Help with ETC Express

Plady

Member
Recently we have had issues with lights flickering and flashing and coming up and down by themselves which I suspect is the board (ETC Express 96). I thought I'd read in these forums that there was some sort of safe start to try using some combination of keys when turning it on. Does anyone know about this? I can't find the original post.
 

Plady

Member
Does this only happen when they're in cues on a master?

Direct address and submaster/groups are ok?

Cause we have an Element doing the same thing, and we have a diagnosis.

No, we cleared the show and all the submasters. We just found that Universe 1 (Dims 1-512) is acting up in one theatre space but the same board hooked to different dimmers is okay. Totally confused.
Meanwhile our smaller board will run the Universe 1 dimmers but isn't big enough for the show we're teching.
 
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JimmyM

Active Member
Out of curiosity, do you have any other controllers, like Unison touchpads in the space as well?
 

Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
Sounds like it is the dimmers not the board.

What dimmers are you hooking into?

Do the dimmers have sufficient clean power(nothing else attached to the panel that feeds the dimmers)?

Are the dimmers terminated?

If all of the above is good and working then look to the cable that is running from the controller to the dimmers. If the dimmers are newer than the board maybe slow the DMX speed down Setup > Output Config (2) > S4 > 3 > Enter

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Plady

Member
Interesting idea Amiers. We just swapped the dmx cables in the 2 universes and now everything is running fine. But, seeing as we have no idea why it could as easily be a dimmer thing. The dimmers are older than the board though.
 

Plady

Member
Yes, we have one splitter running 5 dmx into one that runs straight to the board but which wasn't the problem child. The dmx that was the problem is running from the dimmer room but hardwired through the building. That run was the one giving us problems in both the booth out and at it's house position.
I don't know what you mean by unterminated.
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
DMX cable runs must have 31 or fewer devices attached without a splitter/repeater, and must end in a DMX terminator (a 100-120 ohm resistor between the two hot pins in an XLR plug).

You can often get by without the terminator, but if your system is at all squirrely, putting one at the end of each run (they're not all that expensive; even less so if you build them) is the very first thing to do to try to fix your problem.

If your run goes from a console to a dimmer rack, the rack might have a switchable terminator on it; if it has no THRU jack, it might be permanently terminated. How long is the troublesome run? Is it audio cable or 'real' DMX cable?
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
As I say, it's not uncommon for people not to install terminators, and you often get away with it.

At least for a while.

But for 5 or 10 bucks, it's definitely the first go-to in the diagnosis chain.
 

derekleffew

Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Premium Member
It sounds to me like we're talking about a permanent, installed dimmer rack. One must assume it was installed correctly, with proper DMX512 termination, how ever many years ago. Especially if there have been no dimmer issues since. A terminator will not be readily apparent without opening the rack, which should be done ONLY by Qualified Personnel following NFPA 70E requirements.

I would still suspect the dimmers rather than the console, particularly since @Plady said the Express worked with other dimmers. But now the Express is working again in its original location. Intermittent problems are the absolute worst to diagnose!

Some things to look at until it happens again:
Is it an ETC Sensor dimmer rack? If yes, any errors displayed on the CEM?
Is it all or some dimmers that flash/flicker/misbehave? If some, can you note the dimmer numbers?
Are the rack filters clean?
Is the HVAC in the dimmer room working? Room not overheated?

If/when it happens again:
Call ETC Tech Services at 1-800-688-4116 ASAP 24/7. After hours, leave a message and someone will return your call within fifteen minutes. As good as the breadth of knowledge is here on ControlBooth, it is no substitute for ETC's stellar service. And this type of troubleshooting is best done NOT on an internet forum.

I thought I'd read in these forums that there was some sort of safe start to try using some combination of keys when turning it on. Does anyone know about this? I can't find the original post.
It's called a "deep clear." AFTER you've saved your show or any valuable programming (i.e., patch) to floppy (preferably several), turn the console OFF. While pressing the 7,8,9 keys on the numeric keypad, turn the console ON. Release the keys once the console fully boots to the normal screen. Deep Clear has been known/suspected to solve a myriad of issues, and rarely if ever causes harm, provided you've backed up prior.
 

kicknargel

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
I don't think I've seen overtemp cause lights to flicker on, only to flicker off. If it's the case that lights that you have turned on are flickering off, overtemp is a likely cause. Vacuuming the rack and filter may solve it!
 

Malabaristo

Well-Known Member
My first thought was that this sounds a lot like an overtemp situation.

Overtemp errors are typically per dimmer, but an intermittent airflow error could cause this exact behavior. If the dimmer rack has an original Sensor CEM and the door filters are clean, then a conversation with ETC is definitely the next step. They made a little metal airflow baffle thingamajig that can be added in the field to help calm an overly sensitive airflow detector.
 

Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
Everyone is assume she has ETC dimmers to go with her ETC board.

You never got back to us with dimmer type, if it has clean power, and if you know or not if the dimmers is terminated.
 

MikeJ

Well-Known Member
It sounds to me like we're talking about a permanent, installed dimmer rack. One must assume it was installed correctly, with proper DMX512 termination, how ever many years ago.

This is like assuming there is going to be an egg in your Egg McMuffin. It seems obvious that it would be there, but eat enough McMuffins and you might be surprised.
 

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