Entertainment Lighting Solutions (ELS) was recently contracted to upgrade the dimmers at Auckland Town Hall’s Concert Chamber. Part of the Auckland Live entertainment precinct, the Concert Chamber sought to upgrade to a more modern solution than the aging Strand LD90 dimmers. Since all the venues within the Auckland Live precinct utilised ETC consoles, including the Concert Chamber, which had an ETC Element, it made sense to replace the existing dimmers with an ETC dimmer solution.

ELS Managing Director Nick Abel explained that the venue wanted their consoles to work seamlessly with the dimmers over Ethernet. Consequently, ELS installed the ETC Sensor3 dimmers featuring the Advanced Feature modules that allow the dimmers to be modified from the console. This meant that the lighting crew could turn the dimmer into a switch or dimmer circuit, on or off or a permanent hard power circuit from the lighting operation position.

This has been an immense advantage for the lighting crew at the Concert Chamber as their dimmer room is located in a very inconvenient spot at the back of the venue. Within this room, the new ETC Sensor3 dimmers are neatly and compactly presented in one self-contained rack.

The CEM3 power control reduced setup time, simplified system backups, and removed all barriers to networking the lighting system. Sensor3's plug-in modularity allows for more configurability, customisation and easy maintenance. The dimmer solution is integrated with the venue’s existing ETC system, running over the ETC Net3 network. ELS added dual processing to the rack for redundancy.

The rack offers 96 dimmer circuits all of which have Advanced Feature modules that contain embedded voltage and current sensors. These sensors constantly monitor circuit-status information, which is analysed by the control electronics to diagnose and report circuit-specific load changes (individual lamp failures) or module faults.

Malcolm Ibell, head of lighting for Auckland Live, commented that the ETC Sensor3 dimmers were the only dimmers that matched his specifications completely. He explained that other modular dimmers on the market did not allow them to switch to pure relay bypass on the actual dimmers.

Additionally, the ETC Sensor3 dimmers integrate well with the rest of their network. All of the nine venues at the Auckland Live entertainment precinct are networked via fibre-optic and all units save back to a central file server. The seamless solution means they can take any console from any room, and plug it into another room.

Jands is a leading Australian distributor of professional lighting systems as well as sound and staging equipment.