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Dimmer/lamp Check

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Dustincoc, May 1, 2008.

  1. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    Anyone have a standard procedure they go through?
    Main Stage
    ETC Express 24/48
    Sensor+ 48 Installation Rack w/ 48 2.4k 2-dimmer modules
    Second Stage
    Expression(not Expression 2 or 3)
    8 - Leprechaun 6 dimmer 1.2k Edison plug packs (48 Dimmers)
     
  2. Raktor

    Raktor Active Member

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    Warm the rig (everything at 20%) when I get into the theatre.

    Give it a while to warm, greet everybody, and then run the next cue, which automatically brings up each group for a few seconds so I can see if everything is still focused and that no bubbles have blown.
     
  3. Gar

    Gar Member

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    I teach all my board ops the same way (or one of these three ways I guess), but it's just what I do:
    Method 1
    Program Macros 1 to be a channel check macro.
    Macro 1: At 00 + At 85 + At 07 -
    Then just step through by channel, and assuming you have the right paperwork. Piece o cake!
    Method 2
    Make an auto channel check.
    Something like this:
    Macro 5: At 00 + At 85 + At 07 - MWait3 M5
    That will step through all the channels with a three second pause between each. It is nice is you don't have an RFU.
    Method 3
    Good old fashion dimmer check.
    Type:
    Dim 1 At Full Enter
    That will bring up a box with the dimmer information and bring up the dimmer.
    Step through by using the + and - keys.
    This one can be confusing if you don't have a dimmer schedule handy.
    With all of these, I try to make sure that the board op is not just making sure that the lamps come on, but that the focus is correct. (Well, as much as they would know about the focus.) But at least general focus. Like Area A not overlapping with Area M on the other side of stage. (its happened (more than once!))
    Macros are pretty much the same on Express and Expression.
    For the macros, you can find programming help on ETC's website.
    http://www.etceurope.com/product.overview.aspx?ID=20326
    I try to standardize the process by giving a time when the lamp check must be done. (i.e. 1/2 hour before the house opens)
    My biggest problem is getting board ops to do it before every performance.
    Hope all this helps.
    Gar
     
    Denny586 and (deleted member) like this.
  4. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Funny. Back in the 80's I had a neat little system built into my dimmers. (Don't have it on my current ones) Basically, an LED with resistor across each choke. The LEDs were mounted on the front panel. Even at 4% idle, all the little LEDs would light. (dimmer per circuit) Even though the stage lights were not visibly on, if a bulb was bad, that LED would be out.

    DMX is one way, but it still surprises me that every modern dimmer doesn't give some form of load information. It is so easy to detect. The LED system cost me about 20 cents a channel to put in. (plus time)
     
  5. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Could be just me, but the first thing I would do is put the more powerful console in your main stage. The Expression 1 has more power and functionality than the Express.

    As for dimmer/channel check, every day I come in and power up everything. I let the moving lights calibrate and then run my strike macro which strikes all the arc fixtures one at a time and then point all the MLs straight down. I test all the attributes (especially scrollers on Revolutions) and then I key in a warmer for the conventionals. I don't make it a macro because it would be a real bummer if it got triggered during a show, plus every show has different numbers of channels, so I would have to write a new macro every show.

    I warm everything to 20% over 5 minutes, it gives me enough time to walk down to the stage and set up RFU (and to go to the bathroom or check in with stage management). I do a quick visual check to see if I can spot any blown lamps or burned color, then I step through each channel one at a time to check focus and lamps and color. Then I fix anything that needs fixing, put us in preset, and hopefully have a full half hour to chill with the crew.
     
  6. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

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    In HS we'd use two people - a board op pressing bump buttons on areas and a spotter on the stage on comms to check dimmers/lamps...

    The little ENR dimmer rack I had in the middle school theatre had a test switch on it that brought all 24 dimmers to full instantly - now there's inrush current for ya. The art teacher that did the scenic painting in MS loved that switch - he didn't have to learn how to actually power up the light board.
     
  7. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    Location:
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    The Expression was on our main stage until a couple years ago when the old dimmer packs blew up and we got an entirely new system. As far as I know, it only has 96 channels, to control 48 dimmers. The board replaced a Leprechaun as well as a borrowed MIDI board at the second stage since the Leprechaun was having trouble commuicating to some dimmer packs but not others and we thought it was the packs that were bad but the only packs we could get were MIDI and the Leprechaun doesn't do MIDI and the MIDI board doesn't do DMX. Both were 2-scene presets so that was interesting although I didn't get to operate them. The Expression is the oldest Expression ever made, and the disk drive doesn't work. To save the show, we have to manually write everything down which is easier at the second stage that isn't utilized for much more than readers theatre and very small shows(the stage is maybe 20'x20' with no backstage, think the pulpit of a small church which is what it was). The only toys we have at either stage are scrollers and all lights are conventionals so the boards don't really create any limits.

    I never warm the lamps before a dimmer check. If the lamp is going bad, I'd rather have it blow when I am doing dimmer check than during the show.

    I used to use the RFU to do dimmer check by myself but a couple years ago something broke in it(I think It's the cable) and it still hasn't gotten sent in to get fixed.

    I usually end up going channel by channel with the board op making sure all the lights that are supposed to light actually do and they are focused in the right area. I used to do the turn all lights on to full but I was told that that doesn't tell if something has been messed up in the board or in the rack.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2008
  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    But what if the dimmer controlled two lamps, and only one burned out?

    Sensor AF (and other mfg.'s) modules feature load reporting capabilities, but still can't tell you about dropped focus or faded color. I still prefer the old-fashioned method, one channel at a time.

