Automated Fixtures Chroma-Q Color Force 72 LED Strip

Seth Morrison

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Joined
Feb 16, 2016
Location
Ohio
So, my venue is having issues with our LED strips (Color Force 72) glitching and losing controllability. We open thurday, and already have sent two units out for repair for the same issue. So far, nobody has any clue. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I've attached a link to a video of the glitch.
 

DavidNorth

ETC Rigging General Manager
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Would you mind posting what your control path is to the fixtures? It might be able to be fixed by changing something else in the system.

So, specifically, what console are you using and how does DMX get from it to the CF units?

David
 

Seth Morrison

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Feb 16, 2016
Location
Ohio
Would you mind posting what your control path is to the fixtures? It might be able to be fixed by changing something else in the system.

So, specifically, what console are you using and how does DMX get from it to the CF units?

David
Certainly- Your help is appreciated!

Console: ETC Ion
Universe 1: Strand Dimmer racks
Universe 2: Elation DMX-Branch/4
-A: Martin Mac 250 Entour (x2)
-B: Chroma-Q ColorForce 72 (x8)

The CF Units are all in Mode 9 (4ch RGBA). They are powered from wall circuits, with 2 or 3 units per circuit. Everything is powered down each night.
 
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Seth Morrison

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Feb 16, 2016
Location
Ohio
What did they do to repair the units?
Our distributor couldn't figure out what was wrong. They replaced the control for each unit, but that didn't solve the issue. Something seems to be wrong with the 4th cell. Thats all I know currently, but they've been sent back to the manufacturer. I haven't been able to find anything online about a similar issue.
 

DavidNorth

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Ok, so there are several possibilities here that could be causing the issue. To begin, I'm not convinced that this is a fixture issue, although it could be. It seems to me like there is a DMX timing issue based on the great video you posted. That was a really big help.

If this is a regularly occurring issue, then it will be easy to sort out.

If it were me, since I like to quickly get down to a known working state and then add back in potential areas for failure, I would take the console to the fixture and run it direct to see if the issue goes away. If so, then it is one of the pieces in the data chain. If it does not go away, then change the DMX output speed of the Ion and see if it goes away.

List of potential problems:

- DMX speed of the Ion
- Bad DMX cable or use of microphone cable
- Bad output on the splitter
- Fixture issue

So a quick check would be to use a different output on the splitter or bypass the splitter completely, then you can either rule that out or in as the issue.

I have a feeling that it will be that DMX is running too fast or that there is a bad DMX cable. Please try these things above and let's see where you get.

Thanks,

David
 

SteveB

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Mar 20, 2004
Location
Brooklyn, NY
As well and after following Dave North's suggestion of connecting the Ion directly to the fixture in one cable run, disconnect the daisy chain DMX cabling and check fixture-by-fixture to attempt to recreate and isolate the problem to a particular fixture. Then start to add daisy chain DMX cabling.

As well, how are these fixtures powered ?, any chance they are powered off a dimmer set to non-dim or full on mode ?.
 

jmdesper

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May 15, 2014
Location
Earth
Hello everyone!

Thanks for your replies to this thread. I'd thought I'd chime in here since I'm Seth's boss, and can fill in some on the backstory that Seth missed previously. Some of this is cut and paste from e-mails sent to vendors, so apologies for changing tenses, etc.

This first happened with a unit last summer. I pulled it off of the pipe, replaced it with another, and took it to the shop to diagnose it. It worked fine, and since I could not recreate it, it went back into stock.

This past fall, it happened again. I unfortunately do not know if it was the same fixture or not, since they get moved around a fair bit, and are not currently individually labeled.

The segments that aren't flashing will continue to bring up the color as DMX is telling it to from the console. When it was doing this, we tried:
1) Unplugging and re-plugging the unit- once rebooted there was no change.
2) Switching from dimmer at full power to a wall outlet- once booted up there was no change.
3) Unplugging the DMX- no change in the flashing.

When I have the unit plugged in to the wall, not connected to DMX, and I scroll through the control options, it seems to flash only when an RGB control option is selected. When the HSI options are selected, it stops.

We started using DMX terminators after this happened in the fall.

The units we had problems with in the fall are at our vendor being prepped to ship to Chroma Q for repair. The control module was checked and deemed OK, so they want to open the fixture up.

The video Seth posted was from just the other day, from a THIRD UNIT that is having this issue. The unit made it through several days of tech with no problem, but suddenly started flashing. Maybe a coincidence, but I noticed it was right after a newly programmed moving light sequence was triggered for the show. This unit is being powered from a standard 110 outlet, so no dimmer.

Seth is currently checking the DMX runs to verify location in the chain of the moving lights and dmx-branch, as well as verify DMX and not microphone cable is in use.

The units we had problems with previously got so bad that they would flash immediately upon being powered up, without any DMX.

Seth has gotten a reply elsewhere that states this is a "known issue" with a strain relief in the fixture, but I saw no complaints about these fixtures anywhere when I was searching last fall.

Thanks again for your responses... anything else you can tell us to try to determine the root cause of this will be greatly appreciated.

J. Michael Desper
 

orca320

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Jun 4, 2011
Location
USA
This is more than likely due to a bad connection between the individual "cells" in the fixture. All older CF72s are effected by this problem due to the way the cells pass data to each other. Chroma-Q has a retrofit parallel 5v power/data harness to fix the issue. Contact them directly to try to get it sorted out.

Occasionally the butt connection that passes data at either end of the fixture can also come lose and give a similar fault condition.

-Sean Harding
 

Seth Morrison

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2016
Location
Ohio
Hello again, everyone.

I've been testing various different ideas and combinations of ideas and unfortunately the glitch is still happening. What I have noticed is contrary to the other units that we have sent for repair, this one glitches in an isolated section of the show. It starts glitching in LQ 215.5 and stops in LQ 220. It seems to only glitch when the Martin Mac 250 Entour units are powered. Originally, these were also in the 2nd universe, but I've switched them to the 1st universe. Still glitching.

One thing I did notice was an unpatched channel at full throughout the show. I removed it, and the glitch seems to behave differently now.

I have not noticed a difference with the DMX terminators, but we are using them. Michael may have noticed something I didn't with that.

Here is a list of other things I tried:
-Martin Mac 250 Entours to different universe
-Individual power to issue unit (no reaction)
-individual dmx run to issue unit (no reaction)
-factory reset on issue unit (no reaction)
-DMX speed- I tried all 4 speeds on the Ion. It seems to just delay the glitch.

Based on this new info, my inclination is that there is an issue on the Ion.

Thank you all for your input,
Seth Morrison