Strand 2000 patching issues

trehm

Member
Hello!
Complete newbie here, apologies if I'm breaking any rules or conventions with this post, feel free to haze me until I do it right.
Anyway, I have a strand 2000 lighting console, a strand dimmer rack and two lighting trees containing four source four jr ellipsoidal each with dmx packs on each. I have daisy chained from the dimmer rack to each lighting trees then to the console.
My console only controls lighting from each of the trees and some wash lights above.
Some lights always stay on. I attempted to patch these lights to specific channels on the strand 2000 but it doesn't work. I am patching them correctly, dimmer 13 to channel 1 is [email protected]*. It does not work.
My question is is it likely that my xlr cables have a short or are defective somehow?
How can I get my board to control these rogue dimmers?
Thank you for any help you can give. I'm at a loss and I have a show looming beginning Feb 1
 

Gage

Active Member
Az

And that is where my knowledge base hits it's ceiling. I looked it up but I could not tell if the triac was on the desk or the rack.
The triac is a component in the dimmer rack that for all purposes in this discussion... does the dimming. They can fail in either an on or off state, although Its not as common on racks as they are usually pretty robust. Do you know what specific strand rack you have? Pictures would help in this situation.

My question is is it likely that my xlr cables have a short or are defective somehow?
Are you using actual DMX cable? XLR would be a connector, balanced audio cable and DMX data cable are different. Using audio cable can create some funky problems that may look like what you are seeing.

To start go ahead and disconnect all DMX. Run DMX directly to the strand rack from the console, make sure patch is set up for 1:1, etc. Give everything the best possible chance of working without any of the external factors you have added. If this doesn't produce the desired outcome, then its most likely something to do with the rack, or anything that may have control of it (house light control, emergency equipment, etc).

Sorry if this seems very simple, but I don't know what your level of experience may be, and would like to cover all of the bases.
 

trehm

Member
The triac is a component in the dimmer rack that for all purposes in this discussion... does the dimming. They can fail in either an on or off state, although Its not as common on racks as they are usually pretty robust. Do you know what specific strand rack you have? Pictures would help in this situation.


Are you using actual DMX cable? XLR would be a connector, balanced audio cable and DMX data cable are different. Using audio cable can create some funky problems that may look like what you are seeing.

To start go ahead and disconnect all DMX. Run DMX directly to the strand rack from the console, make sure patch is set up for 1:1, etc. Give everything the best possible chance of working without any of the external factors you have added. If this doesn't produce the desired outcome, then its most likely something to do with the rack, or anything that may have control of it (house light control, emergency equipment, etc).

Sorry if this seems very simple, but I don't know what your level of experience may be, and would like to cover all of the bases.
Thank you to all for your help. Please don't feel like you're talking down to me, I am in fact down and need things explained the way you all have been doing and I can't thank you enough. One question: if I go directly from console to the dimmer rack then how do I control the two lighting trees with the console, as it only has one dmx out? I'll take pictures of the rack in a couple of minutes and upload them. Thanks again for all the help and needed tutelage you all are providing.
 

trehm

Member
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Gage

Active Member
One question: if I go directly from console to the dimmer rack then how do I control the two lighting trees with the console, as it only has one dmx out?
The details im going over in the above post are just for troubleshooting purposes. We are essentially removing everything from the loop minus the two core parts we need to test (the lighting console and the dimmer rack). With this method, we can have as few external variables as possible (dimmer packs and associated cable runs).

If the rack still behaves in the same way, then we know the problem has to do with the rack (or possibly the lighting console). If the rack behaves as desired, we can be fairly certain that something with the dimmer packs and/or extra cable run is at fault. If the packs in the trees end up being the problem, we can then take steps to try and pinpoint the exact cause.

I do have a quick additional question: Does anything you do short of cutting power to the rack affect the lights that appear to be stuck on?

I am in fact down and need things explained the way you all have been doing and I can't thank you enough.
We are always happy to help people work through technical issues. I'm glad you have found this helpful so far, I always want to make sure I'm explaining things in a manner that best suits the individual needing help. Even though I could just breeze over everything we are talking about in a few quick sentences, that certainly wouldn't be doing anybody any favors.

EDIT:
I just saw your post with the rack photos (it appears you accidentally dropped it in the wrong thread, no biggie). What I said above still applies until we can confirm or deny the existing cause of the problems. From the pictures, I can see you have two blown power supply fuses (orange neon lights shown in the photo) they are definitely suspect, as well as the large amount of open space where blank modules or other modules should be. Whatever the outcome of troubleshooting is I would highly recommend you bring a professional in to service that rack, its condition worries me. Because of this, I would recommend that you don't go poking around in it if we do figure out that it may be the problem.
 
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trehm

Member
The details im going over in the above post are just for troubleshooting purposes. We are essentially removing everything from the loop minus the two core parts we need to test (the lighting console and the dimmer rack). With this method, we can have as few external variables as possible (dimmer packs and associated cable runs).

