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ETC Equipment Q's (Congo, S4)

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by MNicolai, Jun 6, 2009.

  1. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Recently I've been spending a lot more time bouncing around in both of our performance spaces than I'd like, especially because one space is Congo and the other is Express, but I'll spare you the bitter details of how Congo can make even the most simple light console confusing like none other, while still being an excellent console.

    Given the extra time I've spent hanging around our gear and putting it through heck and high water, some oddities have appeared that I'm curious if anyone else has noticed or is having issues with.


    Q1: Congo is acting funny.
    The past two nights I've used our Congo Jr.(which I adore), but I've had a recurring problem. Once each night I was running using the console, which was acting as normal except for an added "click." The first night the console sporadically shut down while I was patching. Prior to it shutting down, I heard the single "click" noise a short while earlier and didn't think much of it. When I went to reboot, the rocker switch(the spring-loaded one, not the PSU's on/off) on the back to turn it on was ajar. I figured it must have gotten stuck while I was turning the console on, and had been shaken up just enough as I was programming that it shut the console. Didn't think much of it, finished rebooting, got over the fact most of my patching had been lost, and started from scratch.

    Then the next evening, during the performance, I had just hit the go button when I heard an ominous "click," and being wiser this time, looked at the back of the console to notice that the rocker was ajar again, which I abruptly returned to it's normal position before risking it shutting down the console again. I believe I remember making certain that the switch wasn't ajar upon starting the console up specifically because I didn't want to repeat it shutting down in the middle of something, though I could be wrong.

    Am I connecting too many things together and making a problem out of nothing, or is this an indicator to a real problem?

    Q2: Anyone consider putting solitaire or anything else on their Congo? I noticed that through the Find/Configure CEM+ command, it opens Internet Explorer, which I used the address bar to access the hard disk partitions, and am pondering whether or not to put my own easter egg in their, like Zero 88's have frogger.

    Q3: Our theatrical supplier loaded us up with a couple dozen S4 PAR's for our new install, also with a bunch of new barn doors. However, the more recent (in comparison to our 2003-models of S4 PAR's in our stock) now have L-shaped accessory clips, where they used to be l-shaped. That, coupled with a larger diameter in the barn door barrel, means we are not able to use our new barn doors with our new S4 PAR's, as they slide into the accessory slot, but the clips will not shut, and we have no intention of using barn doors without the clips closed down. Has anyone else had similar problems? Our older barn doors work fine with the new clips, and the new barn doors work with the old clips, but not the new with the new.

    [​IMG]

    Also, our theatrical supplier has not been returning our phone calls, despite calls now to their service tech, systems integrator/designer, project manager, and owner. We've been playing nice so far -- calling them at their place of business, but having worked with these guys in the past, I have all of their cell phone numbers which I may have to resort using. It gets better, because recent phone calls about ordering custom gobos were responded to instantly, but calls about incompatible barn doors are not returned at all.

    Q4: Recently had a TP22 socket failure. It actually melted one of the pins of the lamp into oblivion. I expect that means we need to replace the socket, but as a general question, how common is such a failure and while we're at it should we purchase some extras for anticipation of future failures? We have about (x12) 6+yo fixtures, (x18) 1+yo fixtures, and (x100) >1yo fixtures. I believe this socket failure falls in the oldest batch.

    Q5: What kind of abuse does it take to cause a brand new S4 yoke to get bent out of shape? We've been using them in a relatively controlled environment, indoors, and though they've spent some time on side arms and floor mounts, I don't see those being likely to cause non-elastic deformation. Wide-spread, I haven't even seen it at all except in one of our S4 25/50's, but I continually wonder what we did to this brand new fixture that didn't cause problems with any of the other fixtures. It's only been in our stock for 7 months, so we're really scratching our heads on this one.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2009
  2. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    It sounds like your Congo has a defective power switch. Replace it and all should be well.

    The click sound is probably the switch springing itself from the on position to limbo. In limbo, it isn't closing the circuit reliably. Any microprocessor based system, be it a lighting console or the timer in a microwave oven isn't going to be happy with the power going away intermittently.

    The damage to the S4 looks to me like it was struck with something heavy while it was hung. Whacked with a ladder or a rolling scaffold?
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2009
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Yeah that S4 took some serious sideways force. Genie lift collision? Hung really wide on a batten and blasted by another one on the way past? I've wacked a S4 pretty good from time to time but I've never seen one get permanently bent like that.
     
  4. dramatech

    dramatech Well-Known Member

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    In embarassment, I must admit that I have also bent a few yokes as the one pictured. In my case, the end hung instrument on our first electric can get caught on the feeder cable at the end of the electric, when flying the batten in or out. The flyrail is at the opposite end of the batten, and it is near impossible to see the problem occuring until it is too late.
    It took a while to discover the problem, but now that it is known, we always have a second person paging the cable back, with a pull line, when we move the batten.
    YES, I am aware that it would be better to correct the problem with a new longer and differently mounted feeder cable.
    The whole system was put in by city employed electricians in 1976, and there is no budget to put in new feeder.
    We are a community theatre in a city owned building that is provided at a cost of 7% of the door. The city won't correct anything that they consider workable and safe, and the community theatre budget just survives.
    All in all it is just a bit of an irritation. You can straighten the yoke with some careful compressing in a large vice and a little judicial use of a crescent wrench. I do them all the time.
     
