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Colors not aligning properly with Apollo Scrollers

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by CommanderKoala, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. CommanderKoala

    CommanderKoala Member

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    I'm working with about 15 Apollo SmartMove color scrollers and pretty much everything is going well except for this alignment issue. One or two of the scrollers seem to get off on their positioning with the gel scroll. For example, if I set the scrollers to gel 5 on the string, just a couple of them will stop between 4 and 5. What's weird is that they don't always do this, but it happens often enough that I'd like to try and fix it before the show opens.

    At first, I thought there was a power issue. Everything is being run by 2 400w Apollo power packs, and I've got no more than 6 of the scrollers in a circuit. Also I'm no where close to the 200 ft limit on the DMX cable. I tried cleaning the optic sensors as well, but that didn't seem to fix the problem either. Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Whats the condition of the scrolls? Have they been in the fixture for as long as you have owned them? Also, how old are the units, and besides cleaning the eye, have you done any other maintenance? Also, is it the same scroller every time? Are the scrollers set to step or continous?
     
  3. ScottH

    ScottH Member

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    This sounds to me like it could be a scroll tension issue. Check your manual and find out how to re-set the tension on the scrolls. Its shouldnt be too hard. It just takes some patience.
     
  4. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I had the exact same issue a few weeks back. I adjusted the tension and reset them to a slower scroll speed. That did the trick for the rest of our run.

    ~Dave
     
  5. CommanderKoala

    CommanderKoala Member

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    We've had the scrollers for a bit over 2 years now. It does seem to be the same scrollers having problems, and they are frequently moved from different fixtures. I'll take a look at the tension thing as soon as I go in, never even thought to check that.
     
  6. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    These wouldn't be driven from a Strand 530i desk, would they?
     
  7. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    There is no tension in the Apollo SmartColor Scrollers. They use two motors to keep tension in the string. Here are a couple things to look into. Are you looping your scroller cable back to the PSU? The scrollers will work if you don't, but it leaves the data unterminated and completing the loop keeps the voltage up on the line. Also, make sure that your DMX chain is properly terminated. You may also just want to re-load the gel strings onto the scrollers, sometimes it helps, and if the string has drifted any from the mark on the rollers it could cause issues.

    Also, what desk are you using? It could be a DMX issue, but that seems unlikely as you said the issue doesn't always happen.

    Care to explain how the 530i would have issues with the scrollers? Why just that desk? That seems amazingly illogical as the desk has no idea what it is connected to.
     
  8. CommanderKoala

    CommanderKoala Member

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    I'm working with an ETC Express 250 for a desk. Also I've got the DMX looped back into the PSU. However, today I was messing around with them more and managed to get 10 of the 15 scrollers out of alignment. I can check to see if the gel scrolls aren't where they're supposed to be on the motors. Again, the feedback has been fantastic, thanks!
     
  9. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    Certainly Alex-

    There was a recent thread within a different lighting forum regarding color alignment of the same color changers. The following responses were noted, and programming appears to have solved the issues. -

    *Hi. I'm trying to control several Apollo color scrollers with a Strand 530i board.

    I've been successfully doing so for most of the season by calling them up by dimmer to various intensities. I've made myself a cheat sheet so that I know, for instance that I can get to frame 4 (coral amber) by setting my scroller channel to 29 percent.

    I've read the strand tutorial on how to assign the scrollers as attributes by patching them to channel X.2 @att (number of color frames). I set them up this way and can control them fine, but the scrolling is off.
    I tried setting various numbers of frames (my scrollers have 15 frames plus clear) so I started with 16 and worked both ways, but no matter what, I start getting another color creeping in until I'm either a full frame behind or ahead. If I could set the frame number to a decimal I feel like I could make it work, but I can only use whole numbers....
    Do I need to re-roll my color strings? What's going on? Controlling these guys by attribute should theoretically be way easier and cooler.


