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Color Scrollers

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by DCATTechie, May 8, 2008.

  1. DCATTechie

    DCATTechie Active Member

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    My high school is considering purchasing some color scrollers for our S4's. I would like to know what brands are the best (models and all) and about how much this is going to cost. Also, if we do end up getting them how would i go about setting them up. Is it a giant daisy chain? Thanks!
     
  2. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    We just purchased Apollo Smartcolor Scrollers for our par 64's this year. In our instance, 6 scrollers, cabeling, and power supplies cost about $3,200. Scrollers for Source IV's would be cheaper and have more color options due to their size.

    You are esentially correct, you just daisy chain the signal from unit to unit, and terminate the signal at the end of the chain. There are several different power supply options, so I did not want to be to spicific as to the setup. It also varies as to how you are getting data to them. We have DMX ports on each raceway, so it was easy for us, you may have to string a lot of DMX cable, or get an opto splitter and run several lines to your various lighting positions. If you care to post more spicifics about your set up, I am sure we can give you more spicific answeres.

    ~Dave
     
  3. DCATTechie

    DCATTechie Active Member

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    I'd Love all the help i can get. We dont have DMX ports on our raceways so I'll be running the cable by hand. I'm considering buying 6 of them and they'd all be placed on our 1st catwalk (about 100ft. long.) I'm using HPL 575 lamps in my S4's and the scrollers will be placed on 4 zooms and two 26 degrees fixtures. Did I mention our board is an ETX Espression 72/144? Thanks!
     
  4. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    It sould be easy for you, depending on where you get your DMX signal from. As I mentioned before, you just chain the scrollers with 4 pin scroller cable and place a 4 pin DMX terminator in the output of the last scroller in the chain. You will want at least a 250 Watt power supply to power all of the scrollers off of one power supply. Your chain will be as follows: DMX out of where ever you are getting it from into the power supply, 4 pin scroller cable out of the power supply into the first unit, 4 pin cable to the next unit and so on until you reach the last unit, then place your DMX terminator in the output of the last unit.

    Where are you getting your DMX signal from? Do you have an empty port on stage, or in the booth? This might be your biggest problem. If you do not have an extra port, you may have to buy a DMX splitter and split the signal that you use for your dimmers. Feel free to ask any more questions you may have.

    ~Dave
     
  5. DCATTechie

    DCATTechie Active Member

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    i was just going to take the DMX from the 513-1024 port on our board. Excuse my ignorant knowledge if this is wrong
     
  6. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    This should work out just fine. Just start your DMX addresses on your scrollers at 512. You can address them all the same if you always want them to be the same color, or you can address them differently for increased programming options.

    ~Dave
     
  7. DCATTechie

    DCATTechie Active Member

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    Thanks! Where would be a cheap place to buy them from? What brand/model? S4's take 7.5 scrollers right?
     
  8. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    PM Sent.

    ~Dave
     
  9. kovacika

    kovacika Active Member

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    Just to clarify....you should address the scrollers at 1, but when using the second universe of that board it will appear in the dimmer patch on the board as 513.
     
  10. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Thanks for clarifying my error. That's what I get for trying to do 8 things at once. Sorry for any confusion I might have caused.

    ~Dave
     
  11. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    This is incorrect in some respects and needs clarifying.

    The 4 pin cables that connect the scrollers to the power supply are NOT DMX cables. Thus the 4 pin terminator is a DATA terminator, not a DMX terminator. And in truth, I've never seen a 4 pin terminator on the last scroller.

    Most of the scroller manufacturers (all of them I believe), have both data AND power for the scroll motors in the 4 pin cables. DMX cables do not have power in them - unless something is very wrong !.

    The DMX signal from the controller only gets as far as the power supply and that is the only place you will see a 5 pin connector (of the scroll systems I've seen).

    Note that the scroller manufacturers have formulas for calculating the power supply required, dependent on 4 pin cable length from PS to 1st scroller, as well as the distance between scrollers and the number of scrollers on one line.

    To be clear. 3 pin and 4 pin cables and connectors are not DMX cables. Only 5 pin cables, of the correct cable design, is reffered to as DMX. Anything using 3 pin, may well be carrying a DMX signal, but is generally refered to as 3 pin Data cable.

    Steve B.
     
  12. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Please note in my post that I refer to 4 pin cable as scroller cable (this is exactly how most large retailers sell them), not a DMX cable. The OP was looking for a list as to what to buy, that is why I phrased it the way I did. In any event, the 4 pin terminator still terminates the DMX signal, so that was the appropriate term. I saw evidence of this at a recent trade show with Doug Fleenor. He was playing with a scope and showing the graphical representation of what happens to terminated and unterminated signals. One example was a 5 scroller chain, and a 4 pin terminator does indeed make a difference in that it terminates the DMX signal, no matter what connector is providing the signal.

    ~Dave
     
  13. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Funny I spent half of today changing out scrolls in our ForeRunners.
     
  14. Jby007

    Jby007 Member

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    My favorite is the CXI's
     
  15. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I think there needs to be a little more clarifying going on in this thread.

    Differences in systems and PSUs:
    Most, if not all scrollers require a PSU (power supply). The PSU takes a DMX input and sends it out along with power over 4-pin XLR to the scrollers. There are two common types of scrollers, the "Chroma-Q" style and the ColoRam style. The biggest difference is that they use different pinouts for power and data. Apollo SmartColors, Chroma-Qs, Wybron ForeRunners, and a bunch of powered accessories use the "Chroma-Q" style PSU. Wybron ColoRam, and CXI use the ColoRam supply. These two different styles are not compatible with eachother.

