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Automated Fixtures Power for Moving Heads, Dimmers

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by theILLUMINATEDfrog, May 18, 2009.

  1. theILLUMINATEDfrog

    theILLUMINATEDfrog Member

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    Location:
    Dallas, Texas, United States
    I am a young designer in a position of Lighting Director at a very large church here in Dallas. Unfortunately I am the ONLY lighting person on staff... my boss is an amazing A/V guy, but as far as specific lighting questions, he defers to me. I came into this job to find no inventory, no plot, no channel schedule, a very random patch, and no other paperwork, so I'm doing everything from scratch. ((just to give you an idea of what I'm working with))

    Our system was installed by the now out-of-business Sound Reinforcements, Inc. but seems to be a little screwy.

    My question-- I am aware that moving heads should absolutely not be connected to dimmers and I ASSUMED it was installed properly. However, when I was doing a dimmer check, the moving heads responded (shone at full) .... this means they're connected to those corresponding dimmers, correct? Why would a professional company do this? Or is there another answer, like certain ND's being patched into my board.

    Also, would this account for random and unreliable DMX signals to/from the instrument?

    I feel like my university did not address Automated Lighting well enough. So many questions!!
     
  2. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    what console do you have? What did you do to perform a 'dimmer check'? Did you just happen to turn the moving lights on via the console?
     
  3. jxgriffi

    jxgriffi Active Member

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    Occupation:
    Technical Director
    Location:
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    Depending on how the system was installed, it IS possible to have Constant Relay modules in the dimmer cabinet. I have an ETC Sensor system with REL-20 modules. This allows me to power on and off the circuits through DMX. However, if they just set "dimmer" modules to non-dim, then yes, you could have an issue.
     
  4. theILLUMINATEDfrog

    theILLUMINATEDfrog Member

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    Location:
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    i use a VirtuosoDX by PRG .... I went through my normal startup routine, armed all the instruments, and began to investigate the patch (since it is random compared to the organzation I prefer to keep things in) -- Under my Patch screen there is a "dimmer check" menu/function area where you select the dimmer in one box, the intensity in the next, and there are +/- buttons to scroll through the dimmers one by one (same process as most other boards I'm familiar with. The conventionals responded as they should and matched the paper work I have put together, but I was thrown off when my VL1000TS also responded and came on at full when I "checked" subsequent dimmers.
     
  5. Sparkinium

    Sparkinium Member

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    Location:
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    If you managed to get your moving light to do anything, it is probably connected probably. Since moving head lights require 100% power all the time, having them on a non-dim or a constant module is the only way you should be able to get anything out of them. Therefore, having it come up to me means that it is at least largely hooked up correctly. The "dimmer" you found on your board was actually the DMX channel assigned to the moving head instrument. I think if you move up in DMX channels, you'll find the next few correspond to the other features of your moving head light.

    If it's unreliable, I think that's more of your problem. This could be any number of problems, from your light, to the cable, to DMX termination, to the board. Can we get a little more information? Is anything else unreliable?

    Hope I helped.
     
  6. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    If it's a VL1000TS and not a VL1000TSD (D stands for Dimmer), it does not have a dimmer inside and instead has a separate plug for a dimmer to be connected from your system. This means that the fixture probably receives constant power from somewhere else but is plugged in to one of your system's dimmers. VL1000TS fixtures have to be patched in two parts - one being the fixture itself and the other being the remote dimmer which is part of your regular dimming system.
     
  7. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Occupation:
    Freelance Electrician/Rigger
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Your VL1000TS is still connected to your board via DMX and it takes up dimmer channels. I'm not sure if the VL1000TS has a built in Dimmer or is it has 2 plugs on it with one for fixture power which and one for lamp power that gets plugged into one of your house dimmers and controls the lamp intensity. Ether way, one of the DMX channels will control your fixtures lamp intensity and it's most likely your fixture is plugged in to constant power and not a dimmer and it's probably being controled by DMX. If you go through the DMX Channels nearby the intensity channel you should also see the fixture to other functions such as move or change the shutters.
     
  8. theatre4jc

    theatre4jc Active Member

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    Location:
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    Hey brother I'm in the same position as you. Got a gig at a large church and walked into a jumbled mess. All of my non 220 units are on relays through the ETC dimmer system. No schedules, no nothing. Been here a month and have yet to get it even close to fixed right. Each week I completely rehang/patch/etc a different section of the stage. Sadly I don't have an answer for you but this may help.

    I was told that some Robe color washes that we have keep blowing fuses. Went to look how they were getting power and it seems someone changed the relay's for dimming units. Now I get to fix the broken units. I am now taking ALL intelligent fixtures and putting them on house power and not connecting them to the dimmer system, just in case someone tries to "help out" and screws me over. The problem is one of my volunteers knows how to design and run a show wonderfully but doesn't look or thing before he starts playing around with dimmer modules.

    So my advice pull any automated fixtures from dimmer power.
     
  9. RonaldBeal

    RonaldBeal Active Member

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    Location:
    TN
    >>"I am aware that moving heads should absolutely not be connected to dimmers and I ASSUMED it was installed properly. However, when I was doing a dimmer check, the moving heads responded (shone at full) .... this means they're connected to those corresponding dimmers"<<
    A VL1000T uses external dimming (your dimmer rack)for its lamp, and probably receives power to tun the motors from another source. The lamp MUST be run from dimmers, however the power supply for the fixture should NOT, and probably isn't, given the level of install.

    On the Virt, go to the patch window, (command+t, or command+k...or you can pull it down from the dropdown menus.... it's been a while) and look for the vl1000's, you will find their intensity patched in your dimmer range, and the pan/tilt (and the rest of the fixture) patched somewhere else (maybe on another DMX universe altogether!)

    Also You may want to contact PRG Dallas, and ask for Marion Hall, he may know who installed your system (he may have even done some of it himself.)

    Hope this helps,...
    RB
     

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