Connecting the Consolette to Spikemark

The new Showstopper 4 Consolette connects to Spikemark over the same Ethernet network as your Stagehand controllers. Since the Showstopper is now another network connected device, we need some way to connect to it, adjust preferences, and set the IP address.

Launch Spikemark. Click Showstopper Consolette inseide the Control Devices menu at the far right of the Stage Model Viewer or select Configure Consolette from the Showstopper menu.

The Showstopper Consolette Settings dialog box will appear.

  • IP Address – Set this field to match the IP address of your Consolette, which can be found by pressing its wheel and selecting Set IP Address on the Consolette.

  • Status – This label will update to show if the Consolette is Disconnected, Connecting, or Connected to the Spikemark computer.

  • HTR Preference – You can select either Hold To Run or Soft Stop to affect how the button on the left side of the GO button behaves. The two options are:

  • Hold To Run – The button must be held down continuously while you are running cues. If you release the button, Spikemark will issue a Soft Stop command to all machines causing everything to decelerate immediately. If this option is selected, a loss in normal network connection to the Consolette will also cause a Soft Stop. This is commonly referred to as a “dead man’s switch”, but Hold To Run is the more politically correct term since most automation vendors dare not mention a “dead man” in the same breath as “automation”. Marketing terminology aside, the operating principle is the same: let go of the button and stuff stops moving.

  • Soft Stop – The button will send out a Soft Stop command if it is pressed, but does not need to be held down during normal operation. This is the familiar operating mode to users of the previous Showstopper models.

    • Which HTR mode should you choose? That choice is left up to you. There is certainly momentum in the entertainment industry towards Hold To Run as the standard. For less experienced operators, or venues where the automation must be run by technicians who are serving double-duty as operators and stagehands, Hold To Run is clearly safer since it forces an otherwise distracted automation operator to pay attention to what is moving on stage. For professional operators, or operators that accept the responsibility of the task with appropriate discipline, Hold To Run offers only a sore thumb and possibility that a mistimed sneeze will stop the show. Choose appropriately.

  • Connect – Pressing this button will try to establish a network connection with the Showstopper Consolette and close the dialog box.

  • Disconnect – Pressing this button will sever the network connection with the Showstopper Consolette.

  • Close – Pressing this button will just close the dialog.

After you set the IP address and select your preferred HTR mode, press the Connect button. The Status field will change to Connected if it establishes a connection on the network.

Once connected, the Consolette display will change to display information about your current show. Specifically, whether you are in Simulator or Live mode, if there are any faults, which cue is loaded, which cues are running, and whether you have selected the Hold-To-Run option in Spikemark.

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