After properly installing the Stage Manager and making all of the necessary connections, the next step is to turn your system on for the first time.

  • First, check to see that the system has power by looking at the amber indicator light on the left side of the console labeled “Power”.

  • Next, insert the key and turn the key switch on the left side face of the console clockwise one quarter turn. Much like starting a car, the key switch is momentary and sends a signal to the computer to turn on.

  • Once you turn it on, the key will return to its original position and the amber “COMPUTER” light will turn on indicating that the system has been activated.

  • The computer will now boot up and automatically log you into Windows.

The Stage Manager’s industrial PC comes with Microsoft Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, Long Term Servicing Branch pre-installed. In order to increase the stability of the operating system, the operating system is embedded in the motherboard. This means that while you can update Windows 10, you cannot change it to a different operating system. Fear not, this is a good thing as it greatly increases the stability of the operating system and Microsoft supports this type of installation long after they stop supporting standard Windows installations.


Once your Stage Manager is installed, connected, and powered up, and like a PC, you will need to configure your Stage Manager before you are ready to control your stage machinery.


The first thing you may notice upon starting up your new computer is that it did not ask you for a login username and password. It should automatically log into the Spikemark user account. If for some reason your Stage Manager turns on and displays a list of Windows users, only log into the Spikemark user account. From here, if you need Admin privileges for anything, just use the Programmer user account credentials when prompted. There are 3 user accounts pre-set in Windows and any Admin level user is able to add new user accounts through Windows. Spikemark uses the same usernames and passwords to determine user authorization levels:

  • Admin(s) or Programmer (local admin, password)

  • There can be multiple Admin level accounts

  • Spikemark (local user, no password)

  • One account only

  • Operator(s) (local user, password)

  • There can be multiple Operator level accounts

User Name

User Type





Local User


Default Windows user


Local Admin



Spikemark user with editing privileges


Local User



Spikemark user without editing privileges

Under this user structure, any users with Admin rights will be able to log into Spikemark, enable or disable Authorization, and (most importantly) make changes to a Spikemark show file. Any user without Admin rights, will only be allowed to log into Spikemark and run shows - they will not be able to enable/disable authorization or make edits to show files.


Creative Conners, Inc is constantly developing Spikemark to include new features and improve performance to help ensure that your show automation goes as smoothly as possible. Even though the Stage Manager is not connected to the internet, it is a good idea to periodically check the Creative Conners website for the most recent version of Spikemark.

You will need to save this file to a USB flash drive and use the USB port beside the key switch to view the USB and install Spikemark. Let’s get started with the steps for updating Spikemark!


When updating, you will need to first uninstall the current version of Spikemark to ensure that you don’t accidentally have two different versions on the computer. This will help prevent you from accidentally using an older version of Spikemark.

  1. Press the Windows Key and type in “program”. Click on Add or remove programs to open the Apps and features window.

  1. Search for or find Spikemark in the list of programs below.

  1. Left click and select Uninstall, then Uninstall on the secondary window.

  1. Since you are logged into the Spikemark user upon startup, this account does NOT have administrator rights. You will need to select an account with administrator rights (More choices button at the bottom), type in the password, and then click Yes to begin the uninstall process.

This example uses the generic Programmer username.

  1. Confirm that Yes you want to completely remove Spikemark. And then click OK to finish the uninstall process.


With this scenario outlined above, you can set Windows 10 to automatically log in the Spikemark user (no password required), then each operator can be granted a local user account which is used to log into Spikemark. If the local account has admin rights, they will be able to edit a show file. If the user doesn't have admin rights, they will only be able to load and run show files. Let’s get started with the steps for user authentication installation.

  1. Turn on your computer and log into the Windows user account named Spikemark.

  1. Locate the Spikemark Installer and double click.

  1. The User Account Control window will pop up. You will need to enter the password for the Admin (in this case the admin username is Mike).

