RC4 Glossary of Terms

RC4 glossary terms are referenced throughout the Knowledge Base.  Within any article, hover over a linked word to see the definition as a tool tip.  Click the word to see the definition in a separate web page. Don’t hesitate to suggest additional terms you would like us to add.

Terms are sorted numerically/alphabetically.  Definitions within the list below are excerpts.  Click the word for the complete definition in a new webpage:

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  • 16-bit raw
    One DMX channel provides 8-bit digital resolution, which is 256 steps.  Ganging two channels together provides 16-bit resolution, which is 65,536 steps and is much smoother when dimming LEDs.  You can think of this as coarse and fine channels controlling a single load, where the fine channel provides 256 levels […]
  • AC synth
    AC synthesis is the creation of alternating current (AC) using direct current (DC) electronics and special software.  In RC4 Series 3 dimmers, this is done using two 2 DC dimmers in tandem.  AC power is needed to make a telephone ring, or make EL wire light up.  It is the kind of […]
  • AC wave generator
    An AC wave generator creates alternating current (AC) using direct current (DC) electronics and special software.  In RC4 Series 3 dimmers, this is done using two 2 DC dimmers in tandem.  AC power is needed to make a telephone ring, or make EL wire light up.  It is the kind of power […]
  • artifacting
    Artifacts are unwanted effects on film or in videos, like wagon wheels that appear to slowly spin backwards, even though they were spinning rapidly forward.  Another term for this is “beating.”  It is caused by interference between the rate something is actually changing in real life and the rate at which it […]
  • Auto mode
    An RC4Magic Series 3 or RC4Magic-900 DMXio transceiver can operate as either a transmitter or a receiver.  These modes can be manually selected, but the default is Auto Mode.  In this mode, the device automatically determines which mode it should be in.  Connect DMX data to a DMXio and it […]
  • Auto/RX/TX button
    On RC4Magic Series 3 and RC4Magic-900 DMXio transceivers, the Auto/RX/TX button cycles through modes.  Each device can operate as either a receiver (RX) or a transmitter (TX).  In Auto Mode, which is the default setting, the DMXio automatically determines which mode it should be in.  Connect DMX data to a DMXio and it […]
  • banding
    Banding is one of several different kinds of unwanted artifacts seen on film or video. Related
  • blink pattern
    RC4 Wireless devices use small colored LEDs to indicate various modes of operation.  In addition to indicators simply being on or off, they can blink at different speeds or blink with patterns that indicate a particular setting or parameter value.  For example, an indicator might indicate 1 short blink, or […]
  • bump button mode
    When an RC4 Wireless Series 3 dimmer does not see a DMX data input, the Set buttons operate as bump buttons.  This is called bump button mode. Related
  • bump buttons
    A bump button temporarily turns on a dimmer output for testing.  On RC4 Series 3 dimmers, the Set A, Set B, Set C, and Set D buttons act as bump buttons when there is no DMX data signal present.  This makes it easy to build and test a prop or […]
  • center tap transformer
    A transformer is an electrical power component consisting of two coils of wire wrapped around an iron core.  A basic transformer has four wires: the two ends of each coil.  If additional wires are added to points within one of the coils, these are called taps.  A tap in the […]
  • channel mask
    RC4Magic-900 and RC5 EASS systems use Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum to wirelessly transmit data.  Each small packet in a data stream is transmitted on a different radio channel.  The specific channels that are used can be selected by the RC4 user with the channel mask settings. RC4Magic-900 has 63 channels available, […]
  • chip type
    Each individual element of a pixel string is a group of LEDs (usually red, green, and blue) along with a chip (an integrated circuit, or IC) to control them.  Each chip has an identifying part number.  The most popular pixel chip is WS2812.  Others are WS2811, APA102, and APA104.  New […]
  • CodeLoader cable
    The RC4 CodeLoader cable connects any RC4 Series 3 device to a USB port on a computer.  Together with RC4 CodeLoader software it is used to update firmware.  When used with RC4MagicPC software, any RC4Magic Series 3 and RC4Magic-900 can be used as a dongle and be connected to the PC […]
  • CodeLoader mode
    When any RC4 Series 3 device is powered on with the Func  (function) button pressed, it enters CodeLoader mode and is ready to receive a firmware update via RC4 CodeLoader cable.  If no firmware update begins within 5 seconds, CodeLoader mode is terminated and the device operates normally. Related
  • color order
    Each individual element of a pixel string is a group of LEDs (usually red, green, and blue) along with a chip (an integrated circuit, or IC) to control them.  Not all pixel strings and chips present the colors in the same order.  While industry standard is RGB (red, then green, then […]
  • COM Port
    COM (Communication port) is the original, yet still common, name of the serial port interface on IBM PC-compatible computers. It might refer not only to physical ports, but also to virtual ports, such as ports created by USB-to-serial adapters.  The RC4 CodeLoader cable is one of these adaptors, and the RC4 XStick […]
