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Strand 300 - Operator Error, or Computer Glitch?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Charc, May 24, 2007.

  1. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    So I've been debating posting this for a day or so now, 'cause I don't want ask CB too obscure questions, but here it goes.

    We have a Strand 300 series board. I strolled into the booth Tuesday, and it was unlocked, the board was on, and someone had done set up some rehearsal light for the choir. So I don't think much of this until later that day when none of our channel faders were responding. Submaster faders were okay. Let me clarify the issue we are having when the channel faders. Pulling the fader up and down (if fader is the wrong term, please correct me here 'cause I'll look like a fool saying fader two dozen times.) only brought the intensity from 0-11. I'm not positive but I'm pretty sure that it was scaled, so that when the fader was at 50% the channel was at 5.5% intensity. This is quite weird to me. Well I troubleshot as much as I could. Keypad entries were fine, as aforementioned, submasters were fine, none of the settings on the board, or in the live / patch screens seemed to be touched. Everything seemed okay. None of the typical "scaling percent" numbers were under channel numbers in patch. Nothing I could ascertain. Well at this point I realized that the channels would now fade up to 12, but no higher. Well I didn't figure it out, until I noticed that doing something on the board, changed the maximum of the faders. I know it sounds weird, let me clarify. So If I pulled up the Channel 1 fader, it would max at 11. If I then brought up some submasters, flashed 'em around, bumped some instruments, input commands, the maximum up level changed, usually by one, but not one for every action. So after playing around and doing different stuff for 10 minutes, I got the channels to max out at 19. Well then the drama head comes in, I explain it to her, and she seems to think I messed up the board! Just because I'm a student doesn't mean I'm automatically the one to mess something up! (Teachers here, remember that.) So she messes around with it, comes to the same conclusion I have. The other adult that has a semi-understanding of the board said the same thing, so we've all been sitting around scratching out heads tryin' to figure this one out. Is this an operator error here, or is this a software glitch, or what? If any of this is unclear, please mention it and I'll rephrase it.

    Thanks, Charles.
     
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I can't say that I have experienced your issue directly, but here are some troubleshooting tips that I use with my Strand consoles.

    In your twiddling around with the console did you try rebooting? It is a computer you know, and sometimes rebooting makes all the difference. From here, if your faders still don't work right try loading a different show file, it is possible you have a corrupt one that is messing things up. Check to make sure that your channel faders are not set to be Submasters or something else. This is relatively easy in that when you run up a channel fader the value should come up in a different color on screen than a Sub. Do you have an inhibitive sub set up, or did someone set one up? Those are the top tips I can think of at the moment.

    Now a shameless plug. Get over your channel faders! The lighting gods gave you a keypad for a reason, it is faster and more efficient than hunting for the right channel fader. If other people use the space that is what subs are for, program the light they need to a sub, label it, and tell them not to touch anything else. I think you will find that the more you do in theatre, and the more powerful consoles you sit down at the fewer channel faders they have (if they have any at all). Even if you go back to some of the first computer controlled memory consoles they don't have channel faders. You get used to it.
     
  3. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Trust me, I'm all for keypad entry. I almost exclusively use the keypad. It’s a lot easier for me than, as you mentioned, hunting for the correct fader, and you get so many more commands right at your fingertips. And I do realize that fader control for each instrument (from my understanding) is almost extinct. The problem here is I’m not the dept head. The dept head doesn’t understand half as much as I do about the board. She flipped out on me the other day when I set it to “One Scene Preset” mode. She tried “fixing it” for 10 minutes, succeeding in only messing up the show I programmed by altering cues and having the show run on both go buttons on manual / automatic fade. Conceptually she didn’t understand it. Conceptually she doesn’t understand half of it. That’s why I have to take my time explaining how to do stuff, and how to correctly patch in a “Force Four” (Apparently she never read the name on the side of the instrument.). So if the dept head isn’t happy, and thinks I broke the board; she won’t be very happy with me either.
     