    Enter the admin password and click Yes

  1. Select Install With User Authentication and click Next>.

  1. Confirm the current user is Spikemark and that the user structure is correct and click Next >.

  1. Read and accept the License Agreement, then press Next>.

  1. Click Next> to accept the default Start Menu location.

  1. If you would like a desktop shortcut, ensure that the box has a checkmark in it, then select Next >.

  1. Confirm all installation information is correct and click Install.

  1. A status window will appear with a progress bar, an additional window may pop up and disappear as well. Once the installer is finished, you will see this window:

    Un-check the Launch Spikemark box if you do not want to run the program immediately, then click Finish.

  1. If you choose to Launch Spikemark, the program will open with the default show open.


When Spikemark is installed with Authorization, the installed file will be saved in the user directory who was logged in at the time of installation; in our case, that was the Spikemark user. All Spikemark program files and machine firmware files are located here:


All log files will be located here:

‘C:\Users\Spikemark\AppData\Roaming\Creative Conners, Inc\Spikemark\Spikemark version(X.X.X.X)’


Because the Stage Manager is running on the Spikemark network, it requires two, manually set and unique, IP Addresses. That’s correct, the Stage Manager actually consumes two IP Addresses on the network because there are two Network devices inside: the Spikemark computer and a Showstopper 3 Consolette. The Stage Manager is preconfigured from the factory with the following IP address:

  • = Spikemark computer

  • = Showstopper 3 Consolette

The Subnet mask for each devices is also preconfigured to

Spikemark and the Stagehands communicate through IP addresses and unlike your WiFi, these are Static IP Addresses. This means we need to assign a specific and unique IP Address to any network device, including the PC running Spikemark in order to allow communication between the devices.

Much like a postman delivering letters to homes with address numbers nailed to the mailbox, Spikemark sends its commands to Stagehands with unique address numbers.

IP addresses are made up of four segments (Octets, if you want to impress friends) separated by a period (for example, “”). The only trick to setting up a static IP network with Spikemark and Stagehands is that the first three segments should always match. The last segment number needs to be unique.


Each device on the automation network, requires a unique static IP Address in order to communicate with other devices. These IP Addresses need to be set on each device and in Spikemark. Unless you are digging deep into subnets, or have changed the default IP range, each device on the network must have an IP Address between and In practice, we have found network stability to become shaky when setting the computer or Stagehand IP Address below .010. Additionally, if you’re setting any IP address below .100 (i.e. 1 through 99), do not use a leading 0. This will, undoubtedly, make any networking geek cringe, but an IP Address .001, should be entered at “.1”, and an IP Address of .010, should be entered as “.10” so that Spikemark will connect the address correctly.

Creative Conners, Inc Standard IP Addresses


IP Address

Spikemark Computer

Stage Manager Secondary Ethernet Port

Showstopper 3 Consolette

Spikemark Pendant


If you find you need to change the static IP Address of your Stage Manager, please follow these steps:

  1. The easiest method to navigate to the Network Connections window is by pressing the Windows Key + R and entering ‘ncpa.cpl’ in the Run window (to the right) and clicking OK.

This will open the Network Connections window (below).

  1. Right click your network connection (in the example below, we are using Ethernet 2) and then click “properties” to open the properties windows.

  1. Double click on the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) item, this will open the TCP/IPv4 properties window (to the right).

  1. (In this example the IP Address is set correctly to If the ‘Obtain an IP Address Automatically’ button is selected, you will need to select Use the following IP Address button and manually type in the IP Address.

The Subnet mask typically auto-fills to the correct values, but if that doesn’t happen, just type in what is shown here. Default gateway, and all DNS server boxes should be left blank.

Once the IP Address is set/confirmed, click OK twice to get back to the Network Connections window then close that window. Go back to Spikemark and connect to your Stagehand in the Network section of the Stagehand Properties Panel.


You may have noticed that there is a handle on the front of your Stage Manager. In order to make navigation and cueing easier, there is a keyboard with an integrated touchpad and number pad in that drawer. The keyboard is already connected to the computer and should stay mounted in the pull out tray.


Your Stage Manager has been set up with a shortcut to start Spikemark on the desktop. You can also start Spikemark by either opening an already existing show file or by clicking on the start menu icon in the lower left hand corner of the desktop, scroll down to Spikemark, and click on the Spikemark icon.


