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Lighting tech's find new intelegent life-In a desk.

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by NickJones, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    Hi all. I am a High School student in Australia. We have a Zero88 Jester (GROAN) and a LSC ePak. But also in out out-dated drama hall exists a LSC WallpaK, and Preciept 12 (Old Pre-Set desk) that came with it. The long and the short of it is the desk has a mind of it's own. It decides what lights go on. What lights go off. And what lights should annoyingly flash. The desk itself is Anolouge, and it's not a setting problem, as there are no settings. And who in there right mind would put a setting that makes a desk go mad anyway??? The simple answer to this would be to just replace the Preciept 12 with the Jester. I wish it were that simple. Problem is, is that the dimmer doesn't use DMX. I know there are some converters out there. But this is a strage system it uses. It's a round plug, with about 14 pins. And it's about 10cm across. Can you get converters for this? How much will they cost? And would we just be better off to get a electritian in to un-hardwire the 3 Phase running to the dimmer. And put a 3 phase socket there so I could just plug in the new dimmer? Or does anyone have a Preciept 12, that we coud get? I know they stopped making them about 10 years ago. Anyway.
    Thanks in advance,
    Nick

    PS. Seen this Luminair thing! OMG! If we had a wireless DMX and I had a iPhone then this would ROCK! It's soooooooo kewl!
     
  2. Ric

    Ric Active Member

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    Hi Nick,
    Have you tried contacting LSC to see if they can fix your desk? It's likely that just a few faders are damaged and may be a reasonably cost efficient way to go.
    Certainly there are still second hand Precepts available as there were LOTS installed in Melbourne schools. CC's Light & Sound in North Melbourne are a good place to try ... and I do have an old 12 channel one myself, that I may be willing to let go for a few dollars :)

    Converting the dimmer pack to DMX is an option, and LSC are again a good place to start with asking for DMX converters to the 14 pin Cannon ( it's not strange but the Standard Analogue 12 channel connection) also known as a Demultiplexer or Demux.
    Comparing that to doing an install of 3 phase power & upgrade of dimmer/desk again may not be cost effective, so you'll need to do some sums to make a financial decision.

    Ultimately as you're a student your School admin/teachers must make the final decision on how money is spent, often unwisely :-(

    However the School will be there long after you've left so they have to put up with it.
     
  3. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    Thanks Ric, we have a new performing arts center being built in the next few years. So basicly I want a quick fix. Our drama teacher, conviniently doesn't know all that much, so I suppose we could buy your one from you. One of my questions that I needed to ask an Aussie tech (as no-one out of Australia seems to use LSC) was why on earth they chose the 14 pin cannon thing anyway. LSC was formed in 2000, when DMX was becoming industry standard. So why they used it is beyond me. Anyway. Thanks for your help.
     
  4. Ric

    Ric Active Member

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    Hi Nick,
    LSC didn't choose the 14 Pin Cannon as standard, they just followed local industry convention in order to keep desk & dimmers talking to each other. Many other lighting companies also manufactured using the same connection on either desk or dimmer pack.
    This allowed manufacturer X's desk to work with manufacturers Y's dimmer.

    LSC would certainly argue that they sell a lot of equipment overseas, but I agree they certainly dont seem to be as prominent as other equipment.

    As to who chose the Cannon 14 pin first? I'm not certain but I'd suspect Strand (Rank Industries/Strand) as they were certainly one of the lighting industry leaders in Australia in the 70's & 80's when the cannon connector surfaced on Analogue lighting equipment.

    As far as I know LSC have been around since early 80s at least as my Precept 12 was 2nd hand in 1988 when I got it. What you have certainly isn't a new (i.e. 2000 ) thing.

    FYI there was also a period between Analogue & DMX, using AMX (Analogue Multiplex) and XLR connectors late 80's to early 90's... but that's getting a bit off topic.

    Re-reading your original post, how certain are you that the Desk is the fault?
    The symptoms you describe could also be caused by a bad control cable or faulty dimmers.
    If your desk is off or unplugged do you stil have the same problems with the lights flickering when your dimmers are on? If so the problem is with your dimmers.

    If you have an extension control cable ( 14 pin cannon to 14 pin cannon) try bypassing it & plugging the desk directly into the dimmers, to see if that makes a difference.
    If so then your cable may have broken wires.

    Based on the fact that the Precept, and I assume the rest of the equipment, is close to 20 years old, perhaps it's time to seriously look at replacing the lot?

    (edited to fix spelling & grammar)
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2008
  5. loki

    loki Member

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    I have actualy worked with the system Nick is talking about, there are two issues that cause it, i just have never really bothered to fix them (Because it is used so infrequently with the actual desk attached, standard practice at school is just to crank all chanels to 100% via the controls on the dimmer, the desk is used like twice a year when we get bored)

    There is no problem with the dimmer that i can see, the desk nick mentioned is prone to freezing (But thats probobly due to age and can be unfrozen with a re-start) The desk does have some settings, but no one knows, or can really be motivated to learn how to use them, it is suposedly able to have 24 scenes programmed into it, i suspect that the problems nick mentioned are a combination of the fact that its old, there are scenes still programed into it from shows a long time ago and the fact that the system is being used all the time by people with no knowledge.

    FYI These errors dont matter to much the system is never used properly anyways only for drama classes, Also, the whole system is being rewired and fixed up over the christmas break anyways.
     
  6. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    LSC, now your talking my language

    It sounds like your dealing with rmx, we have some old dimmer that use that and we use a device called "linklight" to connect it to our dmx system.

    if all else fails try contacting them, their located in Melbourne and were very helpful when our desk thought it was a bird and tried to fly :p.


    small tip, next time you want quick help use something like "lsc issue" so as australians will understand and read the thread quicker :)
     
  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Another tip: if you're going to use the word "intelligent," spell it correctly.:)
     
  8. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    can you fix that for him?
     
  9. Ric

    Ric Active Member

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    Unfortunately this is very often the case, and what is perceived to be a fault or problem, is quite often ( but not neccessarily in this case) operator unfamiliarity with a system.

    So this means that this issue is likely to be fixed in a scheduled maintenance time soon? Sound like someones looking after it, after all.
     
  10. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    I wish, no, they are just putting in a few patches, our head of drama suposedly looks after it, but his knolage is limited at best. :-|
     

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