  4. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I have seen this before. There is a time delay on your faders. Let me do some digging and see if I can remember how to fix it...

    ok.. here ya go... see if this does it...

    1 THRU 1000 TIME 0 *

    That should take care of it. Strand has this thing where you can assign fade times to any fader. This is very useful, but can also mess a lot of things up. I have not personally experience this with channel faders, but have seen this on the 500 series subs. This fix should work for ya, if not try a variation of that.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2007
  5. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Hmm. So the time delay function makes faders max out at a certain intensity? Interesting, does it have a useful purpose?
     
  6. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Not max out, slowly fade up. Its why when you first sat down they were at 10% and slowly went up. It could take an hour for the faders to reach their "full" value. Think of it like you would the timing on a cue.
     
  7. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Yea I realized that after I posted it. At first it didn't make sense, then I realized that when we rebooted the unit it kept going back to 1. Say, is the default fade up time 0?

    Edit: Though the fade up was on all faders, not individually, which is kinda weird, 'cause you expect whichever channel is up, to fade up, not all channels.
     
  8. MHSTech

    MHSTech Active Member

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    There's a variable somewhere on the console that sets it, I believe. I don't remember where though. Maybe try re-patching the dimmers?
     
  9. pudgeo2

    pudgeo2 Member

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    If all else fails, go into the patch mode and clear everything on the board. That way everything is set to default, including the fade time to 0
     
  10. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    And by clear everything I assume you mean delete all the channels. That will clear any information associated with a channel. Then have fun repatching.
     
  11. Chaos is Born

    Chaos is Born Active Member

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    Its basically the same thing you would do when you start programing the board for a show. You clear your patch. And start from scratch.
     
  12. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    True enough, but some people do things like "Default Patch" which only reassigns dimmers to default channels.
     
  13. Chaos is Born

    Chaos is Born Active Member

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    If you take a patch that you are patching to some higher number dimmers to lower number channels, and don't have the higher number channels that used to go with the higher number dimmers are still patched together.

    As an electrician i prefer to have a clean patch for my designer to use. Also helps with any changes that need to be made.
     
  14. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    We never re-patch anything here until we have to. Clean patch? Default patch? Pfft.

    I guess we are lazy. We only rehang what we have to.

    Not to say we are lazy but I mean we move from event to event and show to show and we just take what we have, so what works, what needs to be changed, and go from there. It is just the way we do things. *Shrug*

    By the way. Patching dimmers? I've seen this before, I think on Lightwright, where Circuit / Dimmer / Channel are all separate. I don't understand the importance of knowing the dimmer your instrument is running on. Explanation anywhere?

    Edit:
    Wow anyone notice me contradict myself, between the 2nd and 3rd paragraph?
     
  15. Chaos is Born

    Chaos is Born Active Member

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    Ok, Knowing where your lights are plugged in helps quite a bit with troubleshooting. Especially say if your patch is off. If something in the board isn't communicating correctly and you just want to bypass the board you tell it to turn on a certain dimmer. This will turn on that dimmer and tell you if the light is working or if the problem is somewhere in your patch.

    Circuit= Hard Patch cable into Hard patch dimmer (starting to become less frequent of an occurance)

    Dimmer= The hard number on your dimmer racks

    Channel= Soft number assigned to a dimmer on the board
     
  16. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Ok, Patching 101:

    Chances are you system is what is known as a "dimmer per circuit" system. This means that every circuit (numbered plug on your electrics) corresponds directly to the same numbered dimmer. This type of setup is becoming increasingly common as dimming technology become more affordable.

    In your console you can tell any dimmer to be on any channel, i.e. dimmer 1 does not always have to be in channel 1. The "default patch" on a strand console is the same as ETC's "Patch 1-to-1" where each dimmer is patched to the same numbered channel.

