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Hello all, mysterious broken instrument!

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by kingfisher1, Nov 21, 2007.

  1. kingfisher1

    kingfisher1 Active Member

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    Howdy everyone, its been a while since i've posted here, however i now have an exciting new problem to pose to the controlbooth community!
    A father at my school just moved to hawaii, and used our school basically as a garbage dump to dump anything remotely tech like into, excusing it as a donation. This hardly a problem because the theatre dept. not only got a DF-50 hazer, a set of stage sabres, and two real fencing sabres (with protective gear, and a LOT of fun to play with!!!). Some other things came too, and i'm in the process of decinding what is trash, what is ebay worth, and what we want to keep.

    The first item of question is a sort of stupid dj type instrument, consisting of a revolving mirror and like a 300 watt lamp. When i plug it in, it turns on (an encouranging sign), and the mirror revolves twice then stops. This is all i can get the thing to do. I've made my self look like an idiot yelling, banging and playing loud music around it to see if it has a microphone that controls the mirror. On the back of the unit are two inputs for what i assume is a sort of control. Any clue as to what this would be?
    The thing is called a BeamScan by OpTec. My google research dicovered that the company, was located in hakensack, nj, usa, and provided a website which was useless, as it was just their corprate info...so, can anyone shed so light of this?

    we also got a "Little Dragoon" fogger made by an offshoot company to (if i remember correctly but i could be completely making this up) appollo. It appears to be out of juice, which would most likely contribute to its lack of ability to produce fog...
    has anyone used these? is it worth it to spend the money (bear in mind the word school= no budget...) to buy the juice, especial if i'm not 100% sure if it works or not. Anyclue how to predict if it'll work?

    we got another fogger, which i think i will have to post in detail a bit later, because i haven't got it sitting in front of me, all i know about it is that it is friggin big, and looks pretty nice, but is also pretty beat up

    Premature Thankyou
    -ian
     
  2. jonhirsh

    jonhirsh Active Member

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  3. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    If it is I would suggest seeing if anybody has a portion of a bottle laying around you can have to test it with.

    Run some distilled water through it first to clean it out.

    As for the light, pictures!!
     
  4. kingfisher1

    kingfisher1 Active Member

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    That is indeed one of the foggers, although thanks to you picture i just discover the remote control that i though was wireless is not in fact wireless...

    The other fogger, is a _Z20 Fogger (i forget the name, i have got to remember to bring a camera to school!)
     
  5. BrianE

    BrianE Member

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    Hi Ian,

    I know it's been a loooooong time since you posted this but I had a friend of mine give me 6 of these the other day. Now I am in the same boat that you were in a couple years ago. It would be a shame to toss them, as they all light up, but I can't get the mirror to spin except for when I first power them up.

    Have you had any luck finding a controller or a way to get them running? Any help you could send my way would be appreciated. I would love to know how to control them via the RCA jacks. I've tried pumping music to them via a cd player, but got no response from the light. Any ideas?

    Thanks,
    Brian
     
  6. PhantomD

    PhantomD

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    The inputs on the back will be for music.

    I have a similar fixture which, once turned on, revolves and then stops until it receives music input via a stereo jack.

    Hope this helps.

    To test this, try hooking a CD player or an electric piano up to it and see if it starts revolving. Often these devices have some sort of control on the back for music as well.
     
  7. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Pictures, pictures, pictures. That'll let us know what they should be doing.
     