Since your Stage Manager arrives from the factory setup in User Authentication Mode, you will also need to log in to Spikemark with a user account. We set this up to prevent unauthorized access and to prevent misuse of your automation system. The user accounts that are available in Spikemark are the same users accounts and passwords as Windows. Each user account will have a different level of authorization in Spikemark which is dictated by the Windows permissions. Any user account with admin access in Windows will have full privileges to add cues, edit cues, add new machines, and change any Spikemark settings. When used to log into Spikemark, any Windows user account that does not have admin privileges will operate Spikemark in run only mode. This means that you will be able to execute cues and presets, but you will not be able to change any cues or settings.

Your Stage Manager comes with two accounts that can be used in Spikemark. If you log in to Spikemark with the User Name: “Programmer” and default Password: “programmer”, you will have full privileges. If you log in to Spikemark with the User Name: “Operator” and default Password: “operator”, you will only be able to run cues and presets in already existing show files. For better security, you can change these passwords or add users from the Windows 10 User Account settings.

User Name

User Type





Local User



Default Windows user


Local Admin



Spikemark user with editing privileges


Local User



Spikemark user without editing privileges


The jogging and cue control buttons on the Stage Manager have been borrowed almost directly from Creative Conners’ modular accessory, the Showstopper 3 Consolette. This means that even with the computer powered on, there are a couple more steps before the Stage Manager becomes fully functional. For more detailed information on the Consolette check out the Showstopper Consolette User Manual:

pageShowstopper 4 Consolette


There are a handful of settings that you can configure on the Consolette without connecting it to Spikemark. You can access the settings menu by pressing the Jog Wheel.


After you press the Jog Wheel, the status display shows the Settings Menu. This is a scrolling list of the different settings that can be configured. Scroll through the list by rotating the jog wheel and then press the Jog Wheel again to select the option you want.

After you have finished, scroll to the bottom of the settings list and click EXIT


To adjust the IP Address of the Consolette, you will need to access the settings menu by clicking the Jog Wheel. Once you click the wheel, the Consolette display will show the settings menu

From here, you can scroll through the menu with the jog wheel and select the setting you want to adjust by clicking the wheel once the correct setting is selected.

The Showstopper Consolette comes with a default static IP Address of If you want to change that address, select SET IP ADDRESS from the Settings Menu. When you enter the SET IP ADDRESS screen, you can change the address by following these steps.

  1. Rotate the Jog Wheel to move the cursor to the IP Address segment that you want to change.

  2. Press the Jog Wheel to select the segment.

  3. Rotate the Jog Wheel to adjust the segment value.

  4. Once you are satisfied with the value, press the Jog Wheel again to get back to the selection cursor.

  5. Repeat steps 1-4 until you are happy with the IP Address.

  6. Move the cursor to OK to change the IP Address (or Cancel to leave the IP Address unchanged).


The keys on the Showstopper Consolette are backlit. The backlighting makes it much easier to see the keys backstage in the dark. Of course, depending on where the Consolette is physically located in the theatre, the backlighting could be a nuisance if it bleeds light out into view of the audience. You can adjust the brightness of the backlight to your taste.

After you select the ADJUST BACKLIGHT menu item from the Settings Menu, you’ll see a screen that displays the current backlight level. Turn the Jog Wheel to adjust the lighting level and then press the Jog Wheel to save the new level. The Consolette remembers the preferred backlight level even if it is unplugged.


The Jogging Joystick on the Showstopper Consolette is an analog device and its accuracy can fluctuate. You may find that when jogging, motors have a tendency to run slightly forward or reverse even when you let go of the Joystick. If that’s the case, the Joystick needs to be recalibrated to establish a zero speed setting when the Joystick is sitting in the center position.

After selecting CALIBRATE JOYSTICK from the Settings Menu, you will see the calibration screen. The dialog prompts you to release the Joystick so it is sitting in its center position. If the Joystick is out of calibration, the numerical readout will show a non-zero value indicating a signal bias that will cause the motors to creep while jogging. Use the Jog Wheel to select CALIBRATE and then press the wheel.

