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Electronic Theatre Controls Inc

Why can I only control pan and tilt on my LED fixture?

Symptoms

I have an LED fixture that I'm trying to get control of. I have it patched, but I can only get control of the pan and tilt parameters. Other parameters seem to respond incorrectly, or don't respond at all.

Explanation of Issue

The vast majority of LED fixtures have multiple modes that they can be put in, that change the parameter layout of the fixture. However, pan and tilt are often (but not always) the first parameters in the layout, regardless of the mode.

Other parameters may be addressed differently in the different modes. Even though most ETC consoles will display the Intensity parameter of a fixture first, the actual address of the intensity parameter in the fixture may be further down the list. The layout of other parameters, like color, strobe, and so on, will likely also be different.

Let's use a Chauvet Intimidator Spot 150 as an example. It has two modes, 6CH and 11CH, referring to the total amount of DMX address the fixture will take up in that particular mode. Here's how those modes are laid out:

Parameter Address Parameter in 6CH Mode Parameter in 11CH Mode
1 Pan Pan
2 Tilt Tilt
3 Color Fine Pan
4 Strobe Fine Tilt
5 Intensity Speed
6 Gobo Color
7   Strobe
8   Intensity
9   Gobo
10   Control
11   Macros

Now, imagine you had the fixture itself in 6CH mode, but it was patched on your console in 11CH. Since the profile the console is using for control doesn't match the mode the fixture is set to, the parameters are mostly mismatched.

As you can see, the layout for the Pan and Tilt matches in either mode, so you would have control of those functions. From there, the layout diverges. Changing the Speed from the console would actually adjust the Intensity of fixture. Altering Color would actually move the Gobo wheel. Trying to adjust any parameters from Strobe onwards would give you no response from the fixture.

Solution

Check the mode settings on the fixture itself, and ensure that the mode of the fixture matches the mode in the profile you have used to patch it. You can also step through address by address, beginning with the start address of the fixture, to see what parameters each address controls, and whether that matches the expected layout.

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