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ML Channels Won't Clear on Express 48/96

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by chrispo86, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. chrispo86

    chrispo86 Active Member

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    So we were doing some programming the other night on an Express 48/96 for our upcoming show (yesterday/tonight/tomorrow actually) using 2 MAC300's and a MAC250. I have them loaded into the board using the profiles that I believe I downloaded from ETC's website (I got them last year so I'm only pretty certain that's where I got them; had the same problem then also).

    Through the course of programming we would run and clear cues and go back and whatnot (the usual back and forth trying to get transitions right), and occasionally the issue would pop up that the channels for the ML's would not clear. You could clear the cue, hit release, capture the channels/change the levels/release, I tried everything I can think of, the ML parameters wouldn't let go, they would all stay at their values in purple on the Stage screen. The only way we could clear the values would be to run a cue that we created which brings all the ML channels to Full and then clear that, though that only worked most of the time. Just running a different cue where the lights are programmed normally would only allow the values that changed to get released when you cleared the cue.

    Conventials did not experience these symptoms at all.

    Before programming I did a reset on the whole board as it's a rental and had some of the settings configured oddly, so everything should be set default. Am I missing a setting somewhere or is there something in the Fixture Profile or do I just have a bad board?



    On a seperate note, the MAC300's we had kept experiencing a FbER error (A feedback error on the pan/tilt). After swapping out 3 different 300's, we asked the tech if we were doing something wrong to be experiencing error after error, and he told us that if you strike the lamp while you're in a cue the fixture won't accept the DMX signal correctly, so the solution is to not strike the lamp while in a cue. Granted, it has worked, but being the engineering/software guy that I am, that answer doesn't make any sense to me. As far as I see it, striking the lamp is just a command that the fixture interprets, everything else should be independant. Is there any validity to that answer?
     
  2. sclausenETC

    sclausenETC Active Member

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    Moving lights in Espression-style consoles are set up so that non-intensity parameters behave LTP (Last action takes precedence). This means they get executed in the "background" - that's what the purple channels are indicating. To clear those levels, find the soft key called "Background Override" (I think it's S3 in Stage) and then press ENTER ENTER. This will clear all background fades.

    Conventionals in Expression-style consoles behave in HTP logic (highest takes precedence).

    On your Mac300 question, I'm with you - that answer sounds dubious. Striking the lamp shouldn't generate pan/tilt errors at all. I would suggest contacting Martin tech support.

    I hope this helps -

    Sarah

    Sarah Clausen
    Controls Product Manager
    ETC, Inc.
     
  3. chrispo86

    chrispo86 Active Member

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    This should help greatly, thank you! I'll try it the next time the issue arises. I saw something about the background overrides elsewhere and thought that might be the solution, but then couldn't find much other information about it.

    And yeah, the Mac300's, they're rentals, so I'm not worried about getting it fixed, as I said, it's working now. It's just that this answer bothered me because I know I'm going to be going through this all again in a couple of months when the next show rolls around and I would kind of like an acceptable (in my eyes) answer.

    It's odd because we've had soo many problems with Mac's from this place at shows at the high school over the past couple years, but one of the teachers who just got out of college has used him for many years at his college and has never had a problem with the Mac's from this same rental place. I've worked with this teacher since he was a student in the high school (he's a year older than I) and I know we do things pretty much the same, so it's odd that in one place we have issues and in another there's nothing. And I can't blame the DMX between the board and the fixtures, it's brand new as of September, this problem is a couple years going now though...

    Enough rambling on my part. Thank you! :grin:
     
  4. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    sclausen is absolutly right Background overrides 4tw.
     
  5. mbandgeek

    mbandgeek Active Member

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    If you are using MLs, and plan on doing it again in the near future, why not rent an Ion or something that plays a little nicer with the lights?
     
  6. KKeen

    KKeen Member

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    first of all, my condolences for having to program movers on a conventional desk. No fun at all. Regarding your issues with lamp strikes and cues: when you strike one of these short-arc lamps in these fixtures, for a split second the ballast will use thousands of volts. When you try to strike and do another feature of the fixture you'll always get that feedback error (sometimes you'll even get a lamp explosion error, even though the lamp is fine, because the sensors think the lamps blowing up because the fixture is moving) because of the split second of high voltage. the solution to that is to strike all your fixtures at dimmer check and leave them struck until the end of the show.

    Good luck!

