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Adding Color Scrollers

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Aquarius, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. Aquarius

    Aquarius Member

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    Hi all,

    The TD at my high school is debating adding some color scrollers to our inventory.We currently have ~25 PAR 64s for down washes, 12 Source Four Junior Zooms, a mix of old Leko 30* and 40* lights (so old that I don't even know the model name)(about 80 of them). In addition, we just ordered 3 days ago 40 Source Four Junior 36*s. We have an ETC Express 24/48 light board.

    I have done some preliminary research into color scrollers, and have found some interesting things. What we are considering buying are color scrollers for 12 of the PARs, along with 16 of the Lekos / Source 4 Juniors.

    From what I have found so far, it looks like the Apollo Smart Colors are the best value. 12 of the 10-inch ones cost ~$5000, and 16 of the 7.25 inch ones about ~5,000. I figure that once we add in the power supplies, cables, and shipping, it should come out to around ~$13,000.

    1) Does anyone have any recommendations for other reliable brands that don't cost an absurd amount?

    2) Do my prices seem reasonable? i.e. Am I getting a good deal on these?


    Now for some technical questions. Our light board (ETC Express 24/48) has two DMX ports on the back, 1-512 and 513-1024. We plug the board into the theater using the 1-512 port. To plug the scrollers in, I would run the cable into the 513-1024 port, and set the first scroller DMX address to "1". My question, however, is this: We have almost no DMX ports in our theater: 1 in the booth, and I think we have one stage right. To run from the 2nd universe port on our board, I get that I would run a really long cable from the board out onto the catwalks and from there to the electrics. However, how does the DMX work from there? Do I plug it into the 5-pin DMX on the first power supply unit, and then run another DMX cord to the 2nd power supply unit, and so on? We have plenty of 120v power outlets on the catwalks to plug the power supply units into, so that's not a problem.

    Is my proposed setup feasible? Any suggestions for improvements?

    Thanks for all your help!
     
  2. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    No, probably not, chances are they have a DMX OUT on them, meaning you plug the output of the desk into the input, then plug a DMX from the output of whatever it is, (be it scroller, dimmer, ect.) Then into the input of the next thing you want to control. This is known as daisy chaining. However, if they don't have a DMX out, then you are going to have to shell out for a DMX Splitter such as this one made by LSC.

    Right, important lesson, NEVER plug anything in other than conventionals (standard lights) into a dimming circuit. If it's on your catwalk then chances are its a dimming circuit, plugging a scroller into a dimming circuit will FRY your scrolllers, you are talking about spending a lot of money here, how much would it suck to trash $13,000 of scrollers by plugging them into dimming circuits. MAKE SURE IT'S NOT A DIMMING CIRCUIT! Ask your TD, he/she would be able to tell you. Make sure you get it right.

    If it is a non patched dimming circuit, (meaning it runs to the dimmer room where a plug sits there not plugged into the dimmer) then you can run a power cable into your dimming room, (or wherever your patch bay is) and plug the patch that it's on strait into non dimmed mains power. So lets say you have Patch 14 on FOH 1, instead of plugging it into a dimmer, you plug it into a normal power socket in your dimmer room, rather than the dimmer.
    Hope this makes sense, if you don't know what you are doing, don't guess, especially with stuff like this! Just ask. We are all here to help.

    Hope I helped
    Nick
     
  3. Aquarius

    Aquarius Member

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    That's what I meant, running a cord from the 1st power supply to the 2nd, from the 2nd to the 3rd, etc.


    What I meant by the 120v outlets is that they are Edison sockets, like the kind that are in the walls of your house. I am 99.9% sure that they are in no way connected to any dimmer system, and my TD is probably 100% sure. I should be fine plugging the power supplies into these, correct?
     
  4. express

    express Active Member

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    Hey, to answer your first question, feet scriplers from appolo, but you don't have to get he most expensive. Remember that the colors that you put into scrollers don't have to be final. Put in gels that you need forthe show that you are working on, then for a later show just put in new gels.

    Hope this helps,
    Express
     
  5. express

    express Active Member

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    I just relized that I forgot that I only answer one question. In our theater we have a DMX cable run from the booth to the catwalk with a 120 volt power cable. At the DMX cord we connect the scoller "brain". From there we daisychain all of the scoller from the DMX and out ports on all of the scollers. And because they all have address, we can conntr each one by itself. But hen we create a submaster that controls all of the scrollers as a single unit.
     
  6. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Chroma-Q.

    Mike
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Do you have an Express 125 or an Express 250? (Yes it can output anywhere in the range of channels 1-1024 but it's only capable of operating either 125 or 250 at the same time)

    How many dimmers are you using off of your Express?

    Do you have any other DMX gear you use?
    If yes how many channels do the other DMX toys eat up?

    You might want to think about upgrading to an ETC Element it'll make operating those scrollers much easier and give you a lot more control channels. It's new and not shipping yet. I haven't heard a price yet... specualtion is around $4k.

