Major lighting problems!!!

This past sunday the 25th of april was our last showing of Jesus christ superstar. we had already had one show at 3:00 then our last one was at 7:30.

For this show we were renting an expression 2. it came with the emphasis program.(which was way to complicated for my small theater. we run all of our static fixtues off of an very old crapy colortran dimmer rack.

so now to my story. for the 3 o clock show during the overature. it was about cue 5... i press go and loose all i mean all my stage lights. but the inteligent fixtueres were still running. also the house light which run of tottay separate dimmers than the stage lights but are run on the same dmx line to the console were still working. so we rebooted the computer and the llights turned back on. they worked for the rest of the show.

after the show we turned the board off and let it rest until the next show that night. between shows we blew the dust out of every dimmer with our air compressor. we usually do this befor every show. Later on we went to our preset wich was cue 1. the side lights came on which was correct for cue 1. later cue 2 was house to half and then 3 was house off. then cue 4 was supposed to be the god lights for the overature but nothing came on. we finished that scene with the rope lights spots and the fiber optic curtin. finally the director of the depatment decided that we would have to stop the show. so we did and tryed to fix the problem. but there was nothing to fix. we had tried every thing possible. finally they said that the show would be cancled but the audience was so awesome they want ed the show to go on. so finaly we got some lights to turn on from the stage managers panall but the only way we could control them for the whole show was by turning the breakers on and off at the rack. this was hell.

please if u have any idea about what happened to my lights please give me some idea on how to fix it. we still have no control on how to fix it but it would help to be able to get some lights on for a concet next week end. thanks for reading and thanks for caring.. lights11964
I'm drawing a blank so far. At first what you describe, given the movers and seperate dimmer pack leads to the old dimmers for the rest of the lights as the source. On the other hand, in re-booting that should not effect the dimmers except with possibly sending a fresh signal to the dimmers.

If your dmx to the dimmers is on a seperate output from the movers or other pack than it could be a problem in the cable, if the same control cable than the other stuff should have been just as effected. On the other hand if the other stuff was jsut fed thru the dimmer pack, than it would tend to lead to a problem with the dimmers in recieving a signal since most feed thru's are for the most part just a twofer. Blowing out your system is good, but when is the last time they had a professional maintinence call? Could be a loose or flaky wire out of the receptacle, some bad electronics, or it could be the light board itself.

What did the monitor say was happening with channel 5? Did it say everything was as it should be or was there an error there also? Can you repeat the problem with this cue and or have similar problems with more shows in run? Corrupt memory could be a problem, but I'm still either leaning towards the data cable if it was a run all by itself, or the dimmer itself.

How did you do the control with the circuit breakers given you had not control over them to send the signal to go to full?

Some stuff to think about. Also, given the dimmers are old, are they analog or DMX? Could be an old converter box going on the blink also.

If nothing else, hope it's stuff to consider.
The fact that he got it to work with the SM panel indicates to me that it's probably a problem with the dimmers. The SM panel is most likely system-wide control, so it's irrelevant what the expression console is up to, I'd imagine. I'd get someone in to troubleshoot the rack/packs and see if some of the circuitry in there needs a tune-up.

I'm also curious how you ran your show using the breakers on the dimmers. All they do is apply/cut-off power to the dimmers, doesn't tell them to turn on the connected fixtures or not.
Could have been worse.....The dimmers could have over heated, That my friend suck,when you got a hole bunch of smoke coming out of your dimmer closet.Bad times. Also i have a question, did you director bitch you out? Because ours its a flamming Homosexual who would reim us all for something that what out of our control. :?
I agree with the comments already posted in that you need to look at the cables as a possible source. I always swap out leads as they are one of the easiest things to check. Perhaps I am not reading all that well this late in the night but was the problem with just one dimmer or more than one? If it is more than one I would certainly be leading towards the cable or possibly the desk. Did you terminate the DMX at the end of the chain, address the dimmers correctly? I note that you said the house lights are on a separate dimmer. If it is the same make/model as the one(s) playing up, you could always swap them and see what happens. Often trouble shooting is game of elimination through substitution.

The breaker situation has me puzzled as well. The only scenario that I can come up with is that your dimmers have individual breakers for each channel and the ability to throw a test mode on all channels. Would be interested to hear more on that one.

Regular service on the dimmers also a very good suggestion.
hum... do you terminate your DMX lines? Did the cue show up on the screen but not the stage? etc. You need to follow the signal flow. it could also be Radio interernace as funny as that may sound. I had an entire rig not lamp on and it was because of static electricity.
Thank you to all who replyed. today we had an etc rep come in and she found out that... some how when we blew out the dimmers they got their numbers mixed up. dimmer one was being recognized as 385? i have no idea to what happened there. so finally they got all back to their origianal id's.

But as to the show and running it off of dimmer breakers. the sm pannel was freezing up but we finally got all the lights to turn on. so each dimmer has a breaker and we turned them all of thus occoring a black out. so our ad read the plot to or td at the right times to tell him what circuits to turn on. this actually worked but without any fading. thank you for all your comments and help

Users who are viewing this thread