Spec for Vision Console

Does anyone have a spec for the Vision console?  I found the manual in the ETC downloads section, but alas it doesn't hint at channel capacity, cue capacity, etc.  A theater company I work with is considering buying a used one, and I'm trying to figure out if it will meet their needs.




  • Josh,


    I couldn't find a spec sheet right away but I do have some info for you.

    Channels: 100

    Cues: 200

    DD 3.5" disk drive

    Options included:

    DMX Out

    D192 Out

    AMX Out

    96 or 192 0-10vdc Analog outs

    32, 64, or 96 Analog inputs

    This console also uses a monochrome composite video signal or an optional RGB monitor.  These are getting difficult to find.

    If you get me the serial number I can look up how it was origianally built.



    [edited by: dnorth at 5:05 PM (GMT -6) on Fri, Mar 07 2008]
  • David,

    Have no idea if replying to this thread is like the proverbial tree falling in the wilderness & no one's there... Anyway...

    I still have a Vision I run for small school projects & the like.  She doesn't get a lot of use, but when called upon, she has been a very good asset.  I have the old composite video monochrome monitor.  It has been an old reliable for many years, but if could somehow upgrade a little & keep the mono as a backup, I'd be happier.

    A colleague recently replaced the CRT color monitor from an Express 24/48 we use with a flat screen.  I'm guessing it's all VGA.  I'm going to guess further that I CAN'T use that monitor with my Vision.  It has a DE-15M connector & the Vision has the DE-9F.  I can't just get an adapter, can I?  There are DE-9M to DE-15F adapters out there, but I doubt it's that easy.

    Another way to ask this: what is the video signal out of the Vision?  VGA?  EGA?  All the way back to CGA???

    I'm slowly climbing a learning curve here, but think I'm asking the right question.

    As an aside, my mother-in-law -- God rest her soul -- left us an old Tandy 1000 machine that had a color monitor with the composite video connection.  It comes from the same era as the Vision & I'd bet that monitor could work, but for the life of me I can't find it!


    [edited by: VT Fitz at 2:19 PM (GMT -6) on Mon, Nov 22 2010]

    When looking for a monitor for the Expression (1) or MicroVision family of consoles you will be looking for a CGA monitor, which is an older video format that is not compatible with the current video formats (VGA_ or (SVGA). These consoles cannot be upgraded to the new video format, so you will either need to find an old CGA monitor, or a CGA to VGA converter, or if you have certain NEC monitors (see below) you can order an HD15 to DB9 adapter cable PN: 4000B7026. Below are the specs for the video outputs:



    Refresh Rate

    CGA/Digital RGB


    54.5 Hz Vertical, 18.36 KHz Horizontal

    CGA/Digital RGB


    64.5 Hz Vertical, 16.0 KHz Horizontal

    TTL Monochrome


    Composite Monochrome


    Format Refresh Rate Connector
    CGA/Digital RGB 54.5 hz Vertical 18.36 Khz Horizontal 9Pin DB-9CGA/Digital
    RGB 54.5 hz Vertical 16.0 Khz Horizontal 9Pin DB-9 (MVSN, MVFX)
    TTL Monochrome 9Pin DB-9
    Composite Monochrome BNC






    Common (AC Ground)





















    Horizontal Sync



    Vertical Sync

     See this at: http://community.etcconnect.com/wikis/products/knowledgebase-cga-monitors.aspx


    @ Josh


    Please also see http://community.etcconnect.com/wikis/products/vision-console.aspx

    But Mr. North has provided a very good spec listing of the unit and please do take us up on our offer to look into the serial number of the unit you are looking in to. We can usually find the original test sheet of how the unit left ETC when it was new :-)




  • A CGA monitor should work depending on how flexible its timing is on input.  Let's not forget that these console were designed and built back in the early 80s and there weren't a whole lot of standards int he computer world then.  On rare occasions I still use a MVFX with a monochrome composite display because it takes up very little space on a desk or a chair [depending on the size of the venue].

