Getting Started

Congratulations on your purchase of the Stagehand Apprentice motion controller from Creative Conners, Inc. The Stagehand Apprentice brings the excitement of automation to theatres of all sizes. Combining the motion controller and motor drive into a compact package, The Stagehand Apprentice eliminates the clutter and complexity of other automation systems.

This manual will direct you through:

  1. Unpacking

  2. Installation and testing

  3. Setup and Operational procedures

If you need help along the way contact us by email (, online ( or by phone (401-289-2942).

What’s in the box?

Inside the box you should find:

  1. Quick Start Guide

  2. Stagehand Apprentice motion controller

  3. Rack ears with bolts

  4. Mitsubishi D700 instruction manual on CD

  5. If you purchased a 120VAC Stagehand Apprentice you will also have a cable mount Powercon True 1 connector

If any of these items are missing or damaged, please contact us immediately for a replacement.

If you purchased any accessories (cables, adapters or hardware), those items are packaged separately.

Stagehand Apprentice Overview

The Stagehand Apprentice performs two major functions: Motion control and power amplification. This means that Stagehand can:

  1. Track the position and control the speed, acceleration and deceleration of a motor that is equipped with a compatible encoder.

  2. Supply the necessary 3 phase power necessary to move the motor.

  3. Stop motion when a limit switch is triggered.

Typically, these functions have been divided between several pieces of equipment, but the Stagehand packs all this functionality into one compact and convenient box.

After unpacking the Stagehand Apprentice, take a moment to familiarize yourself with its various connections, buttons and features. (Figure 1 shows the 5HP model)

  1. Stagehand Motion Controller – The brains of the controller are located here.

  2. Momentary Limit Override buttons – When pressed, the Stagehand will temporarily override the FWD or REV limits. This feature is intended to be used when manually jogging the motor.

  3. Forward and Reverse Manual Jog Buttons – When pressed the Stagehand will switch to manual operation, allowing jogging in forward or reverse.

  4. OLED Display – The OLED display shows information about the Stagehand’s status. When idle, it shows the current IP address and the network connection status to the PC running Spikemark.

  5. Multi-function Jog Wheel – The Jog Wheel has two functions:

    1. If either the FWD or REV jog buttons are pressed, the knob functions as a speed dial.

    2. Clicking the wheel (it’s also a button) allows the user to set the IP Address.

  6. Sensor input – This includes the encoder and both the Forward and Reverse limits

    1. Encoder supply voltage is 12VDC, and receives position information from an incremental quadrature, line driver encoder.

    2. Both FWD and REV limits should be wired as normally closed (N.C.)

  7. Ethernet – The Ethernet receptacle accepts both the rugged Ethercon connectors as well as standard RJ45 connectors. The Stagehand Apprentice uses Ethernet to communicate with the PC running Spikemark software.

  8. Showstopper Input – The E-Stop (Emergency Stop) receptacle is a 5-pin XLR connector (a.k.a. standard DMX cable). The E-Stop signal (24VDC) is provided by the Showstopper 3 Base. If the signal is present, the Stagehand is free to move, when the signal is interrupted all motion will stop.

  9. Mains Power – This is the power input from the distribution panel, the connector varies based on the maximum capacity of the Stagehand

    1. 1HP versions utilize a Powercon True1 (single-phase, 120V, 20A) connector

    2. 5HP version utilize the familiar L15-30M connector

  10. Motor and Brake Output – Both the brake and motor output is bundled in the single industrial connector.

    1. 1HP Version

      1. Motor output: 3-phase, 230VAC, 15A

      2. Brake output: Single phase, 120VAC

    2. 5HP Version

      1. Motor output: 3-phase, 230VAC, 30A

      2. Brake output: 208/230VAC

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