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Apollo Smart Colors giving me trouble

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by naharnahekim, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. naharnahekim

    naharnahekim Member

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    The symptoms:
    Wild and erratic scrolling (back and forth, again and again) Occasionally its associated with a random (no where near the scroller's channel, or dimmer #)

    Half Cells. When I notice this and can do something about it I'll unplug the power supply and they will sometimes reset, but not always

    The Facts:
    -Total length of cable is under 200' (usually around 150' -180') in a complete loop connecting each scroller to the next then a final run back to the pwoer supply

    -Powered by Smart Power 400W with only 8 scrollers per run (sometimes 4 per run, sometimes 8)

    -Always terminated properly

    -on several different boards including etc express 48/96,OBSI, OBSII, and an entec DMX pro running some freeware program I don't care to find the name of.

    The Question:
    Has anyone else encountered this behavior?
    I find it hard to believe Apollo would put out such a sloppy product, but I can't seem to figure out what the deal is. Aside from the erratic scrolling when a certain, random channel (it's different each time) is at full I can't find any correlating circustances.
     
  2. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    I am interested in this as well. I always buy Wybron or ChomaQ and have never had a problem but I have been looking at the Apollo line to pick up some used scrollers.

    Mike
     
  3. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Occupation:
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    This is most likely your problem The 400W Apollo PSU can only support 6 scrollers PER output (12 Total over both outputs.)

    I've had this trouble before with the 150w PSU when I tried to install all 5 scrollers on one output. Then I read the manual which said you can only have 3 on one output and 2 on the second one for 5 total. The load needs to be balanced.

    The scrolling back and forth is the Scrollers reseting from the power drop when all 16 motors (2 per scroller) spool up trying to pull power from one output.

    Also make sure you have your return line connected as it stabilizes the power across all the scrollers. Definitely try to put the same number of scrollers on each output if you can.

    I've run 12 Apollo Scrollers (PSU Maximum) on the 400w PSU with no issues for many shows.

    Another thing that helps a lot if you don't need super fast scroller changes is switch all the scroller over to QUIET mode as they use less power this way.
     
    Esoteric and (deleted member) like this.
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Did you call Apollo and ask them for help?
    (260) 497-9191

    I'm sure [user]Kelite[/user] will be along in the morning to give you some additional help.
     
  5. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    naharnahekim-

    I'm sorry you're having trouble with your system. :( It would be a good idea to call toll-free (800)CUT-GOBO and speak with one of our tech support staff, as I couldn't find your phone number within your profile to call and help you with this-
     
  6. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    naharnahekim-

    I passed your information to an electrical engineer here at Apollo and will summarize his thoughts:

    If you have 8 scrollers in one loop, that's a problem. The 400W PSU can handle 12 scrollers, but more than 6 in a loop is too much. The 8 scrollers will pull over 10 amps. This exceeds the contact rating of the XLR connectors, and combined with the resistance in the cable of 150 to 180 feet will lose so much voltage the scrollers will reset and go erratic, as you have seen. The 12 scrollers per PSU means two loops of 6, but no more than 6 per loop.


    Also, are you using Apollo or similar scroller cable with 14 gauge wire? If using other cables with a 16 or 18 gauge wire, you will loose additional voltage at those cable lengths.

    Regarding the Enttec comment; our electrical engineer bought one of the Enttec drivers, "and hated it." "It sends jittery DMX, making scrollers unstable. Also when I searched around, I found postings of other folks who had experienced Enttec jitter with other moving fixtures. I could not get it to work to my satisfaction, so I don't use it."

    The scroller issue may be the symptom of an underlying problem, but we really need to speak with you to help get this system working properly.

    Please call us!
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    ...and of course did your electrical engineer contact Enttec for help? While the crew here on CB are always glad to help, step one should always be contact the manufacturer.
     
  8. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    I'll ask if the engineer contacted the manufacturer regarding the erratic DMX output. I would expect the better first step would be to contact the dealer/manufacturer than to begin a thread on an online forum...

    But that's me...
     
  9. naharnahekim

    naharnahekim Member

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    I am a tool on several levels. First, my power supply is actually a 250W, not 400W. From this and all of you're extremyly helpful comments I can surmise that I can have a maximum of 4 units per leg, with a total of 8. Somewhere aolong the line I decided that we had the 400W units dispite "250W" written in size 45 font right on front of the things.

    For cable, most of it is 14 guage, although I have a few 16 guage shorties (10' or so)

    Seems like it might be wise to start by recabling these puppies into 4 unit loops, that should solve my immediate problems. As for the random scrolling while channels are up, I will call tech support. I just wanted to see if anyone here had the same problem first.

    Thank you all so much for your replies. Kelite, I hope I didn't offend with the "sloppy Product" line. Any other time I've used appollo stuf, it has worked perfectly. That is, you know, when I set it up correctly. Right now I'm in the process of budgeting to get us some Smart Moves as they are the best dang rotators I've come across.

    About the Enttec box: Did your tech get the "open DMX" or the "DMX Pro". The difference as I understand it is the open DMX uses your computers processor to generate the DMX code, where as the PRO has it's own on board processor. I personally haven't had any buggy issues with it, but I mainly just it as a focus remote for largely conventional shows, so maybe I just haven't noticed.

    And finally an amusing annecdote:
    When my company first received the smart colors, I was super excited to get them out and play with them, so I set up my console in my shop and had all 16 units set up on an eight foot folding table. I didn't want to set them on end as they were my very brand new toys, and I was arfaid they might fall off the table, so I put them all face down. With baited breath I plugged the power supply and immediatly every single scroller went through the homing sequence which I expected, and continued to scroll and scroll and scroll which I didn't expect. I franticly checked everything I knew to check: My patch, my cables, the scroller cable loop. Finally I called Apollo and very near to tears explained my problem, the gentlmen on the other end told me, calmly and with much patience, to stand them on end. "What?" I asked "Will they only work in that position? What if I want to use them for down light?" he replied, again very nicely, "No, it's nothing like that, they're all all laying on their reset buttons."

    Thanks again
    Mike Hanrahan
     
  10. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    hahaha :clap: that is a good story :)
     
  11. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    We have 6 Smart Colors and 2 200W power supplies. They work great. I have had them a couple of years now, with no problems.

    ~Dave
     

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