    Why is patching important? Lighting designers organize their ideas and systems long before they even draft a plot. The lighting designer may know that for a show they want all their frontlight in amber to be grouped together in the first 15 channels. Then they might want the blue frontlight to be in channels 21-35. This may seem arbitrary, but one of the longtime standards of Strand and ETC consoles is being able to display 20 channels in one row on the display, so by organizing channels like this they fall right on top of one another on the display.

    What does all this mean to you, the electrician? Well, the LD doesn't care where you plug the lights in, just that when they call for channel 1 the right light comes on. So say the LD wants channel one to be the front light for DSL. That light might get plugged into dimmer 50. So you patch dimmer 50 into channel 1 on your console.

    You can put as many dimmer as you want in any given channel, but you can't pt a dimmer in more than one channel. When you use intelligent fixtures or fixture accessories they also require "dimmers" in that you set their DMX address and then you can patch them to channels in the console just like standard dimmers. So, on your strand console if you have a scroller on your backlight PAR cans the scroller may be set to address 213 and the PAR might be in dimmer 27, but the designer wants the lght to be channel 10. I this case you would patch dimmer 27 to channel 10 and dimmer 213 to channel 10.2. Then to bring up the light in a color you would push: 10 [@] [ON] [@ATT] 3, to put the light at full in color 3.

    So the importance is so that you know where each light is connected, and then the designer can call the light by a system that makes sense to them.
     
  17. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the rundown. Yea that sounds familiar, I understood the whole concept of patching, just not the importance of knowing the dimmer. My understanding of our dimming system, I think, is that there is one dimmer per circuit, thusly in our theater we use the the terms circuit / dimmer interchangeably, when using the board. (Though telling some electrician in the catwalks to plug their S4 into dimmer 36 would send them running to the basement.). So when we do any type of work we don't care about dimmers, 'cause they're the same as circuits in our book.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2007
  18. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Ok, now I better understand your question.

    In some theatres each circuit does not connect to it's own dimmer. Every drop on an electric or floor pocket comes out at a hard patch panel. In this situation you need to know what circuits are going to get connected to which dimmers. So, you might plug all of your lights into various circuits and then you would go to the patch panel and you would connect each circuit to a dimmer.

    There are many different types of patch panels. In some cases you have a set of tails that come down with stage pin connectors on them and you plug them into a patch bay that is wired to the dimmers, or in some cases you plug them right into the dimmers themselves. Some patch panels just have the hot lead from each circuit that you connect to a patch bay that corresponds to the dimmers. There are also sliding patch panels where you have a slider for each circuit, and you slide it up to the dimmer you want that circuit in.

    This is why you need to know circuit numbers. In a dimmer-per-circuit system, the dimmer and circuit numbers are the same, so it doesn't matter.
     
  19. pudge02

    pudge02 Member

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    Circuit= Hard Patch cable into Hard patch dimmer (starting to become less frequent of an occurance)
    Dimmer= The hard number on your dimmer racks
    Channel= Soft number assigned to a dimmer on the board[/QUOTE]



    A more Detailed desciption:

    Circuit - The piece of electrical wire running from where you plug your intrument into - to the dimmer.

    Dimmer - The Actual device that give power to you instrument and allows them to be a different levels (there are also non-dims, that only have full on and full off)

    Channel = Soft numberassisnged to a dimmer on the board.
     
  20. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Getting this thread back topic:

    It's doing that thing again?! :evil:

    Edit: Sorry I was taking a cue (final rehearsal!).

    So here is the deal. Channels fade up slowly, like there is an up-fade time of 30 minutes on the GM. What is the deal? I really can't figure it out. I can provide more details, but I don't know what it is pertinent. For example: to the best of my knowledge, no settings have been changed on the board (unless the dept head strolled in here?) I did note that the time faders had no LEDs lighting up for awhile, then a week or two ago, they started illuminating, now they won't illuminate. Additionally, the "green" scene is now active, whereas before it wasn't (single scene mode), though all the channels are on "red" scene.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2008

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