Control/Dimming Colortran ENR 96 Rack Issues

ML.Rice

Member
Setup:
My dimming system is four Colortran ENR 96 racks. One rack is dedicated to house, lobby, work, and run lights and the other three are stage dimmers. The House Dimmer rack has a Viewpoint System that has been bypassed with a Doug Fleenor DMX combine unit to control the house lights via an ETC SmartFade for non-show use, for show situations, our Gio takes control. This bypass was installed professionally by Clair Brothers. The dimmer racks are located in a large, well-ventilated, concrete room with 5'+ overhead clearance. The house rack is by itself against one wall, the three stage racks are together against a different wall, the only other thing in the room aside from the dimmer racks are the power disconnects for the building and the emergency lights transfer system. The room has not been overheated at all, in fact the boiler went down the other day and it has been quite frosty in there. We had an infrared electrical inspection last week which included the dimmer racks (in a non-show situation, but house and lobby rack was on and in use). We had no hot spots recorded anywhere.

Problems:
The issue began with an airflow error in the house rack causing all the dimmers in phase B to suddenly turn off. We vacuumed out the front vents of all the dimmer and ENR control modules in the rack and we got that phase back. A few hours later though, the dimmers in phase B began flashing on and off rapidly. Vacuuming had no effect at this point, we also used a can of compressed air to blow out some of the harder to reach spots. We attempted swapping the Viewpoint module with our spare but we had no control at all with the spare in the rack, so we replaced the original module and the flashing resumed. While troubleshooting this, the rack started to power cycle repeatedly and after a few moments, the stage dimmer racks began to power cycle several times as well. We cut power to stage racks and kept working on the house rack until we had managed to stabilize it by removing the viewpoint module entirely and leaving the door that closes over the breaker side of the rack open. This cleared the error and stopped the flashing, though we did lose the phase B set of lights for the rest of the evening. I know this is not an ideal operating condition, but closing the door and/or replacing the viewpoint module resumes the flashing.
The next morning when I came in I noted that phase B was operational. I cut power to all 4 racks and began cleaning each dimmer card and vacuuming/blowing out the inside of the rack and fans. There was a LOT of dust, previous ME confirmed that this had not been done in years (I've been here 6 weeks). After cleaning and restoring everything, we had full control again except that several of the dimmers are now behaving as non-dim (100-51% ON, 50-0% OFF). They are being controlled as they should, just when they hit that 50% threshold they either pop on or off. I cant find a solid pattern to the dimmers responding this way, it occurs across all phases but doesn't affect all lights. The house rack still gives an airflow error and lights begin to flash if the breaker door is closed and/or the viewpoint module is reinserted.

I'm leaning towards a busted airflow sensor in the viewpoint module, though trying the spare did not help. Left-field idea is a CMX/DMX mix-up because we restarted the rack?

I'm out of my depth with this system at this point, we are just trying to get to July/August when we're moving forward with our dimming upgrade. (Which of course was approved mere hours before this problem started.)
Any ideas are appreciated.
 

cleagl

New Member
Hello ML,

I have used several ENR systems and they are finicky when it comes to heat. The usual suspects are a) dirt/dust, as you suspected, can wreak havoc on these things, b)the fan relay on the control module, and c) the contacts where the control module plugs into the rack itself. Clean everything really well (with the power off of course) and re-try. Also, we have the ongoing "some lights blink" after the system is off, and that is in the viewpoint module.
Lite-trol (Hicksville, NY) still services these units. Keep a few spare control modules around if possible

HTH
cleagl
 

microstar

Well-Known Member
ML--
Probably the airflow sensor in the front bottom left corner of the Viewpoint module has finally gone bad. As noted above, Lite-trol can replace this. Agree that the ENR control module-to-rack contacts are finicky and re-seating them will often cure problems like this.
If the houselight rack is powered down, it is possible for the Viewpoint module to lose its configuration and hopefully there is a memory card somewhere that has this information stored on it. If DMX is being supplied to the rack(s) when power is restored, the control modules should switch to DMX from CMX (at least that's what I remember). Didn't know the ENR could be programmed for relay operation. Are you sure your control console(s) are not causing this thru a dimmer setting?
Before bashing your head too much, a great resource for all things ENR is Steve Short at Lite-trol, 1-800-548-3876. He is super helpful!
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
ML--
Probably the airflow sensor in the front bottom left corner of the Viewpoint module has finally gone bad. As noted above, Lite-trol can replace this. Agree that the ENR control module-to-rack contacts are finicky and re-seating them will often cure problems like this.
If the houselight rack is powered down, it is possible for the Viewpoint module to lose its configuration and hopefully there is a memory card somewhere that has this information stored on it. If DMX is being supplied to the rack(s) when power is restored, the control modules should switch to DMX from CMX (at least that's what I remember). Didn't know the ENR could be programmed for relay operation. Are you sure your control console(s) are not causing this thru a dimmer setting?
Before bashing your head too much, a great resource for all things ENR is Steve Short at Lite-trol, 1-800-548-3876. He is super helpful!
@microstar In my days with with ENR's, (1991-'92) one side of our dimmer room housed four Strand CD80 racks / AMX192 for performance lighting and rock solid in terms of reliability. Hung on the opposite wall was a double-width ENR rack for house, running and work lighting.
TO YOUR POINT: Within the ENR rack's control module, we had modules programmed to operate as dimmers as well as solid state (non mechanical air-gap) non-dims. Some dimmers / non-dims were programmed to power 120 VAC incandescents. Some powered 120 VAC 4' fluorescents via standard, non-dimmable, fluorescent ballasts [This was clearly an oversight on the part of the electrical consulting PEng and a bad experience all around for the ballasts, the tubes and the users] Other dimmers were programmed to power step-down isolation transformers located out of sight within entrance corridor ceilings (To keep lamination hum from being mechanically transmitted into the seating area) to power low voltage incandescents housed within the arm rests of aisle seats providing aisle lighting and aisle identifications. I clearly recall having the Founder / Artistic Director's desk-top PC, keyboard and CRT monitor in the dimmer room to program the various loads and options into Colortran's software. Non of these operational modes were controlled by any external "control console" as there wasn't one. The double-wide / common bussed ENR rack was totally controlled via 3 wall stations (DSR, DSL, LX booth, plus one cleaners switch for within the auditorium and one FOH Manager's switch for the lobby) You'd best not get me started on my near never ending saga of less than desirable experiences with Colortran's ENR's. More than enough said.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.
 

