#### Stevens R. Miller

##### Well-Known Member
I have returned with another of my vague and bumbling questions.

This time, I am in a theater with an ETC ColorSource 40 desk, and lots of Chauvet LEDs. I'm not sure of the model, but hanging in the house are four ellipsoidal LEDs that provide the main fill light for the stage. When I program a cue on the CS40 and follow that with another cue, the crossfade I expect is usually what I get.

Except that, some of the time (mabye when an instrument is changing color from one cue to the next?), my ellipsoidals will begin to fade to black and, about half-way through the fade, suddenly just black out completely.

Manipulating their individual faders confirms that they have no problem operating in the low end of their range of values. In fact, they often do fade smoothly down to black in most other cross-fades in my cue stack. Just some of the time, for no obvious reason, they interrupt their smooth fade-outs with sudden black-outs.

The CS40 is a bit mysterious to me. Unlike other ETC devices, like the Ion or Element, one's ability to edit the cue stack's individual cues seems a bit limited. There is no "tombstone" display where you can see (much less adjust) the intensity of an individual channel. The only option is to edit the cue live, on stage, by eye. There are separate "In," "Out," and "Wait" times for each cue (all of which are 1, 1, and 0, respectively).

I know that's hardly enough info to diagnose my problem with, but can anyone suggest things I might look into in order to find out why this is happening? Are there per-instrument settings that might be relevant? Anything particular to the CS40 I ought to investigate?

Thanks for any guidance.

#### Amiers

##### Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
Are the cues always when it is doing a color change? Or is it truly random.

#### Stevens R. Miller

##### Well-Known Member
I will try to get to rehearsal early today and nail that down. I may also have been wrong that all of my in/out times are one second. Some of the in times are longer.

The Colorsource is not well documented. The owner's manual actually does not say what the in-time and out-time settings do. On the Ion, I believe, the in-time controls the duration of the cross-fade, while the out-time governs how long it takes for any channels what are fading from a higher to a lower value to fade down. If I've got that right, maybe that's so the incoming cue can "get rid of" the outgoing cue's lights that aren't part of the new cue more quickly. I've always been a little vague about how to apply two different times to the same cross-fade.

Any tests or experiments you think I ought to run while I've got the equipment to myself tonight?

#### Blacksheep0317

##### Active Member
Is there perhaps a custom curve for LED fixtures by someone trying to stop them from popping, and it carried into your programming for all channels in that stack?

#### Amiers

##### Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
https://cdn.etcconnect.com/ColorSourceConsole_v1.1.1_UserManual_RevA.pdf

Just in case you didn’t have the most current one.

As far as a test just run your cues and see if the ins and outs are conflicting.

You already confirmed that they work so you prolly just missed something while programming. It happens.

Shooting from the hip did you use lamp off param in the incoming cues and when it finishes its time before the other cross faded it goes black. Left field.

It’s hard to help not in front of it the best I can do for ya.

#### Stevens R. Miller

##### Well-Known Member
I have some better info.

I created four cues that work like this:

Cue 111.0 sets instruments 1, 2, 3, and 4 to about 30%.
Cue 112.0 sets instruments 1, 2, 3, and 4, to 0%.
Cue 113.0 sets instruments 1, 2, 3, and 4 to about 30%.
Cue 114.0 sets instruments 1, 2, 3, and 4 to 1%.

All cues have In, Out, and Wait times of 1.0, 1.0, and 0.0 seconds.

During the fade-out from 111 to 112, about half-way through the fade, all instruments suddenly go black.

During the fade-out from 113 to 114, the fade is continuous with no sudden changes.

So, the problem appears when fading from some non-black intensity to OUT, but does not appear when fading from some non-black intensity to just-above-OUT.

I exported the show file and looked at the JSON data. It's a bit cryptic, but one can see two things pretty clearly:

1. Cue 112 does not explicitly set a level for the four instruments. Rather, it appears that they are implicitly going to OUT by virtue of not being included in the cue, whereas the are included (with a DMX level of 3) in Cue 114.