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Last edited: Jun 7, 2009
  6. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    The bent yoke seems far less mysterious now. I can put two guesses on it. Someone knocked it around a little bit with our scissor lift, or it was knocked around by one of our other battens.

    They designed our fly loft so that our electrics are so close to each other that even if all fixtures are parallel and hung directly underneath the electrics, nearby battens still compete for that same airspace and we find ourselves breasting them during movements as a result. When fixtures are hung, particularly specials, or instruments not parallel to the pipe, then everything becomes more complicated by three-fold.
     
  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    A traditional solution to your predicament, Mike, is to buy or build yourself some scenery bumpers. They really do work, but care must be taken as they sometimes can be too aggressive toward scenery.:(
     
  8. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    This is not advisable, and should theoretically not be possible. I believe that only ETC authorized software can be installed on the console, however, if you were to get it to work, you are only encouraging misuse of the console. If you want to play games, don't do it on the console. Using show critical devices for other than their intended purpose will not end well.

    I don't have this issue with my barn doors, but I think that the barrels of my barn doors are not as wide as yours. I see a couple solutions here. YOu could attach a safety cable to all the barn doors and then safety them to the fixture or batten. If the doors and tube of your barn doors rotate independently of eachother then you could just put a notch in the tube to allow the clip to be clipped. You could also get new barn doors.

    Yup, this is common. Get yourself a bunch of spares, they are worth having around.
     
  9. jruth40

    jruth40 Member

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    Hi There: I am in Tech support at ETC and can help with the rocker switch problem. If you'd like to call in to to ETC 800-688-4116 and ask for Tech Support we can get the switch on the Congo Jr. fixed for you so you don't have any more problems. The last thing we want is to have the board fail in a show so please give us a call and we'll help in any way we can.
     
  10. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Welcome, jruth40, and congratulations on becoming our 743rd ETC employee member.;)
     
  11. dramatech

    dramatech Well-Known Member

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    This is Dramatech replying, Yes, we do not feed 4/0 to our first electric. My choice of term feeder was poorly selected, but In our theatre we don't use any of the single conductor "W" or stage and lighting cable that is used to "feed" a "dimmer beach", such in touring situations and having mostly an unexperienced volunteer work force, The correct use of feeder doesn't come up very often.
    I used the word Feeder only because I was in a hurry responding to the question, and meaning that it feeds all of the circuits to our 1st electric. A better choice of words would have been the "multi conductor umbilical feeding the 1st electric". That should just about cover most options of confusion.
     
  12. Lightingguy32

    Lightingguy32 Active Member

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    What is the date of manufacture on the fixtures that are 1 year old and less than one year old? If any land in or around October 2006, then you have fixtures that possibly have faulty Bender & Wirth 969 TP22 sockets, if you have any in that lot that have gone bad, give ETC a call and they can rush deliver replacement sockets to you (just the TP22H socket w/36" leads). As for the older fixtures pick up some Osram TP22H sockets from your local vendor, I have found that the older TP22 sockets that rely on contact cylinders as opposed to spring contacts develope issues after some time because of an inability to retain the lamp pins (I have seen newer lamps actually slip themselves out of the older TP22 sockets before in S4-Pars). The new sockets (TP22H) cost around $17.00 a piece.
     
  13. pacman

    pacman Active Member

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    RE: #5, bent S4 yoke. I've seen a nearly identical bend on a S4 Par yoke. Happens when you run the fixture into the stage floor on a motorized line. To ETC's credit, the S4 Par can support an amazing amount of weight, but the yoke cannot. Just think of it as the structural equivalent of a circuit breaker. And yes, I was the guilty one. Would have killed one of my students had they done it. Lesson learned - never walk away from the rigging controller with a line moving and the overload not engaged, even if you're *certain* you set the right low limit.
     
  14. pacman

    pacman Active Member

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    BTW, perhaps we should form a "Weird Congo Problems" user group. I've certainly had my share!
     
  15. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    @pacman

    On one of our motorized lines, the rocker switch stuck once and I remember walking away from the controller and still hearing "vreeeeeh" in the background, looked up, and saw my fourth electric still headed for the floor. I was surprised to see that happen on a new system. I won't be making that mistake again. Luckily, I noticed right away it caused no problems.


    Also, I'd support a "Weird Congo Q's" thread. Like those times you SWEAR you pressed the GO button only once, but find yourself two cues ahead? Or that time you realized your RFU had control of the houselights, the cue to lower house lights has just been called, and now your running to find the remote? Yea, that happened once, but then I learned how to reset those RFU settings via the console. Another issue is when you go to make a channel layout and you use a Stretch V or Stretch H command, only to realize the area you click to select the channel didn't move with the symbol?
     
  16. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Another question came up tonight while working a gig. The audio company rolled in with a dimmer rig featuring three 8 channel 2.4k Leviton packs.

    When the Leppy they showed up with was connected via a 200' DMX cable there were no issues , but when we pulled out our SmartFade, some channels worked while others did not. Also, similar syptoms were experienced on this rig with a Mantrix last summer.

    We ruled our patching as the cause, and also used the TEST buttons the individual circuits to ensure all cables were functional and that the lamps were all firing.

    Is this an issue that requires a Doug Fleenor device to solve?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

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