Manual Operation

Before you start writing cues in Spikemark, let’s make sure the machine runs correctly when jogging it manually using the buttons and knobs on the face of the Stagehand Hydraulic. Follow the steps below to manually operate your hydraulic effect and verify that it is operating correctly.

  • Release the Emergency Stop button on your all your Showstopper devices.

  • Press and hold the Forward jog button on the Stagehand Hydraulic.

  • While holding the Forward jog button turn the knob clockwise slowly. Your hydraulic effect should begin to move. Notice that the position encoder counts are displayed on the OLED Status Display. The counts must be increasing when you are jogging forward, if not the hydraulic effect and the encoder are out of phase and you’ll need to rewire the encoder. See the troubleshooting section for more details.

  • Gradually rotate the knob counterclockwise until the hydraulic effect stops.

  • Release the Forward button.

  • Press the Reverse button.

  • While holding the Reverse button turn the knob clockwise slowly. Your hydraulic effect should begin to move in the reverse direction. The position encoder counts are displayed on the OLED Status Display. The counts must be decreasing. If not, the hydraulic effect and the encoder are out of phase and you’ll need to rewire either the encoder. See the troubleshooting section for more details.

If you strike a limit while jogging in the direction of the limit, the Stagehand Hydraulic will immediately stop the motion in that direction. This is a necessary safety feature, though during machine prep and load in, running into the limits can be frustrating – especially when you are certain no accident will occur. To address this frustration, the Stagehand Hydraulic includes forward and reverse momentary limit override buttons to the left of the OLED Status Display.

To bypass a limit, press and hold either the FWD, REV, or ULT limit override and continue jogging the motor. Be extra careful when bypassing a limit to protect people, scenery, and your machine. Once the machine has been tested and functions correctly, you will need to set the physical hard limits before attaching scenery or running the machine in a cue.

Understanding the Status Display

The two-line alphanumeric display on the Stagehand Hydraulic motion controller uses OLED technology to make it easy to read backstage without a distracting backlight. It also has excellent viewing angles, making it easier for you and other operators to see status information at a glance. The Stagehand Hydraulic is primarily controlled through our Spikemark software, but it is handy to have some bits of information displayed on the Stagehand Hydraulic faceplate for those times that you are working onstage near the machinery and not sitting in front of a computer running Spikemark. Also during shop setup, load-in, and strike you may not have Spikemark running and need to manually operate the Stagehand Hydraulic.

Network Connectivity

When sitting idle, the Stagehand Hydraulic will display its IP address on the bottom line and its Spikemark connectivity status. Connected means that the Stagehand Hydraulic has an active connection with a Spikemark computer, and Disconnected means that the Stagehand Hydraulic is not actively communicating with Spikemark.

Encoder Position

If you press either the Forward or Reverse jog button, the Stagehand Hydraulic will display the direction it is traveling and current speed as a percentage of full power on the top line. On the bottom line it will display the Position Encoder counter in raw encoder counts. Inside Spikemark the position data will be shown in scaled units, such as feet or inches, but on the Stagehand Hydraulic, the raw encoder counts are displayed since the Stagehand Hydraulic isn’t aware of Spikemark’s Position Scale. The position information is helpful when testing equipment in the shop prior to load-in. You can use a Stagehand Hydraulic to power up a machine and confirm that the encoder is working properly by watching the counts increase and decrease when running forward and reverse respectively. If counts decrease when running forward you know that the hydraulic effect and encoder polarity are mismatched and should be rewired before attempting to run cues.


When a Forward, Reverse, or Ultimate Limit is struck the top line of the display will flash an appropriate fault message in rotation with any other fault messages. If you strike a directional limit switch, either forward or reverse, you will have to run the hydraulic effect in the opposite direction to clear the fault message. If you strike an ultimate limit you will have to physically clear the limit switch before the fault message will clear.

Emergency Stop

When the Emergency Stop circuit is activated or unplugged, the Emergency Stop fault message will be added to the flashing fault messages. Any motion that was occurring when the Emergency Stop was detected will be stopped. To clear the fault, release the Emergency Stop button on the Showstopper. Once the fault is cleared, any motion that you wish to execute will have to be restarted. If you were jogging, you will need to release the jog button and start again. If you were running a cue through Spikemark, that cue will need to be re-loaded and run again. At no time will the Stagehand Hydraulic immediately restart after an Emergency Stop fault is cleared since such behavior could pose a serious safety risk.

Setting the IP Address

Once your Stagehand Hydraulic is connected to a computer, you will need to set the IP address in order to communicate with Spikemark. This can be accomplished the same way as any other Stagehand.

  • Click the jog wheel, the SET IP screen will be displayed.

  • Scroll to the octet (each number set from 0-255 separated by a decimal point) you want to change and click the wheel.

  • Turn the wheel to increase or decrease the number until you reach your desired value. Click the jog wheel to set the value.

  • Repeat the process for all octets that need to be adjusted.

  • Once complete use the jog wheel to highlight ‘OK’ and click the wheel.

Be sure to remember that each Stagehand Hydraulic needs to have its own unique IP address.

Setting the Subnet Mask

In addition to the IP address each Stagehand Hydraulic controller also has the ability to set the subnet mask. The default subnet mask is If you find yourself in a position where you need to adjust the subnet mask, please take a step back and ask yourself if it is really necessary. If the answer is yes, click and hold the scroll wheel to reveal the SET SUBNET screen. Follow the same procedures used to set the IP address to adjust the subnet mask.

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