2. There are a ton of parameters of some kind being set for the instruments in Cue 113 that are not set for the those same instruments in Cue 111.

Now, I pulled these four cues out of a bigger stack. That might have something to do with why 113 sets a lot of parameters that are not being set in 111. Regardless, it is now reproducible behavior that my lights jump right to black at mid-fade if they are going from "on" to "off," but they work as expected if they are going from "on" to "almost off."

I am always reluctant to blame my tools, so I am not going to draw the absolute conclusion that this is a problem in the ColorSource. However, ETC does seem to be still in the process of providing software updates for it (and that is a very good thing!). So, I am going to at least allow for the possibility that this is a bug in the device. If any of our ETC friends are reading this and can comment, that would be great.

Any other thoughts on what I might try? I can reprogram my stack so any fade-to-black gets replaced by fade-to-1% with a wait of 0.1 and then a fade to OUT, but that's awfully tedious.

In the patch listing, these instruments are listed as "ETC ColorSrc SPOT Direct." Everything else is some kind of Chauvet LED par can. I am not seeing this jump-to-black on any other instruments. I suppose I should program a truly bare-bones set of cues for one light that shows the problem, one that does not show it, and then export the JSON for those cues and see if that tells me anything.

The fragment of JSON for the four cues described above is included here.

Any ideas?

Code:
                {
"content": {
"includeFlags": 5,
"levels": [
{
"b": 229,
"channel": 0,
"g": 244,
"level": 88,
"r": 255
},
{
"b": 229,
"channel": 1,
"g": 242,
"level": 95,
"r": 255
},
{
"b": 230,
"channel": 2,
"g": 243,
"level": 100,
"r": 255
},
{
"b": 229,
"channel": 3,
"g": 242,
"level": 98,
"r": 255
}
],
"ltpParameters": [
{
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"is16Bit": false,
"parameter": 31,
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{
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{
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"value": 0
},
{
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"is16Bit": false,
"parameter": 31,
"value": 0
}
]
},
"cue": 1110,
"downTime": 10,
"flag": false,
"text": "",
"upTime": 10,
"waitTime": 0
},
{
"content": {
"includeFlags": 0,
"levels": [
],
"ltpParameters": [
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},
"cue": 1120,
"downTime": 10,
"flag": false,
"text": "",
"upTime": 10,
"waitTime": 0
},
{
"content": {
"includeFlags": 7,
"levels": [
{
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"channel": 0,
"g": 244,
"level": 88,
"r": 255
},
{
"b": 229,
"channel": 1,
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"level": 95,
"r": 255
},
{
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"channel": 2,
"g": 243,
"level": 100,
"r": 255
},
{
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"level": 98,
"r": 255
}
],
"ltpParameters": [
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{
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{
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{
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{
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{
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{
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"is16Bit": false,
"parameter": 31,
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{
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"is16Bit": false,
"parameter": 32,
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{
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"is16Bit": false,
"parameter": 33,
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{
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"parameter": 34,
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{
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"parameter": 35,
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]
},
"cue": 1130,
"downTime": 10,
"flag": false,
"text": "",
"upTime": 10,
"waitTime": 0
},
{
"content": {
"includeFlags": 5,
"levels": [
{
"b": 255,
"channel": 0,
"g": 255,
"level": 3,
"r": 255
},
{
"b": 255,
"channel": 1,
"g": 255,
"level": 3,
"r": 255
},
{
"b": 255,
"channel": 2,
"g": 255,
"level": 3,
"r": 255
},
{
"b": 255,
"channel": 3,
"g": 255,
"level": 3,
"r": 255
}
],
"ltpParameters": [
{
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"value": 0
},
{
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"is16Bit": false,
"parameter": 31,
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},
{
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"parameter": 31,
"value": 0
},
{
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"is16Bit": false,
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}
]
},
"cue": 1140,
"downTime": 10,
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"text": "",
"upTime": 10,
"waitTime": 0
}

##### Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
All your information is about the console and none is about the "Chauvet LED par can" yet the issue being reported is manifesting only in the "Chauvet LED par can". It sure would be swell to be able to look at the DMX map for the "Chauvet LED par can" to see if there's something in its profile that might behave like a blackout when some value on some channel is at a certain value. Maybe it's a console/fixture profile mismatch, or the color values going to zero or a virtual intensity channel, or a strobe mode, or... There's just no way to know with only one side of the story.

