Control/Dimming Elation Magic 260 crash

Chase P.

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2017
San Francisco
A couple years ago, I had a problem with an Elation Magic 260, and was frustrated by what turned out to be the fix. I thought I'd put the story here so that other poor saps might have a chance of running across it while searching the Google.

First, not the console I would have chosen, but it did the job, and the company already owned it, so I was kind of locked into it. It actually functions pretty well for flashy club lighting, though I don't think I'd attempt to run a theatrical show on it.

It sat idle for most of a year between Burning Mans, and had worked just fine at the end of the previous year. It was meticulously cleaned upon return, inside and out. When I went to get it out of storage to do some pre-programming for the new season, it wouldn't boot. Just ASCII and Japanese looking characters on it's poor sad little screen.

I searched high and low on various forums, trying to find a solution. The answer seemed to be to re-flash the software to it. Thankfully I had the proprietary programming cable it comes with. I'm a Mac guy, and the darn thing is PC only, so like a butt I put it off.

I wound up in the desert less than a week before we went live, with a console that was still dead. Finally borrowed a PC, manged to steal wi-fi from my phone before the crowds crashed the cell network, and flashed the software. Success! Then I rebooted. Dead again.

Out of desperation, I opened the case, and noticed the BIOS battery. Replaced it, and the thing has been fine since.

My frustration comes from seeing other folks on these forums, many of them churches, with the same issue. They're being told by Elation to send the $900 console in for $300 worth of repair, no promises that it'll come back working. Nowhere did I see a $2 button cell battery mentioned as a fix. I can't imagine most places that have purchased a budget console having access to a replacement unit while they send this thing off for a fix they could achieve in less than three minutes. I also get that Elation probably doesn't want to tell mere mortals to attack their equipment with a screwdriver.

Anyway, if others are struggling with similar issues, I hope they stumble across this. In my years of trolling on here, I've seen other people with budget consoles issues, and wondered if similar solutions are so easily at hand.


Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
This is a great recap story of a frustrating repair!

I can't tell you the number of times I have solved mind boggling problems in consoles with the bios battery. It is one of my go to starting places for solving inexplicable problems. Thank you for following up and trying to help someone else solve a problem. It makes all the difference in the world.
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