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help with gobo rotators

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by raeraeiam, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. raeraeiam

    raeraeiam Member

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    I'm looking in to buying a gobo rotator or two for my high school, but I'm not sure how they work and whatnot.
    Mainly I need to know if and what kind can be controlled from the lighting board? Can you adjust speed from a board or does it need to be changed manually? If anyone knows anything about them, please reply!
    We use ETC source 4s, and have an ETC Express Board (I think) that's all I know, please help if you can!!

    Thanks:grin:
     
  2. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Apollo Technology makes some of the best gobo rotators on the market today. They are be controlled via DMX so you will be able to operate them from your Express console.

    www.internetapollo.com
     
  3. disc2slick

    disc2slick Active Member

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    You can control the speed from the board. The rotators will come with a power supply/brain that needs to be plugged into power (preferably of the non-dim variety). If you are using a dimmer to power is try to profile it as a non-dim or at the very least park it at full. The intensity of the dimmer the power supply is in DOES NOT control the speed of the rotator and running it at anything less then full will just screw you up. There will be dipswitches or some means of assigning a DMX value to each brain. The board will read this DMX value as a dimmer number so you will probably want to patch it as a channel. It is the level of THIS value that determines the speed at which the rotator operates.

    You will need to run a DMX cable from the board, or the pass thru on the dimmer rack or somewhere to the rotator brain so that the board can 'talk' to the rotator and tell it what to do.

    Did that make sense? I worked a lot with rotators last year and they confused the hell out of me before I finally figured it out. If you have any more questions say so and I'll be happy to answer.

    -Dan
     
  4. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    The apollo Smart Move DMX is what you want if you want to have DMX control. We have two of them here, and they work great (when you don't have too many scrollers on the same power supply with them). If you overload the power supply, they will not function properly, and will continually index themselves back to the zero point. So just get a power supply that is rated for more than everything on it requires, as the cables do provide some resistance, and you will need to have a few extra watts for that.

    So, in short, the Apollo Smart Move DMX is what you want, and you will need to purchase a seperate power supply and some 4-pin scroller cable if you do not already have those yet. You will also need to have a DMX drop near where the rotator power supply will be (for most places this isn't a problem, but my school had NO DMX drops, because all of our fixtures were conventionals that didn't use any DMX accessories).
     
  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    If you go with a cheaper option, that is non DMX, you can still have speed control, but you will not have speed control at the console. Instead, you have to set the power output of your rotator and hook it up to a dimmer on a non dim profile.
     
  6. drawstuf99

    drawstuf99 Active Member

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    Soundlight,
    How does your school manage to use anything with DMX without the plugins?

    My school is in the same position and I was hoping you could give some advice as to how to go about this.
     
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    They ran the cable, which can be done, but is usually not any fun. I have worked in many spaces where you have to patch through the audio patch to get your DMX to the stage, it works, but can lead to large problems. If you do not have DMX or do not want to run it you can go with a rotator like this: http://www.internetapollo.com/products/productline.aspx?pl_id=37. See my above post on how this actually works.
     
  8. raeraeiam

    raeraeiam Member

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    i feel kinda stupid here, but this is why i posted, isnt it?

    i kinda got shoved into my job as lights chair as a freshman and our drama teacher doesnt know much about lights, so i missed out on A LOT of the basics.

    but enough excuses... how do i know, for sure, that I have DMX? i'm not even sure what it is! i really don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on something that ends up not working...

    if someone can explain in simpler terms to lil ole me, thatd be great

    thanks for the help!
     
  9. beam_1973

    beam_1973 Member

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    I'll go as simple as I know ... first up, DMX is the protocol or language that your console talks to your dimmer (and/or intelligent fixtures) with. Each dimmer channel will used one DMX channel. So if you have a 24 channel console, you can effectively control 24 dimmers. Intelligent fixtures use 1 DMX channel for each of their attributes (e.g. a moving mirror fixture would use 1 channel for each of the Pan, Tilt, Colour, Shutter, Gobo, Focus functions it has ... this example would use 6 DMX channels). So with a 24 channel console, you could control 4 of these mirrors separately. First fixture starts at DMX address 1, second starts at 7 and so on and so on. More about this is discussed in other threads.

    Now, from what I can gather, at the moment you control your Source 4s with your Express console. At the back of the console will be a cable that runs from the console to your dimmer rack (presumable where your Source 4's are being powered from). The cable will plug into your dimmer rack via the DMX In socket (most likely a 5 pin male socket). Normally, next to or underneath this male socket will be a female socket labelled DMX Out/Loop (or similar). From this DMX Out/Loop socket, you can run your DMX cable to your first DMX fixture (or rotator in this instance). You assign the DMX address (or starting channel) on the fixture/rotator and then control it using the corresponding channels back at the console (make sense). Note though that if your DMX loops passes through the dimmer (as above), any dimmer channels that correspond to the DMX channels you are using on the fixtures will also be activated - so when you want to change gobo rotate speed, you may also fade up one of your Source 4's. Easy way around it is to start your DMX addressing on the rotators one channel higher than the number of dimmers you have (e.g. if you have 12 dimmers, start your first DMX address at 13). There is more about DMX addressing in other threads on this forum too.

    Does any of that help??
     
  10. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    IF you have DMX that is. If you have old lighting equipment, then it may run on some sort of funny protocol or it might be analogue. DMX will have a 5 pin female socket on the back of the lighting console. That should tell you whether or not you have DMX. Yeah, DMX is the protocol, but in this instance we probably are using it to mean the cables etc. as well. Surely there is a thread on DMX around somewhere, try a search. If not, Google it.
     
  11. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The ETC Express console is DMX. Your only concern will be tapping into the DMX data chain to send commands to the scrollers.

    Usually, there will be a DMX thru-put at the dimmers. Look for a 5 pin XLR connector there, that will be it. You'd then simply run a cable to the first scroller and daisy chain DMX cable to each of the other scrollers.
     
  12. raeraeiam

    raeraeiam Member

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    ok.. this is helping A LOT, thanks everyone!
     
  13. PhantomD

    PhantomD

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    Using audio cable to run DMX over shorter distances is quite fine.
     
  14. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Yes, under most circumstances, running DMX over audio cable for short distances works fine, but it should really only be done in the absence of a better alternative and only as a temporary solution. There was a discussion on this point a couple of months ago and I seem to recall the conclusion being that if you HAVE to, you can run DMX over audio cabling, but that you can run audio over data (DMX) cable any time. The data is more fussy than the audio.
     
  15. beam_1973

    beam_1973 Member

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    Just a related observation, one thing I have noticed in the past ... lighting techs "borrowing" cable from the audio guys ... but this never seems to happen the other way around. But I have noticed audio never seems to have their own gaff tape.
     
  16. PhantomD

    PhantomD

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    That is VERY true, from experience! :twisted:
     
  17. beam_1973

    beam_1973 Member

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    Hehehe ... well, I am glad someone has the same issues I do then!!
     

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