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Author Topic: Moving lights on a budget  (Read 1616 times)

Rick Powell

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Moving lights on a budget
« on: September 04, 2018, 06:45:40 pm »

We are down to 1 mover, which I originally obtained about 5 years ago, the other two probably aren't worth the trouble of fixing as they are cheap generic Chinese lights. Looking for something 60-90w LED in the $300 apiece range, open to buying used. Need 3 of them. Gobos, prisms, some built in FX like pan and tilt reverse would be nice. Any advice or suggestions?
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2018, 07:57:15 pm »

We are down to 1 mover, which I originally obtained about 5 years ago, the other two probably aren't worth the trouble of fixing as they are cheap generic Chinese lights. Looking for something 60-90w LED in the $300 apiece range, open to buying used. Need 3 of them. Gobos, prisms, some built in FX like pan and tilt reverse would be nice. Any advice or suggestions?
Chauvet Pro R1X Spot and R2X Spot are the cheapest I'd consider buying.  Its better to spend a little more for still-working lights than a little less for too-soon-broken ones.

Sent from my VS980 4G using Tapatalk

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duane massey

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2018, 12:33:28 am »

$300? I don't think you will find anything worthwhile.
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Duane Massey
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Taylor Hall

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2018, 08:55:00 am »

$300? I don't think you will find anything worthwhile.

More or less this. Otherwise you're just going t be in the same boat you are now in a few years. Chauvet and ADJ have good offerings in the $6-700 range in both LED and standard discharge lighting, I'd start looking there.

Also, what type of head are you after? Spot? Wash? That will affect the price as well.
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Rick Powell

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2018, 09:27:30 am »

More or less this. Otherwise you're just going t be in the same boat you are now in a few years. Chauvet and ADJ have good offerings in the $6-700 range in both LED and standard discharge lighting, I'd start looking there.

Also, what type of head are you after? Spot? Wash? That will affect the price as well.

Spot, LED, single lens are what I have now and what I’d like to replace with. The generics I have now are 45w and I’d like to go a little brighter.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2018, 06:58:51 pm »

Hi Rick, so to make some comparisons...

The ADJ Pocket Spot Pro hits your budget but falls short on features and output.

The Chauvet Intimidator Intimidator Spot 260 checks all the boxes for features and output but is double your price. 

Both are DJ-grade fixtures.  I wouldn’t consider buying anything used at that level, and even buying pro-grade movers in used condition comes with additional considerations (none of which will be favorable at $300/ea.). 

You could toss in more generic Chinese, but assuming you’d like to go name-brand with the purchase you’ll either need to grow your budget or shrink your requirements.  Hope this helps!
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Rick Powell

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2018, 07:25:43 pm »

I was actually checking out the Intimidator 260s and they look like they would work well - we do about 25 shows a year with movers, so if they went in a case, they’d hopefully hold up for several years.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2018, 07:36:30 pm »

25 uses per year definitely warrants spending more money to get the right thing, at least in my opinion.  Cases are a must if you’re doing any real traveling.  Cleaning out dust from fans, PCBs, and heatsinks can also work wonders for long-term reliability.  Some units I have in my current inventory are pushing 20 years old, so with proper care a few years of use usually isn’t too much to ask, even for DJ-grade lights.  Good luck!
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2018, 08:07:59 pm »



....they’d hopefully hold up for several years.

I'm a big Chauvet fan, used a LOT in installs over the last 6+ years, but for every other weekend use - I would steer clear of the DJ level fixtures.  Cheap movers don't have the same reliability as, say, cheap speakers or amps. 

Sent from my VS980 4G using Tapatalk

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Nate Zifra

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2018, 03:55:58 pm »

Only thing I'll add is, I am currently sending out one of my Trio's (a Chauvet DJ product) out for warranty.  It came with a two year warranty.  It has been used maybe a total of 12 times since its purchase in Feb.  The head just stopped rotating.

Chauvet responded within the same hour as filling out their online form with an RMA for warranty repair.  I'm sending out the fixture shortly and will keep anyone who's interested updated.  I'm very impressed so far with the response.


