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Thread: "hello" and a few questions!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Cool "hello" and a few questions!

    Hi Everyone

    I thought it might be a good idea to do a "hello" kind of message as I've been hanging around here for a little while now and have a few questions.

    First, a bit of background:
    I currently have 2x 2.7wRGB Pluto 2's and a FB3 (Quickshow).

    I run a successful sound, lighting and dj equipment hire business and have been wanting to get some proper lasers for ages so I've been reading everything I can find on here and speaking to a few of you guys who have been really helpful already.

    I'm booked on James' next safety training course in May.

    I was really hoping to make it to the Surfleet LEM but it was a bit of a tricky weekend for me so I've set myself the goal of getting to the next one!

    Maybe not this year, but I'd like to build my own projector at some point. Probably starting off as a single colour unit but in a case big enough to fit the other colours so I can upgrade it later.

    Most of the questions I have had were easy to answer by searching the forum but I'm having trouble getting any decent information on using the APC40 with Quickshow. I understand that it will be reduced functionality compared to Beyond, but if I can get the cues and effects to trigger then that would be great. I'm no MIDI expert so I'm struggling at the moment.
    Is there a "how to" guide somewhere for this?

    In the future I might consider getting Beyond. Can someone explain how the licencing works? Can I buy it "used" from someone else (with/without their hardware)?

    Has anyone fitted the Stanwax ILDA interface board to a Pluto 2? I'm keen to retrofit this because of the enhanced safety features over the basic interlock supplied on the projectors.

    Cheers,
    John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Hello Sir Binks,

    Welcome to PL! You used the term getting a "proper laser" so, I'm curious of what you think is "proper" compared to the Pluto II's. I'm not saying the Pluto's are the same as an OPSL or some 10-15 watt monster but, I think you'd have to agree they're a great little projector. Regarding fitting the Stanwax board into a Pluto II, yes coincidentally it is being professionally done over the course of the next couple weeks (I'm shipping out a Pluto and Stanwax board this morning for exactly that.) There should be step by step instructions available in the near future.

    As far as Beyond, yes you can buy it used with someone else's hardware. You just need to make sure you get the license file to go with it. If you do that, you might want to let Pangolin know so they can transfer the license to you. Just the software is useless as you can download it for free but, you need to have the hardware (FB3 or QM2000) in order to use it, along with the license file which is directly tied to the serial number of the hardware. If you can afford to wait, the time to upgrade would be the holidays as Pangolin traditionally has some great pricing available for it in December/early January.

    I can't answer your APC40 question and I haven't tried mine with anything but Beyond but, there is a reason why it doesn't work so well with Quickshow and I know I've read it on here but don't recall exactly what it was. Some coding or something like that not included with QS.

    ~Brad

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    South Coast, England
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    Hey Brad

    Sorry I guess I should have made it more clear what I meant!
    Until I got to Pluto 2's (yesterday!), I only had cheap sound to light units in my standard lighting hire stock.

    I've only had a very brief look at the Plutos (quick physical check over, power up, test patterns, blanking and colour intensity tweaks) and so far they look awesome! I'll be dedicating some time over the next week to really get into them.

    I'd be interested in any information you get/have on the Stanwax board as I don't have any real experience with working on projectors yet. I understand the basics (splitting the ILDA out to the scanner amps, laser drivers, keyswitch, interlock, led, etc.) but wouldn't have enough confidence to mess with one of my lovely new boxes just yet! I guess I should buy some cheap pile of junk to experiment with first!
    Is there any kind of standard connector config used (eg, do all scanners have the same plugs fitted?)?

    Thanks for the suggestion about the holidays. I did see that there was an awesome deal on the QS->Beyond upgrade last Christmas and that would be the kind of thing that would work well for me.

    I would imagine that QS would be intentionally limited in functionality, but I can get it "partially" working... so this kind of suggests that as long as I can work out the settings I should be able to get it working.

    Thanks!
    John

  4. #4
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    I can relate to not wanting to mess with lovely new boxes! I had planned on a few things with mine right from the get go and have held off. The Stanwax board is a necessary component though towards getting these certified in our country. It may be a few weeks before I have instructions but, you can find a very thorough pdf on Stanwax's web site detailing how to hook them up. The one thing I neglected to do when I bought a couple of the boards was to get the molex connector kit. Dumb move on my part so, I'm getting Rob to pack me up a couple.

    The only thing that is really standardized is the DB25 ILDA connector, other than that, many connections inside a projector are what the builder/manufacturer has selected to use. The actual wiring though, should be the same and there is a great reference on the Pangolin web site about how to correctly wire a projector to avoid grounding and other issues.

    ~Brad

  5. #5
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    I guess we're "lucky" in the UK that it's not as strict, but then at the same time it does seem to encourage cowboys! I've seen more than enough cases of the projector mounted insecurely with no secondary fixing and the "key + interlock plug" fitted in place of a proper estop cable and button. Even those with actual buttons are the basic "twist to reset" type with no LED or reset button.

