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ETC Emphasis Server

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by thelightguy87, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. thelightguy87

    thelightguy87 Active Member

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    Location:
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    On my latest design gig, the theater has an Express 24/48 with the Emphasis 2D server....anxiously trying to get a grant to get the 3D...its a school...but anyways, it seems to crash...a lot!! too much for my comfort. It may be the size and complexity of the show file, but it takes about 10 minutes to load a show, and while its loading, it says that Emphasis is not responding, I was told to just let it load when it says that and eventually it opens. That I was somewhat ok with, but then Thursday night during focus, the console was idle, with a board op, but he wasn't pressing anything, and suddenly the theater went dark and we had no control, while we had someone in the lift. That struck my nerve and I have the auditorium manager contacting ETC, I'm curious about experience, good or bad, others have had with the Emphasis server.

    Thanks,

    Mike
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I just put linux on mine to run magicQ for a show. However, it has been working fine as long as it has been in my control (last 8 months). You might want to have them reload the software from the lowest level, IE format and re-install.
     
  3. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    My Emphasis has been running almost 24/7 for over 4 years. Neither the server nor console has ever crashed, the console is an Express 48. I have never updated (that I can recall) the Emphasis OS, as I don't believe ETC had updates after '04 or so.

    FWIW, I doubt you can update to 3d as it's a discontinued product, but maybe call ETC tech services (800 688-4116) directly to ask, before going the dealer route. I also question the need, especially if the console and server is in view of the stage, as you are looking live at the stage in "3d" and adding it to the server adds zip, as 3D is really only useful (to me) off-line.

    I would certainly call ETC to discuss your problems, it's free (even if the solution possibly is not).

    I would also consider using Express in stand-alone mode, if you don't use ML's, scrollers, or have channel limitations. There should be a 3.5" boot disk for stand-alone, that's good to keep handy. I would also save the existing Emphasis file in Expression format, JIK.

    Steve B.
     
  4. thelightguy87

    thelightguy87 Active Member

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    thanks, i'm not sure the lack of problems comforts me about ours or not. I don't know what or how they plan to get the 3D because i'm only working on this one show. I am using about 30 scrollers and 2 cyberlight SV's and 4 Ellipscans. So there goes the stand alone idea. If the crash had anything to do with being idle it would be odd because they leave the server on 24/7 but shut down the console at night. So who knows, we are contacting ETC though.

    On a different note sort of the same topic, this console has an option for move when not lit. Does that work the same way as a mark cue does on the HOGIII which is what i am used to programming on. Do you need to give the fixture or device a hard 0 to make it think its off and not tracking through? Just need some clarification on this.

    Thanks,

    Mike
     
  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Its standard "auto move while dark" operation. It works pretty well on that console. Its one of the reasons that I use the emphasis system. You do not need to give the unit a hard 0. However, being that the console is non tracking (by default, I don't want to get into that discussion), it sometimes gets some odd things occurring with hard values all over the place.
     
  6. sclausenETC

    sclausenETC Active Member

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    Location:
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    Hi there -

    Please, if any of our products are exhibiting this kind of behavior, call our tech service department at 800/688-4116.

    With regard to the "leaving the server running 24/7" thing - All PCs benefit from at least occasional restarts. I would highly recommend that they not leave the server on all the time. Did the server come back online ok after restarting and did restarting the server improve the show read time?

    Thanks much and sorry for the inconveniences you've experienced...

    Sarah

    Sarah Clausen
    Controls Product Manager
    ETC, Inc.
     
  7. Lightingguy32

    Lightingguy32 Active Member

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    What dell computer model was used as the emphasis server's host system? If it was a optiplex GX270 or GX280 that either hangs up and crashes or randomly reboots, then there is more then likely a problem with either the capacitors on the motherboard or in the power supply. Another question: how old is the "server" computer?
     
  8. firewater88

    firewater88 Active Member

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    I usually leave mine on 24/7 except for extended down time in the theatre. The server has been running mostly trouble free for 5 years. I have updated to the last update there will probably be from ETC on Emphasis.
    I must say that my machine has been through a lot recently though.... last fall a Big Gulp was spilled into it, frying the power supply. Fortunately the local PC shop had a used one for $20. But recently, the unit locked up completely and would not respond. I went through everything I could think of. Then once it was up (not very stable) I heard the infamous clicking of the hard drive. I ran a hard drive diagnostic on it and it came up with almost 50% bad sectors/blocks. I replaced it with a drive that I had laying around in storage which was bigger capacity, 2 years older, but still same speeds and such. Did a fresh image and I was back up in no time (actually ran faster/loaded faster with the new drive).
    We have talked about upgrading in the future, but I don't see that anytime soon. I HIGHLY recommend having some spare parts (or whole computer) on hand in case of failure.
    I only have 500 ch in Emphasis and turning the Expression face panel into console only has 400 ch. That puts my Mac's out of the question running it that way. Something to keep on the back burner for future shows....
     
  9. TPR

    TPR Member

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    I have the emphasis server and found out why it crashes and takes so long. Click on the Pres tab.

    Here it the secret, Pres saves everything "had" done for printout access and reports.

    If you have done any "save as" and rehung or removed any fixtures the Pres part of the program does not automatically know that. So it carries all of the previous data into your newly saved file.

    To fix this, click on the Pres Tab and then Right click on the screen area and choose update plot.

    This reduced my file size by 1/2 and stopped the long load up times and the crashes.

    Hope this helps.
     
  10. gaffmaster

    gaffmaster Member

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    Location:
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    I've been running a Insight off an Emphasis server for years, and it has never had a problem.

    However, as some others have said they do, I ALWAYS save the show to a floppy at the end of the day, so that if the server died, I could run the console in stand-alone.
     

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