I'm a big Chauvet fan, used a LOT in installs over the last 6+ years, but for every other weekend use - I would steer clear of the DJ level fixtures.  Cheap movers don't have the same reliability as, say, cheap speakers or amps. 

Sent from my VS980 4G using Tapatalk
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2018, 04:19:30 pm »

Only thing I'll add is, I am currently sending out one of my Trio's (a Chauvet DJ product) out for warranty.

Interesting.  Did you pop it open?  I don’t blame you for wanting to take advantage of warranty though. 
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Lance Hallmark

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2018, 01:07:25 pm »

I'll also pop in with a recommendation for Chauvet. I have several Intimidator 250 LEDs that work well in small to medium size rooms. Was down at Chauvet for a Chamsys class a few months ago, they do some pretty extensive testing of their current products, even have a rain & heat room. Did not see a lot of repairs on the shelves, looked like they took care of warranty issues quickly.
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David Allred

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2018, 04:10:17 pm »

We are down to 1 mover, which I originally obtained about 5 years ago, the other two probably aren't worth the trouble of fixing as they are cheap generic Chinese lights. Looking for something 60-90w LED in the $300 apiece range, open to buying used. Need 3 of them. Gobos, prisms, some built in FX like pan and tilt reverse would be nice. Any advice or suggestions?
https://www.ebay.com/itm/2Pcs-60W-3-Facet-Prism-LED-Spot-Moving-Head-Light-DMX-DJ-Stage-Gobo-Lighting/173412683530?epid=2292528012&hash=item2860338f0a:g:xaEAAOSwA3dYMDSs
These are probably close to what you have now.  A little cheaper though.  Some are offered at a higher price.

I am not vouching, in any way.  I have also seen many comments that many of the Chinese copies have noisy fans.  Like +10db noisier, at least, in the mid 70's.

I am considering some cheap Chinese movers without prisms for very light, non-critical and infrequent use.  I like the prism effect, not at double the cost.
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Len Zenith Jr

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2018, 06:51:00 pm »

https://www.ebay.com/itm/2Pcs-60W-3-Facet-Prism-LED-Spot-Moving-Head-Light-DMX-DJ-Stage-Gobo-Lighting/173412683530?epid=2292528012&hash=item2860338f0a:g:xaEAAOSwA3dYMDSs
These are probably close to what you have now.  A little cheaper though.  Some are offered at a higher price.

I am not vouching, in any way. 

I'll vouch for them as I have 4 of them. Stay away! While on the surface they are fantastic units ... until they start bugging out on you. The problem for my units is the wire loom from the head to the base (probably 30-40 wires). They use crap copper that will crack from repeated flexing from the movements. It is a royal pain to disassemble and measure every wire with a dmm to find the break and an even bigger pain to disassemble the whole unit to reroute and solder in a new wire. It came to the point where I would reroute 8 wires at a time so I would have 7 spares for the next time one cracks, usually in about a week or 2.

Unless they started using a better annealed copper with finer strands, they just aren't worth the headache.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2018, 07:08:22 pm »

A lot of this comes down to the fact that moving lights are essentially a robot with an oven in the middle of them.  Moving lights mean moving parts, and some are just built better than others.  No matter how you slice it, no-name Chinese lights are a gamble.  Some hold up quite well, others don't...and this can even vary between production runs from the same supplier.  Name brand lights aren't immune to this either, with the exception that you have a warranty and replacement parts available. 

I've had just as many issues with moving lights from Martin and High End as I have from ADJ and Chauvet.  Right now I'm dealing with a few Elation units that need attention.  It's just the nature of the business.  Some lights can go a decade with no TLC - others can hardly make it through a single job without gears jamming and belts popping.  I have yet to numerically quantify that any one brand is truly more reliable than any other - there's just too much variation between the different units...

