Yes, one of our Zero 88 Fat Frog Lighting Consoles has decided to give up the ghost.
During a recent technical rehearsal I discovered that the lighting desk would display a random number 6 on the screen as boot up. This worried me as when this happened the desk would not start properly, so I decided to service it.
Having stripped down to PCB (Printed Circuit Boards) I discovered that the main board had some spoiling on it from the CMOS battery, so I dug out the IPA Cleaner and ordered a new battery from RS Components.
Unfortunately the replacement battery did not solve the problem,, although the clock works correctly for once. The acid from the battery seems to have leaked through the board and corrupted the main microchip.
So I phoned Keith at Zero 88 and he suggested we send the desk to him for further investigation, so off it went and a few days later we received an email from the big guy and he tells us that the acid has indeed destroyed the main chip, which is no longer manufactured.
So we are stuck with a broken lighting desk, although we now have lots of spares for the other ones (just not the main chip).
Why did this happen, well the battery leaked, but why did we not know this, well I guess we do now. So I will put it down to having a 12 year old lighting desk, but it has done thousands and thousands of shows without fail and probably needs some early retirement in the sun (or the ‘scenery store’ as we call it, which is neither sunny nor pleasant)
So the search to find a replacement is underway, but with the Fat Frog now a discontinued product from Zero 88, should we be looking at the Frog2 or a nice avolites pearl or something else.
THe great thing about the Fat Frog was it was usable in many ways.
You could program each cue and playback using the go button, the traditional theatre method, or you could program submasters that you could recall or mix manually, or you could just use the desk as a 2 way preset desk (very old school) – but with so many different lighting designers using the desk each year it is very important to get this usability ion the new desk – but for now we will just upgrade one of the older Fat Frogs to the Main Theatre and get something smaller for it replacement.
I may have to drag myself up to PLAZA and have a look at whats on offer.