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Console run-through with lots of notes

Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:14 pm
by charlesondrek
I have spent a good deal of time working with the ML250, primarily just to familiarize myself with it so that I don't run into problems with it when I bring it to a site, but also just to check the functionality of the console as a whole. Here is a list of things that I have run into that I have questions on. Just a general disclaimer before anyone reads on… I think this console has great potential. For its price point, size and general capabilities it holds up pretty darn well and will fit perfect for those users out there that have a small to medium sized rig with a spattering of moving head, LED and/or intelligent fixtures. My main issue is that the manual hasn’t been written up with all of the information to properly run the console and that some of the things that it claims to be possible flat out just don’t work. I seriously felt like a beta tester going through the console, finding something that I couldn't make work, then going to the manual to try to find the proper operating steps, only to find that there are only basic or even incomplete instructions that don’t properly spell out the procedure. I know that this all can be fixed and that is the main reason for me posting all of this to this forum.


1. On the Sub Menu: Why does copy/move disappear when looking at Chases and Playback types of submasters? Is the ability to copy or move these types not possible? If it’s not possible, that is really something that should be possible.

2. On the Cue Menu: The softkeys for "Delete all Cues" and "Delete Cue" don't do anything. I've tried typing [CUE], [CUE #] and then one of the delete softkeys and nothing happens. What is the proper procedure for deleting a cue?

... Follow up to this. We have discovered how to make these buttons work (while I was typing this out): The crossfaders cannot have a cuelist loaded. In order to delete a cue, you need to clear the crossfaders by pressing [CUE] [0] [GO] and now the delete buttons work, which is great BUT... why can't I delete a cue while i'm using the cuelist? Maybe add this note to the manual? This could prove to be very inconvenient if I were working a tech programming and I had to clear out my rig every time I want to delete a cue.

3. On the Monitor/display: The "Fixture" area of the monitor is pretty small and gets eaten up quickly even when only a couple of fixtures are patched. Is there any way to scroll the view down so that I can actually see all of the fixtures I have patched? The same thing applies for standard channels... If I would like to just check what level anything above channel 125 is I have to type in the channel number. Not so much of an issue with the standard channels but with the Fixtures, I see this as quite an problem not being able to see what they're doing.

4. When entering levels for standard channels: If you set the level to [100] instead of pressing [ON], the levels go to 39%. Weird. I know! I know! Just use the ON button instead, and I will… but you have to admit that is pretty odd and I wanted to bring it to your attention.

5. If you press the [PATCH] key successively you can cause the VGA display to bug out and lock up. Usually happens if you press [PATCH] while the screen is populating itself. Obviously the quick solution is just don’t press the button quickly and repeatedly but it is a bug and you’ll have to reboot the console to fix it so I figured you should know.

6. In regards to a “CHASE” Submaster and a “PLAYBACK” Submaster: The Softkey for “DELETE SUB ONE” does not work. If you want to delete a chase or playback Submaster, you can only do it through the step list and delete in that view. This should be noted in the manual or the function of the Softkey should be fixed or just removed entirely when you highlight either.

7. The [EFFECT] button. Yeah. This just doesn’t work for me. At all. It seems simple enough as explained in the manual and frankly, I expected it to be as such, but it just does nothing for me. Am I missing something here?

8. Crossfaders… Once I figured out how to load up and run a playlist on the crossfaders (see #11, below) I noticed when editing a cue, there is no setting for “manual” on the timing. The only way I could get it to a manual style of operation was to set it to “snap” in the timing and then the crossfaders would actually fade the intensities (all other attributes would still snap). If I set the time to say, 5 seconds, fading the crossfaders would just initiate the programmed time fade and the rate at which I moved them was irrelevant. At that point, you might as well just press the [GO] button because there’s no difference. My issue here is that if I would like to do a manual crossfade of a color change or position change, it’s just not possible. The only thing that the crossfaders will manually control is intensity, and only when the timing is set to “snap”.


9. When holding [SHIFT]+[FIXTURE], the console LCD display shows “Absolute” & “Relative” selections for the S1 & S2 softkeys. What function does this serve? I cannot find anything in the manual regarding this. Please explain.

10. Holding [SHIFT]+[FIXTURE] or any of the attribute keys shows some fan functions on softkeys S6 through S9. There are no notes in the manual for this at all. I can assume what their function is but some description of how it’s meant to operate would be nice. I haven’t set up the console with more than two movers so I couldn’t really verify the operation of these.