    Also don't underestimate the cost of cables and power supplies. They are EXPENSIVE. Also don't forget terminators at the ends of those runs.
     
  8. Aquarius

    Aquarius Member

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    Neither. We are using an Express 24/48 (96 channels).

    Right now we have 192 dimmers on the board. I don't know if it can be set at a higher number than that. However, we never use a great chunk of our dimmers. There are a lot that are in the floor pockets that are never used except for dance shows, and there are ~20 on the wall above the booth (?).

    No other DMX stuff. We have some fog machines that are DMX capable, but we've never figured out how to hook them up to the board.

    Eh.... I would love to, but I don't know if our TD will spring for it. Our current desk is 13 years old, however.

    You think ~$5000 will be enough to cover it?
     
  9. CBR372

    CBR372 Active Member

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    Heres how it goes. Control console- DMX 5-Pin to the Color Scroll Power Supply, then from there there is a DMX out for 4-Pin and then daisy chain that line with as many scrollers as that single PSU will carry. Then if you have other power supplies you said a 5-pin from the first power supply to the next one. and continued....

    96 channels is not alot, if you plan on using all the scroller set to the same color, then address them all to the same channel, like 95 so that it is far away from your conventionals...

    If you have 96 channels I don't know how many you actually have unlocked on the board...
     
  10. Aquarius

    Aquarius Member

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    Thanks for the concise explanation.

    Something like that.

    The board can only do 96 channels.



    Speaking of power supplies, does anyone know how much energy one Apollo Smart Color 10" takes? Are there power supplies out there that can handle 4 or even 8 scrollers?

    Here's what I was hoping to do (seen from overhead)(Top is upstage)

    __parcan__parcan_______parcan__parcan___Powersupply
    |
    __parcan__parcan_______parcan__parcan___Powersupply
    |
    __parcan__parcan_______parcan__parcan___Powersupply
    |
    |
    S4J____S4J____S4J____S4J____S4J____S4J___Power
    |
    S4J____S4J____S4J____S4J____S4J____S4J___Power
    |
    S4J____S4J____S4J____S4J____S4J____S4J___Power
    |
    |
    booth____________________|



    Is this feasible?
     
  11. Aquarius

    Aquarius Member

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    Doh. Diagram didn't turn out right. All the power supplies are supposed to be connected by the vertical lines.
     
  12. CBR372

    CBR372 Active Member

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    I believe you can do almost 12 color scrollers on Apollos largest PSU.
     
  13. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

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    Thats ALOT of PSU's (power supply units). I have 8 wybron forerunners, and they all run off the same PSU. Most PSU's have two four pin outputs. So in my case the PSU is offstage and the four pin cable runs to 2E and 3E along the cable pick.
     
  14. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, most power supplies power 6-8 units (there are some 12 unit PSUs out there though). You are talking a lot of cash.

    Mike
     
  15. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    One Apollo 600 Watt Smart Power will run 18 Smart Color scrollers according to the web page.

    I haven't heard pricing on the ETC Element yet but all indications are that it will be around or even under $4k. For about $5k you can get an Ion.

    If your plan is to address all the scrollers the same you've got not problem. But, if you want variety in your color wash from the scrollers you may be in trouble with that light board.

    Do you have the budget for the regular expense of upkeep and replacing gel strings?
     
  16. Aquarius

    Aquarius Member

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    I was just looking at that myself. It says that a 600 Watt Smart Color will power 18 scrollers, but it also says that each scroller is 38 watts. 18 x 38 = 684. If 38 watts is right, then it should be able to power 15 units. Which is correct?

    *salivates*

    They would probably be put into 2 channels: The downwashes from the parcans, and the front S4Js (or maybe used from the side for dance concerts)

    I am 98% certain that we do. Thanks for the reminder, though.
     
  17. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Okay....just to clear up any confusion. I have 16 Apollo SmartColor Scrollers at my school and this is how you HAVE to hook them up otherwise they wont work properly.

    Apollo currently has 4 flavors of Power Supplies, they have a 75w, 200w, 400w and 600w (They got rid of the 150w) and each one has a different capacity. The 75w can run 2 Scrollers, the 200w can run 6 Scrollers, the 400w can run 12 Scrollers and the 600w can run 18 Scrollers.

    The most important thing that MANY people don't realize on these power supplies is that except for the 75w and 200w PSU, these PSU's have multiple PSU's inside them and only a certain amount of scrollers can be plugged into each PSU.

    The 75w and the 200w PSU's are easy, they both only have one PSU and you can plug in 3 or 6 scrollers into each one respectively with no issues. The 400w and 600w PSU's however are a different story. The 400w PSU has 2 PSU's, each one can handle up to 6 scrollers you will see 4 4-Pin XLR Outputs on the 400w PSU the first 2 are one PSU and the second 2 are the second PSU. You can only plug 6 at a time into each set of outputs. A lot of people don't know this and try plugging all scrollers into one output and wonder why their scrollers reset every time they try to move them. The same thing goes for the 600w PSU except it has 3 PSU's built in with up to 6 Scrollers allowed on each for a total of 18 Scrollers.

