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Control/Dimming ETC Sensor Rolling Racks

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by nmccoart5, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. nmccoart5

    nmccoart5 Member

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    This past summer i worked a show and the dimmers chosen by the LD was an ETC Sensor 98. So i thought i would share a story to see if anyone has encountered the same problem that we did. We rigged our whole show and connected all of the cables to the dimmer. The board was connected and everything seemed to be ok. However when we went to check eveything (patches and lamps) nothing went on! We then spent countless hours trying to figure out what was going on between the board and dimmer. All of the breakers were on, power was getting to the dimmer, all dmx cables we going to their correct places, the master slider was up, and on and on.......... FINALLY, after contacting the rental company, we had found our problem. Because the sensor racks have slide out removable dimmers, each and every dimmer had come out of position during transport, so we didn't notice. I found this to be hilarious because such a simple thing had caused us such a big problem. I think that ETC should consider some kind of locking mechinism for the sensor series to avoid this problem. Now of course we know to make sure all of the dimmers were pushed in all of the way before we start!
    I just wanted to share this story so anyone who has used this rack and possibly experianced a similar problem, might now be able to fix it, and to let you know of this in case you run into a similar problem.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2008
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I bet you $11ty-bazillion it WASN'T an ETC Sensor 98 dimmer rack, nor did the LD have much authority in its selection. ETC dimmers are what good lighting shops have. Period. "Industry-standard" and all that other marketing hokum.

    ETC Touring Racks since (1996?) HAVE had a mechanical locking feature as you describe, but it's wise practice nonetheless to make ensure ANY/Every piece of portable pull-out gear is correctly seated before applying power. Vibration from bouncing around in the back of a truck takes its toll on all gear.

    Next time, rather than "spending countless hours" troubleshooting, due do diligence. Then, if the problem still exists,
    call ETC at 1-800-688-4116,
    24/7/365. Tech support doesn't mind stupid questions, it actually gives them a break from the more difficult problems, and both parties are left with a feeling of satisfaction. Unlike with some/most other manufacturers, you won't be told to first call the place where you rented or purchased the ill-behaved device, unless it needs something more than phone service.

    Thanks for the tip, nmccoart5. It's a good one, solving a problem that has bitten me, more than once. Remembering to push in all the modules is a small price to pay for the privilege of using the best dimmer on the market.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2008
  3. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    This is one of those issues that, growing up with EDI packs, doesn't sound all that big of an issue and as Derek mentioned would normally be one of the first things I would check. I'm not belittling or make light of your post, I think it points out something that could happen to a lot of younger techs. In the OLD Days, you always had to go to dimmer beach and either pull each dimmer out and shove it back in , or at least wiggle it to make sure it was seated properly. The old packs usually had brass pins , similar to the pins on a stage plug, that were notorious for needing a good spreading and were constantly getting arc traced or corroded. I think a lot of us old timers would start at the dims first, wiggling each one to make sure the contact was good, and then proceed to data issues etc.
    Good Post!
     
  4. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Derek has covered the issue already, but I have some peeves.

    "This past summer i worked a show and the dimmer chosen by the LD was an ETC Sensor 98"

    One of the things that will separate you from the lesser folks is going to be your ability to get the specifics of the gear correct, especially if describing it on a forum dedicated to the technical entertaiment industry. It's a Sensor 96, not 98. It's the most common dimming system, probably in the world.

    It has multiple dimmer"s", plural, that's why it's called a 96. Not Dimmer, singular.

    As Derek has mentioned, and hopefully this is something you will retain, as well as a thanks for taking the time to bring it up, as it's one of those things everyone learns and forgets to pass along, is that Sensor dimmers get knocked out of contact in shipment. This is something every roadie and house electrician is aware of and has learned the hard way, and the very first thing I do on a touring rack, prior to connecting ANY cables, is open the door and re-seat the dimmer modules. Plural.

    Sorry if I sound cranky, I am.

    Steve B.
     