  8. Goph704

    Goph704 Active Member

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    Hey, just a quick question. How many Pins does your inputs on the back of the lighting fixture have? If it's a three pin you need XLR control, five pin you need DMX, control. I am not the best person here to advise on DMX control, but here's what i understand about it to this point. You should be able to run your fixture from the jack, into the board and have control of it that way, assuming it is DMX. Then you should have some type of address console, which will let you address your instrument to the proper channel number. (address=Channel number)
    If you have any kind of DMX controller, be it a light board or a remote, you should be able to run the thing off of that. however might I advise not to plug it in anymore until you have some type of control because you can burn your motor out pretty quickly. Again, Pictures help, Most lighting people are suprisingly visual, I know I am.
    - Goph
     
  9. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Most dj type lights use dmx data, but they use 3 pin cables, since most dj-market lighting was made that way as a cost savings. There could also be a 1/4" input, which would be for some proprietary controller. If there's dip switches or some other way to "address" the fixture, it could be set to a non-music mode, which is why you're not getting any activity from it. If it has less than 10 switches, probably a proprietary control, if it has 10 or more, chances are it will accept dmx, and the 10th or more switch controls whether it responds to data or a microphone.

    You say it has two inputs. If both are 3-pin xlr, one being male and one female, chances are it will dmx.
     
  10. BrianE

    BrianE Member

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    OK, I have some pictures of one of the lights. I don't believe they are DMX -- it's two RCA jacks, not an XLR style connector. I tried hooking up a CD player to the RCA jacs, but no results.

    Here are four pictures of the light, with all the labels and jacks.

    Any Ideas?

    Thanks,
    Brian
     

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  11. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    It seems like it could be some sort of proprietary analog control.
     
  12. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    I’m no expert in this field, we rarely use anything other than conventual fixtures, but I am guessing that it is controlled by RCA Audio input, if your mixing desk has RCA out try connecting it to your desk, or even take it home and use the red and white leads from your DVD or VCR audio out. It sounds like it is controlled by the sound, so try connecting it to the desk/telly. If not, I'm out of ideas
    Hope this helps or works.
    Nick Jones
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2008
  13. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

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    He says he's already tried connecting some RCA devices to it, and no go.
     
  14. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    Dam, I am all out of ideas then :neutral:
    Are you sure the inputs work, it sounds like the first movement when you plug it in is simply a sortof test function. Ours do one spin of the Gobo's once you plug them in, just to test whether the motors work or not, I can't think of any other way to controll them.
    Good luck!
     
  15. elite1trek

    elite1trek Active Member

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    This is definitly way way way way way out there...but maybe it works like a touch-tone telephone, using tones (or multiple tones) to control it.

    Testing this would be a pain in the arse. Try hooking the RCA up to a tone generator (they make free computer software for this, you can do it in command prompt too) and play some tones. I would play all the tones that are on your standard 31 band EQ, just to get started (20 25 31.5 40 50 63 80 100 blah blah blah).

    Other than that, I would try doing a search on your favorite search engine for something like "Control Protocols that use an RCA connector." I did a quick search, but turned up nothing.

    Also try some of the DJ forums. They aren't always the best when it comes to stuff like DMX, and control protocols, or electrical engineering, but they know their stuff, and this is in their field.
     
  16. BrianE

    BrianE Member

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    Thanks for all of your quick replies -- I will give the tone generator a try.

    I was also going to try sending a little bit of voltage to the RCA's to see if they are voltage driven, but the tone generator seems a little less harmful to try. Thanks for the idea, Elite1trek.

    The lights are all riveted together, however, I went out and bought some pop rivets so now I can take 'em apart and look at the controllers to see what they are doing. So, Nick, I will be able to see if the RCA's are broken or not...

    I found some software that can send tones, square waves, sine waves, etc. to the inputs so I will give it a try and let you know what I find.

    Thanks for all of your ideas -- hopefully I will stumble on something.
     
  17. BrianE

    BrianE Member

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    OK... Figured it out. It is supposed to work with sound, as we all thought. Drilled opened the rivets holding it together, looked real close at the board, and found a capacitor that had a bad solder connection. I resoldered it, put it back together, and voila! It works great now....

    Thanks for all your suggestions. FYI, for anyone else with this model, I hope this answers your question.

    The RCA jacks are soldered together internally, so it looks like it can be daisy chained together with a mono input, and then use the next jeck as an output to feed another light, so all 6 lights can be hooked up in series to one another, with a single RCA output from the board.
    :grin:
     

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