    The "Chroma-Q" style PSUs and devices require (or strongly suggest) that you make a loop with the cable. Meaning that you go out from the PSU, daisy-chain to each device, and then run a return cable back to the PSU. This helps keep the voltage up on the line and provides data termination. This is why there are both 4-pin in and out ports on the PSUs. This style PSU also sends raw DMX data to the devices. Each device gets a unique DMX address which is set on each device.

    The ColoRam style PSUs do not require to to make a loop. Also, the PSU does not send out raw DMX data. The data stream is translated to a proprietary stream. Each device attached to the PSU gets an address unique to the PSU that it is connected to and the PSU gets a DMX starting address.


    Basic Scroller Types:
    There are two basic types of scrollers, single string and multi-string. Single string scrollers give you a fixed set of colors, while multi-string scrollers allow you to mix colors. Due to the fact that single string scrollers have fewer moving parts and require less control they are significantly less expensive than multi string scrollers. You also get better transmission from single string scrollers since the light does not have to pass through multiple filters.

    Dual string scrollers, while slightly bigger offer you more color flexibility. You will need more control channels for them, but they may eliminate the need to buy or make new strings for each show as you can mix a large number of colors.

    -----
    As for the OP's situation, I would recommend the Apollo SmartColor Scrollers. IMO they give you the best for the money. I would suggest that you get the SmartColor 7.5 with the universal mounting plate, which you should be able to get for around $350 each plus $45 for custom strings. These units are light, simple to set up, and quiet. They also come with Apollo GelShield to protect the string. The universal mounting plate will allow you to use the scrollers on any fixture that takes a 10" color frame (like a PAR64) or smaller.

    You also have to think about where you are going to using the scrollers, not only now, but in the future. You have many options for PSUs in varying wattages. The SmartPower 150 will power up to 5 SmartColor 7.5s. As a user of these scrollers and PSUs, I have a bunch of SP150s so that I can put scrollers anywhere, and if I need more power I just use more PSUs. You have to think that in the future you may not use the scrollers in the same place you are planning to use them now.

    One of the other things that you have to keep in mind is that there is a limit to the amount of cable that you can use (or the amount of head feet). This is due to the resistance of the cable. Generally the maximum head feet per 150W PSU is about 200'. This means that even if you only had one device attached to the PSU, you may not get enough power to it if your cable run is over 200'. This of course includes the return run. I don't remember the price of the SP150, but I think that it is around $250-ish.

    You can control the scrollers the way you talked about with your ETC Express. If you connect to the 513-1024 jack, you just need to make sure that it is turned on and that you know what addresses it is outputting. I would suggest setting it to output 513-1024. This is the standard universe 2. This would mean that the scroller you set to address 1 the console would see it as dimmer 513. On the Express you would just patch each scroller to a channel and then you can control it like any other device, either with a slider or the keyboard. If you divide 100 by the number of frames in the gel string you should get the percentage increment to figure the center of each frame.

    I know that is lot of info, but I think that it should help. It should also help narrow the questioning that is sure to follow.
     
  16. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    I've never looped the cable with our old Chroma-Q's. Never had a problem either. Only problem we had with them is that some of them just stopped working. That's why we got some Coloram II's last fall.
     
  17. mdudgeon

    mdudgeon Member

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    There seems to be some incorrect or rather incomplete information on this thread....

    The newer Colorams and CXIs, we call them Coloram IT and CXI IT will work on the same PSUs as the Forerunners, and other peoples gadgets. The older Coloram II and origninal CXI used a proprietary protocol we called CMX and the voltage was reversed from the way other manufacturers did things. DO NOT PLUG AN OLD RAM OR CXI INTO A NEW PS SERIES PSU. You can plug a new Ram into an old PSU, won't work, but also won't cause any harm to the unit.

    The newer stuff uses 24v and DMX on the 4 pin cables. We also use RDM (remote device management), if you haven't heard about RDM you really should check it out. You don't need to be running an RDM system to use the newer Wybron color changers.

    As a last word of advice... It is a good idea to terminate Color Changers 4 pin cable.
     
  18. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Davey, You are correct and an apology is in order.

    As may be apparent in my post, I have issues with on-going improper usage of the term "DMX' as applied to data cable and connectors that are not 5 pin and USITT DMX compliant.

    This is something I rant about at my space, when a touring tech says to one of my folks - "Daisy these units with 3 pin "DMX" cable", or the touring company electrician who had us daisy from scroller to scroller with "4 pin DMX cable".

    Sigh.

    SB
     
  19. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Real Chroma-Q scrollers actually say in the manual that you need to make a loop. I have some of these also, and they really don't like to work if I don't make a loop. However, I am glad they worked for you until now.

    I haven't used or really read about the new IT line of Wybron products so that is why I am missing info. The last time I used Wybron scrollers I was using RamIIs. (But it is sure nice to have some guys from Wybron on CB!)
     
  20. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Never done this, but not sure if I've ever worked with a ___IT version. Which two pins get the 120Ω resistor?

    I always do the loop-back (return) on the ChromaQs, unless it's a single scroller on the line, close to the PSU.
     

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