I do like the poorly-written unit descriptions found on ebay though..."Adopting professional 11/14 channels" and "Shaking and lighting with changing rainbow colors"

The 200w(?) flame effect is even better "Mushroom fire shape, creative a romantic atmosphere"
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duane massey

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2018, 03:16:24 pm »

Nothing says "romance" better than a mushroom shape, especially if it's on fire....
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Duane Massey
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Nate Zifra

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2018, 02:53:14 pm »

For those following along at home, I received my Trio back from FL warranty center, good as new.  In all, it cost me the initial $40 to ship it down. Quick tests show it's good as new. Unfortunately they didn't give and documentation to say what was wrong with it, and clicking on the ticket number link they emailed me only shows transfers to various individuals who handled it along the way.

For Jeff - I did take it apart before sending in, but there was nothing obvious to my novice eyes as to what was causing the issue.  Nothing looked bent, all cables seated, etc. I think it was a motor issue, as it seemed to be up against some resistance so it could only move so far...
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David Allred

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2018, 04:28:04 pm »

I opted out of getting any movers.  Fan noise would be an issue since they would be pretty close to the audience in a lecture environment.  If only DMX could power them down......
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Taylor Hall

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2018, 05:04:58 pm »

I opted out of getting any movers.  Fan noise would be an issue since they would be pretty close to the audience in a lecture environment.  If only DMX could power them down......
You wouldn't want that unless you enjoy bulbs/diodes melting sensitive internal parts vital to the fixture's operation.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2018, 05:35:35 pm »

For Jeff - I did take it apart before sending in, but there was nothing obvious to my novice eyes as to what was causing the issue.  Nothing looked bent, all cables seated, etc. I think it was a motor issue, as it seemed to be up against some resistance so it could only move so far...

Yeah, it can be hard to tell sometimes.  I've had similar issues caused by things as simple as a loose or cracked pulley.  Motors die too, but I'd hope not with as little use your fixtures have gotten so far!  Either way, glad to hear it's all fixed and back in service!

You wouldn't want that unless you enjoy bulbs/diodes melting sensitive internal parts vital to the fixture's operation.

There are actually quite a number of fanless, silent, and near-silent moving lights on the market.  While certainly not as common nor inexpensive as the DJ/bar/band/club moving lights they're definitely out there.  Many fixtures can also be commanded into a silent "standby" state where they're essentially dormant but retain their calibration so that they can snap back into action at a moment's notice.
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Paul G. OBrien

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2018, 12:51:28 am »

https://www.ebay.com/itm/2Pcs-60W-3-Facet-Prism-LED-Spot-Moving-Head-Light-DMX-DJ-Stage-Gobo-Lighting/173412683530?epid=2292528012&hash=item2860338f0a:g:xaEAAOSwA3dYMDSs

I also have 4 of these but not from that seller I got them direct from China and so far had no issues at all  over perhaps 25-30 shows. The rotating gobos and prism are why I bought these, those 2 features step up the presentation quite a bit IMO, but while the rotating gobos in these are technically removable getting them out is a tricky task as they do not have the slot-n-lock feature. But the included gobos are nice so I haven't felt a big need to change them, the only suggestion I would make is get the 90w version for a bit more pop with the darker colors.
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David Allred

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2018, 09:28:33 am »

You wouldn't want that unless you enjoy bulbs/diodes melting sensitive internal parts vital to the fixture's operation.
I meant the unit, not the fan. 
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David Allred

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2018, 09:36:14 am »

I also have 4 of these but not from that seller I got them direct from China and so far had no issues at all  over perhaps 25-30 shows. The rotating gobos and prism are why I bought these, those 2 features step up the presentation quite a bit IMO, but while the rotating gobos in these are technically removable getting them out is a tricky task as they do not have the slot-n-lock feature. But the included gobos are nice so I haven't felt a big need to change them, the only suggestion I would make is get the 90w version for a bit more pop with the darker colors.

How would you rate the fan noise?  Acceptable in a quiet room within 15 - 20 ft from a listener?
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Paul G. OBrien

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Re: Moving lights on a budget
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2018, 12:09:55 am »

How would you rate the fan noise?  Acceptable in a quiet room within 15 - 20 ft from a listener?

I'd rate the fan noise as normal, in a dead silent room you can hear them but it's no worse than your average desktop computer.
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