Tips from the Tech | Installation
By Jason Kantak, P.E.,
A successful installation requires quality light fixtures, controls designed for the application, and a solid wiring network in order to operate and communicate with the equipment. Part of this network that occasionally gets overlooked is the interconnect wiring and associated connectors. A number of communication wiring specifications have been industry standards and are still widely used today.
In today’s environment, designers and installers should first make an additional determination if the wiring is for “temporary” (moving lights, stage lights, etc.) or “permanent” fixtures (wall sconces, house lights, chandeliers, etc.). Once a needs-based determination is made, the wiring specification can be chosen accordingly.
From our perspective, CAT5e/6 wiring is significantly more beneficial for permanent installations when used with a quality connector. RJ45 is an industry standard for Ethernet cabling and should also be used wherever CAT5e/6 cabling is used in DMX512 wiring. The use of Insulation Displacement Connectors (IDC) are also becoming accepted as long as the installer follows the CAT5e/6 specification.
The most common connector used is a screw terminal. This is our least favorite as it is error prone during install and it is also has the highest chance of signal loss. CAT5e/6 wiring along with RJ45 connectors is a better choice because premanufactured wiring is a low cost and readily available solution. Also qualified installers can build the necessary wiring onsite with good redundancy and it is easily tested.