    For the price, it seems mad not to get the Stanwax boards fitted!

    Thanks for the details about wiring. I'll check out the Pangolin docs ASAP and keep an eye out for a suitable "leaning" projector to dissect!

    Cheers,
    John

  6. #6
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    Just had a look through both the Pangolin wiring guide and the Stanwax interface PDF and both are excellent! Thanks for the pointers!

    I may have a look inside a Pluto 2 and see if I can trace the wiring to get an idea of how it all works (without touching anything just yet!).

  7. #7
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    I figured both would be helpful for you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Right, so a bit of an update!

    So far, very happy with the Plutos!
    GREAT build quality and arrived perfectly aligned. Very nice colour balance (had to reign the green in a bit, although that was to be expected!).

    Few issues:
    Galvos aren't tuned the same. At 30k one is about right, the other needs to be tuned down. Not an issue at all as I was expecting to need to tune them to 30k anyway (they're 40k, but the FB3 will only do 30k and I'd rather have the scan angle than the speed anyway). I also have a slight blanking issue (I guess) where dots at the far right/left have "tails" etc. Pretty sure this would be resolved by tuning and then tweaking the blanking in QS.

    The bolt that holds the mounting bracket to the case (not the friction lock ones) is just a plain bolt into a tapped hole... So either it falls out (works loose as you move the bracket about) or it locks up and prevents you adjusting the angle of the bracket. A bit of a shame when the rest of the case is so great! Nothing a quick trip inside with a suitable nut on the exposed thread won't resolve though.

    I've not made any progress with the Stanwax interface but plan to get inside and locate the key components ASAP (the main issue being the power supply voltage so I can order the boards!). For now, I'm just using two basic mushrooms. Bit messy and there is about a one second delay between interlock release and the emissions stop (?).

    I figured out how to use the APC40 with QS. But it can only really trigger cues, master brightness and colour.
    No access to effects etc.

    So I'm on the lookout for a Beyond upgrade. (Let me know if you're reading this and want to sell me your Beyond setup!) Will be keeping my eye out for holiday sales!

    I'm currently mounting the projectors under trussing but it would be nice if I could find some kind of flat adaptor for use with a regular 35mm tripod. Does such a thing exist or do I need to make it? The idea is that I can mount just one projector on the stand. No need for complete truss setup or unbalanced "T" stands (yuk).

    Where's a good place to buy bounce mirrors (plain, mirror-ball and diffraction) ?

    Thanks!
    John

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbinks View Post
    So far, very happy with the Plutos!
    GREAT build quality and arrived perfectly aligned. Very nice colour balance (had to reign the green in a bit, although that was to be expected!).
    Glad to hear it!

    I'm currently mounting the projectors under trussing but it would be nice if I could find some kind of flat adaptor for use with a regular 35mm tripod. Does such a thing exist or do I need to make it? The idea is that I can mount just one projector on the stand. No need for complete truss setup or unbalanced "T" stands (yuk).
    One PL'er (buffo) had these made:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I don't know of anyone that sells them ready made. There is an item made by Global Truss and some other truss companies called a totem and they can act as the same thing but will be more expensive that just making the plate that goes on top. There were some particulars in the welding that buffo learned and if he sees this, will probably chime in. My step-son's father has a welding company and I'm going to probably get some made in the near future as well.

    Where's a good place to buy bounce mirrors (plain, mirror-ball and diffraction) ?
    I suspect someone like Norty here on the forum can give you an idea of where you might obtain that over there. I think there is a company called Thomann in the UK that may be a source.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Bedfordshire, UK
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    The stand tops can be bought from powerdrive in Leighton Buzzard. But I think they may only fit their stands, but not a major issue as their stands are pretty good.

    Bounce mirrors are available from a number of places. I bought mine from 'Synchrovision' (The UK Kvant dealer) as I needed them in a hurry. Not cheap but reasonable quality and arrived on time which was worth paying for at the time...
    If you like a bit of diy, you can buy various front surface mirror pretty cheaply from 'scientific mirrors' but you'd have to make the bracket assembly yourself...
    Also worth a look is Showtec, the DJ lighting co. They sell bounce mirrors and gratings in their catalogue...

    I'm sure there's more places, but it's been a long day and my mind isn't what it was...

    Doubt you'll find a copy of beyond going cheap... but maybe worth talking to Pangolin directly about and upgrade deal??

    I've noticed the delay in the shutoff on my Pluto's as well... I'm pretty certain it's down to the nasty DMX showcard as it also sometimes tries to takeover when I hit the e-stop... Currently getting round that by wiring a stop button into the interlock line in the db25. That seems to kill it much quicker... could be worth a few as an experiment?

    Hope that's helpful.

    K 0/
    If in doubt... Give it a clout?

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