Patching and Using generic RGBW LED strips (5M/300 LEDS each)

Our church is using Onyx version 4.4.1193.0 on a PC. I am a volunteer who has learned how to do basic programming and setup, but am definitely NOT an expert by any means. I installed an RGBW LED strip (each LED is a 4 in 1 color) and I bought a 4 channel DMX controller to operate them. I have not been able to find clear instructions on how to patch this controller in to ONYX. I am currently using a Generic RGBW device and I turned ON the “Virtual Dimmer”. I have not actually connected the lights yet, but things do not seem to be working correctly in the software for me. I tried to add this new device to my “RED” preset color, and in shows up in the programmer with the Red column having a “-” , and the Green, Blue, and White columns have the “RED” label under them (as a group). Does anyone have any advice, or could someone point me to a good tutorial for controlling basic RGBW LED light strips?

Thanks for any help you can offer!

Hey Rod,

I would actually go ahead and connect the device into the system. so you can actually see what is happening. It sounds more like you have accidently cleared the red value for that device in the preset instead of adding it. In the programmer the “dash” means a null value is present. So it will track whatever value is being sent. You can change the way the programmer (and cuelist values) displays things. Rather than “Red (which is displaying that the data is from the Red Preset)”, you can display the actual values (%) or the location the preset is stored (ie. C20). So I would hook up the unit, and bring up the “red” color you would like, and then store that into the read preset again. (record, “color filter selection”, preset - merge option to add.)

Hope this helps,


Thank you so much for your reply. I only work on this when we need to make a change, and I am retired (old), so I have to relearn a lot of this every time! I am going to go up to church in today or tomorrow and try some things out as you suggest. I really don’t understand what the “virtual dimmer” does, but maybe I will understand more if I see it in action. Thanks again!!


The Virtual Dimmer is a way to change the intensity of the whole fixture without changing each color parameter.

So as an example with a Generic RGBW, without the virtual dimmer enabled, in order to have the fixture be off you would have to place Red at 0%, Green at 0%, Blue at 0%, and White at 0%. For the fixture to be at full, you would have to place RGBW (each parameter) at 100%. This maybe easy if you only have simple colors (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Pink, White, etc).

But say you have a cue with a color you like that is a mixture of the RGBW parameters. Say R=83%, G=48%, B=100%, W=12%. Now you want to dim this down from 100% output to 50% output. You would have to adjust each of the parameter by 50% (as a rough example R=41.5%, G=24%, B=50%, W=6%).

With the virtual dimmer enabled, the software will take your output of 100% down to 50% and adjust the color parameters automatically. It basically adds a “master dimmer” to the fixture profile so you would see an Intensity parameter group in addition to the color parameter group. I would almost always recommend a virtual dimmer because of this reason. There are some situations where you might not want the virtual dimmer, but that is depending on how you are using the RGBW tape.

Hope this helps,


Thanks again for all of your help and information! I did go up to church today, and I just plugged a 1 meter strip of my RGBW LEDs into the decoder to try them out. I first set the intensity of the Red to Full, and nothing happened. Then I switched to the Intensity control and started increasing it, and surprise, it worked! After playing around with it for a while, I started to understand that it works just like you described. At first I programmed my RED color button to 50% RED only. After playing with the intensity controls I decided it would be best to set the pure colors to 100% and like you suggest, use the Intensity setting to dim them if I want. That is pretty cool how they have implemented that virtual dimmer…its just like having an Intensity channel like our stage floor PARS have.

These strips are going into our drum cage (to “spiff” it up as our drummer says). I am excited to get all the cuelists programmed so we can try them out this Sunday. Thanks again for you help and encouragement. Its always nice when a plan finally comes together!