11. Ahhhhhh…. The Crossfaders and Playback operation. I had quite some “fun” figuring out these. They’re a little quirky. The manual says that cycling the crossfaders to zero will load them with the first cue which is true to a certain degree but with some notes to be added. What I was doing wrong was trying to load the crossfaders with my first cue. I would press [CUE] [1] [LOAD] or [CUE] [1] [GO]. Once I did this the crossfaders did not respond any more. The only way I could run the cues from this point is by pressing the [GO] button. If I wanted to use the crossfaders I would need to clear them out by pressing [CUE] [0] [GO], which actually would load up cue 1. A cycle of the crossfaders up and down would then allow me to run cue 1 with the next fade upwards. So ultimately, they do work but again some clarification in the manual would have been nice instead of me doing trial by error to figure out the proper steps to have it operate as intended. It would also be nice if they would still work after using the [LOAD] or [GO] sequence I noted above because if I want to start with, for example, cue 50 instead, it would be pretty annoying to be forced to start with my first cue and then have to crossfade through 49 cues before getting to the one I actually want to see.

12. The [FOCUS] / [F4] key. This is just a manual edit that is necessary. Please add the proper steps to show how this is accomplished. Which are: Set a position, color, or beam look with your fixtures. Press [RECORD], then the appropriate attributes button, then the softkey you would like to save it to.

13. Copy & move with cues. Another manual edit is necessary here. The manual says that you just need to highlight the source cue, press copy/move and type in the destination cue. What really needs to happen is you press [COPY] or [MOVE], then the source cue number, then the [@] key (which inserts “TO” into the command line), then enter your destination cue number. This is the only way I could get it to work.


14. Bobby had pointed out to me that in the last bulletin the limitation for fixture library file names has been “increased”. What is the limit? I tried naming a file larger and apparently I used too many characters causing the console LCD display to lock up.

So that’s my list! (So far…) I hope what I’ve gone through here can help the development of this console because, as I said earlier, it is (or at least can be) a great console with a lot of potential. It just could use a little bit of refinement.

Re: Console run-through with lots of notes

Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:22 am
by BobbyHarrell
Wow Charles. This is a great post. I'll work with the developers to initiate some refinement as well as make some additions to the manual for this.

A couple of answers for you...

Paging the screens happens with the + and - keys. If you are not in Fixtures, then +/- on an empty command line will page the channel display. When in Fixture mode, +/- will page the fixture display.

Fixture file limit. There is a limit of 60 characters on the combined entry of folder list and file name. So if you have a fixture in /250ML/FIXTURES/COMPANY/FIXTURE.EXT, that's 5+8+7+6=26 characters.

Re: Console run-through with lots of notes

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:03 pm
by BobbyHarrell
Also, the FOCUS info is item 20 in the manual on page 47.

Re: Console run-through with lots of notes

Posted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:39 pm
by charlesondrek
I did look over the FOCUS info in the manual but I felt that it didn't adequately explain the procedure on how to create any of them. My coworker and I read it over and after still had to more or less figure out what the exact keystrokes were to store one. I merely was pointing out that the manual could use some more description as to each step necessary.

Re: Console run-through with lots of notes

Posted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:40 pm
by charlesondrek
The notes you gave on the shifting of the display views works smashingly though! That is definitely something that I sorely needed.... Thanks!

Re: Console run-through with lots of notes

Posted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:07 pm
by BobbyHarrell
Happy to help.

Re: Console run-through with lots of notes

Posted: Tue May 06, 2014 12:03 pm
by charlesondrek
Any news on these items? Curious to see some updates and functionality...

Re: Console run-through with lots of notes

Posted: Tue May 06, 2014 2:00 pm
by BobbyHarrell
Did you see the release of v1.2 today? That was the first step. Next will be working on the v1.3 list.

Re: Console run-through with lots of notes

Posted: Tue May 06, 2014 2:52 pm
by charlesondrek
I did not notice anything regarding the latest release for the console. I don't see anything either on the Support Document/Product Download page of the Strand website for the ML250. The latest version that I can find there is v1.1

I know that I get software notifications for the Palette series of consoles - is there an email blast that you guys do for updates to the ML250 console? I would like to be as up to date as possible and I don't see anything on your site to sign up for this type of notification. Can you provide a link for me to sign up?

Re: Console run-through with lots of notes

Posted: Tue May 06, 2014 5:36 pm
by BobbyHarrell
My apologies. I didn't communicate this very well. I've placed 1.2 on the forum. It's in process of being released (to the website) later this week. At that time, it will be up on the website. I'll talk with Dallas regarding an email blast for software upgrades for non-Palette based products.