ETC Sensor3 "switched" D20 v relay/thrupower

ryancousins

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2015
Location
Kalamazoo, MI
Our space is transitioning bit by bit to LED and I have a few questions:

1. Some of the fixtures are conventional source4s with source4wrd retro units attached. I know these are designed to safely be dimmer dimmed but the quality is awful unless maybe you have more than one fixture on one circuit to pull enough load but then you lose discrete control. But if you switch a source4wrd to DMX dim, is it still safe if it got plugged into a dimmer module, or does switching it to DMX mode make it susceptible to damage like any other LED fixture? Not sure how the internal circuitry handles that switch between modes.

2. We don't have enough sensor3 thrupower modules to handle everything so we'll be using some relay modules and probably some dimmer modules set to "switched" or "always on". In my mind, setting a dimmer to "always on" is easiest because you don't have to worry about having a dedicated power on channel that you have to remember to bring up on the board or create a startup macro for. Obviously if someone were to switch the module back to dimmable with an LED fixture plugged in, we could be in trouble, but I'm not worried about that happening. But is it more ideal overall to use a relay so the lights aren't sucking energy 24/7 if the system isn't being used? I don't assume it's a big deal since its probably almost no energy and besides ETC markets thru-power as the best choice for LEDs and those always stay powered on 24/7 in CC mode.

3. Can the Sensor3 R20 relay modules be switched to "always-on" just like the D20 dimmer modules?

4. According to ETC's website, "Always-On" mode bypasses voltage regulation just the same as "switched" mode. Just wanted to confirm this is the case because I've seen chatter on here that makes me wonder. Is it okay if it still goes through the SCR as long as regulation is off? Does "always-on" still go through the SCR?

Thanks!
 

BillConnerFASTC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2010
Location
Clayton NY 13624
You can run a S4WRD in DMX mode on a diner parked at full.

I would not recommend running most LEDs not designed for mains dimming through SCRs, period.

I don't understand your problem with depowering between uses but pretty sure you can park relays and through powers on at the cem.

Buying modules, try constants - least expensive and always on.
 

icewolf08

CBMod
CB Mods
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Location
Lititz, PA
Our space is transitioning bit by bit to LED and I have a few questions:

1. Some of the fixtures are conventional source4s with source4wrd retro units attached. I know these are designed to safely be dimmer dimmed but the quality is awful unless maybe you have more than one fixture on one circuit to pull enough load but then you lose discrete control. But if you switch a source4wrd to DMX dim, is it still safe if it got plugged into a dimmer module, or does switching it to DMX mode make it susceptible to damage like any other LED fixture? Not sure how the internal circuitry handles that switch between modes.
ETC has been very consistent with their fixture designs such that their moving fixtures and LED fixtures can safely be powered on a dimmed circuit parked at full or set to switched/always-on mode. It should be noted though, that not all such fixtures by other manufacturers are designed this way. As such, using the Source4Ward on a parked circuit is OK.

2. We don't have enough sensor3 thrupower modules to handle everything so we'll be using some relay modules and probably some dimmer modules set to "switched" or "always on". In my mind, setting a dimmer to "always on" is easiest because you don't have to worry about having a dedicated power on channel that you have to remember to bring up on the board or create a startup macro for. Obviously if someone were to switch the module back to dimmable with an LED fixture plugged in, we could be in trouble, but I'm not worried about that happening. But is it more ideal overall to use a relay so the lights aren't sucking energy 24/7 if the system isn't being used? I don't assume it's a big deal since its probably almost no energy and besides ETC markets thru-power as the best choice for LEDs and those always stay powered on 24/7 in CC mode.
Power draw to keep the electronics on is minimal, but it is still better to power down your fixtures when not in use (overnight, weekends, dark weeks, etc.). Seriously, every little bit helps.

3. Can the Sensor3 R20 relay modules be switched to "always-on" just like the D20 dimmer modules?
Any module in the rack can be set to always-on. You can do this in the web interface or through the CEM panel.

4. According to ETC's website, "Always-On" mode bypasses voltage regulation just the same as "switched" mode. Just wanted to confirm this is the case because I've seen chatter on here that makes me wonder. Is it okay if it still goes through the SCR as long as regulation is off? Does "always-on" still go through the SCR?
Setting a "D" type dimmer module (D20/D20AF/D50 etc) to always-on or switched mode DOES NOT bypass the SCR and dimming electronics. The only modules capable of true switched power are Relay and ThruPower modules. Dimmer modules set to switched or always-on essentially "lock" the dimmer at full, which means the SCR is still switching and can cause distortion to the AC waveform. The reality is it is no different than parking a dimmer channel at full on your console. Somewhere on the boards someone posted scope images of dimmers parked at full, and you can see the switching action of the SCR. As such, it is inadvisable to connect devices with electronics that are not designed to operate on dimmed circuits on a dimmer set to switched or always-on.