If the rack still behaves in the same way, then we know the problem has to do with the rack (or possibly the lighting console). If the rack behaves as desired, we can be fairly certain that something with the dimmer packs and/or extra cable run is at fault. If the packs in the trees end up being the problem, we can then take steps to try and pinpoint the exact cause.

I do have a quick additional question: Does anything you do short of cutting power to the rack affect the lights that appear to be stuck on?


We are always happy to help people work through technical issues. I'm glad you have found this helpful so far, I always want to make sure I'm explaining things in a manner that best suits the individual needing help. Even though I could just breeze over everything we are talking about in a few quick sentences, that certainly wouldn't be doing anybody any favors.

EDIT:
I just saw your post with the rack photos (it appears you accidentally dropped it in the wrong thread, no biggie). What I said above still applies until we can confirm or deny the existing cause of the problems. From the pictures, I can see you have two blown power supply fuses (orange neon lights shown in the photo) they are definitely suspect, as well as the large amount of open space where blank modules or other modules should be. Whatever the outcome of troubleshooting is I would highly recommend you bring a professional in to service that rack, its condition worries me. Because of this, I would recommend that you don't go poking around in it if we do figure out that it may be the problem.
To answer your first question, only killing the breakers gets the lights that always stay on to cut.
As for the dimmer rack yes, it's a disaster. And dangerous. I like teaching but I don't want to die because of it, lol. Feel free to advise. Thank you!
 

Gage

Active Member
To answer your first question, only killing the breakers gets the lights that always stay on to cut.
In that case, I would say it is a problem with the rack itself. At this point, I would inform the necessary people that something is wrong with the rack and it is no longer working, let alone safe. Unfortunately there just isn't much more you can do without getting into the rack, and with the shape it's in I would consider doing so a major liability.

That being said, there are still companies out there that support/modify/make parts for CD80 systems. I believe Strand/Vari-Lite still have an upgrade program as well. Repairs are definitely not out of the question and should be cheaper than a new system. The price won't be insignificant though, and turnaround probably isn't going to be fast enough for your upcoming show.

I would look at Johnson Systems for a start. Very helpful folks that know everything there is to know about that era of strand gear. They make strand-compatible products for cases exactly like yours.
 
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almorton

Well-Known Member
Not being familiar with the CD80 controller, I'm not sure, but it appears to be in programming mode. That instinctively feels wrong to me, but I could be way wide of the mark.
 

trehm

Member
@ more were
Not being familiar with the CD80 controller, I'm not sure, but it appears to be in programming mode. That instinctively feels wrong to me, but I could be way wide of the mark.
Why do you say that you think it is I'm programming mode? What leads you to believe this? Thank you!
 

trehm

Member
In that case, I would say it is a problem with the rack itself. At this point, I would inform the necessary people that something is wrong with the rack and it is no longer working, let alone safe. Unfortunately there just isn't much more you can do without getting into the rack, and with the shape it's in I would consider doing so a major liability.

That being said, there are still companies out there that support/modify/make parts for CD80 systems. I believe Strand/Vari-Lite still have an upgrade program as well. Repairs are definitely not out of the question and should be cheaper than a new system. The price won't be insignificant though, and turnaround probably isn't going to be fast enough for your upcoming show.

I would look at Johnson Systems for a start. Very helpful folks that know everything there is to know about that era of strand gear. They make strand-compatible products for cases exactly like yours.
Thank you, I sent a message to Johnson systems from your link. I hope to hear back from them today.
 

trehm

Member
Thank you all for your advice and your help. Unfortunately I am no closer to solving the problem and I think it's time to face the facts. We just are not able to have a play under these circumstances. Thank you anyway.
 

derekleffew

Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Premium Member
Thank you all for your advice and your help. Unfortunately I am no closer to solving the problem and I think it's time to face the facts. We just are not able to have a play under these circumstances. Thank you anyway.
Sorry for your disillusionment, but I think it premature. Not until you at least have a conversation with @bharrell , who knows more about Strand Controls than just about anyone.

And that dimmer rack with missing modules is a HUGE safety concern. Either the modules need to be replaced, or a plate fashioned and fitted to allow proper air flow and prevent accidental touching.
 

FMEng

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
I've maintained a CD80AE for close to 30 years. Let me summarize what steps to take, in the following order:

1. Turn Program to OFF. It should never be on.
2. Turn OFF the circuit breaker feeding the rack. It will be in another panel somewhere in the building, multi-pole, likely >100 amps. The rack should be lifeless.
3. Replace the two, 0.5 Amps, slow blow fuses in the lit fuse holders. A glowing fuse holder means the fuse is bad.
4. Turn ON the circuit breaker feeding the rack.
5. Test your lights again.

If the fuses blow again, something in the control cage needs servicing.
 
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