  5. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    Not just the dimmers but don't forget to reseat the CEM. I was teching a rack and the CEM was giving an error about the C phase not working. The phase C neon on the rear of the rack was not lit as well yet metering between any phase and C would give 208V and between neutral would give 120V. Turns out the CEM was not seated all the way and that connection was not made. The neon on the back was just plain burned out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2008
  6. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Thank you [user]SteveB[/user] for your anality. See everyone, it's not solely me! Other people care about how you express yourself in public and weather [watch those homonyms] you use standard terms and correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. Now I'm not saying you're gonna get jumped upon for tranpsosed letters, or for using a double quote (") where an apostrophe (') should have been, but, as has been said, "Here at ControlBooth, we aspire to a higher standard."

    Now SteveB, I've never called the item in question a "96", or even "Sensor 96." I have used the terms: "Sensor dimmer rack," "Sensor rack," "Sensor 96x2.4" "Sensor TR-48," "Sensor 96-way," and the same terms without the "Sensor" part. I have heard it referred to as a "dimmer," by professionals, who were probably just too lazy to add the word "rack."

    I have a feeling I'd get decked if an Upstaging Crew Chief said, "Take that dimmer to stage right" and I replied "Which dimmer? Don't you want them all over there?"

    At least the OP didn't say "an ETC Senser 98". Kudos for using "an" instead of "a" before "ETC," nmccoart5.

    I have to go focuss the Kleigal leicos on the psyche now.:twisted:
     
  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    What am I, an Entertainment Technician or an English teacher?:rolleyes:
     
  8. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    An English Teacher, An English teacher........... Hmm, shades of Bye, Bye, Birdie.....:rolleyes:
     
  9. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    YIKES we certainly jump all over someone... I'd rather have a dumb question or maybe even one that is slightly inaccurate than totally scare off people.

    It is interesting that if you go to

    Used sensor 98 etc :: For Sale - Solaris

    you will see that solarisnetwork is all sold out of sensor 98!!!!!!!
    So not just young controlbooth folks make the mistake ;-)))

    Sharyn
     
  10. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Must be counting the spare module(s) that live in the rack. Does any other manufacturer provide convenient spares storage?
     
  11. Serendipity

    Serendipity Active Member Premium Member

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    Firstly, thank you for your story, nmccoart5. I'm happy you shared, and sorry your thread has turned into an English lesson. That being said, I'm going to continue Prof. Leffew's lesson:

    Yes. I'm definitely amongst that group. Even things such as "Very Proffisient in LiteWrite and Vector-works" are pretty telling. (Someone's resume I read said that. Obviously, they didn't get my vote for the job.)

    I am definitely planning on using that one (with credit to you, of course)!

    [​IMG]
     
  12. phil000

    phil000 Active Member

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    That sounds crappy, but I'll make sure to check that next time I work with them. Thank you for sharing, you most likely saved some of us 'new' techs some time.

    Phil
     
  13. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    I have spare dimmer modules in my racks? And to think, all these years I thought I stored those under my desk!:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2008
  14. LightStud

    LightStud Active Member

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    The 48-way ETC# SP4820 Small Touring Rack has space for one spare CEM and three spare dual-dimmer modules.
    The 96-way ETC# SP9620 Large Touring Rack has space for two spare CEM and three spare dual-dimmer modules.
     
  15. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    I know one is kept above the dimmers on the left hand side but where is the 2nd one kept?
     
  16. Serendipity

    Serendipity Active Member Premium Member

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    Do permanent installation racks have spares? I would think not, but then again ETC has a knack for surprising me.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  17. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Nope.

    I got an error message from CB. "The message body is too short, please lengthen your reply to at least 10 characters", or some such, so I did.

    SB
     
  18. LightStud

    LightStud Active Member

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    I belive that's to prevent short, less than helpful, answers clogging the bandwidth. Would it have been so difficult for the poster above to have written:
    "Space for storage of spare modules is not a feature of ETC Sensor installation racks." ? I think not.
     
  19. nmccoart5

    nmccoart5 Member

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    I never really caught on to the LD refering to our DIMMERS as a non-existant piece of equipment! For anyone who is wondering the LD really did refer to our DIMMERS as an ETC Sensor 98 x 2.4kw touring rack and i have the lighting plot to prove it. I guess i won't be working with that LD again, after all how can you design a show without knowing the size of your DIMMERS. Thanks for the dimmer joke. I will definatley be using that one with some rookies :) It's truley amazing how some people get their jobs as LD's....
     
  20. LekoBoy

    LekoBoy Active Member

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    the LD new the size he didn't get the amount right.
     

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