Last edited:

#### Amiers

##### Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
I agree it sounds like you are sending some information to the fixtures that is causing it.

Since you established that it can fade manually.

Save your stack and burn it and create a whole new show/patch and start from scratch.

#### BizmanUSA

##### Member
I agree with sk8rsdad, it might be a console/instrument profile mismatch. BTW, what software version are you running on the ColorSource console? Just yesterday (1-16-18) ETC released version 1.1.4. I do not know if this will correct your issue but having the latest and greatest will avoid having to deal with a possible similar situation when you do upgrade.

You have obviously done an extensive investigation into this issue. Might I suggest that you contact the infamous ETC Tech Services (TS) support team at 800-688-4116. They are available 24/7 and being the Best of the Best are more than willing to assist you. In reading this thread, I would suggest that you call between the 9am-5pm (Central Time) hours M-F.

I say this as TS will actually try to reproduce your issue (if possible) with a ColorSource console right in front of them while you are on the phone! I would briefly explain your problem and offer to send them your results that you have discovered, possibly this entire thread as a reference. You have provided an admirable explanation of your issue along with the other assisting replies.

I have been selling, servicing and working with ETC products for more than 30 years and they have yet to let me down!

I look forward to reading what the ultimate resolution turns out to be.

#### Stevens R. Miller

##### Well-Known Member
I agree with sk8rsdad, it might be a console/instrument profile mismatch.

Sure, that's a possibility (btw, the issue is NOT with the Chauvet pars; it's with the "ETC ColorSrc SPOT Direct" instruments.)

what software version are you running on the ColorSource console? Just yesterday (1-16-18) ETC released version 1.1.4.

According to the JSON file, I'm on 1.1.3.9.0.6 so, sure, an upgrade would be a good idea. I'll look for any release notes when I get it. Maybe this issue is in there?

You have obviously done an extensive investigation into this issue. Might I suggest that you contact the infamous ETC Tech Services (TS) support team at 800-688-4116.

Thanks! I will call and post back what I learn.

#### Stevens R. Miller

##### Well-Known Member
Okay, just spoke to Alex at ETC tech support. He did ask for a copy of my show file and says he can have a look at it later today. That surely is some speedy response. I'll post what I get back.

#### Amiers

##### Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
15 mins or less or you get a steak dinner from Fred himself.

#### TheaterEd

##### Renaissance Man
Fight Leukemia
Does the problem persist on longer cues?
It sounds to me like cue 112 might be 'pre-setting' the fixtures in question so that they are 'in position' for cue 113. So about halfway through the transition cue 112 takes precedence over cue 111 and sets the lights to 0 to get them ready for the next cue. The CS doesn't do a great job of differentiating between a static LED and a moving light or color scroller.

#### Stevens R. Miller

##### Well-Known Member
Well, ETC says they tried my show file on their CS and couldn't duplicate the problem. I am able to reproduce it myself, and it is consistent. All I need to do is have one of the ColorSrc SPOT lights set to a level above zero, then fade it to black in the next cue. It always cuts off suddenly before the cross-fade completes. If I have it fade to 1%, things work fine (so I can use that as a workaround, for now).

ETC suggested "deep-clearing" the board, which actually sounds like a good idea to me. Waiting to hear back from them about what that means, exactly. (I did load the latest firmware, too. Makes no difference.)

#### Stevens R. Miller

##### Well-Known Member
Does the problem persist on longer cues?
It sounds to me like cue 112 might be 'pre-setting' the fixtures in question so that they are 'in position' for cue 113. So about halfway through the transition cue 112 takes precedence over cue 111 and sets the lights to 0 to get them ready for the next cue. The CS doesn't do a great job of differentiating between a static LED and a moving light or color scroller.