    *You are patching correctly. What you need to do is assign a "Profile" to the DMX slot that is controlling the scroller part of the fixture. Hit the "More" button to get to the "Profile softkey in the LCD Panel above the numbers keypad. this will allow you to create and edit the profile.
    Create a profile. give it a number. Go back into patch (use the "last screen" button) this will save a lot of key strokes as you will be going between patch and profile. Assign the profile to the DMX slot.
    example "512 "prof" 1 Enter" The hard prof key can be found on the Record keypad.
    you can now adjust the curve of your profile and see it affect the scroller live.
    If your 5th color frame is advancing to far on a 10 frame scroll try adjusting the 50 percent insert point on the profile to 49 or 48. as soon as you do you will see the scroller move. you should be able to use the same profile on all scrollers especially if they are all the same manufacturer
    play with that for a while and feel free to contact me with any questions. I ran a 550 for over 10 years.
    good luck
    mtm


    *Thanks MTM!
    I built a profile for the dimmers as per your suggestion and it worked great. It also worked for all of the other scrollers in the system. Finally I can run my scrollers by attribute!
    I'm interested in a suggestion that Keith made about setting a switch on the scroller units from "Continuous" to "Step"
    I didn't try it today because all of my scrollers were trapped above the set, but I'll toy with that next time.

    Thanks for the Help


    In hopes of solving this color frame registration issue, I wanted to offer this dialogue if the console were indeed a Strand 530i.
     
  10. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    CommanderKoala, let's get a few details to sort this out-

    *Which brand & model of Power Supplies are being used?

    *How many scrollers are on each unit, and within each 4 pin output?

    *Do you really mean the 4 pin DATA line is returned to the PSU, or is it truly the 5 pin DMX?
    (There is a tremendous difference.)

    *(800)288-4626 is the number to call if/when you have a chance. Jeff, Dave S, Gary K, or I will be more than happy to chat with you regarding the system and get you back on the road whistling a happy tune! :grin:
     
  11. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    With the problem that Keith brought up about the 530i and the problem being discussed here, this type of thing won't come and go. If your console is sending out an incorrect vlaue, the scroller should end up in the same place every time. However, it is also possible that there is variance in the sizes of each color frame in the gel string. The scroller doesn't know what frame it is in, only how many counts to get to a certain position. So, if you have dark colors in your gel string and use them a lot you actually can stretch the fames (as opposed to just burning them out) which would cause misalignment due to data values starting to vary to get to the center of the frame. Since the issue here sounds like it is a new issue, this would make more sense than the frames being cut slightly off.
     
    Kelite and (deleted member) like this.
  12. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    Amen. Good catch Alex, you have been paying close attention to the symptoms and I thank you-
     
  13. CommanderKoala

    CommanderKoala Member

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    Sorry for the delay in responding here. We had the show go up and due to some last minute paint shenanigans, I wasn't able to access the lighting equipment any further. However, we're still having the problems and here's what we've got.

    The desk is an ECT Express 250. The PSUs (I'm still kinda new to some of the terminology, so I'm assuming this is the power supply units) are Apollo Smart Power 400w units. I've got two of these units chained together with 5 pin DMX. the first pack has 6 scrollers in the first 4 pin group, and 1 scroller in the second 4 pin group. The 2nd PSU has 5 scrollers in the first 4 pin group and 3 scrollers in the seconed 4 pin group. Also I did mean the 4 pin line is returned to the PSU in all cases, sorry for the confusion there.

    Again, all of the posts have been extremely helpful, and I thank you all again for all of the feedback!
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2009
  14. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    So the question still remaining to be answered is this: do have a terminator at then end of your DMX chain? Also, does your DMX originate at the console or is the console feeding a DMX splitter of sorts. If you have a splitter in the line it is possible that the output feeding the scrollers is going bad.

    I suppose the other question is how are you cuing your show? When you say "...if I set the scrollers to gel 5 on the string, just a couple of them will stop between 4 and 5." how are you setting the scrollers. Do you have all of them on one submaster or are you calling each channel individually to each level? If you have them on a submaster or a group you may just need to adjust (scale) the values for individual units in the group to make sure that when you call it up everything hits the right frame. You may also find it easier to just record a group for each frame (so 16 groups for a 16 frame string) in each group you can tweak every scroller to where you want it.
     
  15. Lightingguy32

    Lightingguy32 Active Member

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    I have smart color scrollers as well, and occasionally the only fix for this problem is to take the scroller down and manually tension the gel scroll, the motors don't always compensate fully for the tension issues.
     
  16. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Once again, there is no tensioning required for SmartColor Scrollers. If by tensioning you mean pulling the slack out and then winding everything back up, that makes sense. However they are not like Chroma-Qs or ColoRams which actually require winding a tension spring inside the rollers while you load the gel strings.
     
  17. pacman

    pacman Active Member

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    I have 20 SmartColors and I've had a similar problem but to a greater extreme with one or more scrollers going to a completely different color. Usually, a reboot of the PSU resolves the problem.
     

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