Help- Wild DMX??

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jmac
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Help- Wild DMX??

Post by jmac » Tue Jul 07, 2009 4:05 am

Starting tech week for second show with new Strand Classic Palette console. Connected to Leprecon VX-48 dimmer rack plus 5 Leprecon ULD dimmer packs. All lights are under control, but we have continuous but irregular lights blinking on and off (channels on low will surge up and down, and channels off will come on and off). Serious annoyance... Sometimes, it seems to hit a few (3-4) consecutive channels in a row, almost like a quick low level channel check.

When channel is up at or near full, it seems to be ok, but any channel off or up low is affected..

When DMX cable is unplugged at console, problem stops. DMX runs from console to DRk, and out of DRk to splitter which feeds the 5 dimmer packs, daisy chained. Two other feeds go to scroller power supplies, but this issue showed up before they were connected to system. I put DMX terminator on last dimmer pack on string, and no change.

Changed DMX "flavor" setting on console to different frequencies; maybe affected a bit, but couldn't resolve problem.

I'm new to the game, and don't really know what to do next. Seems like console is sending out random/stray signals?? Problem with console, DMX configuration, splitter....??

Any ideas or troubleshooting tips? Thanks!
Jim Mackenzie
Classic Palette II
10.8.7

hollipe
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Re: Help- Wild DMX??

Post by hollipe » Tue Jul 07, 2009 5:29 am

hi jmac,

did you try to connect only one dimmerrack?

Then try to disable output on the console? Still there?

Then try to remove splitter and so on, you will find the mistake.

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Re: Help- Wild DMX??

Post by JohnGrimshaw » Tue Jul 07, 2009 6:08 am

I would start with the splitter - remove it, and see what happens if you simply let the DMX pass through from the console.

The splitter could be very particular about the flavour of DMX it gets.
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jmac
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Re: Help- Wild DMX??

Post by jmac » Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:02 am

Thanks both, for the advice. I will take the splitter out and connect just the main DRk, and see what that shows. I could then connect the 5 DPks and 2 power supplies, all daisy chained off the DRk w/o using the splitter, with my one terminator at the end. Hopefully, that will do it.

So does this look like a DMX control issue as opposed to a DRk problem? Issue is all equipment (including splitter) is rented, except the console, which is mine.... Is it unlikely that this a console issue? I am running 10.6.1003 beta. Thanks, again.

jmac
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Re: Help- Wild DMX??

Post by jmac » Tue Jul 07, 2009 1:05 pm

PS- I love you guys on the other side of the world; promptly handing out thoughtful and helpful replies while we sleep over here! Seems there is always someone on tap. Thanks!
Jim Mackenzie
Classic Palette II
10.8.7

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JohnGrimshaw
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Re: Help- Wild DMX??

Post by JohnGrimshaw » Tue Jul 07, 2009 5:48 pm

In all the consles that have passed through my hands, I have had one that had a "funky" DMX issue, but it was related to a processor fault, and there was indication of the fault on the screen.

In your case, because the dimmers are after some kind of opto/iso, I would suspect that the splitter was not being totally cooperative.

When fault finding, it often pays to look at the obvious first, and if no solution, strip the system down to basic parts, and then make progressively more complex until the fault re-occurs.

I have made some assumptions:
- all DMX leads property wired with suitable cables
- no obvious "outside of the capability of DMX" useage (less then 32 devices, and less then 500m of distance)
...and for more entertainment industry trivia and useless facts, just ask:
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TaineGilliam
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Re: Help- Wild DMX??

Post by TaineGilliam » Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:29 pm

Almost sounds like the console is running in Demo mode. The Online or demo status of the console should be displayed in the lower right hand status block.If yuou find the console in Demo mode check to be sure the USB channel key is properly seated inside the console.

Taine

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Re: Help- Wild DMX??

Post by gooze » Wed Jul 08, 2009 3:18 am

Also please try to remove your dmx terminator. Some dimmers have autosensing and putting the termination gives an unwanted effect!
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Re: Help- Wild DMX??

Post by hollipe » Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:04 am

Hi jmac,

did you find the mistake already??

We also had this prob when we gave the same dmx adresses at our dimmerpacks.

Also do not terminate the splitter.

Do you have a dmx-tester?? This is a small and very helpful tool that shows you imitiatly after connecting every possible mistake.

Greetings from Austria,

Peter

jmac
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Re: Help- Wild DMX??

Post by jmac » Fri Jul 10, 2009 1:57 pm

Update- Console was still on-line, not demo mode, but good to check, as I have been road casing around every day. Terminator didn't seem to help or hurt. Running just console to DRk (w/o DPk's), the problem went away. Reconnected DRk and 5 DPk's and two scroller PS's all in daisy chain (no splitter). Added one link at a time. Problem did not reappear until last link, a PS. However, this was confusing, because the original problem showed up before the PS's were ever connected...! But at least this seemed to rule out the splitter as the problem, as we still had problems, with splitter out of the loop. Also, the last cable was not connected originally... At one point, thought we had a bad DPk, but replacing it didn't help either..

What seems to have solved the problem was to reconnect the 200' long console line directly to splitter, and then splitter to DRk, and splitter to DPk's and PS's. (Originally, console line went to DRk first, and then out of DRk to splitter). Credit here to Randy at Strand tech support. Apparently better to boost the DMX signal via splitter, prior to feeding DRk.

At this point, everything is working well (except an unrelated DRk flaky control card problem, voluntarily locking channels into non-dim or constant-on mode), but I'm really not sure what the DMX problem really was... Maybe there is a slightly bad cable, that works ok as system is now configured, but couldn't before..? Anyways, some interesting trouble-shooting experience. Thanks for all your help!
Jim Mackenzie
Classic Palette II
10.8.7

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