    ---
    Kirk Keen
    Rental Manager
    Hollywood Lighting Services, Inc.
    Portland, OR
    Seattle, WA
     
  7. chrispo86

    chrispo86 Active Member

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    I would love to rent something a little more well suited for moving lights. We had 6 last year with the 48/96 and it was a nightmare to program and we'll probably do that again in the spring. The students at the school have only used an ETC board (we own a 24/48) so for the sole point of not having to learn a new board, we'd like to stay with an ETC. I would love to get my hands on an Ion or an Eos (I'd love to buy one for that matter but the money simply isn't there) but our rental place doesn't have either of them yet. I would go to something else, but the next better board they have after a 48/96 is an Avolite Pearl and it's double the price to rent per week ($300 vs $150 per weeK) and unfortunately for a two week rental that's a big enough difference in price for us to stick with the 48/96 and just drudge through it, even if it is the more difficult way.


    And as for the lamp strike thing, I guess the sudden draw in power makes some sense to me, though the only discrepancy I have with that is that I'm not trying to run a cue while striking the lamp, I was told that striking the lamp while having a cue already loaded was the issue. Does this answer still apply? I'd be willing to buy that... :p

    Thanks for the help everyone!
     
  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    No, and I'm not sure I buy KKeen's explanation. The only moving light with which I've ever had an issue is a 4K Xenon moving head fixture, where a lamp strike would always cause a recal, due to improper RFI shielding interrupting the electronics. Still, it's good practice to LampON your movers prior to the show and then do a cal prior to any programming or running of a show. If you remove power to them overnight, they will recal once power is restored.

    Just curious, did the FbER error clear after a soft-reset or hard-reset? Did the fixtures perform as expected even though they were flashing an error? As KKeen eluded to, these fixtures are notorious for showing a false error. (A piece of black gaffer's tape covering the display often solves the problem.:))
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2008
  9. chrispo86

    chrispo86 Active Member

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    Actually, it was somewhat odd... The fixture would work fine for a while and would eventually just stop responding without flashing an error. Also when the fixture stopped responding the lamp would cut out, as well as the lamp LED on the display. I would run a soft reset through the console and after the reset then I would get the FbER flashing on the display. I would then pull the power, plug it back in, and after it's power-on reset it would work as expected for a while and then eventually repeat what I just said. I had this happen on two seperate fixtures. That's what made us think that we've been doing something wrong, though I don't see anything wrong in our setup and I can't imagine what we could be doing to cause something like that to happen.
     
  10. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    From that description, it sounds like it was not a lamp strike issue at all. If you struck the lamps and then after use you started to get an error it would indicate to me that there was a deeper problem. I don't know what it might be, but it is certainly more interesting now.
     
  11. JRLighting

    JRLighting Member

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    Re: MAC issue

    Did you say that this happened to multiple fixtures in that location? If so, where does the power come from for this location? How far away from the panel/distro is the hanging position, and what gauge cable are you using?

    Have you taken a voltmeter and measured the voltage at the fixture?

    If this has happened to multiple fixtures in that location, it sounds like you might be getting a voltage drop, or other power-related issue. Also, are your DMX lines terminated at the last device?
     
  12. chrispo86

    chrispo86 Active Member

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    Re: MAC issue

    Yes, the DMX line is terminated. And yes, it has happened to multiple fixtures, but not only in that location. I have no idea about how the outlets they were plugged into are wired up, they're plugged into the building's existing 110 wall outlets. They're old, so I wouldn't completely rule out that there's something amiss in there, but as far as I know they're on seperate breakers, so a power issue in that sense seems unlikely, to me at least.

    Though I do have to comment that we've been having issues with the mains power in the entire school recently which the district electrician has been trying to straighten out, so that could be contributing. That doesn't explain why I would have had the problem last year though as the power thing is a more recent issue.
     
  13. JRLighting

    JRLighting Member

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    Re: MAC issue

    What I am concerned with is whether or not you are getting the correct voltage at the fixture, which would not be affected by the breaker. It has more to do with the voltage off the transformer to the school, and the length of the wire from the breaker to the fixture, including the school wiring and any attached cable. If the circuit is too long, and the wire has not been up-sized to compensate, you will have the voltage drop below what is required. (Normally this is done correctly by the installation electricians, but you never know...)

    What I recommend doing as a starting point is metering the voltage at the outlet that the moving light plugs into. If there is a cable between the outlet and the moving light, also measure at the connector closest to the moving light.

    Let me know what you find.
     
  14. chrispo86

    chrispo86 Active Member

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    Re: MAC issue

    The outlet is literally about 10 ft from the breaker panel. I'm not sure when the next time I'll be in the school now that this show is over, but next time I'm up there I'll bring my meter along. Thanks!
     

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