    Exactly how I've always done it, except usually don't have an RFU, and didn't use to have macro capability, so would write an effect and linked cues.

    This is how it was done before computer boards, except each channel was brought up not using the bump buttons, by an assistant, with the ME on stage. Still a good way, in an educational setting, as the assistant gets to learn about the board, and a student ME often takes longer than 3-5 seconds to check lamp/focus/color.

    Once the procedure/protocol is established, inertia should carry it forward. Dimmer Check, although by now it should be called Channel Check, or simply "Light Check," one half-hour before House Open is pretty standard in the professional world.

    On huge shows with thousands of channels (Las Vegas), each electrician/spot op is responsible for a certain portion of the rig, and the board op(s) bring up groups of channels as the persons onstage call for them.

    See also this thread, for a lively debate on preheating conventionals.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2008
  9. CrazyTechie

    CrazyTechie Well-Known Member

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    Pre-Show Channel Check

    Tech starts on Friday for the show that I'm currently being the ME for and this time I'm running the light board. I've been trying to think of the best way to do a pre-show channel check that is both fast and effective for making sure that what the paperwork says is what actually turns on and it's focused where it's supposed to be. I haven't been able to really come up with anything and I haven't been able to find much that has already been posted.

    So, how do you do a pre-show channel check?
     
  10. gcpsoundlight

    gcpsoundlight Active Member

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    The old LSC wall mount dimmers had a led for each channel
     
  11. BGW

    BGW Active Member

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    ^ Wait...there are people on this board that don't have shrines to ETC in their living rooms?!
     
  12. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Mine's in the master bathroom.
     
  13. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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  14. BGW

    BGW Active Member

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    Haha. I can't believe ETC would put their name on that. I think it would be more suitable if it said Lehigh or American DJ...considering it's basically a pee target. But wait- what would the scent of an American DJ urinal cake be? Ozone and burning circuit boards?

    And, wow, I wish our school's bathrooms were half that clean. :shock:
     
  15. BobHealey

    BobHealey Active Member

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    Occupation:
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    The ancient Leprecon LD-2400 dimmers had a no load indicator that lit when ever the dimmer had an open circuit connected (with or without signal from the console). Great for a quick check, especially when you just finished setting up a temporary rig and the console was still in the flight case.

    As for a dimmer check, for shows I do all used channels @ 20%, then go down to the stage to look for dead lamps and burnt color. Dropped focus 9 times out of 10 is something I won't be able to fix before house opens, replacing lamps/gel is challenging enough in the 90 minutes I get. Only way up is via genie lift, and clearing chairs, audience risers, man handling the ramp to the stage out, and putting it all back without any assistance from rest of cast or crew, while being expected to assist all other departments with all things electronic... Its community theater, and as a 1 man lighting dept, and the gremlin exterminator for Sound and the back stage video monitor/conductor cam....
     
  16. gcpsoundlight

    gcpsoundlight Active Member

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    Is that a problem? I am just providing my oppinion, or are we sponsored by Etc now and not able to mention them?

    I don't see why it is such a big deal that I mention a company. We use more LSC stuff here because it is made here. Conversely, I have never seen a production in Australia that used etc dimmers or consoles. Although there are a few venues that have them as a lot of tours use them.

    It really ****s me that just because you don't use a company in the us, it is instantly "taboo". This has happened on other forums as well, and it is a shame, as controlbooth is a fantastic resource.

    Also, I dont get why you think that just because their gear is not in use means the company doesn't have high regard of it. LSC has supplied full production for 2 of our major tv networks.

    </rant>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2012
  17. DuckJordan

    DuckJordan Well-Known Member

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    Doesnt matter
    Not taboo its just not the go to solution. Just as etc's gear isn't a go to solution either.

    What I think he's saying is that instead of always pointing to one company open your horizons. Strand has a similar system as does several other dimmer manufactures.

    Sent from my ADR6300 using Tapatalk
     
  18. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Ok now, let's all try and be civilised about this.

    We ALL need to remember and understand that Controlbooth is an international community but that the greatest chunk of our members are located in the United States.
    Around the world, there are many manufacturers of equipment used in this industry.
    Mostly for historical reasons, different companies hold the mantle of being "the norm" in different parts of the world.
    This does not mean that any one supplier is any "better" than any other.

    There is wisdom in using equipment that is reasonably common in a local area. It's much easier to get help when you can't work something out and the chances of getting parts in a timely manner are markedly improved.

    The best product in the world is worthless if the closest parts are 10,000km away...

    So what does this mean?
    Probably for people in the US, LSC is not a great option simply because their market share and thus operator familiarity is not great.
    The same is true of installing ETC dimmers in say a school hall in Aus - it doesn't make sense because the local service techs won't be familiar with it.

    I am quoting in full Controlbooth's mission statement and core values;
    In this thread the mutual respect has been lost.
    I STRONGLY encourage everyone, at all times, to consider the question "How does what I'm about to post add TO THE SITUATION UNDER DISCUSSION".
    If you can't answer that question easily, edit your post or don't post at all. There are no prizes for post counts folks...
     
  19. gcpsoundlight

    gcpsoundlight Active Member

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    Just to make it clear - i was just pointing out one system I knew of. Sorry if any issues have arisen. I have sent a PM to [USER]derekleffew[/USER] so hopefully we can sort this out.
     
  20. DrPinto

    DrPinto Active Member

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    What if there was more than one instrument plugged into the channel and one lamp was bad? The LED would not show a problem, correct?
     

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