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Electrohome VistaPro Projector; Axcent 2

Discussion in 'Multimedia, Projection, and Show Control' started by tech2000, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    Does anyone have any experience with the Electrohome Vista Pro Projector?
    It is pretty old (of course) and at my school we are having trouble with it. It is installed outside of our light booth (above our theater's main entrance) and the video system that was installed to make it run needs to be reprogrammed. Does anyone have any idea how to make it work?

    Here's the set-up:
    The projector is in a box (mounted to the top of it) in front of the LB
    The remote port is plugged into a Axcent 2 Control System
    VCR is plugged directly into projector with it's (vcr's) remote port plugged into the Axcent 2 Control.
    The RGBHV ports on our stage plug also directly into the projector
    There is a mini touchpanel remote that plugs into the system in the LB that turns on/off the vcr and projector and what source the projector is on. (Plugged in via XLR connector)

    Here's what happened:
    The system was fine and then the remote froze up and didn't work (it was the battery) So we changed the battery in teh remote.
    When we plugged in the remote to the system it was blank except for a main menu button (or something to that effect) We would have to re-program the remote.
    I called the company that installed the system and they had broken up into three other companies many years ago, so they don't have a copy of the program/settings.
    Now the system doesn't work and we cannot access the projector because of where it is positioned. (IT has no idea how to fix it; they supported our buying another projector and setting it on top of the current projector box but we don't have money and they and admin won't buy one)

    What should I do?
    If anyone has any advice at all about getting this to work it would be extremely helpful!

    (I forgot to mention that the system died the summer of 2007: over a year ago, and right after a school district event)

    Thanks in advance and sorry for such the long message!
     
  2. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    One of the first DLP projectors - The original VistaPro came out in 1996 and was SVGA resolution (800x600), 150:1 contrast ratio, 1,100 lumens and $40,000 list price. Subsequent VistaPro models went up to XGA (1024x768) resolution, 2,500 lumens and a list price over $55,000. Projectors have progressed quite a bit since then! In 1999 Christie, a well known manufacturer of cinema projectors and equipment, acquired Electrohome Projection Systems starting what is now Christie Digital. The Vista name was continued for some of Christie's earlier DLP projectors.


    Unfortunately, yet another example of why contracts should require that the Owner be provided copies of any custom programming. Not that it can't still potentially be lost. ;)


    So you replaced the battery in the touch panel and now all it shows is a Main Menu? You can't exit that and be back to where it was?


    The projector is not accessible? How do you perform routine maintenance such as cleaning the filters and how do you change lamps?



    Depending on how the Contractor set it up it could be possible to recover the programming from the AMX Axcent 2 processor but if the touch panel programming is gone that may have to be recreated. It does not sound like a very complex control system but it still will probably take an AMX programmer creating a new touch panel program if not also a new control system program.

    The question may be whether to make that investment for a 10+ year old projector or to combine that effort with a new projector, which could most likely provide better performance for a fraction of the cost of the existing projector. A programmer could probably write a program for the existing Electrohome projector and then modify that later if a new projector was purchased, I often performed that type of updating of existing programs to accommodate new equipment back when I was programming AMX and Crestron systems, but there would definitely be some savings possible by making it a one step rather than two step process.
     
  3. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    Yeah, once we replaced the battery there was nothing left besides the main menu button with basic design/editing tools for programming. I've looked on the manual and it is easy to design the menu visually but not programming.

    The actual Axcent system and the other equipment like vcr, video switcher, etc. (minus projector) are rackmounted inside our light booth, but the projector is mounted to the top of a metal box bolted and fixed to the front of the light booth. The light booth is on the second story of the school and directly above the theater's foh entrance. (We've had to focus the lens before and the only way was to get an extension ladder)
    I haven't had to do any maintenance on it while I have been there. I'm sure there is a way to do it but it looks like the projector was mounted to the top of the box then the box was put together and then it was mounted to it's current position.

    I would rather get the school to buy a new projector just because it would have better resolution and would have better features. Plus it would be easier since we've had to set up a portable small projector on the stage whenever it is needed. The problem with buying a new one is that our district cut budgets because of several million dollar shortfall.

    The company did say they could send someone out to reprogram the system but they gave us a really high price. Something like $100-200 an hour.
     
  4. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    I don't know how often the projector is used but it is pretty standard procedure to clean the filters every month for projectors used regularly.

    Part of that rate may be due to the issues related to providing programming of an existing system, especially when there is no equipment sale involved. So not only is there no other place to cover any of the costs or make any profit, but you also almost inevitably end up somewhat inheriting any problems that subsequently arise with the system (partially because it is easy to assume the control system is at fault for many problems and partially just because you were the last one to touch it).

    I know that we have some tech staff at a couple of local universities that are control system programmers and that sometimes provide some programming on the side for lower rates, maybe you can find someone like that near you.
     
  5. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    That makes sense.
    Thanks for all the help! I will have to look at either getting a programmer, or a new projector!
     

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