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Zip Desk and Chroma Q Colour blocks (1)


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Hi all,


I have a curious DMX (I think) type problem that I'm hoping someone might also have experienced! We have two LX desks we use for work, a Zip 12 and a Chamsys maxiwing with laptop. For larger jobs we use the magicQ but for a small event the Zip 12 can be fine and much more compact (you can use it as 12 subs once it's programmed). We also have 2 x 5 sets of Colour blocks with the newer 5way PSU/controllers.


The problem we have is that although the magicQ (and anythign else Ive used to drive them) works fine with the colour blocks, the zip 12 does not.


Sometimes it's completely fine but often I find that if I have 5 CB4s in a chain (5m cable in ieach link) then the last one will fail to illuminate and some of the LEDs will not come on in the 4th unit. Swapping cables, blocks and controllers around makes no difference.


Also more worryingly, the whole lot will sometimes flicker and change colour rapidly and even go out completely. (or come on when they should be off). In one concert I stopped the flickering by disconnecting the DMX line to the controllers.


I don't get this problem with dimmers or anything else (but then I guess it's too fast for dimmers to be noticeable).


I'm not sure if it's a problem with the desk, the line, or the colourblock controllers. The odd thing to me is that if it was just the flickering I'd think it was a line problem, but the symptom of the LEDs that don't work at the end of the CB4 chain is a bit harder for me to understand.


DMX chain is 5-20m in all cases from desk to controllers. I've tried adding a 'terminator' (XLR with 120R resistor across two pins) plugged into the output of the last controller but no change.


Does anyone have any similar experience or thoughts?

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Have you asked LightProcessor and/or AC? It does sound like some DMX weirdness. Are they all set to the same DMX channel?


Not yet. I'm not sure who to approach first! I was also wondering if anyone else had experienced a similar problem which might lead me in the right direction....

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How odd! I was just getting online, and searching to see if the Zip desks were still supported, as I found a little issue with them a while back, and I wanted to try another idea.


Googled, and this was the third entry.


I bought mine to trigger a bigger desk - to just give me some faders for my LD to operate. Trouble is, the grown up desk didn't like the Zip desk.


So, having a Lil' DMXter to hand, I measured the DMX coming out of the Zip desk, and drew my conclusions.....


Repeating the meausurement:

Break: 260uS

MAB: 58uS

Break to Break:2560uS

Update rate: 390 per second


Now, as we all know DMX isn't a hard standard as far as timing goes, its a set of maximums and minimums.


So, to cut a long one short, I suspect my grown up desk, and your colourblocks like their DMX at one end of the allowable window, and the little ZIP desk is near the other end, and the two just don't get on.


I may speak to lightfactor and see if there was ever an upgrade to the hardware, as mine was quite an early one.




PS - Timing read from DMXter. I have not done the maths and cross checked.

PPS - These are my suppositions, little more. Other opinions welcome!

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Dirk has hit the nail on the head, knowing the desk quite well (I used to build them and ran tech support for them world wide) the timing on the Zip is near the end of the range and this will almost certainly be the cause of the problems. Unfortunately there has been no upgrade to the Zip to change the speed as the speed is within the accepted range and this has caused problems only where the other hardware tends to be at the other end of the range.





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