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ETC Express upgrade

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Massey28694, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Can we simply run a second DMX from our board, creating a second universe just for our newer LEDs and movables (running direct to the fixtures, not through the SmartPacs)?

    Yes.

    Looking at DMX fixtures (with my very limited knowledge), is it a case of where I supply them power and the DMX signal and they become controllable from the board?

    Generally, Yes. That's all that's needed.

    I would hate to sink 20-30 thousand into upgrades only to find out I need some expensive special relays or ?? to make it all run.

    Typically, the movers and LEDs are going to want to be powered on other-than-dimmers. So you would want some form of relay or power direct from a circuit breakers. Many will state that it's OK to run stuff on dimmers parked at full and that can work most of the time, until it doesn't and you fry the power supply of a fixture when somebody less skilled accidentally runs the dimmer power source to 70% or some such. Thus direct power is always recommended.

    And by having multiple universes, does that create special challenges when programming and playing back cues for shows?

    Nope, it's all straight forward once you learn the methods of getting the fixtures patched as multiple attribute fixtures as well as master the techniques to control and cue. Element and the Eos software work very well at this and there are a lot of video tutorials on the ETC website
     
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  2. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    To be really clear, any electronic device can be damaged by running it off of dimmed power.

    The Element is a great console but given the information you have given, I suggest you seriously consider buying an ETC Colorsource Console, A Pathway Cognito, or something from the Chamsys QuickQ line. I don't think you need an element.

    As for how to spend your money, you are a great example of the type of theater I had in mind when I started writing my thoughts on buying DMX components instead of full movers. It later turned into what we call "The Gafftaper Method" around here. The devices have changed but the concept is the same. You will get far more bang for your buck out of buying cheaper LED fixtures and a few iCues than you will out of spending a lot of money on movers. Read my thoughts and the counter debate here.
     
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  3. Massey28694

    Massey28694 Member

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    Gafftaper, appreciate your feedback sir! We have a small volunteer light crew who has used nothing but an old Express, so was thinking the Element 2 would be a nice step up and would be easy to move to from the Express. And after a lot of research, we have decided to bring in electric service to all applicable locations and leave the dimmer controlled instruments on a separate universe.

    Thanks everyone for your advice!
     
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Glad you are doing your research and we are happy to help.

    Element has not really taken the Express' place in the ETC product line. Element is a step up from Express in the same way that a Tessla is an upgrade from a mid 70's station wagon. There are generations of change that have happened in between. Element is an EXCELLENT console and would be my personal choice, but I'm a pro user. The truth is the cheaper Colorsource console will kick an Express's butt in every category. I am concerned about your volunteers thinking that Element is similar to the Express. It is definitely NOT and they are going to have to do some homework and be able to change how they think about the lighting system regardless of which console you pick. I suggest you have your lighting people take some time to watch at least the first Element Taining video series on youtube before you buy. Links: Series One and Series Two. If they are up to the challenge then great, Element will serve you well for a long time to come. If that looks too difficult, I encourage you to consider the options from ETC Colorsource, Pathway Cognito, and Chamsys QuickQ. All three will do everything you have described needing, they are well built and brands you can trust, and I think all three are much more designed to target small community theater's as a potential buyer. You aspire to be the target customer for Element, that's great! Go for it! Grow. But some of your statements have me wondering if you are really a target customer for one of these other consoles that are a little easier.
     

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