture the first dip switch is down and in the 'ON' position this means the DMX address is currently 1 if I was to now flick down the dipswitch labeled 256 the DMX Address would be 1 + 256 = 257 if I took flicked the 1 in to the 'OFF' postion then it would now be 256 if I flicked the 128 labeled dip switch the dmx adress would now be 128 + 256 = 384
Dipswitchs use the binary notation to calculate the DMX address of a fixture i.e. 1's and 0's.
The value of the switches from 1 to 10 are as follows.
1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512.
If you know the DMX address you need to set a fixture to then all you need to do is to take the highest value of a dispswitch from the actual DMX address and switch that one on. Keep repeating until you have nothing left.
For example if the DMX address required is 283 then you would take away 256 as this is the biggest number that will go into 283, and switch on the 9th dipswitch. 283 - 256 = 27 (Dipswitch 9).
Now take away 16, as it's the largest number that will go into 27, and switch on the 5th dipswitch. 27 - 16 = 11 (Dipswitch 5).
11 - 8 = 3 (Dipswitch 4).
3 - 2 = 1 (Dipswitch 2).
1 - 1 = 0 (Dipswitch 1).
So for address 283 the dipswitches would look like the following, where 0 is off and 1 is on. 1101100010.
Something to remember is that as with all numbers in the english language you read from left to right, the highest number would appear first, binary 283 is shown as 100011011. This is not what the dispswitches want to be set at. You can check this out for yourselves if you was to use the Calculator in “Windows” the value of 283 would be shown as 100011011.
Not all fixtures that have dipswitches have the full range of dipswitches. Some only have 8 dipswitches, which would limit the address range that could be set to 255, which would mean that you would have to ensure these are patched first into your lighting console. Other fixtures might have a full range of dipswitches but some of them might be for other use as in the picture above dipswitch 10 (512) is actually a “TEST” switch so the maximum you could set the address to is 511.
Use the posted dip switch calculator for ease of use :
Please be aware that some fixtures use a differeing standard of dipswitch settings just to confuse everything. These fixtures start at address 1 with all the dipswitches off.
The easiest way to work-out the dipswitch settings for this type of fixture is to subtract 1 from the address and use that in the calculations or calculator above. i.e. if you want to set it at address 86 then use address 85 in the calculations or calculator.
Anyway in the link below is a document that shows both types of dipswitch settings.
DMX Dispswitch Chart