Skip to main content
Electronic Theatre Controls Inc

Why won't my SmartFade output to my lights?


My SmartFade or SmartFade ML console has stopped outputting to my lights and I'm not sure what steps to take to troubleshoot why.

Explanation of Issue

Usually this is due to one or more settings on the console preventing it from outputting. It's also possible that a DMX output chip on the console, or a DMX input chip in the receiving device could be damaged. The step below will help determine the cause.


  1. Push the Bumps and Master faders on the right side of the console all the way up. If the Master fader is down, all output from the console is stopped.
  2. Check if the Blackout button above the Master fader is lit blue. If so, push it so it is no longer lit up. If Blackout is enabled, it stops all output from the console.
  3. Check if the Next button to the right of the channel faders is lit blue. If so, push it so it is no longer lit up. Next mode puts the console into a blind mode that allows you to set up your next scene, and then press Play to crossfade from the current look to the levels you defined on the faders.
  4. If you still cannot get output, you can test DMX output in the self-test mode of the console.
    1. To enter the self-test mode, power off the console by pressing the Power button, and then the Menu (check mark) to confirm.
    2. With the console off, push and hold the Menu button and tap the Power button once.
    3. When you see "Entering Test Mode, Release Buttons" let go of the Menu button
    4. In the initial test the console will be able to output DMX by moving the channel faders up and down. If there still is no DMX in that mode then there is a physical issue on the console or elsewhere in the system causing the problem. If the console does output DMX, there may be a combination of the settings above preventing output. This is possible particularly if both the Next and Blackout buttons are burned out.

To leave the self-test menu simply unplug the power from the console to turn it off. If you progress through the test by pushing Menu, at the end of the tests it will deep clear and erase all show data from the console.

If either the Blackout or Next buttons are dark but do not turn blue when you push them, the LED in the button could be burned out and needs to be replaced. Please contact ETC Technical Services to discuss how to get the console in for repair.


  • Was this article helpful?