  • common positive
    When the incoming positive (+) power supply terminal is directly connected to the positive output terminal of a dimmer, this is a common-positive dimmer.  The actual dimming happens on the negative (-) terminal, so the incoming negative power supply goes to the dimmer circuitry, and then the dimmer drives the […]
  • connect RF button (CRMX)
    On RC4 LumenDim devices, the Connect RF button, sometimes also called the RF Connect, or RFcon button, is used to pair and unpair CRMX transmitters and receivers.  LumenRadio devices call this the Link Button.  The LumenRadio quickstart guide provides more information. Related
  • connect RF button (W-DMX)
    On RC4 W-DIM devices, the Connect RF button, sometimes also called the RF Connect, or RFcon button, is used to pair and unpair W-DMX transmitters and receivers.  Wireless Solutions W-DMX devices call this the Function Button. Related
  • control voltage
    Control Voltage, also called CV, and 0–10V Control, is one of the earliest and simplest electronic lighting control signaling systems.  The control signal is a DC voltage that varies between zero and ten volts. The controlled lighting should scale its output so that at 10V, the controlled light should be at […]
  • COP LED
    COP means Computer Operating Properly.  On RC4 devices, the COP LED is an indicator that is constantly changing in some way to indicate the firmware is running and the device is functional.  In some cases, the COP uses blink patterns to provide additional information. Related
  • crossfade mode
    RC4 dimmers are often used to control color temperature of LED motion picture lighting.  This is done by combining cool-white and warm-white light sources.  When only the cool LEDs are on the color temperature value is highest (around 7000 Kelvin); when only the warm LEDs are on, the color temperature value […]
  • DC motor bi-directional
    The direction that a DC motor spins is determined by the polarity of the power applied to it.  To change the speed and direction of a DC motor, the power level and the polarity must both be controlled.  A bidirectional motor controller provides this functionality. Related
  • decrement
    To decrease a quantity by a fixed numeric value. Related
  • Digital Persistence
    Digital Persistence is a feature in all RC4 dimmers.  When used with LED light sources, it emulates the way a traditional tungsten lamp behaves when power is applied and removed.  The filament in those lamps take time to heat up and produce white-hot light output.  Similarly, they take time to […]
  • Dim A minus (-)
    Every RC4 dimmer output has two terminals. The minus, or negative (-) terminal is the one that is being modulated by the dimmer electronics. The other is the plus, or positive (+) terminal. Dim A minus (-) is the second connection point for bare wires on an RC4 device, located […]
  • Dim B minus (-)
    Every RC4 dimmer output has two terminals. The minus, or negative (-) terminal is the one that is being modulated by the dimmer electronics. The other is the plus, or positive (+) terminal. Dim B minus (-) is the fourth connection point for bare wires on an RC4 device, located […]
  • Dim C minus (-)
    Every RC4 dimmer output has two terminals. The minus, or negative (-) terminal is the one that is being modulated by the dimmer electronics. The other is the plus, or positive (+) terminal. Dim C minus (-) is the sixth connection point for bare wires on an RC4 device, located […]
  • Dim D minus (-)
    Every RC4 dimmer output has two terminals. The minus, or negative (-) terminal is the one that is being modulated by the dimmer electronics. The other is the plus, or positive (+) terminal. Dim D minus (-) is the last connection point for bare wires on an RC4 device, located to […]
  • dimmer curves
    An instrument’s  dimming curve is simply how bright the light is in relation to the level of the associated DMX channel. A good dimmer should be perceived by your eye to be smooth and linear: if you set a light level of 50%, the lamp should appear to be half as bright […]
  • DimX minus (-)
    Every RC4 dimmer output has two terminals.  The minus, or negative (-) terminal is the one that is being modulated by the dimmer electronics.  The other is the plus, or positive (+) terminal. Related
  • dmx universe
    DMX data for lighting control is managed in sets of up to 512 channels.  This is called a DMX universe.  For more channels, multiple universes are utilized. Related
  • dongle
    For RC4MagicPC software to communicate wirelessly with remote RC4Magic devices, it needs an RC4 transceiver connected to the PC through a USB port on the computer.  That transceiver is called a dongle.  A dongle can be a dedicated device, like the RC4Magic XStick, or it can be any RC4Magic device in […]
  • dongle mode
    For RC4MagicPC software to communicate wirelessly with remote RC4Magic devices, it needs an RC4 transceiver connected to the PC through a USB port on the computer.  An RC4Magic Series 3 device in dongle mode and connected to the PC with an RC4 CodeLoader cable can serve this purpose. Related
  • E1. 37-1 RDM features
    The original ANSI E1.20 Remote Device Management (RDM) specification outlines a bare-bones set of device parameters.  Additional parameters that are useful for dimmer control were added with ANSI E1.37.  RC4 devices support many of those additional features. Related
  • firmware
    The core of most electronic devices is a microprocessor -- a tiny computer. The software that runs on the microprocessor is called firmware.
