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Control/Dimming Strand 520i failure

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Sayen, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    I have a 520i that's maybe 10 years old, and was at the school prior to my arrival (so no one thought to keep documentation or purchasing information). It worked fine for a while, and then while we were under construction it sat in a road case for a year. Now when I boot it up, it takes forever to boot (if it boots), and usually wants me to hit a key acknowledging an error, although it won't say what the error is.

    Once booted, none of the faders, keypads, or soft keys work, although attaching a keyboard and using key commands will trigger a response from the dimmers. The only other symptom I've noticed is the system clock seems to reset frequently.

    I did manage to update the firmware.

    District vendors for Strand are going to charge $200 just to look at it to find the problem, and that's before repairs. Is there anything I can do on my own? Any advice? I'm good with computers and electronics, but I've never pried apart a light console before.



    Unrelated, and because I feel like I'm starting too many threads - anyone know of a company that makes liquid gobos? I thought I saw one in use many years ago, and as it rotated slowly you could see bubbles moving through the liquid, sort of lava-lamp ish. I can't find anything like this on major manufacturer websites.

    Thanks,
     
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Note, this is not for the faint of heart (and having some DOS knowledge helps).

    I would suggest booting up in DOS mode and running the 220clean program. This utility checks the OS files and cleans up extraneous information. It can also wipe show files which may be good if you have any that are corrupt. To boot into DOS you have to have a regular keyboard connected, and you hit control-break when you see the strand splash screen. You should get a DOS prompt, and you should be able to just type "220clean" followed by enter to run the utility. I cant remember the shutdown command (though it may be "shutdown"), but then try rebooting and see if that helps. I'll keep thinking about other things to try and get back to you.
     
  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I'm not very knowledgeable about Strand consoles made after 1992, but this symptom to me would indicate the replacement of the PRAM battery may be warranted.
     
  4. Raktor

    Raktor Active Member

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    Should be a CR2032 battery.
     
  5. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Something else you can try in addition to the other ideas here, is to open the board up and clean the electronics. First dust it with a can of compressed air, then shoot it with some electronic cleaner.
     
  6. pmgpriebe

    pmgpriebe Member

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    Everyone has their own method of cleaning the insides of fixtures/consoles/etc.. Even though I used this method for some time, we had a gentleman in here servicing our gear that use to do component repair on battleships for 30+ years. A very nice older gentleman that eventually decided to retire with the stock he has been purchasing and saving for some time. He saw me do that with our compressor once and asked me if I realized what I was doing. I didn't understand at first, but then he said, "Where are you blowing all that dust?". I told him away/out of the fixture. He talked to me briefly about the small crevices and cracks that are on circuit boards and mentioned that a decent amount of that dust is blowing into places your not going to be able to get it out of. He mentioned to me that if his superior on the ships would have saw him do that, he would be in for some extra (involuntary) work. So from that point on I decided to take our shop vac and suck them out as best as I could. And then even sometimes after that I will still blow it out, lol. But! None the less, he made a valid point to me and I suck as much of it out as I possibly can before attempting to blow it out.

    Just remember, to each their own! It might not even be that big of a deal to most, it just made sense to me and it has stuck with me the past 2-3 years.
     
  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    We've discussed, regarding dimmer cleaning, that it's better to suck than to blow.:oops: Taking the hose of a ShopVac to the inside of any computer is a bad idea. There are inexpensive, anti-static computer vacuums specific to the purpose.

    I think dousing the inside of a console with "electronics cleaner" is also a bad idea.
     
  8. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    You may be right about that derek. That's why, as I forgot to mention in my earlier reply, that I only use the electronic cleaner when I'm having a problem. It is most definitely not a part of my routine maintenance on my lighting systems. I have had good results when using a combination of the two.
     
  9. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    The battery was my suspicion, although the supposed expert I had out last year didn't notice that. I thought I should ask here before diving into a board that costs more than me (in school district terms).

    This poor board was also left exposed in the room when they decided one night to paint the ceiling black, so who knows what that did to the insides. There was a lovely fine black grit over the surface of the console.

    I'll report back with my findings.
     
  10. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    Well we USED to have a Strand 430 as primary in the blackbox (also 2nd for the main auditorium, and we had a 200 as back up for the black box.)-- unfortunatly, one of our rather stupid-to-say-the-least techs decided to crush altoids on it. (He thought he could get high off altoids-- didn't work and he was coughing for days) Because of that we lost several sliders. Then the basic drama kids decided to neglect the shutdown procedure-- always. Then it crashed. Funny how the drama teacher who hadn't cared about what his classes were doing suddenly cared a lot when it crashed. "I tried to make them do it right, they just didn't listen" It's still on the floor in the light room-- quite sad.
     
  11. RichMoore

    RichMoore Member

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    I think that Alex and Derek are spot on with your fix. I have had to run the 220clean on my 520i and it does clean up the files.

    I would first go through the Dos process with the 220clean program and eliminate all of the junk that is, no doubt, corrupted and then leave the unit powered up for a while.

    For some reason, Rhonda, the little voice in my head who seldom steers me wrong, is whispering something about the battery may re-charge through the unit and you may not have to open up the unit to replace the battery. Its just a thought, but it is feasible, or is it? I'm always happy to learn.

    Keep us posted,
    Rich
     
  12. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    In laptops this is true that the PRAM battery charges off the main battery or power adapter, but in most desktops this is not true. Usually in a desktop design, and I believe in the 500 series, there is a little lithium battery as Derek said, and they eventually need to be replaced.
     
  13. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Another suggestion, Sayen. Open the board and CAREFULLY re-seat all the ribbon cables or whatever interconnection devices your consoles uses. Or at least give each one some gentle pressure to make sure everything is seated properly.

    A CR2032, really, [user]Raktor[/user]? Happens to be the same battery the SpotDot uses. I buy them for 60ยข each in five-packs. Expressions use a $10 Varta battery, IIRC.
     
  14. Raktor

    Raktor Active Member

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    Just a guess; haven't opened one up. It's what all PCs use, and the Strand is just a glorified PC anyway...

    Easy way for the OP to find out anyway. It involves screwdrivers.
     
  15. phil000

    phil000 Active Member

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    when in doubt: China.
    DealExtreme: $3.67 2032 x 20 pcs Cell Batteries

    I love this site, be aware though, free shipping costs you about two weeks worth of time, also check around for any other battery you could possibly think of, and they have a clamp meter (that works quite well) for 11$.
     
  16. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    It was a CR 2032 battery, $4 at Target. Unfortunately, that failed to fix the problem.

    I ran the 220Clean program, which loaded by default since I've had to hard shut down the board. No luck there either. I did get an error when trying to defrag the hard drive, telling me that 'defrag.hlp' was missing. I wouldn't think that would make a difference, but it sure defraged a 20gig drive quickly.

    Checked cables. Everything inside is actually neat and orderly. I haven't opened up a light console before, but I've pulled apart audio, security consoles, and computers. It's interesting to me that my Innovator 600 only stores one show at a time, while the old Strand console has 20gig storage.

    I'm stumped. Off to an expensive repair ($200 by district vendor just to look at the board and try to diagnose). Thanks for the suggestions though, and if anyone thinks of anything else, give me a holler.
     

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