Cheap Color Kinetics DMX Driver


Color Kinetics (a subsidiary of Philips) builds RGB based LED lighting fixtures. Some of the older, obsolete models, can be purchased fairly inexpensively on ebay or from distributors like wiedamark. They are typically powered and driven by an expensive power supply unit called the PDS-150e. This device interfaces a set of lighting fixtures to either a DMX controller or a proprietary Color Kinetics communication protocol. I reverse engineered the DMX interface and came up with this very simple interface circuit that lets a DMX controller drive a few specific CK lights. The iColor Cove 6”, iColor Cove 12” and ColorBurst 4 and 6 have a 3-wire interface carrying +24 volts, ground and a re-driven DMX signal. My circuit re-drives the DMX signal using voltage levels acceptable to the fixtures. All you need to supply is a 24 VDC regulated power supply and a DMX controller.

The CK fixtures implement 3 sequential DMX channels for red, green and blue. While the iColor Cove fixtures have DIP switches that allow setting any DMX address the ColorBurst devices require a special Color Kinetics programmer to configure the DMX address. By default their DMX address is channel 1 (the first DMX data slot). It is possible other CK fixtures will work with this circuit. Look for fixtures that require the PDS-150e. Many newer fixtures will not work as they use a different communication protocol.

Connection to fixture (signal in middle)