@Aidan Spelbring I've been waiting for one of our "experts" to post but since none of them have woke up yet: I've been retired and in a home thus away from consoles for a few years; that said, the last time I was working with one of those small ETC's, operating it without a lap-top connected was unthinkable ; painfully slow, extremely button-pushing intensive. We got used to programming it with a lap-top connected and using the lap-top for the Q2Q and subsequent rehearsals down to the last run before opening. As soon as we were opening for paying patrons the lap-top was disconnected to reduce noise and visible distractions; this was literally in the basement of an 1880's church producing dinner theatre where we operated lighting and sound from a counter at the very rear of the house, the counter was tight for space since it had originally been built a decade previously to serve as a mantle in a box set.
Never used the console, but the ETC data sheet doesn't show a monitor as an option.
@Aidan Spelbring and @cbrandt How I utilized it: Using the lap-top I'd create all of my looks including DBO's (Dead Black Outs) WBO's (Warming Black Outs). Once I had all my individual looks recorded I then created my cue stack based on listing my looks in my desired order. Some looks were employed only once while other looks were used multiple times having only been built and finessed ONCE. If the set designer, properties or the director made a small change (such as adding an annoying / distracting mirror or gawdy fluorescent piece of decor, I only needed to alter any of my looks and the changes effectively pseudo 'tracked' throughout the entire production each and every time my cue stack re-called that specific look. As rehearsals progressed and we got closer to opening night I'd use the lap-top to assign times, including split-times, to my cue stack. By opening night there was nothing left for the bored operator to do but listen to their ClearCom and poke their 'Go' button at the precisely correct moment. Boring but predictable; just the way I prefer it; that way if something happens to a scheduled operator basically any breathing being can be substituted and shown which button to actuate. They still have to learn to press and release cleanly rather than pressing and leaving their finger depressed but this became our much preferred way to utilize the console.@RonHebbard has it exactly right. The "monitor" is a connected offline editor. I truly don't remember all the things you can do in it. The most important thing you can see is the cue list, and being able to label those cues. It is a large help. I don't remember how much programming is useful and available.
Sorry for the late reply! What we ended up doing is just saving memories for LQs. This seemed to be the simplest way for our light board operator to light the show!There's a bit of confusion here. Having a monitor has nothing to do with presets or the Go button. (Named for going to the next cue in a sequence or stack of cues. It's the button i think you want.)
The smartfade family uses the term "stack" to refer to the cue list. The result is a rather confusing manual for simply running a play scene by scene. Check out this old video for a bit of clarity. There are several more videos that might be helpful. They are based on the first software version so some things are different. You will need the manual!
SmartFade calls presets "memories" and they can used to build you cue list/stack or just to have some set looks. But you can't go from one to another with one button.
A computer running SmartSoft can act as a monitor. As Ron says, it can make life easier in many ways. I find that just labeling cues and memories is a huge help! Keep in mind that the board is always in charge of the lights, not the computer. Any computer issues will not affect the show, but might effect using the computer to run the show.
Make sure you have the latest/last version of the board software and SmartSoft, 3.1 if memory serves me. And feel free to call tech support if you need help getting it all set up.