Scrollers (Apollo, Wybron, etc)?


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I'm in a new space with limited instruments and limited budget (so what's new?). I was thinking that I'd wait for LED's to become a bit more practical, but that's looking like a year or two away (I've got a couple of pixelpars, but they're not yet ready for prime time, mostly because of color matching issues). I'd considered investing in fewer CMY type devices (Colorcommands, SeaChangers, Nexera's), but cost keeps me away (if colorcommands had a wider beam and less noise I'd go with them, but they don't so I'm not). So, I think it's scroller time. I hate gel strings and I like CMY coloring options (most of the time), but at least scrollers can be used on a variety of instruments instead of a limited number.

I'm leaning towards Apollo which seems like the preferred scroller on here and costs less. How do these compare to Wybron and others? Noise? Longevity?

Apollo scrollers can be as loud as any other, but it properly configed and tensioned they are nearly silent. They are built well and the stock theatre string is actually pretty decent. I have yet to have any real gripes about them.
I don't know how miniscule your budget is, but Wybron has some nifty color mixing scrollers-two gel strings in each scroller-so you can mix colors. May be a mid-ground to what want and what is practical.

They can, though, be loud if you need to run both scrolls on your entire wash. If you can get over the noise, their good.
Wybron CXi scrollers will give two strings of gels, I've seen these units used and they're pretty cool. To quote the LD, "There's so many colors! I don't know exactly what to pick! There's shades of this, and tints of that, and all sorts of combinations!" It was for an outdoor music event though, so I really couldn't give you any info on the noise that they make.
we have some 3 string mixers called M-Faders I think, they go full cmy mixing with gels.
One thing to keep in mind when you go with the multiple string scrollers is that you start losing output each time you shoot through a medium. Your best bet if you are trying to get the most out of your light is to go with a single scroll and put together a well thought out gel string. And also keep in mind that a new string runs about 30 bux, so in reality it is much cheaper to go with single string scrollers then multiple.
I've had a chance to work with the Apollo scrollers a couple of times. Just had 10 in my theatre last week. They are cheap & work well. Set the fan speed carefully, though; 10 running with the fans at 100% are really loud in a theatre.

If you want color mixing, watch out for new product announcements from Apollo at LDI. One of their people told me at last year's LDI that they were working on a color mixing scroller. I called to check on the progress after the first of the year & was told it was still in development. They may not ever release it, but it might be worth waiting a few weeks to see if anything comes out.
If this venue is relatively new and you can some how dig out a decent sized lighting budget and you use ETC Source Four Ellipsoidals as your standard fixture, I believe the Seachanger color engine might be worth a try. The cost per Seachanger is around 1500 dollars but you get great strong colors or even light tints like R-02/R-60 from the Dichroic mixer of a seachanger. The color changer basically slides itself into the source four at the gate and the lenstube just slides on the end of the seachanger while keeping the photometric range of that specific fixture. The color mixing engine is known as CMYxG. This is hexachromic mixing which allows for an almost unlimited range of colors. The Sea changer needs something between 8 and 16 channels to run and is very quite since it doesn't need a fan.
For inexpensive scrollers i would recommend the Apollo SmartColor. I was also buying new scrollers this year and these are great. I had the Chroma-Q in my inventory (distributed in the US by ACT Lighting). The Chroma-Q runs around the same price point as the SmatColor, but the Smartcolor is a far superior unit. The SmartColor runs really quiet, end to end scrolling at top speed is barely audible from 27' below the units. If the fans are too lound you have selectable fan speeds or you can control them 0-100% if you put the scrollers in two channel mode.

Wybron does make great equipment, but it comes at quite a high price tag. I have used both CXIs and ColoRam IIs from Wybron, and frankly, I can't really tell what make the thousand dollar ColoRam better than the $400 SmartColor. One other thing to consider about Wybron equipment is that only the Forerunner series uses the same 4-pin XLR pinout as other scrolelrs and 4-pin accessories. The high end Wybron equipment uses a different pinout on the same 4-pin connectors thus meaning you need specific power supplies and you can't run other 4-pin DMX accessories on the same PSU.
Thanks, and thanks to everyone that answered. I was going to start a similar thread, as I got a rental order in for 4 scrollers for the summer and was trying to decide on which ones to go with. I currently don't stock scrollers, but when I can guarantee 6-8 rentals of anything, I will buy it. I am very happy with Apollo's new rotators, and have used their scrollers a time or two, but hadn't really had too much hands on time with them (most everyone is using wybron units). They cost so much less that I was a little hesitant, but for outdoor concerts, I figured that they were probably going to get destroyed before the end of the summer anyways.
<The Chroma-Q runs around the same price point as the SmatColor, but the Smartcolor is a far superior unit. The SmartColor runs really quiet, end to end scrolling at top speed is barely audible from 27' below the units. If the fans are too lound you have selectable fan speeds or you can control them 0-100% if you put the scrollers in two channel mode.>

When you consider the standard mounting plate, Apollo Gel Shield*, and safety cable built into the price as opposed to being sold seperately- the price is not that close. Oh, and gelstrings are free when 6 or more are purchased....
I just ordered 6 of the Apollo SmartColors this morning, and HOPE****HOPE****HOPE to have them by this weekend. I talked to the guy that services them and there is one problem...most scrollers have one motor that turns the scroll, and a rubber band/gear mechanism that turns the other side. The SmartColors uses two motors, one for each side. This sounds good, and it has it's advantages, but when it is windy, the gel scroll gets pushed in as there is nothing to hold it tight and keep it from slipping. It is ok if the colors are changed a lot (a lot of movement), but it can create problems if it is in the same position for several minutes. For indoor use, not a problem!

