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Unison Death by Degrees

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Chris Chapman, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. Chris Chapman

    Chris Chapman Active Member

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    Occupation:
    Technical Director
    Location:
    Greenville, Michigan, United States
    Anyone else run into problems with ETC Unison Controllers with (of course) flaky power. Recently our Unison Controller won't release control of Dimmers to our Board or our DMXPhone. This has happened twice after the building has lost power momentarily. Emergency power kicks in, and then releases when power is restored. The Unison has to be Hard Booted to release control. ETC doesn't know what to think of this little ditty.

    Cool, huh?

    This system is 11 years old, and has worked almost flawlessly until the last month. The only hiccup we have ever run into is the UPS power system had to be replaced when the battery would no longer hold a charge a couple of years ago. What would happen then is the system would just come down with the Power and have to be manually restarted.

    Ahhh... fun times.
     
  2. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Assuming a rack mounted ER4 Unison processor with a UPS in the rack providing back-up power ?. Do you replace the UPS batteries every year ?. ETC recommends that, as do the UPS companies.

    Can you re-create the problem by un-plugging/plugging the line cord to the UPS ?.

    You may have a bad card somewhere in the ER4, which was our problem to a similar issue. At the time, ETC actually told me to NOT use a UPS on the Unison system, and I refreshed their memory that they recommended (and sold me) the Powerware UPS on the original system install. Bottom line, is that power issues that cause Unison probelms are tough to track down. You can have them send you a loaner ER4 - they pop right in and once you load from disk, you are usually back in business, They can then give the ER4 a look over in the shop.

    Steve B.
     
  3. Malabaristo

    Malabaristo Active Member

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    Location:
    Wisconsin
    There are a couple of things that could be wrong depending on how your system behaves when switching to and from emergency power.

    Is the Unison processor actually loosing power (ie: shutting off/rebooting) when power is transferred? If so, then servicing your UPS is likely the answer.

    When you're unable to control dimmers with the console, does the LCD on the Unison processor say, "Bypass Active"?

    Are you able to control dimmers using the Unison button/fader stations?

    Does this happen every time you lose power?

    Looking back at this, I'm not sure I'm understanding your system layout. Do you have a Unison dimmer rack, or is the Unison processor separate from the dimmers? If it's the latter, what type of dimmers do you have?
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2008
  4. Chris Chapman

    Chris Chapman Active Member

    Messages:
    439
    Likes Received:
    33
    Occupation:
    Technical Director
    Location:
    Greenville, Michigan, United States
    We're running Sensor D20AF's. When Unison Locks control, the stations respond, but the Board (Express 250) gets locked out as well. It has only happened in this last month, twice. ETC wants me to log the failures and the circumstances before we procede on either tackling the Unison Controller or the UPS.

    WHen Unison locks control, it still gives me a System OK message on LCD, and when you step through diagnostics, it "looks" ok. If you force it to flush control through diagnostics it will of course release control. Same has hard booting.

    We're in Tech right now so it's low on my list of trouble shooting when it locks control.
     

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