    I'm not sure that all Visions id color output but I am positive that later versions could do color or monochrome depengin on the jumper KK setting on the facepanel.  Install KK for color although it looks like no matter the jumper setting it will still display on either monitor but the colors/intensities may not be correct.

    I hope this helps.  Let me know if there is anything you want us to verify or mock up.  We do have old refurbished monitors for sale as well.


  • Thanks, Mike and David.  Since you’ve replied, I guess the tree actually did fall in the wilderness after all!  Again, I'm slowly, reluctantly climbing a learning curve here.  While it's an area I've always been interested in building my knowledge base because I hear the terms (VGA, S-VGA, CGA) tossed around so often, inertia is a terrible thing.  Thank goodness for Wikipedia and sites like this which share/archive info and get the attention of good folks like you.  I really enjoy living in the Internet era!

    Your replies were excellent.  Mike, yours reminded me that I used an NEC P/C back in the late-80s.  I just found it tucked away in a corner of the attic.  Lo & behold, the Goldstar color monitor with DB-9 connector was there too.  I have a good feeling it will work...  My wife constantly gripes how I'm a hoarder, but maybe it will finally pay off a little!

    David, I read in the manual about the KK jumper issue for color.  I'll experiment with that in due course.  It would be a kick if this Goldstar worked and I could get color out of this old system after many years of green screen!  The mono-composite display has been an old reliable – and, as you note, it is a light, tidy little display, and even though the Vision is larger than the Micro, the whole desk is quite compact – but an "upgrade" (I use the term very loosely) would be nice.  I'm also concerned that at some point that mono CRT will bite it.

    As an aside, the 3.5" disk drive also looks like it has just failed.  Thought it might be an HD vs DD disk problem, but all the DDs I tried had the same error message: "Bad sector error on format."  You folks can provide a replacement (for a fairly hefty price, around $300, no disrespect intended), but my mother-in-law's old Tandy 1000 (referenced earlier) may have a viable replacement.  Score another point for hoarding… It looks like the NEC may also have a compatible drive, but I've already pulled the Tandy one, so will try that first.  I'm also reluctant to cannibalize the NEC totally.  (I was actually thinking recently how there are some old docs on it that I may want to retrieve one day.  I'm truly hopeless!)

    The console has been running a show that closed yesterday, so I was not about to open it up while the show was in memory.  I hope to experiment this week.  I understand Tandy powered the drive through the ribbon, but the drive (Sony model MP-F63W-72D) has a 4-pin connector that looks like what's on the original (TEAC FD-235F), so I'm hopeful I won't blow something when I hook it up to test!

    My console is rarely called into action more than once a year and hasn't had any work for almost two years, but I already have a show lined up for it next month, so definitely I need to solve the data storage issue.  Since I've never looked into hooking up a printer – despite most assuredly having an appropriate dot-matrix machine lying around somewhere! – my "archiving" technique was to take a picture of the screen of each cue with my iPhone...  Old technology meets new.  Thank God I didn't have to rewrite the whole show due to a memory failure.

    Thanks again for your replies and expertise.  What a great resource you provide for your clients.  While I am still using a piece of equipment that has accrued zero direct commerce for you for decades, rest assured, ETC is and always has been my only choice for fixtures, dimmer racks, and consoles whenever I have had input on such purchase decisions.  A thousand thanks!


    [edited by: VT Fitz at 1:40 PM (GMT -6) on Mon, Nov 22 2010]
  • Success on the monitor upgrade.  Works beautifully.  Jumpered KK, and I have a lovely color display!

    Next issue is FDD.  The Sony did not work.  I'm thinking there is a bypass for the power to come in through the ribbon.  There is a 3 wire module that I think is the possible culprit, but I can't seem to disconnect it to experiment.  The next strategy is to see if the drive from the NEC will work.  Plan C would be to cough up the 300 simoleons to get a "new" one from ETC.

    Also, the software version is 1.41, released 20 March 1989.  Is that the last version?

    [edited by: VT Fitz at 11:53 PM (GMT -6) on Mon, Nov 22 2010]