The numerical counter should reset to zero, showing you that the Joystick is calibrated. You can click the CALIBRATE option as many times as needed to get a steady reading. Once you are satisfied, scroll to DONE and press the Jog Wheel.


In order to control Spikemark with the buttons and control options on your Stage Manager, you will need to configure it within Spikemark. Check out the detailed instructions in the Spikemark manual.

pageSetting Showstopper IP Address


Now that you have your Stage Manager configured, it is time to learn about the key features that make your Stage Manager the perfect tool for your as a facility permanent installation automation control station.

For the most up to date information, take a look at the Spikemark Software manual


When Spikemark launches, it starts with a single Pushstick winch and a single cue. In Simulation Mode, with the Pushstick winch selected, press and hold the JOG button on the Stage Manager.

While keeping the JOG button pressed, move the joystick forward and back. Notice that the speed of the simulated winch is controlled by the joystick.

Using the joystick, position the winch roughly in the middle of its track. Release the JOG button and joystick to stop jogging. You can use the joystick to get a motor roughly in position and then fine tune the position with the jogging wheel. This is a great way to position motors during tech.

Press the JOG button again, but this time turn the jog wheel a few clicks in either direction. Notice that the position of the motor is linked to the jog wheel.

Every click on the wheel is 1” of travel if you are in COURSE mode. If you press the FINE button next to the jog wheel, the resolution changes so that every click of the wheel is 0.1” of travel.


There are two ways you can run cues on your Stage Manager. You can either run cues from the touch screen of Stage Manager or you can use the cue control buttons on your built-in Consolette.


Once a show has been programmed and finalized, it’s pretty rare to want to change anything during the run. Enabling Run Only Mode, will disable the ability to edit the input fields, editing the stage, adding machines, editing cues, movements, and links. This mode can be turned on and off by clicking on the Cues option in the Menu Bar, and then clicking on Run-only mode at the very bottom of that sub menu. A check mark beside it will indicate that Run Only Mode has been activated, and you’ll notice that the add movement plus signs disappear, and input fields and text are greyed out.


Executing a cue is a two step process. The first step is to load the cue. Loading the cue, sends all the cue information out to the Stagehand Controller or FX and gets the motors ready to move. Typically, you’ll load a cue when your stage manager(the person calling your show, not our console) gives you a “warning” for the cue.


Cues that are linked do not need to be explicitly loaded, because the link will automatically load and execute its child cue.

There are a few ways to load a cue. The difference is a matter of personal preference.

  1. Click the Load Cue button in the Cue Grid.

-- OR --

  1. Click the Jump To Cue button on the Cue Controller (Figure 321) and then select a cue from the Jump to Cue dialog box.

You can also type a cue number or description to jump to the cue.

-- OR --

  1. If a cue was loaded or ran previously, you can use the Next Cue and Previous Cue buttons in the Cue Controller.


After you’ve loaded a cue, and your hand is hovering over the GO button, you may get the news over your headset that “it’s going to be a while”. Rather than leave the cue loaded and one accidental click away from running, you may want to unload the cue and return Spikemark to an idle state. There are three ways to unload the currently-loaded cue, use any method that is most convenient:

  1. Select Unload Current Cue from the Cues menu.

-- OR --

  1. Right-click on an empty portion of the Cue Grid and select Unload Current Cue from the pop-up menu.

-- OR --

  1. Press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + F4.


  1. In the Cue Grid, the borders around the ready cue and ready movements change to red and the Stagehand column headers display a rocket ship countdown icon.


If only some of the Stagehands were able to load the cue, the cue outline will turn pink indicating a partially loaded cue. This can occur if a Stagehand is not currently connected to Spikemark.

  1. The status bar text updates in the bottom left corner of Spikemark.

  1. The motor(s) that will move in the loaded Cue change to red and their target position(s) are shown in semi-transparent red inside the Stage Model Viewer.

(Note: The Turntable’s target position in the example below is the thin, semi-transparent red line that sits down stage, nearest the lift.)


Once a cue is loaded, you can start all the motors moving by running the cue. There are a few ways to run a cue.

