Tech Talk

Basics of Troubleshooting Part 3

In my last post, we talked about troubleshooting when there is no image on the screen, but what about the times we get an image but its…wrong! Sometimes the color’s not right, sometimes there are imperfections in the image, whatever it might be, it can usually be grouped into one of three categories.

First, there could be a physical problem in the system, typically this applies to the cables and connectors more than anything else. In our simple computer>cable>monitor system for instance, the cable connecting the computer to the display might have a bent pin. This can result in some strange anomalies in the image on the monitor. Unplug the cable from both ends and examine the pins inside the connector to make sure that one is not bent. By the way, these typical computer video cables are called VGA cables and it’s not uncommon for there to be one particular pin completely missing from the connector, so if you see that, don’t worry about it.

Continue reading Basics of Troubleshooting Part 3

Basics of Troubleshooting Part 2-Ins and Outs and Roundabouts

Last time we talked about signal flow. An image (signal) starts at the source device,
goes through the routing and distribution, and ends up at the display. When there’s a
problem, we’ll see it on the display. Problems are generally in one of two categories;
either there is no image, or the image is not representative of what is being generated
by the source. So lets take them one at a time.

Continue reading Basics of Troubleshooting Part 2-Ins and Outs and Roundabouts

Basics of Troubleshooting Part 1-Signal Flow

A good portion of my time is spent helping our customers troubleshoot their systems. I really do like that part of my job. I know, there are lots of horror stories about technical support personnel. Incredibly long wait and hold times, rude technicians, geographically untraceable accents, but for myself, I really work hard to make sure that a customer is in a positive frame of mind when we hang up the phone. As a technical support specialist, I want you to call! Really I do! However, there are some things that you can do before you call that might end up saving you some time and trouble.

Continue reading Basics of Troubleshooting Part 1-Signal Flow

“I Can’t Hear Myself!”

If you’ve done audio for literally any period of time, you have heard those words! It seems to be the rallying cry of performers across the world.

Of course we want all the band members, singers and instruments, to be able to hear themselves. It leads to a more confident and powerful performance. The challenge for most of us as sound engineers is to give all the performers the levels they need, without blowing out the first few rows of the audience with reflected monitor sound. The bounceback of the stage monitors off the back wall muddies up the sound and makes it nigh on impossible to create a clean mix whether you’re at the FOH (Front of House) position or a dedicated monitor board. The long term solution to this is to move to an in-ear monitor system which reduces stage volume to negligible levels in the first place. Since not all of us have that luxury, how do you deal with this often heard request?

The next time you are faced with a vocalist or instrumentalist who seems determined to have their own tone blasting them off the back of the stage, try this old sound guy trick. Continue reading “I Can’t Hear Myself!”

Projector Native Resolutions Explained

Every projector has a native resolution, this is the actual number of physical pixels from top to bottom and from left to right. A common mistake people make is to try to send a much higher resolution from a computer or other device to their projector than it’s native configuration. What happens at that point is the projector now has to scale down the image to what it’s able to work with. Loss of quality and slight delay is usually the result when this happens, and in some cases the projector will just display “no signal” as it’s incapable of reading the signal. Example: Sending 1920X1080 to a projector that is naturally 1024X768.

The two most common main-stream projector resolutions today are 4:3 1024X768 and 16:9 1280X800. Higher resolutions for HD video ( 1080 ) are usually found in the smaller home-theater market. These are generally less bright projectors as they are designed for dark home theaters with emphasis on color correctness.

Always send a signal as close to the native resolution of your display device as you can to ensure best results. This information is found in the specifications section for the particular projector your looking at.

Why Not HDMI?

Why Aren’t We Running HDMI?

As AV contractors, we get this question quite a bit. So let’s start with the basics. HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface and along with DVI, DisplayPort and SDI, HDMI is a card carrying member of the True Digital Signal Club. With the exception of SDI, which has been standard in the broadcast world for years, the acceptance of true digital video in the Pro AV world has been slow at best.

Continue reading Why Not HDMI?

SDI, the short version…

If you’re coming from the world of consumer audio and video devices, there’s a chance you’ve never heard of SDI. If that’s the case, welcome to the future (or past, depending on your perspective). SDI, or Serial Digital Interface, has been around for quite some time, but only in the high-end professional world, and has gone through a few iterations to get to where it is now.

 

 

Continue reading SDI, the short version…

My projector won’t stay on-what should I do?

What is your projector telling you? The most important thing to note is what are the indicator lights doing? Your projector only has a few ways to communicate with you. Unless it wont power on at all, some indicator lights should be flashing if something is wrong.

After years of troubleshooting projectors from all over the country here are a few the most common issues and how to resolve them.

Continue reading My projector won’t stay on-what should I do?

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