  • Function button
    Every RC4 Harmonized Design device provides a Function button, sometimes called the Func, Shift or Shift/Func button, to increase the number of available functions available with the other buttons. The Func button also invokes CodeLoader mode when held down during power-up. Related
  • grouping
    Grouping is one of several parameters in RC4 Custom Pixel Profiles in DMXpix and LumenDimPix pixel drivers.  It allows multiple physical pixels to be mapped to one control pixel.  This is just one of several ways to control more pixels with fewer channels using patent-pending RC4 technology. Related
  • ID 0
    ID0 (zero) is the first of three unique codes provided for each RC4Magic owner, operator, or project.  System IDs consist of four characters that can each be a letter or number, i.e 2876, 2F7D or DFAF.  Although every system has it’s own three unique IDs, they are referred to generically as ID0, ID1, […]
  • ID 0 button
    The ID0 button, when held down during power up, selects the first private and unique digital system ID available in an RC4Magic device.  This button serves other purposes after the device is powered on and is running normally.  ID selection only happens when a button is held while power is applied to […]
  • ID 1
    ID1 is the second of three unique codes provided for each RC4Magic owner, operator, or project.  System IDs consist of four characters that can each be a letter or number, i.e 2876, 2F7D or DFAF.  Although every system has it’s own three unique IDs, they are referred to generically as ID0, ID1, […]
  • ID 1 button
    The ID1 button, when held down during power up, selects the second private and unique digital system ID available in an RC4Magic device.  This button serves other purposes after the device is powered on and is running normally.  ID selection only happens when a button is held while power is applied to […]
  • ID 2
    ID2 is the third of three unique codes provided for each RC4Magic owner, operator, or project.  System IDs consist of four characters that can each be a letter or number, i.e 2876, 2F7D or DFAF.  Although every system has it’s own three unique IDs, they are referred to generically as ID0, […]
  • ID 2 button
    The ID2 button, when held down during power up, selects the third private and unique digital system ID available in an RC4Magic device.  This button serves other purposes after the device is powered on and is running normally.  ID selection only happens when a button is held while power is applied to […]
  • ID 3
    Every RC4Magic device can use a Public ID, numeric code 999, which is the same on every RC4Magic system ever made.  The Public ID is sometimes identified as ID3 on device labels and in documentation — they are the same. Using the Public ID is the only way to use devices […]
  • ID 3 button
    The ID3 button is also called the Public ID button.  When held down during power up, it selects the Public ID, code 999, on an RC4Magic device.  This button serves other purposes after the device is powered on and is running normally.  ID selection only happens when a button is held while power […]
  • increment
    To increase a quantity by a fixed numeric value.     Related
  • inverted ISL
    The inverted ISL curve works backwards, with the highest level being off, and the lowest level being full.  If two dimmers are assigned to the same DMX channel, one set to ISL and the other set to inverted ISL, they will smoothly cross-fade LEDs as the channel level changes.  (Note […]
  • inverted linear
    The inverted linear curve works backwards, with the highest level being off, and the lowest level being full.  If two dimmers are assigned to the same DMX channel, one set to linear and the other set to inverted linear, they will cross-fade as the channel level changes.  (Note that in […]
  • ISL fast curve
    LEDs do not dim linearly: when dimmed to a linear 50%, they appear only slightly less bright than at 100%.  The level must drop to 25% to appear at half brightness.  To make LEDs appear linear, they must be controlled with the Inverse Square Law curve.  All good quality LED […]
  • ISL slow curve
    LEDs do not dim linearly: when dimmed to a linear 50%, they appear only slightly less bright than at 100%.  The level must drop to 25% to appear at half brightness.  To make LEDs appear linear, they must be controlled with the Inverse Square Law curve.  All good quality LED […]
  • keyframe
    Keyframes are a user-definable range of DMX channels used to create visual effects with pixel strings.  The keyframe and the replication method are the core elements of patented RC4 Custom Pixel Profiles.  A keyframe can use a fraction of a DMX universe and control hundreds of pixel LEDs with live […]
  • keyframe string