  1. You can press the Go button in the Cue Controller.

-- OR --

  1. Click Run Cue in the Cues menu.

-- OR --

  1. Press F5 on the keyboard.


Once the cue is running, the interface changes to inform you exactly what is running.

  1. In the Cue Grid, the border around the Cue that is running and motor movements within the running Cue change to green and the Stagehand status icons change.

  1. The motor(s) that are moving in the Cue change to green inside the Stage Model Viewer.

  1. The status text in the Cue Controller displays which cue is running.

NOTE: If you have multiple cues running at the same time, the Cue Controller only shows the last cue started.

  1. The Status Bar text in the bottom left corner of the Spikemark screen displays which cue is running.

NOTE: If you have multiple cues running at the same time, the Status Bar only shows the last cue started.

  1. The Cue row header in the Cue Grid will display a Countdown Timer in the upper right corner showing how much time is left until the cue is complete.


  1. As the motor movements and the cue complete, the interface shifts colors again and the borders in the Cue Grid turn blue.

  1. The motor(s) that have completed their movements in the Cue change to blue inside the Stage Model Viewer.

  1. The Cue Controller on your screen updates its status text.

  1. The Status Bar text in the bottom left part of the Spikemark screen is updated.


There are two ways to load a cue from the built-in Consolette. The first is using the JUMP button. Start by Pressing the JUMP button on the Stage Manager.

On the touch screen, Tap the cue you want to load. Then Tap the OK button. This will load that cue. Notice that when a cue is loaded, the GO button on the Stage Manager pulses.

To run the cue, hold down the HOLD TO RUN button and press the GO button. Notice that while a cue is running, the GO button glows constantly. Once the cue is finished, the GO button turns off.

The other way to load a cue is to Press the NEXT button on the Stage Manager and it will load the cue after the cue that just completed. If you Press the PREV button, the previous cue will load.

Press and hold the HOLD TO RUN button, press GO, and then partway through the cue release the HOLD TO RUN button. Notice that the motor decelerates to a stop as soon as you let go of that button. This mode can be changed using the configuration instructions explained above.


One of the most helpful features when a Stage Manager is being used as a facility permanent installation automation control station, is the use of Presets.

Presets link to a specific cue, and they are a super cool way to recall a cue. The Preset displays the name of the Preset, what movements are executing and if there are multiple steps (linked cues). In addition, there is also a mini stage model view that displays only the axes moving in the specific Preset.

Presets were conceived primarily for use in permanent Installation scenarios, such as running linesets in a theater or for a museum exhibit. Presets are used when you have a specific set of positions that you want to regularly move to. Remember, that the Preset is linked to a cue and if you make a change in the cue editor, the same changes will be made to the Preset that references that cue. The real power of Presets is unlocked when combined with User Authorization. This way you could give an operator the ability to run a Preset but not give them the ability to edit the cue.


You may have noticed the new tabs at the top of the state model viewer. Clicking on Presets opens the Presets User Interface.

The Presets User Interface is divided into 2 sections: Stage Model View on the left and the Presets List on the right. When first viewing Presets you only see the Stage Model View on the left.

This image shows the interface with Presets created


Presets are created two ways:

  • Right clicking on a cue and selecting Create Preset from the contextual menu


  • Pressing the hot key 'Alt-P’ with the desired cue selected

Either method opens the Create Preset window. From the window you can name the Preset and add a description.

We have found it helpful to include the Cue # that the Preset is recalling in the description. Adding this step saves countless hours down the line when attempting to remember what cue that Preset is recalling.


Presets are added to the list in the order in which they are created. This is important because once a Preset is created, the only way to move its position in the list is to delete it and recreate it at the end of the list.


Because Presets are recalling cues, all that is needed to adjust the position of an axis in a Preset is to adjust the values in the cue that Preset is recalling.


To run a Preset simply click on the Preset you want to run in the Preset Tab to load the Preset. You will know the Preset has loaded because, similar to cues, it will outline the Preset in red.

Then, click the Green Triangle Go Button at the bottom right side of the screen. While the Preset is running, it will be outlined in green, similar to a cue.

When the Preset completes successfully, the outline will change to blue or if there was an issue completing the Preset it will outline in yellow.

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