Jump to content

Are ETC Congo files (asc) compatible with ETC express desks?

michael morgan art

Recommended Posts

Hi there,


I am touring a show at the moment to various different venues. The show file I carry is an asc. file from an ETC Congo. The next place we visit has an ETC Express lighting desk.

I'm just wondering if my Congo file will be compatible with this desk? It's just a simple show programming wise using only generics (no intelligent lighting) so even if some of my show info is carried across it would be helpful. Or is an offline editor my best bet? Any suggestions?


Any advice from anyone who's had a go at this in the past would be much appreciated!




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Michael



To get your congo file (.asc) to be read by an ETC Express (.shw), you will need to use the ETC Off Line Editor (OLE).



The ETC express OLE has the ability to import & export ASCII files. In a sense ascii files are just text based files. You can right click and open the file in word/notepad. It is sometimes helpful to save it as a .txt extension. Albeit both extensions denote text based files, there are sometimes a few small quirks when moving show files about. ASCII is not perfect especially when you are going from EOS back to strand 500.... You can import & create an etc express show file (.shw) from the Congo (.asc) file you have.


You could also edit your .asc/.txt file in word pad and then import this updated ascii file into your express OLE if you know what changes you have to do.



The OLE for the express will only run on a windows OS. I have ran it on win95 through win7. It will also run under VMare Fusion on a mac. That is how I run it. The congo OLE is native to mac etc. I have not used bootcamp or parallels but I do not see an issue here.


Download the ETC express Offline Editor from here.



You will need a floppy disk drive in order to be able to load the show onto an express 125. USB is not an option here.



When you have loaded up the express OLE, there is an option in the menu bar. I cannot remember the heading but it is the 3rd menu across (think it is marked CONVERT). There should be 2-3 options in the drop down menu. Pick READ ASCII. From this command, a file browser will appear. Navigate to your files location and import/open/double click on it. The OLE should pull in your file and appear up with a dialogue box saying conversion successful.


Have a browse through your cues and make sure all is ok. You can make any edits here etc.


A normal cue stack should crossover fine. If you have part cues & effects, they will get muddled up and I would expect to re-plot them.



There are three ways to "save" your soon to be created express format show file (.shw)


a) File menu; then save as...


b) Using the OLE interface and saving to disk as you would if you are at the console.


c) File menu, Export, Floppy A. (assuming A is your floppy drive)





This is where the quirk comes in......


All three will create your .shw file but only option c will create it in such a way that the console can read it..... Whilst you will have a file on your floppy drive/computer, you must use the export floppy A/B option in order for the console to read a showfile attached to the disk. I am not sure of the exact reason but this is how (with a lot of trial & error) I have imported/exported and created numerous ETC Express show files.


It is very easy to achieve if you follow option C.


I am not sure if this quirk exists through the OLE software version, the originating console OS version, it being a .asc versus a .txt extension etc.......


To me it is just one of those things......



Hope that helps









Edit: for grammar & spelling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Expression Offline should run fine under any 32-bit edition of Windows, but will not run under 64-bit versions.


Note that you may get error messages during the "Read ASCII" step, depending on your particular show file.

They can be safely ignored as they are simply because Express(ion) doesn't understand any of the extensions Congo has made to the USITT ASCII format to store the moving light, screen layout data etc.


Unsurprisingly, older consoles do not understand everything that newer consoles can do!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah, thanks so much for this detailed answer Eamon.

I was a little stuck yesterday but this thorough answer will surely get me on my way again! This looks as if it would have taken me a wee while to work out myself!

Many thanks and much appreciated.





Top notch! I'lll take this into consideration when I get my hands on it!

Many thanks Tomo.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.