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Trigger multiple controllers with DMX

There is a way how to connect several SPI LED Controller together and synchronize outputs for one effect/animation. How to do it, you will learn in this tutorial.

SPI LED Controller is a simple yet powerfull device that can control up to 1024 RGB pixels. Therefore, you can have a problem with the synchronized outputs. What is your option if you’d like to have them synchronized? There is ony one solution -> use DMX trigger!

What is the size of the installation?

It is important that you ask yourself very important question right at the beginning – what is the size of the installation you would like to build? Solution presented here is acceptable for smaller projects. Keep in mind that the synchronization you’ll get is not suitable for complicated animations. Nevertheless, it is an option that you can utilize if you plan it carefully.

4 SPI LED controllers triggered by DMX console. Here you can see what level of precision in synchronization. A non-perfect synchro of complicated effect can be seen with DMX console.
4 SPI LED controllers triggered by DMX console. Here you can see what level of precision in synchronization you can achieve with complicated effects (on video, however, it looks much better)

For more complicated projects, we do recommend LEC 3 or Powered controllers. These controllers have multiple outputs, therefore you can count on the synchronization to be flawless even with complicated effects.

Step-by-step tutorial

Step by step tutorial for installation of 2 or more synchronized SPI LED Controllers:

  1. Prepare animation in LSS software
  2. Export animation on SD-cards
  3. Export LSS SPI Settings file
  4. Daisychain controllers
  5. Enjoy synchronized and smooth effects

Prepare effects in LSS software

Dense LED rectangle with 4096 RGB diodes used in our tutorial to showcase synchronization of 4 standalone SPI LED controller of single animation.
A rectagle with 4 segments. Each one has 1024 diodes.

Our setup has 4096 pixels controlled with 4 x SPI LED Controllers. Firstly, you have to create mapping in LED Strip Studio software. What’s important – you have to use unique IP address for each SPI LED Controller. Let’s say that we will assign these IP addresses:

  • 192.168.1.2
  • 192.168.1.3
  • 192.168.1.4
  • 192.168.1.5

Create several effects. Do you have no experience with creating effects? Please, check these tutorials.

Export effects to SD-card

In next step, you have to prepare your SD-cards. IF you don’t know how, please, check this link. You need to format the card and delete all files on it.

Export effects on the SD-cards depends on IP address of SPI LED Controller. Don’t mix it up, because ii will not work properly. Make a sure that you are exporting LNT files!

Export LSS SPI Settings file

After animation export on to SD-card, you also have to export settings file. Here, you set the color order of the strip, IC type and starting DMX position. It will look similar to this:

A printscreen from LSS software showing a pop-up window for exporting LSS SPI Settings.
Make sure that all Settings files have the same values for Files, Brightness and Speed.

You have to set the same DMX configuration and starting address for all controllers. This way you make sure that the DMX trigger will play same animation stored on SD card. Don’t worry, each SPI LED Controller will play different part of animation. In case that you will give same IP address to two controllers during export, two devices will play the same part (which is not what you came for here).

Daisychain controllers

In case you connect DMX input to first controller, you will be able to daisy chain more controllers together, because they have a DMX output too.

4 SPI controllers daisychained together. From first controller DMX OUT connect to second DMX IN and so on.
Daisychained controllers. First controller is connected from DMX OUT to DMX IN on second controller, and so on.

After you daisychaned the controllers, you can take any kind of DMX signal source, connect the DMX IN to your console and control different attributes of the animations stored on SD card. Below you can find which DMX channel controls which attribute:

DMX orderPropertyExample
1 Brightness 255
2 Animation 1
3 Speed 128
4 Red 0
5 Green 0
6 Blue 0
7 White 0

These attributes can be set independetly for all controllers. Of course, if you want to have them synchronized, you have to setup the same values for all controllers.

DMX trigger from LSS software

Since our software can also generate DMX, you can also use it as a trigger for multiple controllers. As explained previously, different channels control different aspects of the animations.

The process is very similar to previous example, however it is important to notice that you can not live control these aspects.

Instead of going to the console for DMX signal, you’ll connect first SPI LED controller from DMX IN to LEC3 DMX OUT connector. And of course, the controller itself to computer via Ethernet cable. Then you add new analog strip and create new effect.

Experienced users who are familiar with the process of creating custom effects can jump right in to video. For those that are new to custom animations and effects, we recommend to check this video.

Doubleclick in the keyframe editor and use the same table to set up DMX channels that control different aspects of the animations. So, first channel controls brightness, second one the animation, third speed, and so on.

Name the effects so that you won’t loose track and trigger them directly from our software.

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