I borrowed one and played with it, and it is really a nice unit. I ordered the 7.25" units and already have a rental this weekend for them.
I would like to check with the appropriate salesperson here at Apollo to check about your 6 SmartColors shipping today, as this is a daily activity for us.

The dual motors used for tensioning work together and also against each other as the need dictates, to keep constant tension on the string. My first thought regarding the wind would be more for the trussing/fixtures than the scrollers, as it would take a fair bit of wind to affect the tensioning.
I have not seen the problem with the tension, or the lack there of. It was described to me by the owner of a rental shop in town and a repair technician. I will be using these this weekend, as well as for an upcoming run of a show, and will report back about them with pictures.

I will private message you with details of the order and if you can check on it, that would be GREAT. This was a last minute decision to order these so quickly, so they will be going directly from the box to the fixtures that will already be hung. With limited power, 1 S4 par with a scroller will take the place of 4 or 5 Par 64's, and will be brighter and more versatile. That makes me happy.

Also, what power supplies are people using for these (obviously apollo) but which model and what are the pros/cons of them? I am renting them from the guy that I am buying the scrollers from to try them out before I buy.
As far as PSUs go. When I bought my new SmartColors I bought a SmartPower 150 for every 4 units. But it really depends on what you need and how much cable you want to run. If you have a lot of scrollers in one position then a high wattage PSU may be more efficient. I opt to put a PSU on each position with scrollers as opposed to running tons of scroller cable. Also, since I had Chroma-Qs in inventory with PSUs I didn't need to get too many PSUs with the SmartColors since they can run on the CQ PSU.
The six Apollo Smart Colors are due to be delivered to your location Friday, June 1st. The Rock n' roll gelstrings will be installed and ready to be hung on your S4 PAR fixtures, as the mounting plates are of the 7 1/2 inch variety. I would enjoy hearing your personal evaluation of the scrollers and viewing the pictures. As you mentioned in your previous post- when in-theater power is limited, color scrollers will allow the designer to maintain and pursue the effect sought after. Again- I look forward to your review!

There is sound reasoning in keeping scrollers and PSU's together within positions/regions of the venue. Four-pin cable is durable and readily available, but excessive cable runs can rob power and become a spaghetti bowl of black wire if not managed correctly. We advise not more than 5 Smart Colors on each Apollo 150W PSU, 8 Smart Colors on each 250W PSU, and 12 Smart Colors on each 400W PSU.
Similar power/data configurations for color scrollers include the Apollo Smart Color, Apollo Spectra Q range, Chroma Q, Rainbow, and Wybron Forerunner.

Lastly- the Apollo PSU has thermal overload protection that will turn off the PSU in a power overload or lightning strike situation. The unit will restart when cooled, with no worry of replacing blown fuses. Each data output on the Smart Power PSU's are buffered to retain clean DMX data packets. When several PSU's are daisy chained together (with 5 pin DMX cable) for numerous scroller positions, each PSU will deliver squeaky-clean data.

(And by the way, all Smart Color scrollers are now available in white also...)
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Hey Kelite, our school has 12 Apollo Smart Colr 7.25" scrollers and 1 PSU300 that power all 12. Some where along the line, (counting from SL to SR) scroller number 8, 10, and 12 seem to malfunction if all 12 scrollers are asked to change colors at the highest speed. The 12 scrollers are daisy chained in sets of 6. The problem is as follows. Say you bring the color changing fader of the scroller to 55 percent or capture a channel at 55 percent. the three scrollers (8, 10, and 12) will scroll to the color, scroll past it to full, scroll back to clear, and then scroll to the color and stop. This process of waiting for these 3 scrollers to match up with the rest takes 20 seconds. I have already tried to resolve this problem by cleaning the scrollers optical sensors, but this did not correct the problem. Do you have any idea what the problem may be with the scrollers?
<Do you have any idea what the problem may be with the scrollers?>

Yes I do,

The Apollo 300W PSU was developed to provide power to 12 Smart Color scrollers, under the notion that the Apollo Gel Shield* was retained within the scroller to provide thermal protection to the gel string. When the scrollers are set with DIP switch #4 in the 'Quiet' mode (UP position) the PSU provides power sufficient for all.
I would strongly suggest resetting the scrollers to their factory default setting by;
Setting the rotary switches to '909'
Press TEST
Reset original DMX address
Press TEST

Again, when the scrollers are set at 'Quiet' mode for fan speed, the power needs are greatly reduced. The newer Smart Color scrollers have a DMX control fan speed from the console, but as you've pointed out using a PSU 300W, I am assuming these are a few years old.

I would be pleased to assist you if these tips aren't very clear, and welcome your call at (800)288-4626 (800 CUT GOBO) and kindly ask for me, Keith.

That would be correct.

We can double check this by dropping the fan speed to LOW on the scrollers OR removing 1-2 scrollers from the circuit temporarily. Disconnect the PSU, then re-apply power. You should see a difference in the performance of the scrollers circuit.

Clear as mud?

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