    Other things you need to look out for are you MUST have a Return Line going from your last scroller going back to your power supply. This line is very important as it stabilizes the voltage on the line and also provides termination to the scrollers.

    ANOTHER big thing that a lot of people overlook is you must MAKE SURE that you get 4-Pin XLR cable for Apollo/Chroma-Q/ForeRunner Color Scrollers, DO NOT get color scroller cable that is meant for the Wybron ColorRam, ColorRam II, CXI...etc line of Color Scrollers and use it on your Apollo scrollers. The Pinout is different, Wybron puts out the power and signal on the opposite two pins as the Apollo does and therefore if you use Wybron cable, you will be trying to force 200w of power down conductors that are only meant to carry Data and vise versa. I don't know why Wybron does this...I guess it's just to be proprietary?

    At college I'm running the bigger brother to your board, the 48/96 and they work great! I am using it the same way you plan to with the scrollers attached to the 513-1024 output. The thing you need to know is, by default, the 513-1024 output outputs 1-512. It's basically just another DMX 1-512 which is how most people like to use it. However do not fret! It's an easy thing to fix. First thing you need to do is go into Setup => 1. System Settings => 1. Number of Dimmers and set that number to 1024 (It's 512 by default I think.) Then you go to Setup => 2. Output Configuration => [S1] + 2 + [Enter] + [Enter] + 513 + [Enter] + [Enter] and then you're all set! You're now outputting DMX Channels 513-1024 on Universe 2 :) Enjoy!
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
  18. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    First off, let me go back a few steps. The Apollo SmartColor's are great units. Make sure that you get them with the Universal Mounting plate. It shouldn't cost you much more than fixed plates, and it is worth it. Also the 7.5" version will fit all of the lights you described from S4 Jr.s up to PAR64 cans. Unless you Have units that take a bigger fame than 10"x10" you won't need the SmartColor 10" units, which will save you money.

    As for power supplies, I would get a bunch. It is really a PITA to have one PSU that drives multiple hanging positions. Sure, the PSUs have two outputs, but running cable between positions usually isn't fun. You also have to consider that there is a limit to the max cable length you can have from one PSU, so even if you have a PSU that can drive 18 units, you have to make sure that your total cable length does not exceed specification.

    Now it looks like you are taking about buying around 30 scrollers, that shouldn't max out your Express unless you have well over 96 dimmers and patch them 1-to-1. The 24/48 can have up to 96 control channels (ie: channels you see listed on the screen). So if you have 30 scrollers that only leaves you 66 control channels for your dimmers. So make sure that the numbers for control work out for you. If you find that control is limiting, you might consider buying fewer scrollers. I own 20 units and that makes up a pretty good full stage system of most types (back wash, high sides, etc.). So if more control is out of the budget you might try scaling back for now.
     
  19. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    My recommendation would be to scale back the scroller budget, and spend 4k-5k or so on a new board, probably an Element or Ion as has already been suggested. It sounds like you have a pretty large instrument inventory, and when you start to do a show with all the new equipment, you may find yourself becoming frustrated with the lack of control. You will find yourself coming up on tech week when the director tells you he wants SL to be amber and SR to be blue, for two different scenes happening simeoultaneously. If you have all your PAR scrollers on the same channel, this will mean that you have to find an unused channel to patch half of the scrollers to and recue the whole show for this change. Having them all on one or two channels also means that you won't be able to get as much use out of them for specials.

    I might spring for the Element/Ion, and then use whatever's left in your $13,000 to buy some scrollers - this should still get you a decent number of scrollers which you can then patch individually, allowing you more control. Every position really doesn't need a scroller - with proper gel choices and instrument locations, you can mix two or even three colors to get a great variety of color options.
     
  20. Aquarius

    Aquarius Member

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    Whoa. You're saying that the 7.5" frame will fit the parcans that take 10" gels?

    Good advice.

    Does this still apply if we purchase 4-pin XLR terminators for the scrollers? Also, do you know for a fact that the numbers of scrollers that they can power that are listed are correct (i.e. 6 for the 200w, 18 for the 600w)?

    I believe that I have devised a way around this problem. We have 3 electrics over our stage, plus a 4th one that we hang the cyc lights on. Each of the main 3 electrics has 4 pairs of parcans, 2 pairs off to each side. 1 light in each pair has a warm color, and 1 light has cold. Thus, on each electric, we have 4 warm washes and 4 cool washes x 3 electrics = 12 washes of each color total. I was thinking that, depending on the show, we would leave either the warm or cool wash in using standard gel. Let's say that we leave standard red wash in for show X. We attach scrollers to the other 12 parcans that would normally be doing cool wash duty, making sure that there is a cool wash in the gel string. Now, we can get warm, cool, and any other color that is in the gel string. I like your idea, however, about splitting the scrollers up into SL and SR. I might end up doing that.

    My TD was under the impression that a lighting board upgrade alone would cost $13,000. This could change things a lot.



    Thanks for everyone's help!
     

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