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Dimmer Lights Flickering

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by ericnush, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. ericnush

    ericnush Member

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    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  2. theatretechguy

    theatretechguy Member

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    Few things here:

    Is this a permanently installed rack or a stand-alone dimmer pack?

    Have you changed out any dimmers in the pack lately?

    Is the dimmer pack/rack fans running?

    Is the Overtemp light ever lit? (on the pack)

    Have you tried loading an "old show" and see if the problem exists in other profiles?

    All power connections to the pack secure and tight? (You may need to remove the cover to check the screws inside - make sure main breakers to the pack is OFF before removing the cover if you're using a stand-alone pack)

    Have you tried contacting a technician with Strand?
     
  3. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Also, if you determine that it is not the dimmer rack,

    Give ETC Customer Service a call 24/7/365 at 800/688-4116

    Ha, Derek, beat you to it...
     
  4. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Yup, If everything is solid in your rack (I would start with the desk anyway), then you are going to have to look at your rack (call ETC) and then your DMX lines.

    Mike
     
  5. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    I would tend to suspect the board more. Especially if the problem is at all related to a mechanical movement (moving the sub handle or the crossfader handle). If it's entirely related to moving handles, I'd put my money on dirty pots. Otherwise, I'd put it more on a memory issue in the board.

    In fact, since you say a board reset clears it up for a little while, I'd be more suspect to a memory or microprocessor problem in the board.

    If you have another board or dimmers to try, change out one and see if what the problem follows.
     
  6. theatretechguy

    theatretechguy Member

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    I've had that issue when an individual SCR is starting to go bad but I've never seen it affect the whole rack. Another questoin, is the rack running native DMX 512 or is it an older AMX 192 running a converter?
     
  7. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Check the refresh rate setting on the board. It's probably either too fast or too slow for the dimmers.
     
  8. chrispo86

    chrispo86 Active Member

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    I've had the exact same problem with the exact same setup for years (except it was a 24/48 not a 48/96). The Express output DMX to a DMX/AMX converter and then went into the CD-80 rack. After having a technician in, turned out it was the control cards in the rack that were toast. Too much dust accumulated on the cards, but we didn't have an overtemp alert. Blowing/vacuuming out some of the dust on the cards fixed it temporarily, though it kept coming back. We had the cards replaced, and it still kept coming back.

    Final solution - we replaced the brain last may with that upgrade from Johnson Systems (which keeps popping up in different threads) and haven't had the slightest issue since.
     
  9. ericnush

    ericnush Member

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    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  10. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    I would suggest you borrow another desk of any sort and put that in and that will narrow down the field, substituting elements of a system is a standard fault finding strategy.
     
  11. theatretechguy

    theatretechguy Member

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    Depending how the rack is set up, I know on mine the houselight dimmers run independently from the rest of the dimmers. (I have a Strand CD80 rack, too).

    I designed a production of "Grease" about 8 years ago and I get a phone call about 30 minutes prior to curtain. The board is acting up. I head down there and the board wasn't taking memory. The floppy backups weren't working and it was getting close to show time. I busked the show with the stage manager sitting beside me telling me what was coming next (it had been weeks since I programmed the show). Not a fun experience, but I got major respect after that incident. "He ran the entire show manually!"

    As others have suggested, see if you can borrow an ETC board from another local theater so you can rule out/confirm it is the board and not your dimmer rack. My theater panicked, went out and bought another board, only to find out the board just needed a good hard restart and it was good as new (and continues to run trouble free to this day, in another venue).
     
  12. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Write your entire show off to a transfer disk (you do this already, right?) -- in fact, write two -- and give the board a hard reset. Reload your show from a transfer disk. If it still goes stupid, I'd try to get a rental or a loaner, load the show from the transfer disk onto that, and get through your run. Doing this will also confirm pretty definitively whether the board or the rack are at fault.
     
  13. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    ok, when you say hard reset, do you mean you are actually A. turning the console off then back on (never turning the console off throughout the entire run of the show). B. turning the console on and holding 456 (or whatever the magic combination to do a full reset of the console. Or C. going into clear functions and doing a wipe show.

    I have been told that sometimes the consoles will get a little glitchy so you need to turn on the console while holding the magic key combination to clear everything out of memory. I do this with my avo and hog before the run of a show. (not each individual show but before programming a new show).
     
  14. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    I've been thinking of that magic key combination (789 on Obsession, who knows what on Express). If that don't clear it up (and another board's clean), it's probably time for it to go to the shop.
     
  15. theatretechguy

    theatretechguy Member

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    I was also referring to the reset using magic key combo. (I honestly don't remember what is was for an Express since I was actually doing it with the rep on the phone at the time)
     
  16. PLBoucher

    PLBoucher Member

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    Hi I've got a cd80sv last version,running on 2 phases only, and with an ETC ION. the cd80sv went to panic mode once for an unknown reason, anyway until this, we changed the main card by another cd80, it still flicker a lot, but now it is running with a C21 card which we adapted to fit the cd80. It is now better but there are still flickering dimmers, IM 99,9% sure that the problem comes from the dimmer,(i tried it with a GMA, and an express with a 3 feet cable). My suppositions, are that this would come from some problem with phases, because,when I light up some lamps, it will flick if I put same power on each phase, but it won't if I put a lot more on one than the second. With equal power on phases, there are some combinations which will work, and other that will flick like hell.

    Has anyone ever seen this? thx for clues or solutions (repairs) understanding the cause of this.

    thx,
    Pier-Luc Boucher
     
  17. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Which speed is your Ion broadcasting DMX at? There's a venue down the road from me that had a similar problem with an Ion talking to CD80's and it was that the console was spitting DMX out into the system at too fast of a speed; as soon as they slowed it down, the flicker (which at times felt more like a strobe or Morse code) went away and things stabilized.
     
  18. PLBoucher

    PLBoucher Member

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    The problem doesn't come from the control signal part,(I already tried the three dmx speed proposed low-edium-fast, 30 ms, 100 ms, and 300 ms, if i remember well) and there hasn't been any problem before the cd80 went to rack panic. the result is the same either on cd80, and c21 card. but thanks!
     

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