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.




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  • 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]