microstar

Well-Known Member
@microstar In my days with with ENR's, (1991-'92) one side of our dimmer room housed four Strand CD80 racks / AMX192 for performance lighting and rock solid in terms of reliability. Hung on the opposite wall was a double-width ENR rack for house, running and work lighting.
TO YOUR POINT: Within the ENR rack's control module, we had modules programmed to operate as dimmers as well as solid state (non mechanical air-gap) non-dims. Some dimmers / non-dims were programmed to power 120 VAC incandescents. Some powered 120 VAC 4' fluorescents via standard, non-dimmable, fluorescent ballasts [This was clearly an oversight on the part of the electrical consulting PEng and a bad experience all around for the ballasts, the tubes and the users] Other dimmers were programmed to power step-down isolation transformers located out of sight within entrance corridor ceilings (To keep lamination hum from being mechanically transmitted into the seating area) to power low voltage incandescents housed within the arm rests of aisle seats providing aisle lighting and aisle identifications. I clearly recall having the Founder / Artistic Director's desk-top PC, keyboard and CRT monitor in the dimmer room to program the various loads and options into Colortran's software. Non of these operational modes were controlled by any external "control console" as there wasn't one. The double-wide / common bussed ENR rack was totally controlled via 3 wall stations (DSR, DSL, LX booth, plus one cleaners switch for within the auditorium and one FOH Manager's switch for the lobby) You'd best not get me started on my near never ending saga of less than desirable experiences with Colortran's ENR's. More than enough said.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.

Just to clarify.... you are saying ENR can be programmed as 1) a "relay" module ( circuit either on or off at some threshold controller setting) like ETC R-20, or 2) as a "constant"non-dim (circuit on or off via module circuit breaker) like ETC CC-20? On most ENR control modules, but not Viewpoint modules, there are 48 DIP switches which convert dimmer modules to non-dims which are in Colortran's words "circuits that are either on full or off completely".
Not ever having actually done this, I am just assuming this means my example #1 above but would like to get clarification because
"relay" non-dim and "constant" non-dim are of course two different implementations.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Just to clarify.... you are saying ENR can be programmed as 1) a "relay" module ( circuit either on or off at some threshold controller setting) like ETC R-20, or 2) as a "constant"non-dim (circuit on or off via module circuit breaker) like ETC CC-20? On most ENR control modules, but not Viewpoint modules, there are 48 DIP switches which convert dimmer modules to non-dims which are in Colortran's words "circuits that are either on full or off completely".
Not ever having actually done this, I am just assuming this means my example #1 above but would like to get clarification because
"relay" non-dim and "constant" non-dim are of course two different implementations.
@microstar What I'm saying is: In our originally supplied control software there was zero facility within the programming for operating actual mechanical, "air gap", "goes click" relays. In software you were asked to select from various types of loads: Incandescent, standard fluorescents with inductive non-dimming ballasts, [Which the electrical consulting PEng thought could magically be dimmed anyways] fluorescents with dimmable ballasts (Required a second integrally adjacent dimmer to control the ballast's dimming winding), inductive isolation step down transformers to power low voltage incandescent loads. If you wanted an actual constant voltage module containing only a breaker with zero electronics or control options other than the breaker's actual actuating handle, you removed the dimmer module and inserted a constant power module. At this point, end user control was still the 3 gang wall stations and single gang momentary and / or maintained contact manual stations for applications such as cleaners within the audience chamber and / or FOH managers in the lobby. Of course there was no remote control of constant power modules. Constant power modules were only controllable by hand at the front of the dimmer rack. This was spec'd and installed in 1990 and publicly opened in 1991. Without Googling, I'm not personally familiar with the details of the various ETC Sensor modules.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.
 

ML.Rice

Member
Thank you @cleagl @RonHebbard @microstar for your helpful responses. I did indeed speak with Lite-trol and Knight Lighting and Sound (who also still service these dimmers), they were both very helpful. If anyone is interested or reading this for future troubleshooting, we ended up swapping ENR control modules around with some spares to locate the bad airflow sensor. The non-dim problem was a poor labeling job that resulted in the bottom control module being swapped with the top and - surprise, surprise - the dim/non-dim dipswitches then being out of alignment with their intended dimmers. Our work/run lights were probably dimming beautifully that night...
 

Les

Well-Known Member
Ah, the ENR lives to fight another day! My venue is still running one ENR rack along side a two-year-old Sensor rack. We originally started out with two ENR-96 racks, but are doing sort of a "rolling transition" in to LED. We hope to someday eliminate the remaining ENR rack and replace it with an additional Echo panel.

Thanks for following up with the solution! That may really help someone later on down the road. Quite possibly that "someone" being myself.
 

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