That certainly sounds feasible. This board tends to do a lot of odd things on its own initiative. For example, we have to moving lights that I use in the current show, but I never move them. Two nights back, as I was adding cues, one of them suddently came on and swing back to its "home" position, even though it wasn't even in the cue. I simply deleted that cue and stored a new version. Problem went away. Last night, several lights that we never use at all (they are work lights) suddenly joined themselves into a cue (which, being work lights, they had never been in). I used the keyboard and set them all to zero, and re-saved the cue. Problem went away.

On the display, there are three columns under "Content," in the cue list. These can show, from lett to right, a starburst, the letters X/Y, and a spotlight. Most of my cues show the starburst and spotlight. I haven't been able to find any info what those mean. Every so often, a cue will also show the X/Y symbol. Not only do I not know what that means, the symbol often goes away after a while, for no apparent reason.

I love ETC products, particularly the Ion and Element boards. One reason is that, although somewhat dense, they come with good documentation. I am not so pleased with the documentation that comes with the ColorSource 20/40 products. There ought to be at least some explanation of what the on-screen symbols mean.

#### TheaterEd

##### Renaissance Man
Fight Leukemia
can you try it with the next two cues not using the fixtures? Like add a 112.5 that is the same as 112 and see if the issue persists. Obviously this isn't a solution, but might help diagnose the problem.

starburst and spotlight.

Yeah, it doesn't appear in the manual, but my guess is that they indicate what parameters other than intensity are recorded in that cue. Starburst is likely color, and spotlight I'm guessing is beam (movement, zoom, etc) No clue on X/Y but when you record cues you can record things like just the position of a mover and not the color which could come in handy for busking.

#### tarnation

##### Member
I have encountered similar strange behaviors, none exactly like this.

My working theory is that whatever database system the Colorsource uses tends to send batch parameter instructions when the colorsource doesn't think the instrument will actually use them. Perhaps to zero the unit in case you run multiple cues. So for your case, a blackout cue involves an intensity fade over the indicated time and then alongside that, the parameters are zeroed out.

This seems to be done as much to limit functionality of the board as for actual programming utility. The example I keep coming back to is a 4-channel dimmer pack that should be able to be programmed as a 4-parameter fixture: but this will not work because the Intensity parameter is treated differently than generic parameters.

On a cheap fixture, where .1% is a combination of "saturation" and "intensity", this creates early blackouts. As you describe, you either have to compromise on what the minimum brightness is or have uneven blackouts across fixtures.

My last experience with the Colorsource was over the summer and I could not get the board to export consistent DMX instructions over all parameters in timed fades. Intensity and color are generally consistent, as are move instructions to actual moving lights. Anything else you can "hack" it to achieve repeatable results but there clearly is some kind of internal processing, the board does not continuously transmit data across all 512 channels like an Express. Instead it sends move instructions and so especially with longer fades and unsupported fixtures the results are kinda random.

Just recently I talked with a friend, the Colorsource keeps creating cues and reverting to changes despite their best efforts. So maybe the database side of things is wonky on the board too.

My guess is that ETC "we can't replicate" means that when they run your file, it isn't creating blackout values. Whether they have your actual lights is uncertain. "Jane, get the 2013 Chauvet LED out so we can check this!" "Okay Susan, I'll bring all three firmware profiles from that year too." They will try to blame the light because it's company policy that the Colorsourced batch dmx export is indistinguishable from genuine 512 channel control. They're not entirely wrong but that's cold comfort if your light just doesn't communicate.

Starting to get dismayed by this market, sure a 1kW fresnel "only" lasted five years with heavy use but at the end of those five years a base replacement creates essentially a new fixture. Even without any maintenance a 25-year-old fresnel looks about the same, it just arcs out quickly. The glass doesn't change. Looking like drop-in upgrades are still out-competing purpose-built LEDs on longevity and utility. Otherwise, LEDs firmware and fading diodes seem far less replaceable. You can't create profiles for many legacy instruments on the Colorsource because only color and intensity are given solid DMX fades and all the parameters have software processing.