I needed to test some DMX controlled lighting figures recently, and after looking around I decided to get an Chauvet Obey 40 controller. It’s not the cheapest, but it won’t break the bank, and it supports more channels than the entry level models – and does scenes and sequences (chases).
The design looks fairly straightforward. If you want simply use it to control light fixtures manually you need only press the button for the fixture in question on the left and then use the faders corresponding to the channels you want to adjust until you get just the right shade of puce. You can toggle multiple fixtures on and off, and control them in batches. So far so good.
Having got this set up, I was horrified to discover that when you de-select a fixture the Obey 40 turns it off! This means you can’t go through adjusting all your lights in turn. Apparently the unit was designed to work in programmed mode, where you set up scenes and sequences of scenes and cycle through them. It can do that, okay. If that’s all you want.
After tearing my hair out for several hours I discovered, by accident, that if you press the Auto/Del button to toggle the “Auto Trigger” light on the LED display to “on”, the desk works the way you might hope – select the fixture(s) you want, adjust it and then select another fixture. This is, apparently, the “Auto Bank Playback” mode, which suggests it may not work so well if you have things programmed in a bank but this hardly seems to matter for manual control. Just make sure it’s sequencing through an empty bank.
This appears to be an undocumented feature, and was news to the helpful people at Chauvet in Nottingham. I get the feeling this was something that irritated them about the design, too.
So – if you’re stuck in the same position, trying to get manual control, the non-intuitive answer is to turn it in to “auto” mode. My unit was manufactured in April 2013; this may not apply to other units, which may have different firmware.
Additional: If you don’t mind the “programming” light blinking away like mad, you can also control it manually in programming mode – just don’t bother saving the scene.