    To better demonstrate how RC4 Custom Pixel Profiles (CPP) can control several long pixel strings using different sections of one DMX universe, a keyframe pixel string can be used.  The keyframe string is configured for traditional 1:1 display of the entire DMX universe, showing the distribution and appearance of all the […]
  • linear dimming curve
    A linear dimming curve is directly proportional to the DMX channel value on a console. If the DMX channel is at 50%, the power being delivered to the light source will be 50%. Related
  • load
    Overall, load refers to something in an electrical circuit that will draw or consume power. It is also typically the largest power draw in an electrical circuit. Related
  • long-press
    Buttons on RC4 Series 3 devices can invoke different features by operating the buttons in different ways.  One way is to press and hold a button for several seconds.  This is called a long-press. When using long-press features, care must be taken to avoid accidentally slipping in a way that […]
  • non-dim curve
    Some devices being controlled by a dimmer should only be turned on and off; gradations of dimming are inappropriate.  Examples of these kinds are load are relays, solenoids, and pneumatic valves.  In cases like this, a non-dim curve is used.  The RC4 non-dim curve uses hysteresis to ensure the output […]
  • non-linear dimming curve
    A non-linear dimming curve is also called a logarithmic dimming curve or dimming profile. The non-linear dimming curve simulates the visual response of the human eye in regards to brightness perception, particularly with light sources that are not inherently linear on their own. There are a variety of non-linear dimming curves […]
  • OneTouch
    RC4 OneTouch uses DMX channel levels to represent channels and curves, which are then adopted by a dimmer when a single small button is pressed. Back in 1993, James David Smith, chief product designer at RC4 Wireless, envisioned a day when wireless dimmers would be so small that there would […]
  • pixel profiling
    RC4 Custom Pixel Profiling is a patented method for controlling many pixels with fewer DMX channels than are needed for 1:1 mapping.  For example, a typical pixel driver by others requires a full DMX universe (512 channels) to control 170 RGB pixels.  Using RC4 pixel profiling, 1000 or more pixels […]
  • pixel type
    Pixel type is another way of saying LED pixel chip type. There are a variety of LED manufacturers who use various different pixel chips. The pixel type is identified by a series of letters and numbers, like WS2801 and APA102. Pixel LED chips vary in color depth, dimming smoothness, number of pixels that […]
  • Public ID
    Every RC4Magic device can be configured to use the Public ID, numeric code 999, which is the same on every RC4Magic system ever made.  Using the Public ID is the only way to use devices from different systems together.  No other wireless DMX system from any manufacturer provides the level of […]
  • Public ID button
    The Public ID button, when held down during power up, selects the Public ID, code 999, on an RC4Magic device.  This button serves other purposes after the device is powered on and is running normally.  ID selection only happens when a button is held while power is applied to turn it on. […]
  • PWM frequency
    PWM stands for Pulse-Width Modulation.  It is a method for using a switching device (one that can only be on or off) to create what appears to be analog changes in level.  This is done by switching on and off at a high speed and varying the proportion of the time for […]
  • RDM PID
    Remote Device Management (RDM) is a protocol enhancement to USITT DMX512 that allows bi-directional communication between a lighting or system controller and attached RDM compliant devices over a standard DMX line.  Various RDM features and commands are called Parameter Identifiers (PIDs).  For example, to set a DMX channel with RDM, […]
  • relay
    Simply put, a relay is an electronically operated switch. They open and close circuits electromechanically or electronically.  A relay is easily controlled with an RC4 dimmer set to the non-dim dimmer curve.  This curve avoids oscillation or buzzing in the relay by ensuring the channel can only be fully on or […]
  • replication
    RC4 Custom Pixel Profiles provide various methods for expanding and extending a keyframe of pixels beyond it’s basic length.  These are replication methods.  The simplest replication method copies the keyframe end to beginning, over and over again, for the length of the string. Related
  • servo motor pulse
    Hobby servo motors, like those made by Futaba, JR, and many others, are controlled using a short digital pulse.  The length of this pulse controls position.  RC4 offers a dimmer curve that provides this pulse, making it easy to control servo motors with any RC4 Series 3 dimmer output. Related
