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Report on DMX512 Over Cat 5 Cable

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Report on DMX512 over Cat 5 Cable

In response to a perceived industry requirement for lower cost DMX512 cable installations, the DMX-over- Category 5 Cable Task Group was formed by PLASA's Control Protocols Working Group (CPWG) at the January 1998 TSP meetings. The Task Group's mission was to employ an independent laboratory to carry out a series of comparison tests between a typical cable presently used for hardwired DMX512 installations, and conventional Category 5 data cable. The goal of this testing was to establish whether Category 5 cable, or "generic premises cable" as it has become known, could be used as a low cost substitute in permanently wired DMX512 installations. Two series of lab tests were conducted in July and November of 1998 at MPB Technologies in Airdrie, Alberta. Additional tests were conducted in December of 1999.

The summary of this report (PDF, 15kB) describes the tests and gives the general conclusions.

Part 1 of this report (PDF, 1.07MB) gives the details of the first series of tests that compared the DMX512 handling characteristics of a typical EIA-422 rated data cable with those of a standard Category 5 unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable. Radiated emissions tests were also done. Results of these tests indicated that Category 5 UTP cable performed as well as conventional DMX512 cable.

Part 2 of this report (PDF, 429kB) details the second series of tests that were carried out with Category 5 shielded twisted pair (STP) cable, and also included radiated and induced signal immunity tests to current IEC standards on all cable types.

Part 3 of this report (PDF, 390kB) details the third series of tests that were conducted to determine the effect of combining different types of cable (i.e., Category 5 and EIA-485) on the same wire run. At this time, tests were also done with Rosco/ET IPS equipment to determine whether the use of Category 5 cable caused any timing problems with the talkback data.