The dimmer rack from hell

I came into the theater early one morning to check for my bag that i left in the theater the night before, when i was setting ques for the one acts. I walked into the control booth and turned on the board. up came the house and the work lights. every thing was fine I then steped out of my home away form home when all the lights went out. They then came on and off and on and off ( get the idea) I run back up to the dimmer rack and the processer is reading a code saying batts low. and some other thing that i now dont remember. ut I called up our local sevice rep and he said he could have it fixed in two weeks. That would not work because i just lost 96 out of 155 channels we have. all of the valuble stuff was in that dimmer rack and i had a show that night. So i pull the processor from rack one (the bad one) and swap it with the processor from rack two. So after a few hours of featr and reprograming i got every thing to work and the show was fantastic. Now you might say welll what was in dimmer rack two. well i say syc and work lights who needs them
Ouch, that really sucks that the rack went totally out on you, but it's good that you got some lights working.

My school's dimmer rack = POS. It's been there since the school's been there (Quite a long time) and it's starting to poop out. There have been many instances where the lights tend to have a mind of their own. (During one concert, in the middle of the national anthem, the house lights decided to come up. And I was not touching the board.) But I guess the dimmer rack is getting replaced next year which is a good thing. (The bad thing is it's getting done when I leave, of course.)
At least you knew what the problem was... at the community theatre- there are 4 Strand CD-80 packs. The fourth one likes to freak us out every Tuesday or Wednesday of show weeks. I can remember once I was slacking off and came in to do my light check half hour before house opens (normaly I am anal about it all and am there 2 hours before hand) and the one set of borders did not work at all. The board was fine, the patch the subs we were running, the dimmer said it was fine- But the entire dimmer wasn't out. Just 3 of the 12. Tried reseting them nothing worked. I ended up running up to the loft to grab a few extra fresnels and hanging them on the same batton as the borders and cableing them over to some ladders hanging on the side and adding them in to the all the cues while the house was filling. That was fun.
Another tme it was dimmer 34 that was out- a FOH leko- which we check the bulb the leads- everything. The rack just seems to like to surprise us right after we get through the first couple shows and think everything is fine.

and the house lights at our high school are messed up too. They randomly decide to ghost at times, which is a pain because then we normaly have to go around to the 5 different obscure places around the auditorium where there are controls to them to reset each switch. (we have never had the problem be the board).
My high school's lighing system is from the early 70's. When i set the radio on the desk and while wearing a radio headset, if i set my hand on the desk and pushed the PPT button on the headset cable all of the lights would turn off. Very interesting. I found this out in the middle of a concert I believe.

really ricc0luke you have cd-80 dimmer racks .... i think they are some of the worst things that have come along in digital dimming. A few of the service people i talked to said this is very common when the units get eight or nine years old.... I really do not care for any strand equipment

No, we have the packs. The rack are permently mounted. We have 4 of the packs, each with 12 dimmers. We were not even lucky enough to get the racks...
I guess we're pretty lucky to not have any of our stage dimmers in racks; rather, they're actually on the battens themselves. They're ET IPS dimmers, for those interested.

Our house dimmers, however, are in a Sensor dimmer rack in a closet, and need to be dusted every so often or the house lights will turn on and off randomly. A little compressed air usually does the trick for a year or two.

Btw, I'm now an Assistant TD here with 200 posts! Yay! :)
teh_sparky said:
(The bad thing is it's getting done when I leave, of course.)

Sounds familiar. Most of our stuff's been dead for ages, I ask for it to be replaced, so what happens? Replace it the year I'm gone. Life sucks! :roll:
I just have to comment that I put 2 24 dimmer ETC sensor racks through dusty hell this summer in a circus tent, and they were great. I cleaned them once halfway through. Never a glitch.

Geoff Ehrendreich
Circus tent, what was going there? That's sound like a potentially interesting story might be in there somewhere.

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