  • Set A Button
    All RC4 dimmers have Set buttons for each individual dimmer output. The first button is the Set A button. On a 2-channel device these are Set A and Set B buttons. A 4-channel device adds Set C and Set D. The most common use of the Set button is to […]
  • Set B Button
    All RC4 dimmers have Set buttons for each individual dimmer output. The second button is the Set B button. On a 2-channel device these are Set A and Set B buttons. A 4-channel device adds Set C and Set D. The most common use of the Set button is to […]
  • Set button
    All RC4 dimmers have a Set button for each individual dimmer output.  On a 2-channel device, these are SetA and SetB.  A 4-channel device adds SetC and SetD. The most common use of the Set button is to assign a DMX channel and dimmer curve to the associated Dim dimmer […]
  • Set C Button
    All RC4 dimmers have Set buttons for each individual dimmer output. The third button is the Set C button. On a 2-channel device these are Set A and Set B buttons. A 4-channel device adds Set C and Set D. The most common use of the Set button is to assign […]
  • Set D Button
    All RC4 dimmers have Set buttons for each individual dimmer output. The fourth button is the Set D button. On a 2-channel device these are Set A and Set B buttons. A 4-channel device adds Set C and Set D. The most common use of the Set button is to […]
  • shift key
    The shift key (or the shift button) is also called the Function or Func button.  It works similarly to the shift key on a computer keyboard, allowing other buttons on a device to have secondary functions. Related
  • smoothing time
    RC4 Digital Persistence softens LED dimming to provide the appearance of incandescent lamps.  This is done by introducing a smoothing time.  To emulate larger traditional lamps, smoothing time is longer; to match the appearance of smaller lamps, a shorter time is used.  For very fast blinks and strobes, no smoothing […]
  • streaming
    Streaming is the continuous flow of digital control data.  Transmitters stream data out, while receivers receive streamed data.  RC4 transmitters process an incoming stream of DMX data and convert it to a proprietary wireless data stream that is secured with a digital system ID and error checking methods. Related
  • System ID
    RC4Magic devices are coded with unique system IDs to ensure the best possible data security.  Three unique codes are provided for each new RC4Magic system.  System IDs consist of four characters that can each be a letter or number, i.e 2876, 2F7D or DFAF.  Although every system has it’s own three […]
  • tap point
    A tap or tapping point is the physical place where a connection is made between the end terminals of an inductor, resistor, or some other component.  A center-tap transformer places a physical wire, or tap, in the middle of one or both coils that are wrapped around an iron core. Related
  • termination
    In the context of wired DMX data, termination is a very specific technical requirement.  To ensure the highest data fidelity, particularly over long cable lengths, a terminator should be used at the end of the line.  RC4 DMXio devices provides internal termination that can be enabled or disabled as needed. […]
  • track adapter
    Track adaptors are devices that connect to Eutrac and other commercial track lighting systems.  The RC4Magic DMXio-TR and RC4 Wireless LumenDimIO-TR are track adaptors that can deliver wireless DMX data to fixtures mounted on the track, or wirelessly transmit DMX data that is hard-wired and already present on the track. Related
  • transmit mode
    In transmit, or transmission mode, data from an RC4 device is sent to another device, like a remote receiver or dimmer device.  In RC4Magic systems, a DMXio transceiver can be in either transmit or receive mode.  A pair of devices, one in each mode, replaces a physical DMX cable. Related
  • UL Listed
    UL Listed products have passed government regulated safety tests performed by Underwriters Laboratories. Related
  • user interface
    The user interface (UI) is the physical hardware on a device that users interact with to configure settings, enable and disable features, see operational status, and more.  The user interface on most small RC4 devices is comprised of recessed buttons and small LED indicators.  More complex devices may use rotary […]
  • white balance
    When white balancing, two or more different hues of white light are compared side by side and adjusted until they both are visually the same. Once all the white lights are adjusted to the same hue, all other colors coming from that specific light source (like an LED strip) will […]