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Control/Dimming Crazy Dimmer

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Anvilx, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. Anvilx

    Anvilx Active Member

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    Location:
    Austin,Texas
    Alright I just finished lighting a A Christmas Carol and during the shows i had tons of problems with the dimmers, or at least that's what i think the problem is. (It was only a middle school play)Here is the equipment ETC express 24/48, 2 Etc Unison dimmer racks, a dove pod, and some general lighting instruments. Alright now to the symptoms:

    I was having some problems getting all of my lights to turn on so i checked the dimmers and one of them said [dimmer errors] low voltage on each channel the other dimmer rack was fine. so I called ETC they suggested resetting the dimmers which i did to no avail. But here is the funny thing through out the show i checked the rack and sometimes it said that the [system is OK] I ended up clearing the board of everything and as a result it helped get a few lights working but the problems persisted.

    If had a light at full and brought either the GM or channel fader down to 50 the light would still be at about 100%. You could only really see a difference at about 17%.

    The opening night I had my Preshow up and was waiting for the house to fill up, when all of the sudden about half of my lights turned of and i nor any body else had touched the board in minuets but on the board it said they were still on.

    The lights on the dove pod dimmer dimmed perfectly.

    On the second night I hit the go button and it didn't do any fading until about 4 seconds into my 5 second fade when the lights just hoped (no fading) to the levels that they were supposed to be on the new cue.

    Occasionally lights wouldn't turn out when they were supposed to and would be on until we took them out manually which some times took several tries.

    Any way the show is over thank god but now i need to figure out what is wrong so we can fix it before the spring show. I think my firdt step of action maybe to borrow another board and make sure it isn't my board. What do you all think about this/ has anyone had simar problems and how did you go about fixing them

    Thanks,
    Anvilx
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Location:
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    The symptoms you've described (especially that the Dove dimmers worked fine) point toward the Unison/Sensor rack(s) rather than the Express. Most likely it's time for a service call. The authorized service centers in your area are: ETC - Texas Service Centers .

    The only "user-serviceable" maintenance operation on a dimmer rack is cleaning of filters and modules. See http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/lighting/275-cleaning-dimmer-packs.html and http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/lighting/3403-dimmer-temperature.html.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  3. dramatech

    dramatech Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    MASTER ELECTRICIAN
    Location:
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    I would guess that Derek is probably correct in his assesment, but before going to a greater expense, you might want to check out your DMX cabling. If the Dove was the first thing in the daisy chain from the console, then you might have an intermittent cable going to the ETC dimmers. I would take each dimmer by itself and connect as close to the console with a cable, and if all is right keep changing dimmer packs and or cables until a problem occurs. By matter of elimination, you should be able to isolate if it is a cable or a dimmer pack or console. Do a little homework before contacting service and you may solve it yourself, and if not you, will be a lot better prepared to deal with the service department.
     
  4. Anvilx

    Anvilx Active Member

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    Location:
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    While I suspect that it is the dimmer I think that testing as much as I can on my own will be my first step, thanks for the advice.

    Tom
     

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