DJ Lighting Help – Why Most Fixtures Don’t Come On Right Away

August 21, 2017 by Brian S. Redd

So I got a real good question on Facebook the other day. Somebody who is brand new to DJ’ing and lighting is asking me, how come my light fixtures don’t come on right away when I power them up? So every fixture acts a little different. I’ll try to give you a little explanation on this. For demonstration purposes today, we’re going to use this 18J PS1000 [ph] controller, probably from the late ’80s, early ’90s, because it’s a simple on and off switch. It’s basically hit the switch. The outlet in the back powers up and the fixture comes on. I used one of these for quite a few years. So let me show you a fixture that comes on right away when you power it up. It’s this little 80J effects beam [ph]. Oops, there we go. Look at that. I hit the switch, it comes on immediately. Now, this thing can strobe and do all kinds of stuff. But this is real simple. Power in, on. This is on a DMX fixture, so it acts pretty cool in that regard. So if you want on/off kind of light, this works cool like on a chaser or something like that.

Now, the next fixture I want to show you is this rotobeam [ph]. I hit the switch and it takes a second, but the light does come in. This is not a DMX fixture. However, it does have some kind of little internal chip or computer that tells it how to act. It tells the lights how to chase. It tells it how to spin. It’s also a sound active light, so there’s something in there that’s telling this light what to do. Like I said, like in a second it comes on. It doesn’t take long at all. Now, on the other hand, here is the Boombox FX2. This thing takes a while to come on. Why is that? Well, it’s a DMX fixture and it’s got a little built in computer in the back that tells it do things like sound active. You can turn on either the wash, the derby, the laser or the gobo and several other things.

It’s almost like a little built in computer and just like your home computer, it takes a second to boot up. So if you’re coming out of a slow song and you want this light to come on right away as soon as the beat hits on the fast song, how do you make this light do that? There are three different ways. The first way, I don’t like, and that is time it. Figure out how long it takes for this light to come on. Figure out when your fast song is going to come on. Hit the switch and wait for that to happen. That’s clumsy. I don’t like it at all. The other thing you can do is run this fixture DMX. Now, when you’re running anything DMX, you can tell it exactly what to do, when you want it to do it. You can tell it how to act and everything else. However, to do this, it’s not really simple anymore. You have to learn how to program DMX.

There is a third option, that I think you might like, and that is using a UCIR remote control. Now, with the UCIR remote control, you’re going to leave your fixture on all the time and use the remote control to do things like standby. Push one button and it’s on standby. Hit the button again and it goes off of standby and your lights come back on. It’s that simple. You can also do things like adjust the speed. You can adjust the brightness in some cases. It depends on the fixture.

Now, you’re 80J fixture has to be UCIR remote compatible, so you’re going to want to look at the manual and make sure that it’s good for that, because some of the lights are not UCIR remote compatible, but many of them are, so check your owner’s manual. This might help you get your lights on and off real fast.

So I hope this video helps somebody. Remember, if you have any questions, comments, answers, anything at all, please let us know in the comments section. Thanks for watching. Practice and enjoy.


Brian S. Redd Brian S. Redd (50 Posts)

Although he can be seen Djing in places like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, or even the UK & Europe, DJ Brian Redd is proud to call Milwaukee home. Brian specializes in mobile events such as wedding receptions, corporate events, quinceañeras, parties and special occasions. He has also been a resident DJ at several major Milwaukee night clubs and also performs at Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival. From the beginning Brian has had a passion for music. His talent emerged at the young age of 13 when he was asked to DJ at a local skating rink. After realizing his calling he progressed on to weddings and mobile gigs and by age 18 he was DJing regularly at nightclubs. He understands people & what motivates them music wise, which helps keep them on the dance floor. Brian has been recognized for his work in various DJ publications both domestic and abroad. He has made a name for himself in the DJ community where he is known and respected as an industry consultant. This recognition has led to his contributions as a writer for Disc Jockey News. A true international DJ, Brian travels worldwide to not only perform but to educate and share industry ideas and concepts with DJs everywhere. His career has gone to the next level working with industry leading manufactures bringing new products and services to his peers helping them become better DJs.

Filed Under: Lighting for Mobile DJs